My take on the Necronomicon from the original Evil Dead

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Kevinwulf

New Member
Hey everybody! So this is my first prop project/thread on this site and I'm really looking forward to getting input from everyone. A couple years back my girlfriend and I were living about 45 minutes from the filming location of the original Evil Dead movie and around Halloween time decided to make the drive with her brother and check it out. Definitely one of the coolest day trips we've taken, and to top it all off I managed to get a brick from the fireplace (sadly the cabin burned down a few decades back and at this point the fireplace has dwindled to about 6' in height with bricks littering the area around it) and a piece of rusted out corrugated roofing from the cabin. Armed with some cool display pieces, I've decided it would be crazy to not go all out on an Evil Dead shrine.

But roof and brick aside, no Evil Dead collection would be complete without a quality Necronomicon to go with it (and hopefully a nice crossed chainsaw/boomstick "coat of arms" to hang on the wall behind it, but those will come later down the line), so I figured it'd be a great first project. Over Christmas I got a gift card to get some leather working tools I've had my eye on, so I am going to try and make this out of actual leather. I've never really worked with leather so any suggestions are definitely welcome. What I am thinking of doing is try to sculpt out a book cover (front, rear and spine) with slightly exaggerated features and wrinkling in the sculpt, cast it in something strong and rigid but lightweight and then try to glue down a leather cover filling all the nooks and crannies to give it that heavy leather bound look. As for the actual book from the original, I think I kind of want to take it a little bit more in a stylized direction closer to how I would have envisioned the Necronomicon looking. I'm a really big fan of the patchwork look using multiple pieces with a really rough "Frankenstein's monster" style of stitching incorporated with a mostly centered larger face. I have a rough sketch drawn up that I will upload later where I was just playing with some ideas as to how it'll end up looking.

I'm not 100% sure what I'd like to do for the content of the book, I've seen some amazing sketches and calligraphy work on custom pages and plenty of aged prints that look screen ready. For now I'm leaving the content on the back-burner to focus on the overall form, but some combination of custom sketches mixed with various old world texts (maybe some cuneiform or something Babylonian or Arabic) is probably going to be what I'll end up going for.


11933643_f520.jpg evildead_necronomicon_cover.jpg 2012-10-19-evildeadshirt.jpg HH_Main.jpg

The sketch on the left is what I'm mostly basing my designs off of but each have certain characteristics I'd love to try and incorporate into my build.


Let me know what you guys think! I've never attempted sculpting, mold making, casting, book binding or leatherworking before so any input is greatly appreciated.
 

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Kevinwulf

New Member
So I finally got a rough sketch that I'm pretty satisfied with. I'm not a huge fan of the wrinkling on the left side, its a result of trying to emulate some of the features in my reference photos without taking into consideration the natural form of my particular sketch. The right side I focused more on an organic wrinkle for my face and it seemed to turn out a lot more natural looking. Since I didn't factor in the stitching when I first started the sketch, I know the stitches look pretty awkward and seem a little forced, but I really like the aesthetic of having the mouth and lower face consist of multiple pieces while the upper face comes from on larger piece.

20170101_222711.jpg


Next step is going to be sculpting. I'm basically completely new to sculpting so this is definitely going to be a learning experience. Any suggestions at all on anything from best clay to to techniques are more than welcome.

Anyone have any experience or suggestions in casting something like this? I'm hoping to make it ~1/4" thick on the book cover itself out of something lightweight but durable, preferably with a little flexibility and I'm not sure what the best materials for something like that would be.
 

rkope1111

New Member
Huge Evil Dead fan here! Keep us updated on your work, I love seeing others take on the necronomicon. I made my own necronomicon , my version is from "Ash vs Evil dead". your main work is going to be sculpting the covers, I just used a non-air drying clay I picked up from hobby lobby, also make sure to pick up a pack of clay sculpting tools and a cheap multi-dental tool, also tooth picks. After I finished my sculpts I then made silicone molds of my sculpts, s-l1600.jpg GEDC0011.JPG I don't know if you plan on making your cast of latex, but I made mine from a light weight resin then covered them in a really thin leather. In my humble opinion nothing can beat the look and feel of real leather.
 
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FuzzyDrawings

Active Member
Awesome project!

