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Sculpting A Dragon PDF Print
Tuesday, 01 December 2009

Please note that this article merely instructs how I sculpted my dragon and know that you can do yours in whatever manner you like.  Now, before any construction ensues, you need a LOT of greenstuff (My dragon consumed about three or four rolls.).  I would refrain from buying this from the Games workshop website because there it’s hardly worth the price as well as shipping and handling.  Instead, peruse your local hobbyshops ( I found impressive amounts of greenstuff being sold for only $5.00 apiece at a woodcarving store.) or E-Bay, where I’ve found large quantities for sale at dirt-cheap prices.  There are also alternative putties to greenstuff that work just as well.  For instance, brownstuff is sturdier and good for solid understructures, and greystuff is softer and helpful for details.  Ideally, one with a project as ambitious as this would possess all three, but I’ve found it quite maneagable to get by with only greenstuff.

Once you have a sufficient supply of greenstuff or other epoxies, youneed proper sculpting tools  I’ve found it nigh impossible to sculptanything without them.  Again, sculpting tools are expensive and again,I would resort to local craft shops or E-Bay.  Below, you’ll see theones I used when I worked on my dragon.  The one with a rubber tip onthe right is a blender and is used for making folds or smoothing thingsout.













Now, armed with the proper tools and supplies, you need tofamiliarize yourself with dragons and your epoxy/ies.  I would draw acouple of dragons to decide on a pose for your sculpt and get used tothe anatomy.  Also, play around with some greenstuff to get the feelfor it.  Here are some tips that should help:

 -Always keep the tips of your fingers and the tools that you are usingmoist to avoid fingerprints on the sculpt and to keep the epoxies fromsticking to the tools.

-Greenstuff and the other epoxies take 24 hours to fully dry.  I would wait until one thing is dry before moving onto the next.

-You’ll find your epoxies are in two parts that are in two colors. Youmix the two together to make the substance that you can use to sculpt.Whatever putty you use, the two colors will have one darker and onelighter.  The darker color regulates the toughness of your mixture andthe strength of it once it dries.  The softness (Helpful for detail.)depends on the amount of the lighter color.

Once you feel prepared and that you have that all down you may begin. The first thing you’ll need is something to act as a skeleton of sortsfor your dragon.  I used  wire and would recommend that you do thesame. When you have a wire, cut it down to what you want the length ofyour dragon to be from the head to the tail.  Then bend it to fit thepositions you want for the head, neck, and torso.  In my case it lookedlike this:



































When you’ve done that, take, cut down, and bend more wire for legs. Glue them on, and, once the glue is dry, take some putty and put itaround the leg wire where it meets the torso wire so that it looks likethis:





























When the epoxy helping to hold togethor the wire dries, sculpt theshapes of the head, neck, body, and tail in over that. (Not the legs. And if you want the dragon to be roaring do not sculpt in the lowerfront half of your dragon’s head that includes the jaw.  Read more fora more complete explanation.) This is a big part of sculpting yourdragon but it’s really very simple so long as you know what one lookslike.  Remember to blend any lumps or crevices in with the rest of yourdragon to give a smooth finish so that it looks like this:


































While the epoxy that you just applied is still drying, sculpt theunderbelly of your dragon in whatever way you would like.  I made mineto look fleshy and skin-like so I used the blender to make ripples onthe bottom of the neck, tail, and body.  It was simple and effective.

