Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Finally got the dragon skin finished

The dragon skin is now painted in subtle green and brown tones.  For some reason, the paint looks better in photos than it does in real life.  Why?  I have no idea.  But it looks pretty good in photos.

The skin texture really helps here, I think.  This is also true of the wings, where the paint has picked up the texture and enhanced it.  Unlike the body, the wing membranes have come out very green with a slight hint of brown underneath.  It's exactly the same paint sloshed all over the sculpt, it's just generated different effects in different areas.  I suspect it has to do with how the underlying material absorbs the paint.

And here's a photo of the whole thing:

Thursday, 15 January 2015

I'm back

Happy New Year, internet!  Sorry I've been absent for so long.  I haven't forgotten this blog, or gotten sick of it, it's just that I haven't had any good ideas recently.  You can't do this sort of stuff if you don't have any good ideas, because it ends up being boring and disappointing for everybody.

But I now have a head for the dragon skin I've been working on.  It's a beaky, bird-like head.

With the head attached to the body, the whole thing looks like this.

Not too bad.  I'm pleased with how the scales have worked out.  Of course, there's nothing sophisticated or clever about the scales.  They are lentils.  The smaller scales are represented using quinoa seeds.  Here's what the head looks like underneath the outer layers of paper:

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Putting the wings together

I managed to get around to putting the wings on the dragon this weekend, and adding scales to the body.

Then I started building up the skin underneath the wings.  At some point soon, I'll have to figure out what I want to do with the head.  I have no idea so far, but I'll figure something out.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


Topsell's dragons have very interesting wings: they aren't quite bird wings and they aren't quite bat wings.  They have skin membranes supported on ribs, but the ribs don't look like finger bones as is the case with a bat.

Winged dragon
Image from here.

Instead, the wings seem to be supported by curved spikes of bone or cartilage.  But notice how the overall shape of the wing is based on a bird's wing, and scales have been drawn along the leading edge of the wing to imitate feathers.  I've used the same approach in making the wings for my project.

I've put a thin membrane between long curved spines set at intervals along the wing, and added scaly texture to the top edge.  I think this might look quite good when it's finished.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Dragon scales and legs

Overall, I think the dragon skin project is starting to show real promise.

The legs and tail each have a strip of wire inside to keep them in position, but other than that they are just paper.  By using layers of tissue impregnated with thin glue, I find I can create a surface that folds and curls in on itself much like a dried animal skin.

I've also had a little play around with some ideas for dragon scales.  I've got large ones in the center of the spine and smaller ones along the sides.  So far, I quite like this arrangement.  Eventually I'll extend it over the rest of the skin.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Time for a new project

I like anatomical specimens, and with that in mind it's time for another dip into the fertile imagination of Eddie Topsell.

I want to do a dragon skin.  Just the dried skin, not the innards, because I want it to look like something from Topsell's time.  Explorers who encountered strange new beasties often just kept the skin and left the soft parts behind because they couldn't preserve the animal for the trip home.

I've built a mould out of screwed up paper and duct tape, and used it to shape the inside of the skin.  Remember, this is just the inside of the skin.  That's why it doesn't look like an animal yet.

Head end on the left, tail on the right.

Once I add feet, it looks a lot more promising.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


I finished the Red Serpent with a coat of lacquer to protect it and bring out the colours.  This makes the speckled markings stand out a lot more, and shows off the contrast between the mostly reddish-coloured body and the green spots.  I think the result is quite lively.

  I'd like to mount it or frame it in some way, but I'm not sure how I want to do that yet.