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  • May

    Here are the photos I promised. Due to life, there were delays in getting this post put together.


    First of all I started with a cute little dragon made of bisque. Bisque is ceramic that has been fire hardened and ready to either be painted or glazed. Since I do not own a kiln of my own I paint everything instead. Here is a photo of it before and after I apply the base cost which is just flat black spray paint.

    Make sure when using spray paint you have a well ventilated area. I actually have a box I set up in the window to spray in. I took a double fan that sits in the window and I turn it on so the air is blowing out. I have a cardboard box that has a flat bottom and four “pillars” for the corners. So really it is a cardboard tray. But I stick two of the pillars out the window and use the fan to hold it in place. Turning the fan on I then have a way to use spray paint inside my house without dieing on fumes. It will not eliminate all the smell but it will make a huge difference.

    After I have base coated the item in question, this time my dragon hatchling. I then get out my acrylic paints. I like acrylic paints because they dry fast and they are water soluble. I always keep a couple cups of water handy, using the same method I use for face painting, I keep one for dark colors and one for light. This make water changes less frequent. For cleaning brushes as you are painting I prefer to use the cups of water and I keep a few paper towels near by. A neat trick I learned for saving on paper towels was to keep old jeans. Cut the pants into pieces and use that for wiping your brushes. After you have used all the surface area you can toss them in the washer and then use them again!

    So now that I have selected my dragon and what color I want it to be I started with a light color first as I intended to use a “wash” technique for the finish would darken it. The first colors I painted were the largest areas, the egg I base coated with a light brown. For the dragon body I used a pastel peach color as my underlying tone.

    After I had these colors done and dry I took a burgundy shade to make my dragon look red. The peachy color and the burgundy seemed to contrast each other just right and give this nice shade of red. I put a bit of this burgundy in my mixing tray and added a lot of water to make this more like a stain than a paint. So you want what looks like red juice really, a very thin watery color, you can always add more, it’s much harder to lighten it rather than darken it.  I lightly brushed it over all the peach areas. You want the color to settle into all the little cracks to bring out the 3D of the piece.

    After this was done I went back with a tiny pointed detail brush using the same burgundy watery paint I redrew all the little scale lines and darkened the lined edges and finger cracks. This part will take some time a patience, probably a break as well.  After this I also applied the white color on the egg, having the brown as an underlying color makes the egg look a little less bright. When applying the white, paint in layers don’t try to get the egg white all in on go, it will look very flat if you do this. It’s ok to have some areas where the color is a bit thinner so the brown shows through some.

    Next I painted the neck, I used a metallic paint and I wanted this to not have much black showing through so I put a lot of layers on this area. I also found a very dark purple shade and painted the first color on the wings, frills and horns. I like to color coordinate things I paint and I feel areas should match (like an outfit) so I have more than one one place with the same color.

    The next area was the face. I wanted a color that said fire because this is a red dragon. I used a very bright vibrant orange shade for the underlying color, I knew I would be toning it down with a top color.


    I applied the darker shade over this to mute the intensity of the orange. I used a dry brush technique, but with a bit more paint on the brush than normal. To do this you need to dampen the brush and get some paint on it, then you rub the bristles out a bit on your paper towel or piece of jeans. Leave the paint that in in between the bristles but remove the excess. Rub the brush over the areas you want the color. It will take time but you want this because it will leave the cracks open showing the underlying color.

    I then used some of the red metallic to give some shine to the face. I also used a tiny fine point brush and a metallic black to paint the lines on the neck.

    After this I used a metallic bronze as the secondary color on the wings, frills, and horns. I used the same dry brush technique for these parts as well, this works best with a flat bristle brush.

    Some of the last areas still not painted are the nails and spikes. I decided I wanted these two to match and I applied a nice metallic gold. I did use a few layers to give it that nice shine.

    Now to the last parts. I used a clear paint that had gold and platinum sparkles in it. I brushed this over the red dragon body and the egg as well. This gave an overall nice shiny look to the dragon and gave the egg a bit of a supernatural look. After this I painted the eyes which will bring your creature to life.  I used a solid red color for the outer area of the eye (sclera). I traced out the iris shape as I applied the red. I then used some of that vibrant orange and lined the inner edge of the iris to make what looks like a flame. For the pupil I used some of that shiny metallic black to make the eyes really pop. So after some touchups as I went, mostly cleaning up edges and sharpening and defining colors here is my end result.

    So tell me what you think! Feel free to ask questions!



May 2011
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