New Paper Mache Dragon- Head and scales

Hi again,
So I hope this doesn't seem insensitive, making another post after just posting earlier about my friend and fellow paper mache artist's untimely death.   But I honestly think Jonty would have approved.   So this entry is for you Jonty.

So I realize that people who pop in once in a while might only be interested in the first photo and not in the build itself.   So here is the mother dragon as it stands right now.  I'll be painting next.   (Actually, I've finished sanding the eggs and sculpting a baby dragon to go in the nest.  I'll post about them soon.)

If you are interested in the build, read on. 


Since the last post I added some scales, starting at the tail working my way up the back.
 

I continued up the back to the wings and neck.  Then I started on the front.   First the feet, then the shins, then the thighs.
 

I then worked up the body and up to the head.   This particular build I added scales up the neck even though I hadn't yet sculpted the face.   The photo below (on the right) shows the details I added to the face, the tentacles, the nostrils, and obviously the eyes and brows. 
 

Below is a close up of the face after I added the cloth.   I know it looks much the same, but look at the lips, the eyelids, and the scales.    I'm very pleased with it.  It turned out exactly as I envisioned.


Okay, so you haven't seen Max for a while.  This is a funny scene I caught with my camera. I haven't had the dragon standing on the nest in a while.    I worked on the face with the dragon on my table.  I didn't want to drip glue onto my nest.   I had just put her back onto the test to get a couple of photos when Max came down to the studio.   Lately  he's been jumping in the nest while the mother dragon was gone.   He was going to jump up this time and the dragon caught him by surprise. 

Yes, I get carried away with my cats.     As I mentioned above, I've made a baby  dragon as well.   If you look closely, you can see him.    More on him in the next post.
Take care.  (I know Jonty, she's looking good.)


See you soon.




 

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  • 4/14/2011 7:55 PM Suz wrote:
    Oh she is just turning out fantastic! Jonty would love her no doubt...What a lot of little triangles you did, good grief!!! The face is, is, amazing!!! and that little baby, what a hoot!!! too cute, can't WAIT to see them painted!! Just loving this one the heck!! Max is checking to see if she isn't going to move, she looks so realistic (as a dragon can be!)
    Reply to this
    1. 4/14/2011 8:29 PM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hi Suz,
      You always make me feel great.   As an artist, it's just nice to know if the work resonates with someone else.  I'm sure you get the same feeling when someone compliments your work.     To tell you the truth, I'm very nervous about painting it.  I'm going to do that this weekend and I am going to try something new.  It's nerve wracking since I only get one shot for it to work the way I want it to.   Wish me luck!
      Thank again.  Hope you are making your art too.  You have such a great niche with those shoes.  What a great idea!
      Dan

      Reply to this
      1. 4/14/2011 9:11 PM Suz wrote:
        Oh its resonating to the Max Good luck with the painting, I always think if it isn't the way you'd hope, you can repaint it, I sure don't think all is "lost"!! Not sure what special plan you have that its only a one shot thing...I can't imagine anything you do not coming out fantastic..you have the blending of colors down pretty darn good! I'd guess anything you chose would come out great, hahah, you do worry too much! We would never know the difference, it would look great if it was just plain old green, which I know you have alot more planned than that!! The color scheme can be definitely nerve wracking, Choosing colors aren't my fav either...Its always fun up to that point, then such a relief to get that part done!! Thanks for the kind words, means alot coming from my favorite mache guru!!
        Reply to this
        1. 4/15/2011 6:32 AM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
          You are funny.  It's resonating with Max, that's for sure.  He likes the nest at least.    I'm not going to say anything about how I'm going to paint it until it works.  If it doesn't and I have to repaint it, then it's kind of a moot point.   That is what I like about sculpture though.   There are so many layers.    If you don't like it before painting, painting won't save it.     If you do like it before painting, painting can ruin it or make it spectacular (or worse yet, ho-hum).   I like this dragon a lot which is why I'm nervous about it.   Plus, just painting is an amazing amount of work on something like this with so many nooks and crannies.   It's a lot of effort wasted to have to repaint.  Plus, you loose some of the detail with the second coat.  Just the thickness of the paint changes some of the detail. 
          There, had to blather on a bit.
          See you Suz.
          Dan

