Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Aether Bandit

After a very long absence from this site, I'm back! Took a long road down developing a business using 3D printing for creating collectible one of a kind collector pieces. Learned a lot but did not achieve take off speed. The technology just wasn't up to the challenge yet. Time to pivot.

My original concept for Vyctor's lab was to make the weapons modular and have the audience choose the parts and bits as well as the deco schemes.

Now I've moved to making bespoke designs of very low volume. The modular approach was exciting but also meant that there were certain accommodations and modularity that all parts of the designs had to conform too. Bespoke means being able to just pursue the design result as a singular expression.

I've taken a significant amount of time reworking three key designs for steampunk weaponry and will be sharing those with you over the next few months. Ultimately, I'll start with one of the three and go to a crowd funding system to get the prototype carefully made and the silicon production molds as well. Then I will go live with less than 50 of each weapon.

The first of these bespoke weapons is THE AETHER BANDIT. Stay tuned for more imagery, details and all the story that goes with it as it is part of the Frahnknshtyne universe and does indeed come from Vyctor's lab.

Cheers my friends and huzzah to the Society of the Gentlemen Scoundrels!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

First Ride of the Gyrostator

Hello Friends
Just completed the illustration of Vyctor's first explosive ride on the Gyrostator he invents. To keep things away from prying eyes, he's located this project in the long abandoned carriage house of the L'cole he is attending. Upon firing it up, its power was more than he anticipated and he bursts from the doors into the night roaring down into the sleeping town of Travaille.
First Ride of the Gyrostator painting
I also wanted to play a lot with glow, mist and wet brick and rock. Here's a closer shot of those elements.
Detail of mist and gyrostator

I had a lot of fun painting this on many levels. It involved some pre-modeling of some of the elements in 3D as a quick underlay guide and then lots and lots of layered painting into it. I've always been a huge fan of the work of john Atkinson Grimshaw and his ability to paint those haunted night skies and wanted to have that kind of atmosphere in this painting.
John Atkinson Grimshaw (inspiration)

Cheers, Kevin

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Steampunk Pistol 3D printed Prototype parts: It's alive!

Hello friends
The first test parts for one of the steampunk pistols you can make on Vyctor's lab at have come in for inspection. I chose one of the more difficult designs to print because of all the working parts. It's a steampunk hand cannon (the likes of Hellboys pistol) with a wild huge barrel, a transparent chamber (lights to be installed shortly) and high detail grips (soon to come). I am thrilled at the result! Even unpainted, the pistol is exciting.
Steampunk Pistol 3D printed from Vyctor's lab

These parts are engineered to snap together and these first parts did just that. In addition, the main frame of the gun has a pivot lock at the top that also assembled first time and soundly locked and unlocked the frame.
Steampunk Pistol 3D printed parts from Vyctor's lab

Steampunk Pistol with frame lock from Vyctor's lab

There's still a few parts to come in such as the handle grips and the final bit of the rotating chamber (yes it really rotates).
Steampunk Pistol partially assembled from Vyctor's lab

I'll be posting the update once those are in and the prototype moves to painting and final decoration.
cheers, Kevin

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

More Steampistol components for Vyctor's lab at maykrlab

Hi again folks
I've continued working on the componants for the different elements in the steam pistol generator in Vyctor's lab that is soon to be featured on maykrlab. Our best estimate is that the lab is going to go live within the next few months so its important to us to have plenty of rich, well designed parts for you to play with. Each of the main sections of the pistol (barrel, frame, handle, trigger, hammer, chamber) will have at least 5 unique options that can be combined with any choice in any of the other sections.
The latest parts just completed are below.

Vyctor Steampunk pistol with bale handle and clockwork frame

The first is a bale handle that connects directly to the back of any of the frames. It sits higher than the other handles kind of like a miniature gunnery grip. It really changes up the look of any of the other parts.

Vyctor steampunk pistol with canister center frame and trip-barrel

The other two new parts are shown here. The first is the canister center frame. It's really one of the more "out there" center frames with a very sic-fi twist to the steampunk and Vyctor theme. Also seen in this image is the tri-barrel front option as well. These barrels are shorter but have a very muscular look to them.