Next, you move onto the head.  When you decide to do the head doesn’tparticularly matter as it doesn’t interfere with any of the othersteps.  I, however, found it easier to do it befor legs, scales, andwings got involved and in the way.  So, If you’ve followed the previoussteps, you’ll have a good deal of the dragon’s head already finishedand you’ll remember that there’s no lower jaw yet.  Mix a small sausageof putty, bend it into a “U” so that it fits the bottom of the snout orwhat will be the top of the mouth.  Blend the putty in and you’ll findthat your dragon has gums.  While the gums are still drying, taketoothpicks and cut off the sharp tips.  Then stick the sharp toothpickends into the gums for teeth.  Once that all dries start on the jaw bytaking some putty and making a shape similar to that of the bottom of aclothing iron.  This will be the bottom of the mouth and the chin. Wait for this to dry before sculpting in the gums and teeth using thesame techniques you used on the top of the mouth.  Once the gums andteeth are in, sculpt the lower jaw in with the rest of the head andblend it in.  After the lower jaw is firmy in place and dry, sculptcheeks on either side of the mouth (drawn back in a snarl!) as well aseyes, ears, and any other details that you might like such as horns ara frill.  As soon as that’s all finished you have your head.

I know that that was probably very confusing so hopefully the diagram below will clear things up a bit.




















































So, after your head is complete to your satisfaction start sculptingscales on your dragon by mixing a sheet of putty and wrapping it arounda small part of your dragon stopping at the point where the underbellystarts. (It helps to scale the dragon in patches to avoid fingerprintsor accidentally smudging the detail with your palm.) Then take one ofthe knife-like tools and cut hexagonal or pentagonal shapes into thesheet.  Once the scales have been cut into the area that you arefocused on, take the blender and round off the edges (Not thevertices.) of each individual scale to add depth to the crevices. Cover the top half of the dragon and you’re done.

When you have the tail, body, and neck fully clad in scales, beginsculpting the legs.  First, mix some sizeable and fat pieces of epoxyand slap them over the wires that you have in place to stabilize thelegs.  Now your dragon has thighs.  Wait for these to dry before doingthe same to make shins.  When your shins are blended and in place, usea similar process on the feet.  Take a piece of putty and sculpt itonto the end of the shins where ankles would start.  After this hasdried make small blobs of epoxy and blend them into the ends of thestumps of feet for toes.  Then sharpen toothpicks into claws, and stickthem into the settling toes. Once applied to all of the legs, sculptscales wherever you please and your legs are complete. 












































Now comes what is possibly the most difficult phase in theconstruction of your dragon: the wings.  So if you feel like skippingthe wings and making your dragon a wyvern I’d say go for it.   The restof you, start once again with the wire frames.  Take a wire and cut itdown to what you want to be the length of your dragon’s wings and bendthem into the shapes of bat-like wings. (Almost like mountains.) Then,almost exactly following the process used to start the torso, cut threemore wires down to the lengths that you want for fingers, glue them in,and stabilize that with epoxy.  Once the epoxy dries, sculpt over thewires with the same pattern you did for your underbelly and then followthat with scales wherever you may want them.  Next come the membranes. I spent some time contemplating how to do these while constructing mydragon, I either wanted to cut the membranes from transparent plasticwrap to get a nice translucent effect or simply sculpt them in.  Thelatter seemed easier and I stuck with that option but you may want touse an alternative.  Whatever you do,  don’t add in the membrane that’sclosest to the dragon’s body until the wings are connected.  This wayyou’ll know that that membrane will fit properly.   So, when you arecontent with the so-fars of your wings, attach one to your dragon byputting a blob of greenstuff between the two and applying superglueover that.  Firmly hold the wing to the dragon while the supergluedries and then wait overnight to do the same to attach the next wing. Once the wings are poised in the way you want them to be put more puttyover the bonding blob covered in superglue because you’ll find thatit’s, although efficient for strong bonds, lumpy and crusty.  So addanother layer of epoxy over that and blend it in.  Then add in yourfinal membranes and your dragon is complete.















































 I’d like to apologize for any confusion caused by the pictures.  I didn’t take any work in progress photos so I had to sketch theinstructions.  Also, this is a tough thing to do and it takes a lot of time and patience but it works as a good side project.  Mine took at least six months to sculpt, paint, and base and it’s still not entirely complete.  Anyway, have fun sculpting everyone and thank GlC for figuring out the pictures for me.













Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 January 2010 )
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