Friday, 27 March 2015

The first cubist buildings

Here are the first buildings from the subdivision across the motorway, rendered as a series of fractal cubes.  As I said last time, I want to create a landscape out of Menger sponges.

I've sprayed the structures with rust-coloured primer and chrome silver paint, and picked out some details in coloured acrylic.  These buildings have subtle accent colours in blue and green, but I also plan to use bright cadmium red accents in some places.

The buildings are based (loosely, obviously), on ones I can see from my house.  Here they are, in the middle of the picture above the green car:

This is the view I'll be working with, but since this is an abstract piece I'm much more interested in creating an interesting composition than accurately recording the landscape.

Monday, 16 March 2015

No, I didn't fall off the edge of the world

I just haven't had any good ideas for a while, and if you don't have any ideas there's no point in doing anything. 

Then on Friday I got bored waiting for some code to compile and I started making a Menger sponge.

Level 2 Menger sponge from the side

Level 2 Menger sponge from the top

That one is a level 2 Menger sponge.  It's made up of 20 of these level 1 sponges, which in turn are each made up of 20 paper spirals pinched into little cubes.

Level 1 Menger sponge

I thought using spirals to make the Menger sponges would underline the fractal nature of the shape.  Then I thought that if I made a whole bunch of Menger sponges I could arrange them into a landscape.  An abstract landscape, of course.  Cubist, even.  But then a lot of city landscapes are rather cubist anyway.  The subdivision across the gorge from my house is a case in point.  So I went and got a big canvass, and I plan to make a relief sculpure of that subdivision with the Menger shapes.  It'll be really fun if I can turn a boring housing development into an interesting landscape.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Finally got the dragon skin finished

The dragon skin is now painted in subtle green and brown tones.  For some reason, the paint looks better in photos than it does in real life.  Why?  I have no idea.  But it looks pretty good in photos.

The skin texture really helps here, I think.  This is also true of the wings, where the paint has picked up the texture and enhanced it.  Unlike the body, the wing membranes have come out very green with a slight hint of brown underneath.  It's exactly the same paint sloshed all over the sculpt, it's just generated different effects in different areas.  I suspect it has to do with how the underlying material absorbs the paint.

And here's a photo of the whole thing:

Thursday, 15 January 2015

I'm back

Happy New Year, internet!  Sorry I've been absent for so long.  I haven't forgotten this blog, or gotten sick of it, it's just that I haven't had any good ideas recently.  You can't do this sort of stuff if you don't have any good ideas, because it ends up being boring and disappointing for everybody.

But I now have a head for the dragon skin I've been working on.  It's a beaky, bird-like head.

With the head attached to the body, the whole thing looks like this.

Not too bad.  I'm pleased with how the scales have worked out.  Of course, there's nothing sophisticated or clever about the scales.  They are lentils.  The smaller scales are represented using quinoa seeds.  Here's what the head looks like underneath the outer layers of paper:

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Putting the wings together

I managed to get around to putting the wings on the dragon this weekend, and adding scales to the body.

Then I started building up the skin underneath the wings.  At some point soon, I'll have to figure out what I want to do with the head.  I have no idea so far, but I'll figure something out.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


Topsell's dragons have very interesting wings: they aren't quite bird wings and they aren't quite bat wings.  They have skin membranes supported on ribs, but the ribs don't look like finger bones as is the case with a bat.

Winged dragon
Image from here.

Instead, the wings seem to be supported by curved spikes of bone or cartilage.  But notice how the overall shape of the wing is based on a bird's wing, and scales have been drawn along the leading edge of the wing to imitate feathers.  I've used the same approach in making the wings for my project.

I've put a thin membrane between long curved spines set at intervals along the wing, and added scaly texture to the top edge.  I think this might look quite good when it's finished.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Dragon scales and legs

Overall, I think the dragon skin project is starting to show real promise.

The legs and tail each have a strip of wire inside to keep them in position, but other than that they are just paper.  By using layers of tissue impregnated with thin glue, I find I can create a surface that folds and curls in on itself much like a dried animal skin.

I've also had a little play around with some ideas for dragon scales.  I've got large ones in the center of the spine and smaller ones along the sides.  So far, I quite like this arrangement.  Eventually I'll extend it over the rest of the skin.