October 2015 was my last post! Where have I been? Certainly not doing paper mâché! Well that dry spell is over. With all my other projects completed, I was able now in January 2017 to start a new paper mâché dragon. This one has a little more of a special meaning in making it, but before I tell you about that, let’s talk about how this dragon happened!
Most paper mâché creations begin looking similar to the photo and this is the way this creature looked at its onset. The ball of foil will become the dragon’s head. I had never tried using foil before. I decided to try this method since I wasn’t going to have an open mouth with teeth.
The head was going to take some work, so I decided to do that separately from the body for the time being. I covered the foil with the traditional newspaper and flour/water mixture then shaped the head with a concoction of flour/water and toilet paper. This made a slightly lumpy clay, but I only wanted it to fill out certain areas of the head. This was then covered with a layer of cotton sheet cloth pieces and white glue.
Instead of Spackle on his head (which I usually use for smoothing), I decided to smooth out and contour his head with Crayola Air Dry clay.
I had originally made eyes out of beads because I thought the eyes I had bought from Nixcreations were going to be too large. Turns out they fit better once I put the cloth eyelids in place, so I didn’t use the eyes I painted.
With the body parts now assembled, the dragon was starting to take shape.
Starting with the tail, I began folding small squares of sheet cloth to create the scales on the body. The cloth just happened to be blue, but it will later be painted.
I still had a long way to go. Man! Why did I make his tail so long!!!!???
With more of the scales added, the dragon was starting to take shape. I worked on his feet and toes while waiting for the scales to dry.Here is what he looks like with his feet attached.The front legs or arms needed to be added later so I worked on them separately. I knew it was going to be really difficult to paint everything with the way I wanted the arms to be so I continued with the scaling.Everything has an order in which it has to be done so there is a lot of planning ahead of time. Once the scales go to a certain height, I needed to start the breast plates.
I like to play with different types of fabrics when I do my art. With the Leopard Dragon, I used a textured polyester fabric for the scales. On this dragon, I wanted to try using a wide wale corduroy. The texture worked in some places, but not necessarily on the whole breast plate. Oh well! Sometimes experiments work and sometimes they don’t. I also need to get the legs covered with cloth mâché before the scales got there. Poor guy, he is still headless!
This dragon was going to need arms soon, so I quickly made his hands and added the claws. All claws and horns are made from Super Sculpey clay. On previous dragons, I have broken so many claws while trying to work on them that I have decided to reinforce them with wire. Seems to help as the hardened clay does get brittle. Here is the progression of the arms as they were being constructed. Cloth mâché added to lower arms. Upper arms did not need it as they would be scaled. Fingers were covered with Spackle and sanded smooth.
Arms were then textured with the same mixture of flour/water/toilet paper clay and scales added to the upper arms.
These will now be painted separately and attached to the body when the body is ready for them.
You can get an idea the colors of the dragon now. My original thought was that he was going to be a mainly white dragon with no other color, but I quickly realized how boring that was going to look. I’m not sure if the green was the right color, but it would go with the blue eyes and the gold I would eventually sponge over the scales.
I put off doing the feet as long as I could (fear of breaking those little claws). Time to get those done. They were wrapped with the cloth mâché and Spackle to smooth out the rough spots. As you can see some texture was added to the upper legs in order for me to do the scales. I went ahead and finished the scales up to where I was going to place his arms and then finished the texture on his feet.
Painting will be next so the whole dragon will be painted with a white primer before the colors go on. In this last picture, you can see that I have already primed the breast plates and some of the scales. Once again, this is because I knew it was going to be difficult to paint in all the tight places when the arms were glued on.
Next post: I will add the head and arms to the dragon! Time to do more painting!