The Art of Darkness

Link Dump the 13th

May 30th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Tattoos Inspired by Books – There are even a couple of Gorey illustrations.

Brides Throwing Cats – A (Photoshopped) Tumblr of greatness. I particularly liked this one.

Thomas Doyle – Artist who creates surreal, often creepy, miniature vignettes.

“Dog” Shaming – This is utterly wonderful.

Asylum Hair Dye – Indiegogo campaign for “a better, longer lasting, alternative hair dye that comes in crazy colors and is not damaging to your hair.” (Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

Embossed Rolling Pins – You guys! Now you can make sugar cookies covered with dinosaurs!

List of Weird Wikipedia Articles – Clear your schedule; you’re going to be reading for a while.

Heds Will Roll – “All editors write headlines they dare not use. Put them here instead.”

Tarantula Tea Party – This is my kind of kid.

Redmer Hoekstra – Artist who draws wonderfully surreal mashups of animals and objects.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Easy, Spooky Cake Decorating

May 29th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Monster Eye CakeI am a sucker for elaborately-decorated cakes. Unfortunately, I am stuck simply admiring them rather than making them because my cake-decorating skills are less “Julia Child” and more “uncoordinated three-year-old.” If you’re in the same frosting-smeared boat as I am, you’ll appreciate this monster eye cake from Carrie at The Cake Blog, which somehow manages to be ultra-simple and surprisingly sophisticated.

It really is simple, in the sense that even an uncoordinated three-year-old can help with the decoration: Pry apart some creme-filled cookies (such as Oreos), add M&Ms or other round candies as pupils, and stick ’em to a plain iced cake. Brilliant!

She uses both regular-size and mini Oreos to add a little variation to the design. You could vary things even further by using different types of round sandwich cookies, changing the color of the candy pupils, or drawing little bloodshot lines with red food coloring and a toothpick. In the U.S., at least, Oreo cookies are also available with different colors of filling: A couple, such as mint (green) and lemon (yellow) appear to be available year-’round; there are also seasonal ones like bright orange for Halloween and red for Christmas, which could be purchased and frozen for later use. Some green Oreo eyes with red M&M pupils would look particularly monstrous. (A pair of mini-cookie eyes would also be cute cupcake toppers.)

Nearly as easy and even more elegant is her marshmallow cobweb cake, in which strings of melted marshmallow stand in for spiderwebs. A simple fondant spider–or even a novelty plastic one, if you’re in a hurry–completes the design.

Finally, check out these cupcake liner witch hats which make striking cupcake toppers and could hardly be simpler to make.

Be sure to take a look at the rest of the site’s DIY section, too; there are loads of other designs which take a teeny bit more work but are still within the realm of possibility: Fat little mummies, some “love bugs” which could certainly pass as standard-issue fuzzy monsters without the valentine antennae, and an airbrush-look splatter cake which could be given a blood-spattered makeover by substituting red food coloring for black.

Then, if you want to bring yourself back down to earth, browse through the cake section for designs like the vintage goth cake which we mere mortals can only gaze upon in wonder. Yowza.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 3 Comments »

Seen Online

May 28th, 2014 by Cobwebs

My new makeup guarantees to make you more beautiful in seconds. It utilizes paper bag technology.

A cool curse would be if every time your enemy threw something, it hit and killed an eagle.

I only have eyes for you. We sold out of skin swaths & teeth a couple hours ago. Last few eyes are in that bucket. (50% off bruised ones.)

Google Earth your house.
See the blue baseball hat in your front bushes?

Before somebody visits me, I put a note in my pocket confirming a) it was them who murdered me, and b) why they did it. Just in case.

Don’t think of it as a cubicle. Think of it as a starter coffin.

“So what if Sharona WAS Jessie’s Girl? Oh, and dead the whole time.” – M. Night Shyamalan, pitching his 80’s rock opera

Wolves howling in a thunder storm are actually just laughing at how scared your dog is.

For my niece’s 7th birthday, I’m filling a pinata with a smaller pinata. When she breaks it open I’m gonna yell “Oh God! She was pregnant!”