          Reply to this
  • 4/15/2011 2:06 AM Cherry Collins wrote:
    Hi Max, I always love the painting stage on anything I make. Your dragon looks wonderful. Max is very intrigued too! Can we have a close up soon of the baby dragon? looking forward to seeing the adult dragon painted. it is looking great. It is a cute idea to include a baby in the nest! Sorry about the loss of your friend. warm regards, Cherry
    Reply to this
    1. 4/15/2011 6:35 AM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hi Cherry, 
      I intend to show the baby grow on the next post.   It would have taken too many photos to add it to this post.    I'll get to it soon, I promise. 
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Dan

      Reply to this
  • 4/15/2011 2:12 AM Cherry Collins wrote:
    p.s. Mum dragon is fiercely guarding the baby! Do you spray paint or hand paint? or both? I think she might be your best dragon yet...she is so developed in texture etc in all the areas and has a lovely presence and stance to her.. Cherry
    Reply to this
    1. 4/15/2011 6:40 AM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Thanks again Cherry.   I really like this dragon.  I've made many dragons of course.   Truth is, I always talk like this about the one I'm making.    It's a good thing I guess, to be in love with the one you are working on at the moment.   You have to or the detail work would just be too much effort.    The scales are easy but they take a number of sessions and it can get pretty boring.   
      Talk to you later.
      Dan

      Reply to this
  • 4/16/2011 7:57 PM Monique wrote:
    I love your work. Great, expressive!
    Question: Where or who would you recommend to purchase acrylic bird eyes? I need 22mm brown or dark brown for an Ostrich I am making.
    thank you kindly,
    Monique
    Reply to this
    1. 4/16/2011 10:13 PM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hi Monique,
      Nice to hear from you.  About the eyes, I use glass, taxidermy eyes.   There are quite a few taxidermy places online.  If you just google, "glass eyes" you'll find three or four.   I'm not sure about acrylic eyes that big.    I don't know if taxidermy places would have those.  But I'm sure you could substitute some other brown eye.  Sorry, I'm not much help with that.
      An ostrich sounds fun.  Good luck on that!
      Take care
      Dan

      Reply to this
      1. 4/17/2011 8:22 AM Monique wrote:
        To give me a frame of reference. What size eyes are you using?
        I am looking at just under 3/4" that I need to use. An Ostrich has the largest eyes (2") for land a animal. My Ostrich is really scaled down,whimiscal & not suppose to be a realistic representation. To give the expression I want, I need her eyes to be big. I have been frustrated looking for the right size eyes. It might be I was only looking at acrylics.
        Thank you for your comments.
        Again you work is incredible!
        Reply to this
        1. 4/17/2011 8:43 AM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
          Hi again Monique,
          I'm sure you can find something that would work at Van Dykes (address below).  They have the biggest selection of eyes I know.  Give them a shot.  
          Have fun.  And thank you for your kind words.
          Dan

          http://www.vandykestaxidermy.com/

          Reply to this
  • 4/16/2011 8:00 PM Monique wrote:
    Oh, by the way, I love seeing your cat appear in some of the videos. They do know how to be a part of your work.
    Monique
    Reply to this
    1. 4/16/2011 10:15 PM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Thank you.  Max (the Bengal) seems to be around this dragon build more than Eddy (the Abyssinian).   They just love it when I'm working, until they get glue on their feet, then they go away for ten minutes.
      See you
      Dan

