Ghost In The Graveyard Diorama

Summer’s here and school’s out. That means endless nights of euphoric middle school kids running around in their friends’ backyards playing Ghost In The Graveyard. Or maybe they’ll just be hanging out, scrolling through Instagram. How do I know?

So, how do you play Ghost In The Graveyard? Do you remember? I honestly can’t recall. So I built a diorama instead. And, of course, I made a video of the process, so you can follow along as I turn insulation foam into a creepy headstone with the help of a foam cutting machine and a craft knife.

I also use tea leaves and moss to create the neglected grounds surrounding this abandoned grave and its forgotten occupant. Creepy, right? Well, it’s all in fun.

In fact, I had a ton of fun talking about graveyards and childhood games with my friend Run Red Run. You can see how it all turned out in the video below. -v

How To Make an 8-Page Mini-Comic from One Sheet of Paper!

That’s right! No staples, no stack of paper…just one sheet of typing paper, some creative folding and cutting, and you can make your own mini-comic! I’ll show you how in our video this week.

I mean, you’ll also have to write and draw your comic, or story, or whatever you wanna fill 8 pages with. But once you figure out what you want to say, there are a number of ways you can go about getting it on paper.

In the video, I talk about drawing and lettering it by hand directly onto a piece of paper. But I also create a mini-comic from scratch using some graphics software (Clip Studio Paint) and a printer. Either way, the process is pretty simple.

I hope you give it a try. And if you do, I hope you have fun! -v

Two Hellboys for the Price of One!

And since nobody’s charging an admission fee, that price is free. Free to watch me ink this Hellboy.

I used traditional, brushed ink on watercolor paper, something I’ve been trying to get better at.

But that’s not all — I said two Hellboys and I meant it. In an episode of Ink It or Stink It, Run Red Run also took a shot at inking a Li’l Hellboy drawing I did!

How did she do? You’ll have to watch the video to find out. Hope you like it! -v

How To Draw A Cartoon Cat

We move from 3D witch sculpting to 2D cartoon drawing this week. A simple How-To-Draw tutorial that’ll take you through the steps of drawing this cute little cartoon cat.

This is more or less a recreation of a short presentation I did with some girl scouts over a zoom conference troop meeting. I had to do a “how to draw” segment, and this cartoon cat was what I decided to use. I worked digitally (in Clip Studio Paint) but the exercise could be done with pencil on paper as well.

I tried to keep it pretty basic — simple shapes, not too detailed — and if you follow along, yeah, in the end, there should be a cat on the page (or monitor) in front of you. But from that starting point, you can experiment, change, alter, or even forget everything in this lesson, and create a cat that’s personal to you.

It’s a pretty short video, and easy to follow. Hope you have fun! -v

The Witchening! Diorama/Terrain Build

We’ve finally reached the finale to our month of First Time Craft videos. It’s with a healthy sense of accomplishment that Run Red Run and I present….The Witchening!

All four videos from April connect back to that Witch House we built last year. That was our first “build” of any kind, and we always wanted to add onto that build as we learned more skills. So, we’re finally getting around to it.

In our finale, we put all of the items we built in the previous videos (the stump & axe, the well, the creepy tree) together into a diorama. But before we could do that, we had to build the witch’s territory. And that involved some more First Time Crafts: making plaster terrain, creating foam flocked bushes by hand, static grass application, and plenty more.

In the end, it all came together in a pretty nice (and pretty creepy) diorama fit for a wicked little witch. And if you watch the video, you’ll see her too!

Enjoy the video, and thanks for sticking around to watch us try out new things all month. -v

First Time Craft: Sculpting With Spackle?

This month Run Red Run and I are doing a series of four videos where we’re working with a new craft or technique or material in each one. For week three, She and I made a creepy witch’s tree out of — well, out of a lot of stuff. Wire, foil, paper, glue… And as a surprise, last-ditch shot in the dark, spackle, of all things.

All four of the videos connect back to that Witch House we built last year. That was our first “build” of any kind, and we always wanted to add onto that build as we learned more skills. So, we’re finally getting around to it.

