Monday, August 31, 2015

Malicious and Cruel Pumpkin Smashers

Image from the Pasadena Star News.

Pumpkin smashing may be an old Halloween prank, but it's malicious and cruel when it's done to a 92 year old Pasadena woman, who donates many of the giant pumpkins she grows in her front yard to the children's garden at the Huntington Library every October.

Here's more about the story from our local KTLA news tonight.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

62 Days 'til Halloween: PETCO for Props

I've learned over the years that great props can be found in the most unexpected places. I'm not talking about garage sales and dumpsters, I'm talking about stores you've driven by hundreds of times but never once thought to look in.

PETCO (or any pet store for that matter) is one such place. Aquarium decorations have come a long way since those tiny bubbling deep sea divers and treasure chests. Here are some cool ones I just saw that are great for Halloween. They're not the cheapest things in the world, but the sculpt and paint on them are fantastic. And if incorporated into a lawn display, since made for underwater use, you know they'll hold up well outdoors year after year. Any one of these alone are great additions to a curiosity cabinet.

Please excuse being poor camera phone images.

I can't stop imagining these with rings in their
mouths as cauldron handles for a cannibal island theme.

That large one is a Hippo skull. I want to slap a "Prehistoric Saber Toothed Rat"
label on it and hope none of my Trick or Treaters are Paleontologists.

They also have rigid plastic grass tufts and plants, great for tombstone base detailing etc. that would last for more than a few years.

I was surprised to discover a whole aisle full Halloween themed pet toys. Made me smile.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

63 Days 'Til Halloween: Zombie Window Silhouette Printables

I've been doodling up my own Halloween themed window silhouettes for possible use in my haunt this year, and thought I'd share 'em if you'd like to use in your own decorating. Feel free to swipe the images below. The ones above are just to give an idea how they might look in windows.

I'm having a lot of fun drawing these, so if this Zombie horde below doesn't appeal to you, stay tuned, many more creeps and creature silhouettes in the works.

You can cut these out of black foamcore, poster board, or construction paper (anything opaque really). Then simply tape into your windows. There are a few ways to scale the images to fit your window once you know how big you want 'em. No one way is best, whatever is easier for you. If you have a better way, DO IT (and share as a comment).

- If you have the funds, take the images to Kinkos (or similar copy center), have enlarged and printed as a poster (if in your budget, they can also mount onto foam board for you).
- If you have a projector (or can borrow one), project the images onto a board and trace. In that vein, project the image onto fabric or a shower curtain, then paint on and hang in window.
- The cheapest route, scale the image on your computer, print in sections and use as a template (BTW most copy centers can tile/section image for you as well ).
-The No-Money route is an old art class 101 copying trick. Using a ruler draw a grid over the image in small equally sized squares (like 1/2" by 1/2"). Then draw a larger, scaled up, grid on the board. Freehand copy only what you see in each smaller square into each larger square. It works. Breaking down the image into simpler shapes makes freehand copying more accurate.

Here's the first batch. Click on images to enlarge.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


This weekend, niece Devin and I discovered our local Party City store is beginning to look a lot like Halloween.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bat Cage Prop

What witch, warlock, wizard or weirdo like me wouldn't want to have a wee bat as a pet? Since the local animal shelter doesn't have any to adopt, I decided to make my own.

I was inspired to make this prop by the great Disney artist Marc Davis, based on his unused concept sketch for the Haunted Mansion.

My version doesn't come close to having the personality Davis' has, but it was really easy to make with cheap materials and took no time at all. Here's how mine came together.

First, I prepped the bat for hanging around. The one I used was a better than average plastic toy found at Michaels. His outstretched wings wouldn't fit inside the cage (plus they didn't have a relaxed look), so I folded them over and super glued. A couple of binder clips held them in place until the glue set up.

I made the bat's perch out of a cut pencil and some wire, then painted black. Once dry, the bat was super glued to the perch.

The bones inside the cage were made out of Crayola Model Magic. Not anatomically accurate, but they sell the idea. Once dry I gave them a wash of dark brown acrylic.

