Chapter 7. – Behind the Scenes

The latest chapter in A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters is The Problem with Pirates which you can read here. I would like to show you some behind the scenes photos from the making of these photos!

Pirate attack from A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters.
Pirate attack from A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters.

Building the Tengu Pirate Mask

When I decided that pirates should be in the book, I didn’t want them to be just regular human pirates. I wanted them to be monsters to fit with the theme. I asked my brother and wife to send me some beautiful Japanese masks from Kumamoto, where they live, and I used some of these masks to create my Tengu pirates. A Tengu is a Japanese goblin. There are two types including a bird-goblin and a long-nosed-goblin. I wanted the long nosed goblin to be the Pirate King and the birds to be the crew.

I started with a paper mache bird-tengu mask.

Tengu mask made of paper mache with craft foam accents being added.
Tengu mask made of paper mache with craft foam accents being added.

Using craft foam and gear findings, I built steampunk elements into the mask. When everything was glued on, I painted the mask with a base coat of spraypaint.

Base coat of spraypaint.
Base coat of spraypaint.

I then used rub-n-buff, a waxy metallic paint, and blacking to make everything pop!

Final paint job.
Final paint job.

Shooting the Pirates

Initially, there were supposed to be a few models playing pirates, but in the end only Bert showed up. Bert Malcom is a musician and artist and he portrays various characters throughout this book. In this chapter he plays ALL the pirates. Below you can see him wearing the finished bird-tengu mask.

Bert wears the pirate costume with mask.
Bert wears the pirate costume with mask.

He also portrays the goblin-tengu Pirate King. This required hair extensions, body paint, another mask, and a pretty cool costume.

Bert prepares to be the Tengu Pirate King.
Bert prepares to be the Tengu Pirate King.

The pirate king mask features the traditional red colors, but I added realisting hair as the beard and eyebrows, which are usually just painted on.

Bert as Pirate King.
Bert as Pirate King.

The costume features a large bead necklace which was originally a St. Patrick’s Day necklace in metallic green. I repainted it to look Asian.

Pirate King checkin' the messages.
Pirate King checkin’ the messages.

Before we shot, Bert had to check his phone, as you can see above. Below you can see our final image of the Pirate King.

The Tengu Pirate King from A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters.
The Tengu Pirate King from A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters.

Tattoos for the Sailor

One fun thing I had to do for this book was create press-on tattoos for Bowen who portrays Cyprien, the steampunk sailor. These press-on tattoos were originally drawn on Bowen freehand, but when we needed to shoot again, I had photos of his body turned into vector graphics, then I printed those graphics on temporary tattoo transfer paper! Originally I forgot to reverse the images and got a backwards “p”.

Tattoo graphics turned into press on tattoos.
Tattoo graphics turned into press on tattoos.

Below you can see the tattoos originally drawn on Bowen.

The press on tattoos.
The press on tattoos were made from these images.

Bowen is one of my favorites to shoot with, and has been a part of all my big projects.

Bowen poses as Cyprien, the thief turned Sailor.
Bowen in between shots as Cyprien, the thief turned Sailor.

Below you can see the final image.

The thief turned sailor, Cyprien, from A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters.
The thief turned sailor, Cyprien, from A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters.

Miniature Airships

For this book I made quite a few airship miniature models. They are placed in the background of quite a few photos.

The Tengu airship has graffiti in Japanese that says "Tengu".
The Tengu airship has graffiti in Japanese that says “Tengu”.

The tengu pirate airships are painted in blues.

Another Tengu ship.
Another Tengu ship.

Below you can see the image of the pirates with the airships.

Airship pirates from from A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters.
Airship pirates from from A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters.

I hope you have enjoyed taking a look behind the scenes of this chapter! Next week, the conclusion of this pirate attack/blob escape story!


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