      Reply to this
  • 4/18/2011 3:06 PM Ammie wrote:
    Hi, Dan
    I love your work! I bought one of your books and started my dragon, so excited. My Dad loves dragons so I'm making him one for his birthday. I love your new dragon with her baby. It is amazing that you are doing this because I was planning something like it. I was planning to give him a egg, then the baby hatching,then the full grown dragon. I want it to be albino.I have a question- the eyes are holding me up a little. What size eyes should I use? How do I figure this? I was thinking of blue eyes for the baby, maybe simese cat eyes. And albino for the big dragon. What do you think? Thanks for all the helpful information on your blog. I will use the blog and the book to help with my dragon.
    Reply to this
    1. 4/18/2011 3:28 PM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hi Ammie,
      Nice to meet you.    I use taxidermy eyes as I mentioned in the book.   When you go to order them you'll notice that they sell them by millimeters.  Look around the house. I'd guess that you have a ruler that has metric on one side, usually centimeters.  So 10 mm is one cm.  The eyes come in many sizes so just put the ruler on a piece of paper and roughly draw circles the size of the eyes you are thinking about.  That will give you a sense about what you want for your dragon.   I can  recommend a certain size because I've used small eyes for some big dragons and big eyes for some small dragons.  It really is a personal taste thing.   But if you draw out the circles you can get an idea of big they are.

      I don't know if that helps.  Good luck!  Sounds like you've got a great project going.  I'm painting my momma dragon today.   
      Dan

      Reply to this
  • 4/18/2011 6:59 PM Julia wrote:
    I've been watching almost daily for your posts,I'm totally in love with your work and with Max.I'm also doing dragons but I'm using gourds instead of paper mache.I have a baby dragon coming out of its egg that the mom is holding.This current dragon is awesome,but your first one is GREAT also keep up the great work,can't hardly wait for more pics
    Reply to this
    1. 4/18/2011 7:45 PM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hi Julia,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write.  I'm very flattered.    Sounds like we are on the same wavelength about this.    Would love to see your dragon too.

      I'm trying to paint tonight.  It's so hard to put down the first brush stroke since it commits me..
      I'll get another post on here soon.  Again, thank you for your very kind words.  And good luck finishing your piece!
      Dan

      Reply to this
  • 4/19/2011 6:07 PM Bernee wrote:
    Hi, I just found your website today when I was looking for variations in recipes for paper-mache. I just love your various dragons, monsters and of course, your cats - your videos are very amusing. I wish I had had an art teacher like you when I was young! Does your book on making dragons include your cloth-mache techniques? I very much want to make one for my wall (either a head or one shaped similarly to your "Family Jewels."
    Reply to this
    1. 4/21/2011 9:09 AM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hi Bernee,
      Very nice to meet you.   My dragon book does show everything including my cloth mache.   It is parallel to the "Gourmet Paper Mache Dragon" video.  In fact, I documented that dragon build in detail with commentary.   My "Papier Mache Monsters" book is more generic, but is very comprehensive.   I tell every trick I know.   But if you want to make a dragon, the dragon-making book is the ticket.
      I'm glad you found the site useful.   Thank you for your kind words.
      Dan

      Reply to this
  • 4/24/2011 10:24 PM Liz wrote:
    Hi,

    I've been following your blog for a little while and admiring the dragons on your main site for a bit longer, and I just wanted to say WOW, your work is amazing! I also wanted to say thank you for posting instructional material both here and in the 5-minute 'making of' videos, especially the dragon trophy, which helped me make a much less impressive trophy for a party. The resources you've made available have been a huge help, and your art is fantastic!
    Reply to this
    1. 4/25/2011 6:33 AM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hello Liz,
      Thank you for the very nice comment!  I'm glad that you found the site useful and that you like the work.   I appreciate your taking the time to tell me so.

      Hopefully, you'll be doing more paper mache.  I'd love to post any photos if you are ever so inclined.
      Take care  and thanks again.
      Dan
      Reply to this
      1. 4/25/2011 1:10 PM Liz wrote:
        I do hope to be doing more Paper Mache in the future, hopefully for the next party! I bought a copy of your dragon-making book so I can do an even better job next time. Anyway, the only not-blurry photo I have is here: http://queen-of-muffins.deviantart.com/art/Ilya-s-Head-206286532?q=gallery%3Aqueen-of-muffins&qo=0 which also shows a little bit of the rest of the party.