Stay tuned as I'll be posting the next development parts over the next few weeks right up until we go live.
Cheers, Kevin

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Vyctor's lab at

Hello friends
Over the past year, I've become involved with a very interesting startup called maykrlab. It is a company working on the forefront of consumer created goods. Specifically, maykrlab is a web based site (soon to go live) where maykrs can imagine, design and then make amazing objects using bits and parts from their favorite fantasy worlds.

It works like this. If you are into steampunk (and if you're reading my blog you likely are), you go to maykrlab, sign up as a user, open the steampunk toolkit of parts and mechanisms to create with, and simply begin making choices and putting together your own design using the parts available from guest creators on the site.

I am the first guest creator and the first toolkit will be to create steampunk pistols for collecting, cosplay, larping, display or whatever tickles your fancy. The design elements are pulled from the Aesthetic and world of Frahnknshtyne, the story I've been writing and illustrating on this blog. The toolkit within maykrlab is called Vyctor's lab (named after Vyctor Frahnknshtyne, the inventor hero of my story and world).
Steampunk pistol made from parts in Vyctor's lab

I chose pistols first because most of us into steampunk have had to make due with kit bashing nerf guns and the like to achieve something worthy of good cosplay.
Steampunk double flintlock from Vyctor's lab

maykrlab is definitely next level stuff using a fully engineered system where any choice you make fits with any other choice and many of the bits and bobs actually work! Triggers pull, hammers cock and chambers spin!
Custom steampunk pistol from Vyctor's lab

It's all free to show up and play, save and share and that, in and of itself, is great fantasy grist for illustrations, screen savers and the like.

But that's just the beginning. If you want to hold and use the steam pistol you've created, the system lets you choose materials and the design is 3D printed, one-of-a-kind, to show up at your front door in just a few days!

I'm super excited to be part of this big step in enabling all makers and hope you'll drop in and sign up to stay tuned in to the progress as the maykrlab's first entry into the market, Vyctor's lab, marches towards beta and then full launch.

As always, I'd very much like to hear from all of you to tell me what you're interested in. This is being done for you so help us make it really great.

I'll be posting very regular updates on this blog to keep you up to the minute.

Cheers, Kevin Mowrer

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured in Steampunk Graphics

Hello all
I've just received my advance copy of Steampunk Graphics from Graffito. It's a beautifully art directed and edited book full of new Steampunk art from many of the movements well known artists. I had the honor of being invited to write the forward in the book as well as having a number of my pieces of art featured. Here's the cover art and below I've posted the forward. I hope some of you will pick it up and enjoy its content.
Cheers, Kevin

Cover of Steampunk Graphics

The book's forward:

There is no past that lies beyond the reach of steampunk’s capacity to create alternative histories that reveal tomorrow’s possibilities, shaped by the rogue maker within us all.”
Steampunk... the word conjures up fine gentlemen and cultured ladies, captains of 
the air,
 rascally rogues and streetwise waifs, adorned in Victorian or Western garb, outfitted with all manner of Jules Vernesque contraptions. Gears abound, steam hisses, technology
that may be part paranormal, part science-fiction, lies embedded in brass and leather right alongside pistols, swords and walking sticks.
For the general public, discovering steampunk may feel like a fresh concept, but the truth of the matter is that steampunk has long since arrived. What began as a movement in speculative literary fiction has now established itself as a broad, persistent, artistic subculture, regularly feeding and inspiring worldwide creative participation. For decades now, its mechanical, neo- Victorian, sometimes post-apocalyptic aesthetic has heavily influenced major motion pictures such as Sherlock Holmes, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Hellboy, and has seen a generation of gamers grow up on retro-futuristic classics like the Final Fantasy and Bioshock series.
Steampunk has its own legions of followers and participants ranging from the curious to the joyously committed makers and movers of the movement for whom grand adventure and artistic freedom is to be found in reimagining things that others have discarded – gadgets, technologies, ideas. If you’ve ever attended a steampunk event you’ll have found individuals of every type and from every walk of life you might imagine – all greeting each other in crinolines and goggles of their own design, toting their own hand-crafted ray guns and clockwork contraptions.These steampunks are deeply engaged in their own personal expression of a living narrative and delighted by the pure inventiveness swirling around them. It’s Cosplay meets Maker Faire, yet so much more.
Perhaps it’s this flurry of creativity and imagination that has caused designers like Prada to jump on the steampunk bandwagon, and catapult its aesthetic into the stratosphere of high fashion, and, by extension, the global mass market. For some, there is concern that IBM’s 2014 announcement that steampunk would be the world’s Next Big Trend may have sounded the brassy death knell for a beloved subculture, taking its ticking heart and cheapening it through mass market usage with little meaning or commitment to its underlying ethos.
As with any artistic movement born on the fringes, authenticity is critical. However, steampunk’s strength and armour lies in the siren song it sings to the maker within us all.
That call is the promise of the power of continually shifting artistic remix and, by definition, its soul belongs to each individual artist, not to a school or organization. It borders on being an ideology, not a format or defined rule-set. Steampunk is far more resilient and indestructible as a result. For those of us who have found that promise to be true, steampunk is not about an aesthetic subculture that needs protecting from posers, hipsters, bad movies and memes. It’s about the next possibility: ideas and outcomes that our creativity brings to life, often leap- frogging on the shoulders of work others are contributing to the movement, as well as up- cycling what mass culture contributes, rather than being diluted by its participation.
Steampunk’s graphic art is an excellent example of this constant evolution that is baked into
the DNA of the movement, demonstrating the genre’s expanding scope through innumerable, newly imagined worlds.This is graphic art which more often than not has a visual and conceptual mechanicity. Infused into steampunk’s nature is an industrial quality brought to life by industrious minds. Its affinity for the Victorian era is not accidental. The late 1800s was a time when men’s minds thrilled with the notion that the unknown was knowable, and theories modelled on emerging industrial knowledge imagined the universe, large and small, to have a clockwork nature. Today, we have smooth boxes that don’t reveal their workings and in a sense, steampunk contains a rebellion against hidden function and agendas. In a digital age, it delights in exposing the mechanisms that run our world, or the world that may have been, based on our imaginings of a different future for our past.
With so many living edges to the art and ideas that are called ‘steampunk’, there’s often robust and passionate debate within the community over what is steampunk and what isn’t. Is ‘real’ steampunk strictly neo-Victorian, and all other notions of alternate histories faded copies?
Or is steampunk an artistic recombinant superpower, free to be evolved and redefined on an individual basis? Across all the various formats, and categories of expression, it is within the world of fantasy art that steampunk’s expansion is perhaps the most nuanced and self-aware. Originally, the ‘punk’ in steampunk was meant to identify a group of writers or ‘punks’ who were generally creating the steam-era speculative fiction that became the energy and ideas that drove the movement. Now, the term ‘punk’ has evolved to become an alternative technology modifier, applied to ages or genres of art and fiction, limited only by the imagination of the artist. Dieselpunk, saddlepunk, vampunk, cinopunk – on and on. Some of these explorations have brief moments of interest and then fade into the background of the bubbling explorations of the broader steampunk movement. Others, dieselpunk for example, stabilize and come to represent a growing and distinct variation on the original movement’s core.
It is steampunk, though, that continues to undergo constant expansion and metamorphosis, like a visual meme being altered and co-opted over and over through the connected sociosphere. What began as a movement in speculative fiction has enthusiastically grown and expanded
into virtually every major form of creative expression, with constantly changing sub-genres appearing almost monthly. The artists in Steampunk Graphics reveal the sheer wealth of aesthetics that the visual arts aspects of the movement today encompass, yet all, somehow, remain viscerally connected to steampunk’s core.
Kevin Mowrer, Providence, Rhode Island.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Steampunk Assassin's Medallion Prototype!