As FDR famously said “The only thing we have to fear are the spiderpeople among us. Their disguises are really good.”

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

Addams Family Papercraft

May 27th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Papercraft MansionWell, this is très adorable.*

Papercraft artist Alan Ronay creates teensy little paper replicas of famous TV interiors: The apartment from I Love Lucy, the house from The Golden Girls, and this, the Addams Family mansion.

He’s gone to great lengths to match fine detail, even noting that he used a slightly purple tint “to give it that 1960s CRT nostalgia feel.” Some of the model’s highlights include:

– You can see the shadow of Kitty Kat, the family lion, coming down the stairs.
– A portrait of Gomez’s business partner is hanging on the wall.
– Pierre the moose is hanging on the wall over the fireplace.
– Thing is popping out of a box on the harpsichord.
– Morticia’s peacock chair.
– Cousin Farouk is hanging on the wall.
– A copy of TV Guide with the Addams Family on the cover.

It even includes standee cutouts of Gomez, Morticia, Lurch, and Cousin Itt (although there’s no explanation of why the other characters were excluded).

He’s selling the model, fully assembled, for $345, but you can also buy a downloadable DIY version for $7.95. Even if you don’t have the patience to carefully cut out and assemble the full kit, it seems to me that certain elements would be fantastic incorporated into artwork or party invitations. You could also print out a bunch of single easy-to-assemble pieces like Thing and his box to include in goodie bags.

It’s a nice-looking kit, and if you’ve already cut your teeth on papercraft projects like the ones at RavensBlight and are ready to move up, this looks like it would be a fun project.

(via Geyser of Awesome)

*Tish! That’s French!

Posted in Needful Things | 4 Comments »

What We Do in the Shadows

May 26th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Indie film What We Do in the Shadows (tagline, “Interviews with Some Vampires”) is a horror/comedy mockumentary about a group of vampires living together in Wellington, New Zealand. Jermaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords is one of its stars.

Follow the lives of Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) – three flatmates who are just trying to get by and overcome life’s obstacles-like being immortal vampires who must feast on human blood. Hundreds of years old, the vampires are finding that beyond sunlight catastrophes, hitting the main artery, and not being able to get a sense of their wardrobe without a reflection-modern society has them struggling with the mundane like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming flatmate conflicts.

It sort of sounds like what Being Human would be if it were played for laughs.

Here’s the official trailer:

They’ve also posted a couple of other teaser ads: Passing Time, Hypnosis in the Shadows, and Incubus Seeks Succubus. I expect there’ll be more to follow.

Looks like fun.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 3 Comments »

One Flew Over the Link Dump

May 23rd, 2014 by Cobwebs

Yoshitoshi Kanemaki – Creator of surreal, creepy, life-size sculptures.

3D Tattoos – A roundup of really neat trompe l’oeil tattoos.

Cthulhu Sculpt – Believe it or not, this isn’t a digital image; it’s an astoundingly detailed resin sculpture. Dang.

Pocket Watch Terrariums – Teensy plants housed in pocket watch cases. (via Cat)

Gender-Swapped Animated Characters – Famous animated characters with their genders switched. I like Cruella de Vil and Jack & Sally in particular.

Edward Gorey Documentary Kickstarter – The base has been funded, but there’s still time to kick in for some of the stretch goals.

Make Your Own Wax Seal – Tutorial for making custom wax seals from metal buttons.

Classic Children’s Books Written for Adults – An amusing roundup of imaginary pages.

Plushie Butcher Shop – Art installation depicting a butcher shop where the meat is replaced by stuffed animals. The “sausages” made of foam stuffing are particularly clever.

Coloring Book Corruptions – NSFW. A site devoted to “altered” pages from coloring books. Guest contributions are welcomed.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Horror in Clay

May 22nd, 2014 by Cobwebs

Cthulhu Tiki MugCthulhu was an ocean-going sort of critter, so if you ignore the fact that Innsmouth is just a teensy bit too far north to be tropical a themed tiki mug sounds like a perfect fit. Horror in Clay is there to make it happen for you.

