The Arcane Dragonry

29th October 2016

Derpy derp

So I put the mouth together, attached cheekbones, made the lower jaw’s cheeks extra puffy, glued the eyes in and topped them with eyebrows… and STILL. Still, she’s looking square, boring and derpy. Especially derpy. Anyway… I prepared the shield, drilled it and secured the neck to it, then proceeded to attach the head to it with wire, hot glue and lots of tape. I also added the chewing side muscles and made the throat look more natural.

Now, Anachromie has very large and long jowls hanging all the way to the base of the neck. To do this, I just cut a bunch of pieces of steel wire, shaped them and glued them in a way that made sense. It’s not 100% faithful to the original model, but I need to make it look nice enough and the base needs to fit within the oak shield, so there you go. I am curious to see how it will look when I cover it all with cloth! Are you too?

PD: Even after all of that, it’s still looking derpy. Gah!

 

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28th October 2016

Starting with the basics

Things happen. Sometimes they’re good things, sometimes they’re bad, but things keep on happening whether we like it or not. It’s up to us to decide how to take them. Each of us (regardless of species) is different, so we will perceive things in all sorts of diverse ways. For example, my printer has a life of its own and it decided not to work no matter what when I was trying to print the eyes for the next two dragons (yes, I have already decided what the next one will be like!). So instead of cursing and bashing it with a hammer, I grabbed some colour markers and decided to experiment!

I drew the outlines of the eyes using a 3H pencil and the cabochons (glass domes) as reference. Then I started working on the tones, from lighter to darker colours, and finally added the black slit pupil. I did the same for the other set of eyes I might be using on the next dragon, but we will see. After that, I put a blob of PVA glue on the eyes and pressed the glass against them really hard to get rid of air bubbles, then let it dry and cut them loose.

I still had teeth left over from the last batch, so I didn’t need to make new ones, but I did have to make the horns -obviously!-. Sorry I forgot to take pictures of the paper mache base pieces, but I made them the same way as usual (which I’ve shown in other posts, if you’re interested). I hollowed the pieces and cut the head open to make the jaws. The mouth in this case follows a pretty straight line… I hope it won’t look boring in the end. I made the horn cores with aluminium foil first, then conditioned the Fimo clay, wrapped it around them and shaped them properly. I baked the clay til it was ready and I decided to give it a bit of texture resembling the model (horizontal lines around the horns instead of vertical) by sanding them and making semi-deep scratches with some steel wool. To make the horns look more natural, I aged them using my beloved bitumen of Judea, thinned down with proper old school turpentine.

I must say, am NOT happy with the shape of the mouth at all. This dragon is supposed to have a very pronounced under-bite… and it does, but it makes her look insufferably derpy. We will see…

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23rd August 2016

Where was I?

Ah yes… Last time I had just glued the horns in. I covered all of that visible hot glue with strips of paper to mimic the skin of the base of each horn. Also, paint will stick muuuch better to the paper than on the glue. I also added the nostrils: just bits of aluminium foil and tape covered in fabric. They’re big and wide, I really like them. I also like how they’re in a “rested” position, in comparison with Kaltakess. It inspires wisdom, somehow.

I also added cloth scales to the neck (as usual) and let them dry. Next  step was paint -finally!-, so first, I had to protect the horns from the paint. For this, I just wrapped each horn in plastic film and secured it to the base with regular adhesive tape. Now, regarding colours, it was tricky. Danorethos is black and red. Black is a pain to paint properly because it’s very dark, so it tends to look really flat. So well, aside from adding red and orange tones randomly to the skin, I went for the effect of redness around softer areas of the face, like the base of the horns, nose and eyes… you know, where soft tissue tends to be. Then of course, I painted all of the scales black. It turned out really nice, although I’m afraid the black wash will cover some of those beautiful vermillion tones. You can see the pictures below… alas, it doesn’t look nearly as good as in person.

I will show the final result in the next post. I hope it turns out ok!

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19th August 2016

Looking alive

Last time I published a post, I had the core structure ready for the horns and the skin, and that’s exactly what I’ve done today. I safely wrapped the shield in plastic and tape and proceeded to cut strips of fabric and dip them in PVA glue. For the neck plates I used tightly-woven fabric that likes to stay rigid, and for the rest of the skin I used a more gauze-like kind of cotton. It formed bubbles, which made it all the more awesome, since this dragon is very lumpy, and also it’s going to be covered in clay scales that will smooth out the surface and hide imperfections. I also covered the ear membranes with fabric, as well as part of the back of the neck.

I could still see the red markings I made in my last post marking where the horns would go, so I  cut the base to adjust to the angle and glued them with hot glue. Now all there is is adding the clay bits, the fabric scales, nostrils and paint (he’s going to be black and red)… stay tuned for updates on the progress!

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13th August 2016

Kaltakess

Tadaaaa! These are pictures of the final product under proper lighting. As you can see, I changed my mind about the orange facial spots and I re-painted them grey. I black washed the whole thing, applied highlights with a dry brush, and gave it a thin coat of protective oil-based varnish that won’t mess up the acrylic paint. Sorry for the blurriness of some of the pictures, but you get the idea! I hope you like the results, and as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on it!

 

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9th August 2016

Getting the hang of things

Why do I make “fake” head trophies of my respected fellows, you may ask. Well, from what I’ve seen, a lot of humans (especially males) have a high sense of pride, and they can be quite primitive at times. They will go hunting for fun and they call it sport, although if you’re a human you probably knew that already. When they shoot down an animal, it makes them feel strong and proud, and they will sometimes feel the need of hanging the head of the beast for everyone to see. I’m not sure whether it’s a matter of dominance, to show off their prowess, remind themselves of how manly they are, or what. Please let me know what you think and/or how you feel about this, because I would really like to learn. As a scholar though, I see this practice as an opportunity to honour the dragons I respect. I make honour trophies to show humans, but also because I miss my home, I guess. As you may already know, I do take commissions. I know humans have been to other planes and some of them have even known some dragonkin. But even if most of them think of us as fantasy, I don’t know all of the dragons around. A human may know a dragon that I don’t, so I am more than willing to make an honour trophy for them to keep if they provide me with a good description and/or picture, and proper payment. You can read more information about this in the info section, if you’re interested or know someone who may be.

The craftsman who makes shields for me finally delivered and today I’m showing you the process of attaching the trophy to the shield. To do this, I first covered the shield in tape around the line where I’d have to drill, then placed the dragon in its position and drew an outline with a pencil, and after this, I marked the spots where I would drill the holes for the wire. I made eight holes, but because the wire goes around for extra safety, I only had to cut four lengths.

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In this case, I chose to leave all the wires outside, because I though the neck could benefit from a “veiny” texture. I shaped the wire into the dragon and then hot glued/taped it all together until it felt very secure.

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6th August 2016

MAWS

So we got eyes, teeth, horns and spikes. Time to put things together… starting with the jaws.

I made teeth in all sorts of different sizes and curvatures, so I had to choose which ones would go where. Then I calculated how large of an opening the mouth would have an then proceed to attach the teeth to the mouth parts with hot glue. While it was cooling, I cut a bunch of little strips of cotton fabric and then dipped them in glue and wrapped them around every single teeth. I cut two large pieces of cloth and I placed them in the inside of the mouth, barely touching the gums. I put the pieces to dry by the dehumidifier and began the work on the tongue. I cut some length of wire and attached long pieces of newspaper, thin in one end and thick on the other, in the shape of a long tongue. I bent the whole thing until it looked like a writhing tongue. The whole thing was then covered by tape, paper towel and glue. This particular paper towel has a bumpy texture which looks like taste buds, so it worked out great.

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After a few hours, everything was dry and I began painting the pieces. I used dark red for the tongue, pale pink for the gums, and a mix of the two for the inside of the mouth. Apologies for the excessive saturation in the pictures, I’m in the process of obtaining a better camera device. And finally, I gave everything a layer of glossy varnish so it would have a bit of a wet look.

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