As far as clay goes, I like WED clay, but plenty of others might prefer Monster Clay; its a little tougher to work with, but it's wax-based, so you can leave it alone for a long while and start up again without the clay drying out and ruining your sculpt. Here's a few videos that touch on techniques that might be good for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2LPvIenBn8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD2FUSb4Duk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z9Wm1gkfTY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAc2hDCHlQ

Far as casting goes, I wonder if latex would be your best bet.
 

rkope1111

New Member
I have seen some latex books that look amazing. The only problem is that after time latex ages and gets brittle, eventually forming cracks. I have both the "book of the dead" dvd editions of evil dead and evil dead 2, both are made of latex and both have extreme cracks and rotting.
 

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Kevinwulf

New Member
Huge Evil Dead fan here! Keep us updated on your work, I love seeing others take on the necronomicon. I made my own necronomicon , my version is from "Ash vs Evil dead". your main work is going to be sculpting the covers, I just used a non-air drying clay I picked up from hobby lobby, also make sure to pick up a pack of clay sculpting tools and a cheap multi-dental tool, also tooth picks. After I finished my sculpts I then made silicone molds of my sculpts, View attachment 694999 View attachment 695000 I don't know if you plan on making your cast of latex, but I made mine from a light weight resin then covered them in a really thin leather. In my humble opinion nothing can beat the look and feel of real leather.

I absolutely love the direction you went in with yours and I agree nothing beats actual leather for something like this. Light weight resin seemed like the best option from the research I've done, was there any particular adhesive you found that worked best for the leather/resin bond? I'm also curious as to the weight of leather you used and if you had to oversculpt and exaggerate some of the features to compensate for having it wrapped in leather without losing detail. Did you do a spine sculpt as well? I'd love to see more pictures and what you went for with the contents of the book.
 

Kevinwulf

New Member
Awesome project!

As far as clay goes, I like WED clay, but plenty of others might prefer Monster Clay; its a little tougher to work with, but it's wax-based, so you can leave it alone for a long while and start up again without the clay drying out and ruining your sculpt. Here's a few videos that touch on techniques that might be good for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2LPvIenBn8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD2FUSb4Duk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z9Wm1gkfTY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAc2hDCHlQ

Far as casting goes, I wonder if latex would be your best bet.

Thanks for the links! Right now I'm on a pretty strict budget so I'm sourcing a lot of scrap and I was actually considering some type of plumbers putty for practice since I know I have some lying around somewhere. Is there a particular clay that holds detail better/worse than others when doing molds? I'm assuming that this is going to be a relatively thin sculpt with majority being around 1/4" with the face extending outwards to around 1/2" so losing detail is a concern (especially since I plan to wrap the cast in actual leather).

Thanks for all the feedback guys. I know a WIP thread can be a little bland when its still in the design phases but I really appreciate all the input.

- - - Updated - - -

I have seen some latex books that look amazing. The only problem is that after time latex ages and gets brittle, eventually forming cracks. I have both the "book of the dead" dvd editions of evil dead and evil dead 2, both are made of latex and both have extreme cracks and rotting.

Do you have an idea as to how well thin latex coats hold up? Someone on RPF (at least I think it was here) had posted a picture of their build and had coated each page with a very thin latex layer to emulate a leather/flesh feel on the book pages themselves and that sounded really awesome, but if its something thats going to be unable to be handled a few years down the line I may have to consider an alternative for that feel.
 

rkope1111

New Member
Glad you like it! As for the glue to bond the leather to the resin I used "sobo" craft and fabric glue I bought from hobby lobby, The best method I found is to spread a little on a few inch area of the cover, wait for it to get tacky then stretch the leather and lay it down, wait about 10-15 minutes and repeat on the next section, do small sections at a time to prevent wrinkles and folds.
The leather in the pic is 4oz. goatskin, but if I had to do it again I would use 1oz pigskin, its thinner and more detail will show through. I did exaggerate a few of the features to compensate for the leather, really just the gouge lines with stiches. Hope this helps.
 

Kevinwulf

New Member
Glad you like it! As for the glue to bond the leather to the resin I used "sobo" craft and fabric glue I bought from hobby lobby, The best method I found is to spread a little on a few inch area of the cover, wait for it to get tacky then stretch the leather and lay it down, wait about 10-15 minutes and repeat on the next section, do small sections at a time to prevent wrinkles and folds.
The leather in the pic is 4oz. goatskin, but if I had to do it again I would use 1oz pigskin, its thinner and more detail will show through. I did exaggerate a few of the features to compensate for the leather, really just the gouge lines with stiches. Hope this helps.