Hi All
I just got the parts back from the rapid prototype service for the assassin's medal from the design of the order of the Aether Assassin's. It's like Christmas! I love when prototype parts show up in the mail and they simply snap together just the way you designed them.

I was going to buff out the slight stepping from the metal sintering process but I decided I liked the rougher industrial quality it gives the medallion.

I have designs I'm completing now for the ribbon pins that attach high on the vest collar to suspend this large medallion just over a cravat. I've included a screen shots of that design before I send it out for prototype. Can't wait to get those and assemble the whole thing. the latin on the collar pins reads "only the deserving when there is a life owed." The assassins in the book don't just take jobs for hire. The target person has to be someone deserving of being ended. This sets up an interesting secret organization that has to have a doctrine and must do excruciating sleuthing work to insure they aren't assassinating an innocent.

I used an oil stain on the plastic and it worked quite well to give that aged ivory look to the carved skull.

I'm also working on a design for the cane handle for an aether assassin as well, all from the world of my book.

Having fun bringing it to life as I write.
Cheers to all, Kevin

Steampunk assassin's medallion

Steampunk assassin's medallion

Steampunk assassin medal

Steampunk assassin collar pin

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Vyctor Sunglasses Steampunk

I've just gotten back the first of the metal prototype parts for the collar bars and Cravat bar from my last post and I'll be posting those in progress shortly. While that was underway, I've been designing the glasses for my main character Vyctor. I wanted them to be fully functional as I intend to also prototype these for myself.

The temple angle, lens width, ear hook location and nose pads are all functionally adjustable. There's also two small wire bales at the outside of each lens rim for attaching the tooled leather side screens I'm also making. Very practical and I like the way the function gives the glasses the look I wanted.  The miniature thumbscrews at the brow adjustment and the star cinch at the temple are details that dish up the working aesthetic I like. Too often I see glued on gears and no function and that's nice for a collage approach but not what I want from my art and design. I especially wanted these to be nicely industrial, so they are masculine, with a touch of victorian brass work.

I'm researching some of the high detail metal rapid prototyping processes to get the fine detail in the design without the typical striping. I've found some that do medical equipment prototypes using laser sintering and it's remarkable. We'll have to see what the price is...

I've sent these out to a few friends to look at and already have requests for purchasing some pairs.
Now all I have to do is source the flat (authentically victorian with no curvature) precision ground polarized lenses.

Because the design allows for the lower half of the rim pivots down once you open the capture screw on the outside, I can, in theory, have interchangeable lenses (mirrored lenses, dark lenses, clear lenses).

Vyctor Steampunk Sunglass design front view
Vyctor Steampunk Sunglass design side view

Monday, July 8, 2013

Making cosplay jewelry for steampunk costume

Hi All
While continuing to work on Frahnknshtyne, I am also working on doing a really custom costume for the steampunk events this coming year. I decided to stay in the visual themes of the world I've been building and use my ability to design and model in 3D to get some of the hard bits rapid prototyped in metal and other materials. For my character I've decided to be a member of the secret society of Aether Assassins. Lacette from my story is one herself.
I've started by designing and modeling both the high collar bars and the cravat bar as well. I've always loved the machine-like decorative quality of military medals so I've used that to inspire me. Here's a few shots of the parts. I'll post the actual pieces once I've gotten them back and gold plated the right parts and assemble them.

Steampunk cravat bar 1
Steampunk cravat bar 2

Steampunk cravat bar 3

Steampunk cravat bar 4

steampunk collar bars

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The steampunk flying palace

Hello Friends
Today I'm posting a sneak peek of a building that figures prominently in the story. I can't give away it's role nor any of it's many secrets but I really wanted to share the broader view of it with you. As you can see, it's a grand structure that flies aloft with the help of four vertically oriented airship bodies. I can just imagine the view from up this high! The only thing I can tell you about it without giving away any story spoilers is that it is a secret and is one-of-a-kind.
Enjoy and cheers, Kevin

Steampunk flying palace
PS - forgive the constant use of "steampunk" in post titles and image titles. It's one of the unfortunate realities of adhering to search engine optimization so that people can find the work during searches.