        Thanks!
        Reply to this
        1. 4/25/2011 4:15 PM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
          Hi again Liz,
          Thanks for buying the book.    Your trophy looks great!  It's amazing that you were able to put it together just from watching the videos.  Great job!  Lots of personality.
          You should definitely keep doing paper mache.  You're a natural.
          Take care
          Dan


          Reply to this
  • 4/27/2011 9:27 AM Kaja wrote:
    Hello,

    i must say I'm impressed! WOOOW! Today I was searching over the net, becouse I have a thing to do for some show-3 headed dragon, so I was thinking-papier mache. I found your site and am speachless. I would like to order your book, but by the time I will get it to Slovenia, my work has to be finished. So I would like to ask, what do you use for the final layer?

    Thank you, and keep on with the good work. Congrats!
    Reply to this
    1. 4/27/2011 9:58 AM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hello Kaja,
      It's nice to meet you.   Thank you for your kind words.  I really appreciate it.    I have been planning a multi-headed dragon(a hydra)  for a long time, but I just haven't had the time.   It sounds really fun.  I put on a "skin" of cloth (old bed sheets torn into strips) dipped into white (PVA, here we call it Elmer's) glue.   It makes the project very strong and also allows for more detail than paper.  
      Good luck to you!
      Dan

      Reply to this
  • 5/1/2011 4:16 AM Jen wrote:
    Hi Dan, The attention to detail on this dragon is just fantastic, your hard work has really paid off. Even pre paint it's beautiful just white!
    I've only just come across your blogs & site on a search for paper mache techniques and more so the right mixture. I wonder how you make those scales. I'm guessing these are folded pieces of cloth attached by the glue they're dipped in, or is that a really stupid question?!!
    Reply to this
    1. 5/1/2011 8:25 AM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hello Jen,
      Nice to meet you.  Thank you for the kind words.   I'm glad you like the site.  Yes indeed, the scales are just folded pieces of cloth, nothing fancy at all.   But they make a nice effect for dragons.

      I did get some nice photos yesterday.  I'll post them later today. 
      Thank you for stopping by.
      Dan
      Reply to this
  • 5/2/2011 11:11 AM Johnny wrote:
    Dan,
    Ghoulishcop over at hauntforum.com posted a link to your website. Your work is incredible and I can't wait to spend more time going through your site. GC said that you only use flour and water for your paste and I'm anxious to see how you get some of the shapes you create. Thanks for posting your work for the rest of us to enjoy!
    Reply to this
    1. 5/2/2011 6:43 PM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hello Johnny,
      Nice to meet you.  Thank you for popping by.   And I surely appreciate Ghoulishcop for posting my blog.  That is very flattering.
      It is a great medium.   I hope you give it a try. 
      Good luck on your projects!
      Dan

      Reply to this
      1. 5/4/2011 9:16 PM Johnny wrote:
        Dan,
        I've no illusions that my attepmts compare in any way to your art, but if you ever have some time to kill, here is a link to some of the stuff I've made and posted over at hauntforum:
        http://hauntforum.com/album.php?u=1012
        I'm always interested in receiving constructive criticism (flattery won't improve my work, criticism will). Depending on my mood or what I'm working on, I use glue/water, liquid starch/water, or celluclay for my paste.
        Reply to this
        1. 5/5/2011 6:38 AM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
          Hi again Johnny,
          I tried to get on to Hauntforum yesterday, and again just now to view your work.   But I can't see anything because I'm no a  member.  And when I went to the page to become a member, I got a message saying, "Sorry, registration has been disabled by the administrator."   Looks like they don't want any new members.   I'd love to see your work.   Is there any other way?
          Dan

