Thursday, 10 April 2014

Bloodstone Jade Seal

So I got myself a blank Chinese seal from ebay a while back and decided to use it for my Larp character. Honestly I spent more time trying to decide on a design than I did working on it, but in the end I went for a simplified version of those (already fairly simple) drawings of mountains you get in various Asian cultures (the nation he's from is vaguely Tibetan in some ways and live on mountains), plus a star/moon/sun, plus the rune for 'A' (for Arcadius). It also represents thought and scholarly things, which fits well with the character (though it *is* associated with Day magic rather than Night or Winter, but we can't have everything)

Needs to be engraved a little deeper (and needs tidying up a bit) and I may add more little details to make it a little more interesting, but for a simple little prop I'm happy with it.

Need to see if it works as an ink stamp too, certainly less costly than sticking wax everywhere. May be just as messy though. Biggest issue is that the larger chinese style seals need a fair bit more wax than the european types.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Stone Cthulhu

My first proper carving - in that I actually shaped the stone rather than simply engraved it.  It's made from slate again, but this time it was a piece that had rather appropriately been worn by the sea.  I have a couple more pieces like that that a re light green and thus even more suited for our octopoid friend, but they're smaller.  The original stone (shown in the fourth picture) was also perfectly shaped to produce the effect I wanted with minimal work.

Minimal work being about three to four hours I think, maybe a little longer if you include finishing.

I started with the piece shown below, decided I'd use much the same design as before - half his head and one wing - and got to work with a file and my dremel, getting rid of the waste material (picture five is after an hour and a half or so, maybe?).  Then I had to smooth out the wing piece and shape the head, which took a surprising amount of time.

I was going to do it as a relief, with the 'bones' of the wing raised, and then cut away for the wing membrane. It's at that point I realised I'd accidentally manage to (in my mind), mimic Inuit soapstone sculptures (which actually is been looking at yesterday), so I decided to run with it and go with a few engraved lines instead.  Also it would take a lot less time and I figured I'd pick the simpler option for my first attempt.  Some of the wing lines are a little wobbly, unfortunately it was tricky getting a good angle with the dremel where it wouldn't wobble.

After doing the details I smoothed out as much as I could to get back to the sea stone look (though really there should be a little more removed on the wing for that but meh), and sand it down.  At which point I realised I had the wing section TOO smooth, rather than the smooth but dinged texture of the bits worn by the sea.  So I tossed it around in a bit of gravel to add a few scrapes - it didn't look perfect but it looked believable.

After washing off all the dust I polished it with beeswax which made it look great and really brought out the purple colour.  So I put another coat, but that just made it totally uniform and dull looking, so I scrubbed it off with soap and hit water, then scratched it a little more, then put a thin coat back on.  End result isn't quite as good as it was after that first coat - and in some light is a little dull - but I'm pretty proud of it.

The camera won't pick up the right colour though, in the right light it's got a good dark purple look (though in the wrong light it's a little brownish, I think that's the beeswax).

The final picture is the Elder Sign pebble after I coloured the engraving silver, you can tell because the engraving is now silver.  I couldn't find any solder to do a proper metal inlay, so I just used one of those metallic ink pens - I think it looks quite nice, albeit lacking the natural look it had before.  I think it's got the reflective look to it that silver paint doesn't have, so to my mind it does look like a very small amount of actual silver has been dribbled through to coat it.