Posted in film, film props, Halloween, how-to, special-effects, creativity, art

There’s a Fungus Among Us

The fungus-carrying meteor has officially crash-landed in my front yard!

Fungusoutside
The neighborhood is doomed! Doomed, I tell you!

But this is just the beginning. Soon, tendrils of fungus-y alien membrane will crawl across the ground, shoot into the trees, and begin swallowing everything in its path–including my family!

A lot has been happening in my studio this week to make these things happen (sometimes aliens need a little help from earthlings), and I’ll be working right up until trick-or-treat kicks off in two days.

Here’s what I’ve been up to.

I used the same spray foam insulation and whirled it onto some nitrile gloves we already had in the garage. I also purchased some heavy duty elastic from a craft store, and sprayed foam onto it, to create the chunks of alien fungus we’ll wear as part of the makeups. I’ll tie or pin the elastic strands around our shoulders, arms, wherever.

bodyparts
I am the queen of “use what I’ve already got”. I found gloves. I used them.

I painted basically the same techniques from the meteor onto the body parts, except instead of rock colors, I used flesh tones to make it appear as though our skin itself is bound up in the blobs of disfigurement taking place. I also made some green nurnies.

bodypartsandnurnies.jpg
Starbucks green tea latte is optional.

Wait, what the heck are nurnies, you ask? More about that if you keep scrolling!

But I wanted to give the meteor every chance at surviving long-term, plus I wanted a shiny, gooey finish on the fungus parts, so I hit them with a glossy clear coat.

weatherproof
I’m sure alien fungus can survive a Georgia rain shower, but why take a chance?

And then it was time to remove the beach ball innards! Swirling lights will go inside to give it a glow, so I had to make room. First, I deflated the beach ball. I’m sure you’ve noticed that in our modern day inflatables, there’s a little flap inside the plug that keeps air from sneaking out involuntarily. Handy. But also tricky, when one wants to deflate on purpose! So I inserted a screwdriver to hold the flap open, and just pressed, and waited, and waited, and waited…until the beach ball was small enough.

deflateinnards
That safety flap in inflatables seemed like a good idea at the time.

Then I gently peeled the beach ball away from the foam, and, Voila! No more beach ball, and room for lights!

removeinnards
I have a video on my Facebook page of the beach ball coming out with a soft plop that is kind of satisfying to watch, if you’re curious: here.

But let’s get back to nurnies.

That’s the term for bits of stretchy, mangled, latex ropey blobs that are usually stored in a sandwich baggie in a makeup kit for adding texture or other interesting things. They tend to look like tendons or cartilage, and can be bitten and torn to add some realism to the ripping away of body bits by zombies or monsters.

They’re super easy to make, but I’ve added my own twist of using yarn, as well, because I want long, swinging, membrane-like tendrils to drape from the meteor and the trees, and all over my family.

Makeup suppliers like Kryolan have skin-safe latex (be aware, some people have latex allergies), but you can also get the same stuff from places like Spirit Halloween or costume shops. Since I am using so much for many tendrils, I’m using the stuff I got from the Halloween store. I also chose green yarn I already had, with dark spots and light spots, to really sell the creepy factor.

teaandlatex
Cup of English breakfast tea is optional.

Here is my step-by-step, nurnie-like technique for creating drapey, icky alien tendrils.

Paint out a strip of latex onto a smooth surface.

paintlatex
Nothing to it.

Let the latex dry. Or, if you are like me, and don’t have patience for the natural method, hit that strip with a blowdryer. It will turn clear. Add one more coat of latex, and dry it again.

drylatex
See it turning clear? Clear = dry.

Then lay a long strand of yarn across the dry latex, and start rolling your hands (and the yarn) back and forth. The latex will peel up, and stick to itself, and to the yarn…

rollyarnlatex
It’s hard to show hands moving during a still photo.

… and you’ll get wobbly, bobbly, pieces of ick!

Disgusting. Perfect!

I’ve only made a few, but I need SO MANY MORE, so that’s what I’ll be doing for a couple days. Plus, I’m going to experiment by dragging these things through some homemade slime to see how I like that, too.

As always, you can keep an eye on my Facebook page for daily(ish) quick videos in between my more detailed, weekly blogs.

I hope your Halloween is out-of-this-world! Hey, don’t wait, create! Get out there, and turn it loose.

Advertisements
Posted in special-effects, creativity, art

The Space Invasion Begins

Today is raining the kind of warm, thoughtful rain that makes its way into the bones, and encourages you to pull the covers up, roll over, and press that snooze button. And I wanted to, this morning. I really did.

But I have things I want to do. And Humphrey, my #WonderDog, needed to go outside. He didn’t want to go outside, but he had to. We both got drenched. He did not like it.

 

dubiousHumphs
Humphrey is dubious of our relationship.

But more than that, Halloween is coming up in a mere week, and I have a space invasion to orchestrate!

I’ve been posting teaser videos on my Facebook page, and having some fun learning my way around my smart phone with it. If you haven’t visited me there, you should! I keep it chock full of daily(ish) quick bites right here.

On this blog, though, I’ll go into a little more detail about what I’m working on.

For now, I’m making a fungus-infested space rock, that will soon crash land into my front yard, and, just in time for trick-or-treating, will disfigure my family into fungus-infested zombies. Yay!

First, I started with the biggest beach ball I could find, and cans of spray-foam insulation. Gloves are super important when spraying this stuff! Trust me. I found out the hard way.

22528857_1457331834350376_7737486523321402102_o
My son, Ben, gives me a hand coating our soon-to-be-meteor.

This particular meteor took about five cans.

I gave it some extra loop-de-loops to give it plenty of texture and viney, retro-monster-alien blobs. I had to let it set, turn it to a fresh patch, spray again, and let set again, slowly working my way around the ball for a couple days, so it wouldn’t just slide right off the plastic.

Then, I coated it with a dark paint I already owned, that happened to have some metallic sheen to it, to really bring out those textures. Again, I went bit by bit, first brushing it on, then after a few seconds, wiping it back off, leaving it in the crinkles and wrinkles.

meteorshadowpaint
Gray metallic paint leftover from another project. Coconut water is optional.
wipeon
Coating it on. Pretty easy.
wipeoff
Wiping it off. Also easy.

It really makes a difference in giving textures depth and shadow.

 

Next, time for color! I like the green and yellows of the classic monster types, plus they’re the color of slime and ick.

meteorpalette
Coconut water is still optional.
meteorcloseupjpg
Base coat with green on the creepy fungus vines, and then a dry-brush layer of yellow over that.

 

I’ll be adding more extra detail for a day or so with more paints:

meteorpaints1
Peach paint for highlights, and the metallic brown and umber for the rock texture.
meteorcloseup2
Now I’m really getting somewhere. This thing wants to eat your face!

 

So far, so good! I have a couple more days of detail paints to work on the space rock, but then, I’ll be repeating the process in smaller patches.

nextstep
These will be growths as part of the makeup effects on my family.

More of that next week!

In the meantime, we have been stocking up on candy in the hopes of having many victims–er, I mean, neighborhood kids.

And I’ll be working in my studio, hunched on the Fuf (like a beanbag chair, only better), with a space rock held between my knees, and Humphrey The Wonder Dog cuddled against me. Pretty much like this:

girlandherdog

Ain’t the creative life grand?

Find out what being creative can do for your life! Take a chance. Write a poem, paint a rock, knit a placemat–anything you’ve been wanting to try, but have been putting off.

Don’t wait. Create.

Turn it loose!