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A breezy, cool night in the high desert. Heat lightning crackles on the horizon. Gusts of wind bring the faintest scent of far-off rains.
The full moon illuminates a strange crater in the parched earth. Was that there yesterday?
All at once, a rumble. The earth quivers and vibrates. Grains of sand begin to dance about near the lip of the hole; then, pebbles.
A frenzied writhing that sets the land in tumult! A great roar, the sound of it almost a solid thing, impossibly basso. Again, and again. There is a faint reply on the desert wind: an echo? or another of the unfathomably great burrowers beneath? It's hard for you to tell, but eventually the titanic bulk subsides and the desert is quiet once more, save for a faint shifting of sand and a ripple on the dunes heading for the horizon.
This was an old project I never posted; painted back when washes were almost all the paints I had. A great sculpt, dynamic and expressive. The purples are alternating layers of midnight blue and a sort of pinkish red. I should go back and add some razzamatazz to that belly, now I'm seeing the big photographs.
While a lot of people think purple worms are D&D cribbing Frank Herbert's sandworms as it did Margaret St. Clair and John Wyndham's fungal underdarks and dark elves--and they ARE pretty rad--I'm convinced that the genesis of both was far earlier, in a 1929 David Henry Keller short from "Amazing Stories." It's called, appropriately enough, "The Worm," and is worth the few minutes of your time to track down and read.
Come to think of it, this story might have also partly inspired Ray Bradbury's "The Fog Horn," though the tone of that story is much more wistful and melancholy and less increasing dread. And without THAT, and another tonal shift, monster movies and kaiju movies might have been very different indeed.
I'm just really proud of this, my first work with an airbrush ever. Maybe it's not the best skill & craft work out there for finishing a figure, but I think I win some points for originality.
What I learned...
Sometimes, inspiration comes when you think your finished (my son said "I thought you were going for a nebula") Sometimes, your wife says "It needs something iridescent" when you think you're done and she's right. Sparkling Amethyst on the spines Airbrushing means mixing and getting your consistency exactly right - I got lucky on my first try Airbrushing base colors is insanely fast, uses almost no paint and produces something much more even than I could dry-brushing Dry brushing is great for aging/leathering a piece - airbrushing is all about consistency of coverage. Trying to add red-shifted & blue-shifted stars to the star field looked like birthday cake sprinkles. Nature always has better color schemes than I can come up with on my own. I still need to figure out how to layer/thin/build up my colors.
After initial airbrushing with Violet Shadow and Clear Magenta and maybe a mix with aged bonne for the belly.
First pass at layering for the spikes. I've got some learning to do.
Another angle at the "ready for detailing" stage.
My son said "nebula" and I broke out the clear blue and thinned it, but probably not enough.
Here's the "finished" product. I detailed so many stars in the blue areas. Then my wife said "iridescent" and I added Sparkling Amethyst to the spines. It's a great touch and highlights the raised part of the body instead of leaving it the same as the rest.
For scale against another recent work, my lizardman army.
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