Friday, January 15, 2016

2016 Workshop #1 at Chicago International -- April 11, 12, 13, 2016: 1/2 Scale Rustic Building Diorama

This workshop will be held from 8am to 9pm on April 11 through April 13 at the Chicago International show. For registration details, see the Tom Bishop website for more info.

Contact me with any questions in them comments below, emailFacebook, etc.

This workshop will focus on exterior detailing and distressing natural surfaces. I will show you the benefit of taking the time to get minute details right to create aging and weathering so realistic that if you took a picture of the scene you may not know if it is full scale or miniature. This is not "dollhouse" quality, but ultimate realism in small scale. We will use nothing purchased but create, or learn how to create, everything you see in the scene. Using these techniques, you can apply them to your other creations. You will learn advanced aging and weathering concepts, finishes, and colors to bring charm and warmth to a 1/2 scale structure scene.

The scene is compact, measuring only 12”w, 10”d, and 10”h, making it possible to display nearly anywhere. The scene could be Spanish, Southwestern, French, Tuscan, or any other scenario you imagine.  The emphasis here is on exteriors; there will be no "interior" per se, except for lighting giving a glow to the windows, and a small bit seen through the arch of the restaurant.  Over three very long days, we will create the two walls.  

We'll age and weather the timbers above the door and window of the fore wall with all their bumps, indentations, brick/stonework, and age them delicately using different finishes and coatings. Then we will create windows, pane by decrepit pane, with real glass for all openings. We will build an ornate door with a glass inset, age/weather it, and rust the metal doorknob. All of these surfaces will be aged and distressed using different techniques. The walls will be scuffed, marked, faded, chipping, and aged. 

We'll create the awning, suggested signs/lettering, exterior lights (made from paper) and window shudders for the back wall.  We will create a stone/cobble street surface between the two main walls, create roof tiles, and review ideas for a limited "interior" scene within the arch of the restaurant.

Then we will install lighting (LED, either battery or wired, your choice). We will review concepts for additional exterior stone/brick touches on the exterior foreground.  Finally, we will touch on vegetation/plants/foliage ideas for your installation later, using some ingredients you may not have thought of using.

Price is $800. As of January 2016, there are two spots left and the class size is small. 


  1. Hello Erik,
    It is a stunning project! I envy those who will be able to take the class.
    Big hug