          Reply to this
  • 9/20/2011 5:57 PM Jenny wrote:
    Dan,
    What an inspiration you and your monsters are! Just found your site just in time for our "Heads Will Roll" halloween party. Doing Sleepy Hollow theme and need a little nudge on making heads. Any help will be appreciated. Post note: I think your cats deserve their own site with videos!!
    Thanks! Jeff and Jenny
    Reply to this
    1. 9/20/2011 8:32 PM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hello Jeff and Jenny,
      It's very nice to meet you!   I hope you will find some things on the site to be useful.      Making head isn't too hard.  You just need to make one wad of paper about head size and paper mache.  Make a full smaller balls to use as shells, to sculpt with after you mache them.    Sculpt using masking tape.    I think for heads the "cloth mache" works perfectly.   It makes for great lips and eyelids etc.     Mannequin eyes work great for heads.  Any taxidermy company will carry them.   

      Good luck!  Sounds like you are in for some fun.
      Dan

      Reply to this
  • 2/10/2012 1:54 PM Lisa wrote:
    I just love your work...I was given a job this year to make a dragon for prom..their theme being Oriental,it has to be large enough for a arch way.the skin and wings are cloth? what kind? any ideas w/o is costing me..thanks Lisa
    Reply to this
    1. 2/10/2012 2:17 PM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hi Lisa,
      I do use cloth (just old bedsheets, preferably cotton) dipped in white glue (usually Elmer's).    It makes the project very strong and allows for a lot of detail.   You will need a substructure, maybe wood or PVC pipe.  Then add wads of paper to build out the body and paper mache over it.  Later, after it is dry, you can cut small holes and pull out the wads of paper to make it lighter.  Make extra balls so that you can cut them open and sculpt with them (using masking tape).  Add the final "skin" of cloth and glue when you are done sculpting.    Oriental dragons have tentacles.   I would make those by wrapping paper around pieces of wire clothes hangers.    Wrap with masking tape, then cloth and glue.   The blog entries about my "Seadragon" show a lot of these steps.
      Good luck!
      Dan

      Reply to this
  • 2/19/2012 1:33 PM Anonymous wrote:
    This is BY FAR the most AMAZING thing I have ever seen!!!!
    Reply to this
    1. 2/19/2012 4:10 PM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      That is really sweet of you to say.   Thank you for the very nice comment!  Please stop by more often.
      Dan
      Reply to this
  • 4/14/2012 5:58 PM Carmelina wrote:
    Where did you get the template for the dragon build? Did you go by a template? I am having a hard time making the body. Any help would be greatly appreaciated. Thank you!!
    Reply to this
    1. 4/14/2012 6:06 PM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hello Carmelina,
      I don't use a template.   I'm not exactly sure what a template would look like.    I think you have a lot of flexibility so far as the size of things are concerned.  If you look at the photos at the beginning of the build I think you'll get an idea of the relative size of the parts.  Remember, there is no perfect proportions for fantasy animals.  Sorry, I wish I could help more.
      Good luck!
      Dan

      Reply to this
  • 7/23/2013 5:54 PM Rozani wrote:
    Hey Dan!

    That was a beautiful tribute. I'm sorry to hear that Jonty is no longer with us in the flesh, though certainly in spirit.

    There is so much catching up for me to do. I knew that my word search would lead me to you once again and here you are!

    I love your Mommy dragon. Truly beautiful! Glad to have visited your blog. Thanks for keeping me inspired.

    All the best!

    Rozani
    Reply to this
    1. 7/23/2013 11:42 PM Dan the Monster-man wrote:
      Hey Rozani!    It's been a long time!  I hope you are well.   It's nice to hear from you.  Are you still doing art?  I haven't checked my link to your page for a long time.  I have been busy doing art.    I just retired from my teaching career after 40 years.  So now I just want to make art, as much as I can till I die, which I figure is about two blinks of an eye the way time flows these days.
      Thank you for stopping by.
      Keep in touch.
      Dan
      Reply to this
  • 9/3/2013 11:03 PM Lani wrote:
    I am directing The Hobbit in Kirkland at Studio East, a youth theater, and we need to build a huge Smaug dragon puppet. Would you be interested in training us or consulting, or...? You can reach me through my email address.
    Reply to this
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