The shop (which, incidentally, takes its name from the title of the first chapter of Call of Cthulhu) got its start when tiki-and-Lovecraft fan Jonathan Chaffin commissioned a Cthulhu tiki mug from sculptor Kristina Lucas Francis. Response to the mug was so positive that Chaffin decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to produce a run for sale. That was so positive (the goal was $12,500 and it received nearly $80,000 from backers) that it spawned a whole shop.

They’ve recently finished up another Kickstarter for the Innsmouth Fogcutter, with an in-the-round design depicting a pretty tropical diver’s transformation into a Lovecraftian fishwoman. The mug also bears the logo of the fictional Gilman House Hotel, a nice touch.

The shop also carries a bunch of other great barware and accessories: Check out their Pickman’s Cove collection for tentacly swizzle sticks, jiggers, and bar spoons.

Their blog is a tad sparse–only 9 posts over the course of a year–but is worth a glance for a couple of posts discussing tropical drinks, including their recipe for their signature cocktail, “Cthulhu Waits Dreaming.” The amounts provided in the linked recipe are for a party-size 5 gallons; I did a little digging and found a much more reasonable single-serving recipe from an interview Chaffin did with Mr. Booze:

2 oz gold rum
dash of dark rum
1/2 oz brandy
1/4 tsp absinthe
1/2 oz cinnamon syrup*
1/2 oz orgeat syrup
2 oz grapefruit juice
juice of 1/2 small lemon
5 dashes Angostura bitters
fresh seawater

Begin by rinsing your Cthulhu vessel with fresh seawater. If you happen to be trapped inland, you can use 1/2 tbs sea salt dissolved in a cup of water instead. Then, in a shaker, combine all the other ingredients over ice. Shake and strain into the Cthulhu vessel over crushed ice. Chant “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” over the top before drinking. After a few of these, Cthulhu may well return.

*To make the cinnamon syrup: Crush 3 cinnamon sticks and place in a saucepan with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let steep for 2 hours. Strain and bottle. Keeps for a month in the fridge.

A Lovecraftian Luau sounds like a fine idea–you could even serve octopus or squid for extra tentacly authenticity–and the tiki mugs would be a marvelous starting point.

Bonus Link: When I went looking for the cocktail recipe I found the Call of Cthulhu, which isn’t the same recipe but it’s both tropical and highly decorative.

Posted in Needful Things | 3 Comments »

Skull Planters

May 21st, 2014 by Cobwebs

Skull Planters

Hey, look! It’s one of those smack-your-forehead-for-not-thinking-of-this-yourself ideas. I saw these neat planters online and tracked down a couple of secondhand sources which mention them as being sold by One Teaspoon. I unfortunately can’t find any mention of them on the site, so it’s possible they’re either discontinued or only sold at brick-and-mortar locations. (How quaint.)

A more general search for “skull planter” turns up a few entries on sites like Etsy and Amazon, but they lack the deep eyesockets which are such an interesting additional planting area.

No matter; with a cheap plastic skull and a little bit of paint, something reasonably similar should be a piece of cake. Make sure that the skull is one of the two-piece jobs where the skullcap pops off and, um, pop it off. You can also remove the lower jaw if desired; it’s often attached with metal hardware that will rust (although you may view that as more of a feature than a bug). The eyesockets in the planter appear to be larger than in most real skulls, and also seem to angle downward a bit. If you aren’t sure whether your model skull’s eyes will hold enough packed soil to support a plant, you may want to cheat a bit and break out the backs so they connect with the brainpan; it’s all going to be covered with dirt anyway, so the holes won’t be noticeable.

Add a little shading and detail with plastic-friendly paint, then fill with potting soil. Choose plants that are relatively shallow-rooted and slow-growing: The succulents in the picture are an excellent choice, as would be a specimen cactus. You might also fill the skull with miniature-leaved ivy, letting it slowly twine around make the skull look overgrown and mysterious.

If you can find an appropriately-sized glass bulb it might also be fun to fit it over the top of the skull, not only turning it into a terrarium but also creating one of those strange exposed-brain aliens so beloved of 50s science fiction: The monster with plants for brains!

A leafy skull or two would be lovely perched in a sunny windowsill or as a focal point in a flower bed.

