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The Making of a Shadow Dragon by emilySculpts The Making of a Shadow Dragon by emilySculpts
The Making of a Shadow Dragon

1.  Concept Sketch - I am admittedly not much of a sketch artist.  But I really like to do quick concept sketches like this to figure out poses and base arrangements.  This helps me and helps my client see what my plans are.  I normally only do this for more complex pieces or cake toppers.  This client wanted me to use Todd Lockwood's rendering of the Shadow Dragon from Forgotten Realms for inspiration.

2.  Initial Pose and Blocking - This was done directly off my concept sketch.  The base was made with Super Sculpey.  I like to use this clay for broad shapes as it is softer and easily formed.  My usual 50/50 mix of Super Sculpey/Sculpey Firm was used for the dragon; this helps hold detail better. 

3.  Pose Adjustment and Refining - Since it is supposed to appear as though the dragon is ascending through a tunnel, I modified the pose to make it look more like he is ducking to avoid the shallow ceiling.  This is also where I begin to define the anatomy and face.

4. Medium-Large Details - Once the anatomy is in place, I can start laying in larger scales as well as facial details and claws.

5. Fine Details and Finishing - All those tiny scales are sculpted individually.  It's very time consuming to make it look natural.  Some are pieces of clay pressed onto the sculpture, others were tooled in.  I use rubbing alcohol over the scales to soften the edges and then go back and carve some of the detail back in so they don't look uniform.

6. Painting, Membranes, and Metallic Effects - The sculpture is baked and painted with acrylics.  I then use a special paper called Glassine for the membranes of the wings and crests.  Finally, I finish off the piece with metallic powders by Pearl Ex.  This gives a striking sheen to the sculpture.  A spray finish is then necessary to lock the powder into place.

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Want to learn to sculpt like I do?

Check out my new book, Creature Sculpt!

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Submitted on
November 15, 2012
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