Dragon Maquette

I've been working on a dragon picture and it was suggested I create a maquette to help me figure out the anatomy. Sculpt a dragon? Sounds like a lovely idea to me!

I reused a super basic sculpting block I created from a previous project. It's just a piece of 2x4 with holes drilled into it that are slightly snug for the diameter of the main wire. The main wire is some repurposed, coated electrical wire. I wish I had taken a picture of the initial wire for the body. It's basically a long loop to which I added the aluminum foil. I used the foil to create the main masses so I didn't have to use a lot of extra polymer clay. To create the various limbs or the armature I used about 3 thin sculpture wires for each limb and wrapped them around each other to make a thicker, stronger "skeleton" and to give the clay something to grab on to (sorry I don't remember the gauge, I've had the stuff for ages). I secured the 3-wire bundles to the body and then bulked up the neck and head with foil.
I reused a super basic sculpting block I created from a previous project. It's just a piece of 2x4 with holes drilled into it that are slightly snug for the diameter of the main wire. The main wire is some repurposed, coated electrical wire. I wish I had taken a picture of the initial wire for the body. It's basically a long loop to which I added the aluminum foil. I used the foil to create the main masses so I didn't have to use a lot of extra polymer clay. To create the various limbs or the armature I used about 3 thin sculpture wires for each limb and wrapped them around each other to make a thicker, stronger "skeleton" and to give the clay something to grab on to (sorry I don't remember the gauge, I've had the stuff for ages). I secured the 3-wire bundles to the body and then bulked up the neck and head with foil.

mitzuk-dragonsculpt-armature3 mitzuk-dragonsculpt2

I decided to try wax paper for the wings because of it's translucent quality (using supplies I had on hand). I like how the light hits the wings. I'm not so sure about how the paper bunches up between the wing bones. For future experiments: someone suggested using nylon stockings for the wings, someone else suggested using parchment paper painted with watercolor and then rubbed with baby oil once dry.
I decided to try wax paper for the wings because of it's translucent quality (using supplies I had on hand). I like how the light hits the wings. I'm not so sure about how the paper bunches up between the wing bones. For future experiments: someone suggested using nylon stockings for the wings, someone else suggested using parchment paper painted with watercolor and then rubbed with baby oil once dry.
mitzuk-dragonsculpt4
I extended a wing, placed a piece of wax paper on top, cut to the shape I wanted, and then taped the wax paper to the wire as well as secured the paper to the beefier part of the wing with polymer clay.

mitzuk-dragonsculpt5 mitzuk-dragonsculpt6 mitzuk-dragonsculpt7 mitzuk-dragonsculpt8I thought I'd share some of the progress shots in an effort to assess what I did, and to share the process in case anyone else is curious about how to do this.

This time around I used what I had on hand. As I do more of these I'll need to learn how to make the armature in a different way because the one I made had some limitations. I think the whole process was worth the effort because it helped me think more about the volumes, and the relationships of the various parts. It also helped me discover areas where I'd like more information and things I'd like to improve. Learning opportunities!

I found this YouTube video to be a little helpful for how to use aluminum foil, and wrapping the wire to create the armature. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQlX79qxBO4

My takeaways, and things that will come with practice:

Learn how to make a more versatile, flexible, and more structurally accurate armature.

Learn to manipulate the clay so the volumes and surface texture are more refined.

I like how pliable the Super Sculpey is and that I can easily scrape it off and reuse it. What I find tricky is trying to create solid looking forms that retain their shape. I might have to switch materials, possibly Chavant NSP Sulphur-Free Plasteline (the instructor had us use it for our Écorché class back in school and I like how easy it was to create crisp shapes, it just took extra work to get the stuff to soften up).

Thinking in mass with my hands really helps me think through a drawing.