Sculpting with clay requires time and imagination, making fantasy subjects such as dragons well-suited to the medium. Clay is pliable, so you can form and reform your dragon until you get it exactly the way you want it. Several different kinds of clay are available. Some are self-hardening and some need to be baked in an oven or kiln. Some can be left out for short periods and will not harden, while others will need to be wrapped in wet newspaper to stay moist. Which clay you choose is up to personal preference. Follow the instructions on the packaging for your clay.
Items you will need
Set up your work area. You need a clear clean surface with inspirational photos or knickknacks within view. Clay can stain; avoid carpeted areas or wood tabletops.
Take a piece of clay and form it into a ball. Knead it until you've warmed it to a pliable working temperature, and removed as many air bubbles as possible. Air bubbles can cause your clay to break when it is baked.
Work the clay into a head. Use the knife to cut out larger open spaces like the inside of the mouth. Start with a rough image and add more detail when all the pieces are formed. Change and adapt your dragon as you work with the clay. When you finish one body part, move on to the next, smoothing the pieces together to form a whole.
Hollow out any larger parts of the dragon. If the dragon has a fat belly, make your belly then scoop out the clay in the center. Large mounds of clay can break when baked. For parts such as wings or claws, use models of birds to help you get the three-dimensional shape correct.
Use toothpicks to add details such as nostrils, scales and eyes to your finished form. Draw the details in the clay with the toothpicks. If you make a mistake, smooth out the clay and redraw. When the toothpicks get too messy, throw them away and use a new toothpick. Use a needle instead of a toothpick if you want smaller details.
Bake the clay according to the instructions on the package. After backing, use acrylic paints to add colors to your finished sculpture.
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