Make Your Own Friesen Style Polymer Clay Dragon – How to Make Arms & Legs Tutorial
Posted on January 18, 2013 in 2013 Friesen Project by Katie
Well, it’s finally here … the second week of Tutorials for the 2013 Friesen Project. I have loved seeing all of your work and dragons that you have made over the past week since we began this project. Here are two of my personal favorites…both done as an offspring of the Wendyll dragon from the first tutorial.
It’s now time to continue making your dragon and now you’re going to add arms and or legs to your wee-beasties. You can add two arms, four arms, six arms … two legs, three legs or no legs! The choice is completely yours. This week your challenge is to create your own freeform dragon using Christi’s techniques and making a dragon completely unique to you.
PLEASE NOTE: To make your own dragon tutorial, you will need Christi Friesen’s Dragon book that is available for purchase here. Due to copyright, exact details and process have been minimalized to protect Christi’s art and design. Polymer clay is the most shared community in the world, please do not ruin that by going against US copyright laws.
It’s time to make your dragon walk!
Last week many of you devoured the mini-tutorial here on the blog. In case you missed the tutorial, you can go here to read it now. You will not be able to complete today’s tutorial without first making a dragon. So, gather your inspiration and get ready to add some personality, arms, and legs to your dragon. Hopefully after making your first dragon last week, you have the feel of dragons. So, plan your next dragon in your head or on paper and let’s give him some arms & legs … let the Dragon Tutorial for the oogie-boogie limbs begin!
The basic instructions for beginning every project art the same…so again, in order to get started making legs & arms for your cutest dragon ever, you will need a section of polymer clay that matches the dragon you are working on. The first thing that you will need to do is make sure that your clay is well conditioned.
As we learned the first week, there are literally hundreds of ways, designs, and an infinite possibility of combinations to making a dragon from polymer clay. It’s 100% up to you how you want to do that. But here’s the most important part. You must be having fun while you are doing it. If you are not … well then why do it at all.
In order to make your dragon, follow the steps outlined here and in Christi’s book. This week you are making a free-formed dragon that looks … well, however you want it to. It’s design, shape, color, pattern are completely up to you.
From circles, cones, smooshie things, to toes…
Christi has a discussion of how to make arms & legs in her book on page 40. You can refer to that for detailed pictures and explicit instructions (thank you Christi, you are awesome). Today, I’m showing you the way that I make arms and legs for my dragons, it’s slightly different than Christi’s method, but you need to use the method that works for you. I like to add four toes on dragon legs & three fingers on dragons…but perhaps you will like more or less. The outline below works for both dragon arms & dragon legs.
At right you will see a picture of the steps necessary to create dragon parts … and by parts I mean lys, toes, arms, & fingers. The first thing is to take a hunk of clay (yes I know those are very specific sizes…but it depends on the overall size of your dragon, so judge accordingly – see the photograph in the top left) and divide it in half. You are going to roll those halves into two cone shapes (see photo in upper middle). And then ever so carefully, smoosh (yes, I know another very technical direction) the “bell” shaped side onto your work surface (see upper right photo).
Before I cut toes into my dragons arms, or legs, whichever the case may be, I like to play with the shape of the arm or leg. Just so I can visualize the way it looks against the body of my dragon. I should also add at this point that I do my arms & legs dead last. Sometimes I don’t feel that dragons needs arms or legs because they are awesome winged creatures. But then sometimes I feel that they just need arms because they have to carry very heavy objects into the clouds … and sometimes they just need legs because they have to stomp on really giant dragon bugs before they eat all their dragon vegetables. So … only you can decide if and what your dragon needs.
Once you have the shape the way you want it, use your exacto knife and cut slits into the clay where you want to toes to be. Then use a blunt needle tool to separate the toes. You can make them long (for sticky fingered dragons) or skinny for dragons that are young … or you can make them chubby for strong dragons. Use a combination of your fingers and any tools you may have to finish the toes the way you want and add litle fingernails if you so choose.
Add Them to Your Dragon
The next part is the easiest, it’s time to add those scaly arms & legs to your dragon. Line them up where you want them to sit on your dragon and blend the seams together. Add embelishments and finish your dragon as outlined in the first tutorial this month.
This Week’s Project
This week your challenge is to create a dragon, using Christi’s style, that’s different from the dragon you created last week and add arms or legs or both … but try your hand at making those lucious appendages for your wee-beastie (or giant beastie) whichever you prefer …
YOU HAVE NOW MADE YOUR FIRST CHRISTI FRIESEN INSPIRED DRAGON THAT CAN ACTUALLY WALK, CRAWL, OR BEG FOR DINNER…
The Friesen Project
The Friesen Project is done in conjunction with Christi Friesen. All tutorials are retaught here with her expressed permission. Please make sure to read about the project here, and get answers to the most common FAQS here.
See you next Friesen Friday,
Until then, Happy Claying,