The cage itself was found at Home Goods last year, and already had a great Gothic look. I filled the base with some moss and added the bones. An "S" hook was hot glued inside the top dome of the cage to easily hang the perched bat from.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Halloween 2015: The Plan

Below is the current layout sketch for my 2015 Halloween display. I know it looks like an incoherent mess of penciled lines that Robert Langdon would give up trying to decipher, but it makes sense to me. It's my front yard as if seen hovering above. I've been drawing, erasing, and redrawing, again and again for days now.

I'm hoping to create a much longer and winding path through the display that leads Trick or Treaters to the front porch. We'll see. One thing for sure, I'll run out of erasers long before I stop redrawing and rethinking the plan.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Better Haunts and Gardens

Derek Young of Better Haunts and Gardens has very poor Halloween taste. He chose me as the "Haunter of the Month" interview risking his website's reputation. You can read it here.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Making a Zombie Bashing Baseball Bat Prop Arsenal

A few weeks back, when I was illustrating the poster for the play GEEKS VS ZOMBIES. The show needed faux baseball bat props for some characters to bash zombies with. Time was short and like most independent small theatre productions, so was the budget. I offered to make them from some kind of inexpensive kid's toy bat.

They had to be realistic looking, standard sized and safe enough to use in stage combat. The show needed at least 6 (4 for the lead actors, and 2 more standing by as back ups). But more if affordable just in case.

Searching for off the shelf T-ball foam bats was a given, but I felt like Goldilocks shopping. Some were too soft, some were too hard, some were too fat, some were too thin, etc., etc. All were also odd colors and would of required faux finishing (not impossible to do, but it would of added extra time to do right).

But then I found one at Cost Plus, which was just right... good foam thickness from end to end and already wood grained. Plus very budget friendly being under $10.00 each, and would only need a few more bucks in materials to make perfect.

Although the bats were really short (24"), I was easily able to customize and make longer since they only had a hollow plastic tube inside.

Here's how I did it. Quick disclaimer: These were made for the play's particular need and used by actors in rehearsed, choreographed, and controlled fight scenes. If you create a bat like this, I don't claim it to be completely safe enough to freely go around knocking your friends in the head with. Use common sense.

From there, they just needed to be splattered with reddish-brown paint to look well used and blood soaked. Here's a before and after photo.

For more info about GEEKS VS ZOMBIES (which opens tonight!) visit Seat Of Your Pants Productions or

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Niece Devin's "When The Light Is Forbidden"

A few weeks back, niece Devin and I made an impromptu horror short film together for the fun of it based on her spooky idea. Devin was an iron fisted executive producer supervising everything. The gloomy title of the film? Her idea. The bloody hand prints separating the credits? Her idea. The funny Waddell/Lowe production vanity card at the end featuring her pet bulldog Twinkle? Yep, you guessed it, Devin's idea too.

Creative Inspiration: Discovering Dad

Terry Gilliam's daughter has started a blog called Discovering Dad about the treasures she's finding in her father's personal archive. Need I say more?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Los Angeles' First Halloween Convention

Oh yes I'm going. Not sure yet if for both days or just one, but I'll be there.

Visit SCARELA.COM for details

Creative Inspiration: Animalympics

Whenever it's Olympic season, I always remember an old animated TV special called the Animalympics that first aired sometime around the 1980 games. I fell in love with it back then, and can note it's influence on my drawing, cartooning, and humor now.

I even quote lines from it once in a awhile. "Not bad for a fatso" said in self-deprecating humor is one I often say.

The Animalympics were originally two separate TV specials, the winter games, and the summer games. When released later on VHS, the two specials were edited together as one and is the version most know today.

Thanks to YouTube, here it is below in 8 parts for your enjoyment (but more so mine). If you've never seen before, it's well worth your time. By the way, the "fatso" line I mentioned is in part 3.

Watch in-between London game events. I'm pretty sure anything Ryan Seacrest might report will not be better than this.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"Nailed it!"

I'm really looking forward to PARA NORMAN. Especially after seeing this Olympics inspired promo for the movie. My kind of macabre humor.