The tree is about a foot-and-a-half tall, and we started the process by twisting three different sizes of armature wire into a basic tree shape. This part was a very loose, free-form wire sculpt that, for a couple of first-timers, came out pretty good. After that we wrapped it in foil, just like bulking out the armature of any clay sculpture.

Then, for the bark, we tried a tissue-and-glue method we’d seen people use on trees like this, but it didn’t give us the control we needed to sculpt the bark. Clay would work, but might make the tree super heavy. So we settled on spackle (or joint compound) and gave it a shot. Turns out, it’s not just for patching holes. You can actually sculpt with the stuff!

You can watch us build the tree from start to finish in the quick video below. Don’t forget, all of these First Time Craft videos lead to a final video next week where we put all the items we made together into one project— Witch House Part 2: The Witchening. See you next week for the finale.

First Time Craft: Hot Wire Foam Cutting

This month Run Red Run and I are doing a series of four videos where we’re working with a new craft or technique or material in each one. For week two, She and I sculpted a witch’s well out of insulation foam using various hot wire foam cutting tools, and carved the axe handle (for the first time ever) with a Dremel rotary tool.

All four of the videos connect back to that Witch House we built last year. That was our first “build” of any kind, and we always wanted to add onto that build as we learned more skills. So, we’re finally getting around to it.

One of the tools I tried out was a hot wire foam engraver. It’s basically a hot piece of metal that melts grooves into XPS foam. I thought it’d be an interesting way to carve stonework into this well.

Run Red Run and I also used a foam cutting table — kind of a hot wire, strung vertically over a flat surface that you drag the foam over while the wire cuts/melts into it. We used that to cut out the main structure of the well, and the flat ‘boards’ of the well cap. It was out first time working with tools like these, and we had a lot of fun.

Don’t forget that all four of these videos, aside from being linked to each other, and to that Witch House build, are building to a final video where we put all the crafts and items we made together into one project. We’re having fun calling that project Witch House Part 2: The Witchening. Now here’s the video of us working on the well.

First Time Craft: Carving with a Dremel

This month Run Red Run and I are doing a series of four videos where we’re working with a new craft or technique or material in each one. This first week, I sculpted a tree stump and axe, and carved the axe handle (for the first time ever) with a Dremel rotary tool.

All four of the videos connect back to that Witch House we built last year. That was our first “build” of any kind, and we always wanted to add onto that build as we learned more skills. So, we’re finally getting around to it.

So the first craft I decided to learn was carving wood with a rotary tool. Of course I don’t know all the ins and outs of carving with a rotary tool yet. It’s always going to be a process where, hopefully, I’ll get better as I go along. I’m just happy to have not injured myself with this first attempt.

I should mention that all four of these videos, aside from being linked to each other, and to that Witch House build, are building to a final video where we put all the crafts and items we made together into one project. We’re having fun calling that project Witch House Part 2: The Witchening.

Anyway, it’s just some fun we had learning new ways to make things. If you think you’d enjoy that, check out the first video below.

Inking The Addams Family: Traditional vs Digital

If you watch my YouTube channel at all, you know I’ve been working on improving my traditional inking skills. This week I tried a little test with my favorite family of kooks, The Addams Family.

I did a sketch of the Addams clan and tried inking it traditionally — with pens, brush pens, and brushes. I thought the results weren’t too bad. Definitely better than they would’ve been had I not been practicing inking for the last year or so.

But I also wanted to pull the sketch into the computer and ink it digitally. I’m more comfortable with that process, and I figured I could compare and contrast afterward, to see what I needed to work on.

Both the traditional and digital versions are in this video. As well as some pics from a LIFE Magazine photospread featuring actors who DIDN’T get roles in the Addams Family after auditioning for them.

Inking Daredevil

Did a quick video where I practiced my spot blacks with a Daredevil piece. (First image digitally colored)

Most of the time, when I’m doing comic-style work, I go light on the inks, leaving the image open for color.

But I know that even a heavily-inked piece with big patches of black in the right places looks great once the color is added….and has the further benefit of looking amazing as a black-and-white illustration.

So, in this video, I’m practicing dropping more ink into an image than I’m used to. And I’m having fun talking with Run Red Run about inking, commissions, and Daredevil: