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Deathwing Sculpture - 02
By Dreamspirit   |   Watch
1K 304 33K (1 Today)
Published: May 17, 2011
© 2011 - 2019 Dreamspirit
Completed on December 4th, 2009

9 x 4.5 x 6.5 inches, made with an aluminum core and sculpted in mostly Super Sculpey Firm.

This year, Blizzard Entertainment turned 20 years old, and in addition to be so incredibly happy to be working where I am, I was also honored to have this personal sculpture included as part of the Blizzard Museum! I hadn't released any images of the finished piece (lovingly photographed here by Dana Bishop) until recently, but since he's now out in "public," I feel it's time to share the result of a few months of hard work that I feel really paid off.

The sculpture remained on display in the Blizzard Museum for over 3 years, from late 2009 until February 27, 2013.

I completed this piece of fan art way back in late 2009 a few months after World of Warcraft: Cataclysm was announced. When the first few pieces of official concept art for Deathwing were revealed, I thought he would be one heck of a fun challenge to sculpt him (especially since I hadn't sculpted in about two years before that). I thought the various textures on him would be quite a challenge in clay as well.

This is a one-page layout of some different angles showing off some of the intense detail I put into him.

I also took a series of photographs for the entire process which I will attempt to organize and put up at some point.

Click on "Full View" for a crisper, less distorted version.

Photography by Dana Bishop.

Fan art. Not stock.

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Deathwing Sculpture - 01 by Dreamspirit Deathwing Sculpture -03 by Dreamspirit
Image size
1603x2102px 1.32 MB
IMAGE DETAILS
Software
Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows
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Comments (281)
TheFirstAngel's avatar
TheFirstAngel|Professional Digital Artist
great job and gz on the DD :) well deserved
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NPlusPlus's avatar
NPlusPlus|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love the imposing regal stature of this mighty dragon.
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Dreamspirit's avatar
Dreamspirit|Professional General Artist
Thanks!  I had a great time trying to make him look smug and imposing. :)
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NPlusPlus's avatar
NPlusPlus|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Smug - that's a great word for it.
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ilo-ka's avatar
ilo-ka|Professional Digital Artist
Amazing! Looks like 3D model!
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Dreamspirit's avatar
Dreamspirit|Professional General Artist
Thanks so much!  I'm glad you enjoyed him!
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LucidKitsune's avatar
LucidKitsune| Traditional Artist
Holy crap. When I saw this thumbnail, I thought for sure it was a digital model. But NO!!! OMG!! That's AMAZING! I can't imagine sculpting that thing out of clay!! Hats off to you my friend, this is truly an amazing sculpture!! :dummy:
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Dreamspirit's avatar
Dreamspirit|Professional General Artist
Thanks so very much for your kind words!  I definitely learned a lot from sculpting him, and the learning process encouraged me to pursue sculpting with even more gusto! I only wish I'd known more about armatures at the time!

In any case, thank you so much, and here's a quick buzzfeed concerning this sculpture that you might enjoy: www.buzzfeed.com/finch093/proo…
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ArmouredShaman's avatar
ArmouredShaman|Student Digital Artist
My heart just stopped for a few seconds when i saw this
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Dreamspirit's avatar
Dreamspirit|Professional General Artist
Thank you so much for the humbling compliment!
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Arcticfox98's avatar
Arcticfox98|Student Digital Artist
Wow, that is one detailed sculpture. You must have put a lot of effort into this
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Dreamspirit's avatar
Dreamspirit|Professional General Artist
I put a lot of love into it for sure. :)  I'm glad you enjoy it!
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Arcticfox98's avatar
Arcticfox98|Student Digital Artist
No problem!
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tweaksection8's avatar
tweaksection8|Student Traditional Artist
haha thats bitchen/ how much clay did it take?
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Dreamspirit's avatar
Dreamspirit|Professional General Artist
About a box and a half of Sculpey firm, and a few cubes of Super Sculpey and Sculpey III Black. :) I'm glad you like it!
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hugeanticpeanut's avatar
amazing! The detailwork is outstanding, is there armature wire in the individual horns or are they sculpted on the side and prebaked? and did you sculpt the backplates on the side as well or did you carve them out of the primary "mass"? I'm so blown away by this, It inspires me to keep working on my sculpting at the same time as it tells me to give up because I'll never be this good XD awsome work mate!
Reply  ·  
Dreamspirit's avatar
Dreamspirit|Professional General Artist
The horns were not prebaked. In hindsight, this had some good points and drawbacks. It allowed me to toy around with them a lot and try to get the angles just "so" that it read well from multiple angles, and it also allowed me to uniformly detail him once the main structure of him was completed (I enjoyed adding "battle damage" and making it look like a worn creature rather than a "pristine" dragon).

Along the way, however, the horns did indeed need wires to support them since I was aiming for such a specific pose. The bad side? I hadn't originally planned it to be so, so at first there was more of little "scraps" of wire in the horns, and then after awhile I would add a bit more, and then a bit more wire and well... that didn't work well at all. Somewhere in there I eventually realized there shouldn't be multiple wires in each horn, and so I surgically cut into them and replaced the scraps of multiple wires with just one.

Still though: since I hadn't planned to use wires in there, the wires did not physically attach to any of the underlying "lump" of an armature (which was more like a rounded ball on a stick, to be entirely honest), so it took quite a bit of work to try and figure out how to "secure" the armature wire on the horns to basically: wet clay. Somehow I managed it, though, and from this piece I definitely learned the importance of preplanning a solid armature BEFORE sculpting. These two are examples of that new knowledge: [link] and [link]

Because Deathwing was, for the most part, a giant lump of clay suspended in the air, I later ended up adding in bits of wire here and there to try and help support him in key areas that I overlooked to begin with: I added wires along the plates in his back (or else they would sag), in the horns, and one loop around the underside of his top jaw so it wouldn't sag.

The back-plates were carved out of the primary mass, as were the plates along his chest. The scales on the side were a mix of carving and adding clay, but none of it was pre-baked other than the lower jaw (which I did more so because I wasn't convinced I could easily access the underside if it was on the figure).

And goodness! Do keep working! I very rarely sculpted before this! I have a few things I consider "terrible" that are stored on my Hard Drives somewhere, but before this piece, the only "full" sculpt I'd really done was: [link] and before that (which was years and years ago), I was just doing these: [link]

What I view as my huge jumps in progress through even those three pieces was simply because I kept pushing myself, observing, and experimenting. I spent far more time on "Deathwing" than I had on possibly any other piece of art I'd done because I wanted to see what I was capable of, and I just... kept going.

In all sincerity, if you'd asked me a couple years ago if I was capable of doing this, my answer would have been "hahaha No!" But sometimes I guess we even surprise ourselves. :)

One of the things that I think it neat about the process of this piece is I had no idea he would turn out as good as he did, so I have lots and lots of photos of the beginning "derpy" stages that are rather embarrassing, and I'm glad I stuck it out. I really do look forward to sharing those as a walk through because I hope people can learn from what I did (mistakes and all), and to further inspire them to keep going with their own art. :)

Thank you again for all your encouragement! It really means a lot to me!
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hugeanticpeanut's avatar
Thank you so very very much for replying and taking the time to actually go to the length and answer all of my questions. Id love seeing the wip stages of this pice (along with the other sculpts you've made, that are awsome btw XD)
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hugeanticpeanut's avatar
sorry bout the double post.
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Dreamspirit's avatar
Dreamspirit|Professional General Artist
Not a problem at all! Let me respond to this one as well since it's more specific. :)
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hugeanticpeanut's avatar
XD you are too kind.
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hugeanticpeanut's avatar
awsome sauce! It looks absolutely incredible, are the big scales along the neck sculpted on the side then added or is everything pretty much sculpted out of a single pice?
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Dreamspirit's avatar
Dreamspirit|Professional General Artist
Hey there! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

I sculpted and baked the jaw separately before attaching it, but everything else was sculpted at once. (I keep meaning to put up a walk-through on this so hopefully when I do that will answer some of your additional questions too!)

He has an inner core of a bolt and aluminum wire and foil in order to support him and I added clay and sculpted on top of that. I'd say there was an equal amount of additive sculpting (adding clay pieces) and subtractive sculpting (where I carved away clay, like on his chest-plates). The vast majority of it I did directly on the piece however, but there were definitely some little bits I'd sculpt separately before attaching while the clay was still wet. Because of some of the angles on him, it became increasingly difficult to access certain areas directly on the piece. :)
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hugeanticpeanut's avatar
I'll have to start planning my dragon a bit more before I keep going on him so I can avoid any major disasters later on XD

Again I thank you so very very much for replying, Awsome that you take the time to talk to and give us "little people" some awsome help.
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