Monday, December 9, 2013

My Lovecraftian Alphabet part 4: Zoogs

In H P Lovecraft's Dreamland tales (such as his epic "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath") you can find the zoogs in the enchanted wood, just past the Gate of Deeper Slumber. They're small, furry and nimble creatures possessing both intelligence and slyness. They make a wine from the fermented sap of the moon-tree which is very potent, and sought after. They are at war with the cats. I thought they'd make a great representative for the letter "z".

Some years ago I made a bunch of sketches for various Dreamland creatures, and I chose one of those as a start for my zoog puppet.

As usual, I started out with sculpting the head. This time, however, I abandoned my old, tried and true Chavant clay in favour of testing the highly recommended "monster clay" from Monster Makers Inc. And yes; I am in love. This material is the perfect sculpting substance, having the best qualities of both clay and wax. I'll be using this stuff for most of my following projects.

After making a plaster mould for the face I cast the head piece in skin-tinted latex. Friendly Plastic thermoplastic was added to the inside to create a subskull.

The eyes were made out of transparent half-spheres, probably to be used in scrapbooking, but also ideal for making big, watery eyes. I glued the domes down over printed photoshopped eyes using a flexible super glue.

Although you will mostly see the snaking feelers over the mouth, I wanted to make a functioning mouth too. This was simply done by attaching an aluminum wire to the subskull, wrapping it in soft string and covering it with tinted latex. The teeth are just small bits of cotton mixed with latex and rolled  between my fingers.

My usual Friendly Plastic / aluminum wire armature holds together the parts of the zoog, including the wire-wrapped hands, feet and tail.

To cover the body up I chose an old fur hat, which I bought at a flea market some years ago. This is real fur, which I prefer not to use, but it's hard finding good fake fur around where I live. Whatever poor animal was used I hope it's better to donate its fur to creating a new "living" creature, than being stuck on the head of some old lady.

The fur-attaching process is pretty straight forward. I just eyeball the measurements for each body part, cut the fur with a scalpel, and stick it on using flexible contact cement, adjusting the fur pieces as necessary. Where it's needed I stick on individual loose chunks of hair using latex as glue.

Here's the finished critter, waiting for his first star turn.

Jonas Wahlström, zoologist and manager for the Swedish Skansen tropical aquarium, once posed with a tiny marmoset hugging his thumb. The image eventually ended up on the cover of Guinness Book of World Records, and is said to be the most famous thumb in the world. Here's my version of that photo. The zoog's a bit bigger, though.

It is said that the zoogs are fierce creature you should never trust, but this little fellow seems very sweet and.. HOLY CRAP!!!!