Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cultists of R'lyeh pt.3- Ravenous Cavern

The second terrain tile I made for the Cultists of R'lyeh game board, was the Ravenous Cavern. Long before I started sculpting the tiles, I had the idea to use part of a plastic disposable cup for the armature of my cave style hex. That is one of the reasons that I needed an air dry clay, rather than something like Sculpey, which you bake in the oven. I cut a nine ounce plastic cup in half (well, a little less than half, actually) on an angle to give me the shape I wanted. Shorter in the rear and a little taller in the front. I added a little wad of aluminum foil near the base of the cup to help with the transition. Before setting them on the tile, I smeared a layer of cold porcelain on the tile where the pieces would sit. This was to help adhere them to the tile, to help keep them from sliding around while I worked, and to pre-texture the inside of the cave floor.
 I positioned the cave entrance somewhere sort of near the center of the tile, since that would be the focal point of the terrain. That didn't leave much room for blending it down into the ground. I decided to give the thing a sort of tail that wrapped around. It would imply that the cavern wound around as it descended. It also made the whole thing look kind of like a Dune-esque sand worm coming up out of the ground, and I decided I was OK with that. I think of it as a visual double entendre. Maybe it's a cave. Maybe it's a monster. Maybe it's both!
 After laying the clay down over the cup and foil armature, I worked on the surface texture. Like the Pit of Despair, I used a pointy tool to carve lines in the surface, running from the ground up the sides and sweeping from the tail to the mouth of the cave. Again, I left the little balls of clay the formed and let them add to the texture. Getting the clay wrapped around the front edge of the cup was the hardest part. It didn't want to stick to the plastic very well. I wrapped it under as best I could, and pulled down on the edge, like with the rim of the Pits, to give it a sharp stalactite sort of look. In an effort to hide some spots where the clay had ripped away from the plastic cup, I also added a few pieces of clay, and then rolled them down into points, making much larger stalactites, which sort of look like giant sand worm teeth.
 After the whole thing was dry, I still wasn't happy with the surface texture. It was too simple and plain. It didn't look natural enough. So I decided to try the stippling technique I had planned to use on the Desolate Waste. I rolled up a ball of clay and smashed it down onto the tile surface, and then ripped it up again sharply. The effect was not as good as I had hoped, but it was all I had. It seems that the temperature and "stickyness" of the clay has a lot to do with how successful this technique is at giving me the texture I was looking for. I dabbed the clay all over the surface of the tile and over the cave, blending the two together. When that was dry, I gave the tile a coat of flat black primer.
 The color scheme for the Ravenous Cavern was going to be orange. I used four different shades of orange acrylic paint, from golden brown to neon florescent orange. I followed the same sea sponge stippling technique I used for the Pits of Despair, and which I intended to use for all the tiles. I layered the colors on with the sponge, heavier at the edge of the tile, and more sparsely towards the center. Then I dry-brushed the cave with the florescent orange to make it pop in the UV lighting.
 After the paint was dry, I coated it in a spray matte sealer. Here are the four Cavern tiles I made, sitting all together. When I made the terrain tiles, I made each tile of each type all at once, and I painted each tile of each type at once too, that way I felt I could keep the look of the terrain type more consistent across all the pieces.
Stat tuned for more board pieces!

See also:
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.1- the Desolate Waste
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.2- the Pits of Despair
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.3- the Ravenous Cavern
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.4- the Cyclopean Ruins
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.5- the Sanguine Gorge
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.6- the Mountains of Madness
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.7- the Game Pieces, Portals, et Fini
Cultists of R'lyeh - After four years of wear and tear

1 comment:

  1. Hey!!! I appreciate your taking time out to document online your process and creativity. I have been looking for a way to start a "lava flow" out of a corner of a wall and onto a bar top in my tiki bar set up. It will then continue onto the floor and spread out across the garage.
    The whimsical creature you have created allows me to begin the lava flow from a caricature of mother earth.
    Great idea!! Again thanks!!