Posted in Unhallowed Ground | 4 Comments »

Halloween Survival Kit

May 20th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Halloween Survival KitFabulous commenter Pixel Pixie pointed me at this neat Halloween Survival Kit created by graphic designer Elizabeth McMann as part of her portfolio. I take some exception to the name, since it’s clearly a monster survival kit,* but I quite like the organization and stripped-down aesthetic. I also like the idea of an all-purpose monster-deterrent package, so you’ll be prepared for whatever you find when you investigate that noise in the basement.

Since the kit and the smaller boxes it contains appear to be simple pasteboard affairs, it’d be fairly easy to print and assemble a custom kit containing whatever ingredients you like. You could also do something a bit more elaborate using a wooden tea chest or a presentation box: This and this are pricey because they include the tea, but empty ones should be available from manufacturers of specialty containers or suppliers of bulk teas.

Devising a list of repellent items to include would be half the fun. The garlic (for vampires) and sage (for ghosts) shown in McMann’s kit are good choices; I’m not entirely sure what some of the other boxes’ icons are meant to represent (I assume the little bottle with a cross is holy water, and the box with just the cross is…maybe a cross-shaped amulet? Dunno). You’d definitely want to ensure that each item is easily recognizable, since grabbing the wolfsbane when you needed the Mothman spray could be disastrous.

Draw or find clipart for each label, and include instructions (e.g. “For use with Yeti only; attempting to use this product for Sasquatch may result in death or dismemberment”) as necessary.

A large kit would be an interesting prop or conversation piece, and mini-kits containing two or three items would make unusual party or wedding favors.

(Thanks, Pixel Pixie!)

*A Halloween survival kit would contain, one would assume, things like glow sticks, hand sanitizer, and emergency chocolate. Totally different, although also fun to make.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 3 Comments »

These Evil, Insectoid Fairies Will Haunt Your Nightmares

May 19th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Tessa Farmer SwarmI think I’m going to put a mild trigger warning on this, for unsettling (albeit entirely fictional) depictions of animal cruelty.

Fairies have been very thoroughly Disneyfied these days, but in the earliest stories about them they’re barbaric creatures with often malevolent motives. Artist Tessa Farmer gets back to their roots with works that are both technically astonishing and psychologically unsettling.

Her miniscule fairies incorporate bits of taxidermied insects, and she arranges them in amazingly elaborate tableaux which depicts their savage nature: Tormenting spiders, parading a captured hedgehog, attacking and parasitizing a fox.

Farmer’s site has descriptions and photos of her installations, but the site gallery is extraordinarily annoying to navigate; you can view a sample of her work at Dangerous Minds. She also did a short stop-motion animation, “Nest of the Skeletons,” for an artists’ competition at Tatton Park:

The film introduces viewers to a previously hidden world, where malevolent fairies have constructed a nest for themselves inside the guts of a weathered scarecrow in the Kitchen Garden. Built from seeds, leaves, twigs, roots, eggs, snail shells, mushrooms, moss and a woollen mitten, the nests components have been gathered from the gardens and grounds of Tatton in the tradition of birds and insects, which use external sources and materials to construct their habitats.

The fairy nest is divided into specific, purpose-built areas of activity. The Nursery space cares for the youngest fairies, newly hatched from their cocoons, while the Feeding Room is a containing space in which doting elders throw insects down to the hungry young of the colony. The Arena is a place of spectacular combat, where a fairy and a wasp wrestle in front of an enraged audience. The Larder stores captured insects for later eating and/or torture, as well as a stolen birds egg, which has been pushed inside a child’s mitten, to ensure incubation and hatching of the baby bird prior to its consumption (like the calf that exists to become veal).

These fairies are not the stuff of Disney, but are part of a richer, darker, more ancient mythology that instils fear rather than pleasure-filled fantasy. Their existence reminds us of the harsh realities of the life cycles of plants and animals, which need to consume resources at the expense of their competitors in order to survive.

I don’t know about you, but I’m never going to be able to look at Tinkerbell quite the same way.

Posted in Whatever | 2 Comments »

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