Monday, June 29, 2015

The Sages Seal Gannon (Reprise): Creative Platypus

This is a second try at a scene from Hyrulian lore: the Sages seal Gannon within the Sacred Realm.  The first try can be found here.  For this second try at the scene, I used a thicker stock paper in charcoal black.  Trying to invert my concept of the scene to make black the background color was a little mind-bending (I only have two years of high school art class under my belt and years of amateurish stumbling).  It's not a great success, but I do feel that I learned a thing or two about working with a black background.  In the future, I hope I won't be as fuddled as to forget to block the picture before sallying forth with the pastels.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Pot of Ilexes: Creative Platypus

Michael's was having a sale so I broke down and bought some coal black paper to begin experimenting with.  This picture of a pot of Ilexes (they were thoughtful a get-well present from our pastor's wife who is starting a floral business) provided a trial subject and I sketched it out with a basic set of Cray-Pas. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Sages Seal Gannon: Creative Platypus

The wise men seal the evil thief Gannondorf within the Sacred Land thus preventing his evil from spreading to Hyrule.  This particular image is inspired by some of the pastel-like art from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Platypus and the Eldritch Horror

The odd adventures of Randolph Carter that began this month haven't only been inspired by choice readings of H.P. Lovecraft.  They have also been inspired by several play-throughs this year of Fantasy Flight's C'thulhu Mythos board game Eldritch Horror.  Eldritch Horror is a multi-player game that pits players in their roles as investigators against one of the Ancient Ones of the Lovecraftian Mythos.  Investigators scour the globe looking for clues, obtaining items, defeating monsters, and solving the mysteries needed to banish the Ancient One from the world.  Unlike your typical board game, Eldritch Horror is cooperative -something that my non-competitive wife and I find quite a relief.  The rules of the game and the narrative turn of the various cards that dictate game events and investigator abilities lend themselves strongly to corporate story-telling.  In this way Eldritch Horror serves as a nicely simplified version of Fantasy Flight's other Mythos inspired game Arkham Horror and the old Call of C'thulhu role-playing game.  Simplification doesn't mean simple, however, and the run time with two to four players can be around three hours.  Much of this time is spent considering the board and planning the next turn in group strategy sessions which often sound like they're right out of a D&D campaign.  All-ini-all, it's a fun game and with two expansions already out and another on the way, it's one that will provide novelty and pleasure for years to come.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fun With Pastels and Solvent: Creative Platypus

This goldfish was created using pastels dipped in solvent or drawing on paper treated with solvent.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The King in Yellow Take 2: Creative Platypus

So I tried updating my original oil pastel sketch of The King in Yellow by using some solvent to soften the colors and help with the blending.
Below is the original for comparison.  See what you think.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Unknown Kadath: Creative Platypus

*There's a little spoiler here for those who haven't read H.P. Lovecraft's The Dream Quest of Unkown Kadath, so reader beware!

The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath is the first non-cosmic horror piece I read by H.P. Lovecraft. It's probably my favorite work by the Great H.P. I've tried to find pictures of the titular city but, alas, all the ones I can find online ignore Lovecraft's ending assertion that the city is based on Carter's Arkham.  This means that the architecture of the city is a Fantasia of New England styles.  The city Lovecraft had most in mind was probably his own native Providence.  To that end, my quick sketch of Unkown Kadath is based on various bits and pieces of New England architecture from Boston, Hartford, and Providence.  To put a word in for my own state, I still think that there's something other-worldly about the Connecticut State House's East Lake style as it rises up over Bushnell Park. 

Fun with Regular Old Pencils: Creative Platypus

Concept sketch for a Charles Williams-esque novel in the editing process.  A doodle of Garth Nix's Clariel seems to be peeking through...

Link to an Interesting Article on Calvin and Hobbes

An interesting article on "Calvin and Hobbes" and being a lonely child:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Dead and Beautiful Rest (Cont.): Platypus Travels Part LXX

Captain Beach(1726-1817) and his wife Charity (d. 1809) were two of the first citizens of Shelton (Ripton or Huntington at the time) to have their portraits painted.  The originals are kept in the vault of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford.  Unlike the Loyalist Shelton family, Captain Beach took up arms against the British Government and saw action under General David Wooster in New York and presumably at Danbury and Ridgefield where Wooster was killed.  His epitaph reads:
Unvail thy bosom, faithful tomb,
Take this new treasure to thy trust
And give these sacred relics room
To seek a slumber in the dust.

Charity formed a famous trio of friends with the mistress of the famous Shelton “Salt-Box House”, Mary Shelton, and the artistic and highly intelligent Hepzibah Hawley.  Recording family reminiscences, Jane de Forest Shelton tells us that Charity, true to her name, took the newly-wedded Mary under her wing and helped make a place for the Stratford girl among the isolated farms of rural Ripton.  The friends, so close in life, are separated in death with Charity buried by Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Huntington, Hepzibah at the old Center Cemetery in Monroe and Mary with her husband in Long Hill Burial Ground.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The Dead and Beautiful Rest (Cont.): Platypus Travels Part LXIX

The Freemasons are well represented in most nineteenth century cemeteries and Shelton is no exception.  One reason for this is that the Free Masons used to guarantee their members burial and a tombstone.  In some cases this produced markers of unusual magnificence.  This particular example features a host of symbols including the Sun, Moon, All-Seeing Eye, and the Ark of the Covenant.  The symbol to the left of the arch and beneath the Sun is one I don’t know how to read.  The dead try to tell us things in their tombstones, but often the secret is lost on those of a later generation.  All seek to say “I lived, I mattered”.  This stone caught my eye with its strangeness.  How many others in the cemetery did I pass over without a thought?

As for my name and my father’s name, why do you ask?  As the generations of leaves on the trees, so are the generations of the sons of men.

Monday, June 08, 2015

The Journey of Randolph Carter (Part X): Creative Platypus

Those who go traveling in strange lands must pay for their adventures in strange coin.  The discerning traveler knows where to look for the places of exchange.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Enter the King In Yellow: Creative Platypus

R.W. Chambers' much appropriated creation is the subject of today's one hour pastel sketch.  I should actually say "mixed media," since there's a good deal of colored pencil and china marker with an unsightly corner fixed in paint.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

The Journey of Randolph Carter (Part IX): Creative Platypus

Travel in strange lands is always dangerous, but even unforeseen evils can be countered by the traveler who is prepared.  On the rotting parquet floor of a ruined hall in a ruined castle, a circle of salt and a few choice crystals bear mute witness to one such pilgrim. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

The Journey of Randolph Carter (Part VIII): Creative Platypus

 Shadows play across the walls of a partially ruined castle.  Is this the eldrich place that Carter sought?  If so, what do these strange figures bode?
'Lo, 'tis a gala night all in the lonesome later years...
An unexpected guest?
Sir, you must unmask...

The Journey of Randolph Carter (Part VII): Creative Platypus

Where did Randolph Carter go that mysterious night when he walked into the woods behind the old house?  Some say that he used The Silver Key and was caught in the webs of Yog Sothoth before being hurled to an alien planet utterly remote in time and space.  Others say that he passed into the Dreamlands and won through many adventures until he became king in Ilek-Vad.  There are two men who are purported to know the answer, but they aren't exactly the sort that police listen to.

Monday, June 01, 2015

The Journey of Randolph Carter (Part VI): Creative Platypus

Randolph Carter of Boston was last seen exiting his car and walking in the direction of the old Carter homestead in the hills outside Arkham Massachusetts.  Investigators said that the ruins of the ancestral home had been disturbed and that a man's handkerchief had been found just outside a natural cave locals call "The Snake Den".  Recent storms have left investigators with little hope of finding footprints that could lead to the discovery of Carter's ultimate whereabouts.