One of my coworkers does leatherworking and is going to dig through his scraps of lightweight for me. With a project like this, would different types of skins (weight and animal) work well with the same sculpt or do you think the varying weights would lead do inconsistent detail and take away from the organic feel of it all? In a perfect world I'm hoping that I'll be able to get a slightly different "skin tone" to each of the pieces I'm stitching together so it has the look of being sourced from various people around the world. I'm considering maybe even adding a partial "tattoo" of a symbol or rune I can pull from the content of the book. Just a thought lol.
 

rkope1111

New Member
That's a really cool idea of making it look like its pieced together from people around the world! I'm not super experienced with leather, but I don't think different leather weight will make too much of a difference in detail as long as they are some what close in thickness, its just the thinner they are the stretchier they are and that's what makes the details pop out. Animal skins tend to have different skin patterns, supposedly pigskin is very close to human skin, that's why I would use it if I make another. If you are looking for different "skin tones" you may want to try dying the leather yourself, the longer you leave it in the dye the darker the color, just experiment on some scrap pieces until you get the look/looks you like.
As for the pages I've never tried latexing them. Im in the process of hand drawing/painting all the pages from all the movies and tv show, im about 90% done. In a earlier version, I soaked the pages in tea to yellow them, then wiped a paper towel in walnut ink and dabbed it around the edges while still damp to make it darker. After the pages dried I sprayed them in a semi-gloss clear coat to give the strength and a nice antique waxy look.

Here is a pic of pages that have been aged from an old book I made.
GEDC0419.JPG
 

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Simpson77

Well-Known Member
Awesome!!! And the leather wont deteriorate either!!! :)
Huge Evil Dead fan here! Keep us updated on your work, I love seeing others take on the necronomicon. I made my own necronomicon , my version is from "Ash vs Evil dead". your main work is going to be sculpting the covers, I just used a non-air drying clay I picked up from hobby lobby, also make sure to pick up a pack of clay sculpting tools and a cheap multi-dental tool, also tooth picks. After I finished my sculpts I then made silicone molds of my sculpts, View attachment 694999 View attachment 695000 I don't know if you plan on making your cast of latex, but I made mine from a light weight resin then covered them in a really thin leather. In my humble opinion nothing can beat the look and feel of real leather.
 

Kevinwulf

New Member
Did you freehand the images and text? That's fantastic looking. If you ever get any scans done when you finish up, I'd love to take a look as a reference for when I get to sorting out mine.

So this is looking to be a slow process to keep it on a virtually non-existent budget. I started gathering supplies over the past few days and thanks to my dad's girlfriend working in a dentists office I'll be grabbing a set of dental tools for sculpting in the next day or so. With what I have access to right now, I think I'm going to try to use some plumbers putty or something else I can find lying around to practice with until I can get some actual clay. I'm also looking into furniture places and anywhere else that may have leather scrap to try and nab. Any suggestions on sourcing free or cheap materials are much appreciated as well lol.
 

rkope1111

New Member
Did you freehand the images and text? That's fantastic looking. If you ever get any scans done when you finish up, I'd love to take a look as a reference for when I get to sorting out mine.

So this is looking to be a slow process to keep it on a virtually non-existent budget. I started gathering supplies over the past few days and thanks to my dad's girlfriend working in a dentists office I'll be grabbing a set of dental tools for sculpting in the next day or so. With what I have access to right now, I think I'm going to try to use some plumbers putty or something else I can find lying around to practice with until I can get some actual clay. I'm also looking into furniture places and anywhere else that may have leather scrap to try and nab. Any suggestions on sourcing free or cheap materials are much appreciated as well lol.

Yup, all my pages are hand drawn/painted, My technique was to first sketch the image in pencil, then use an eraser to clean the image up then ink the major lines, then paint all the small details in. you can notice fine pencil lines in the forehead of the skull in this pic taken when I first started inking it in.
GEDC0342.JPG

and this is the finished version
GEDC0343.JPG
I don't recommend plumbers putty, I think it will dry up on you too quick, also it will stick to your metal dental tool and be almost impossible to remove.
You may want to check a dollar store and see if they have some kind of cheap play-doh knock off.
The leather is gonna be pricey, maybe try a salvation army or a goodwill store and see if they have any old, beat up leather jackets or possibly a suit case.
If you need a scan of a page or 2 let me know. Drawing all the pages is VERY time consuming, just take your time and try not to go crazy figuring out a proper order lol.
There are different versions of a lot of the pages, and the order changes from movie to movie, and even scene to scene. So at the end of the day you just have to make a version your happy with.
 

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