Lion Fish/Leafy Sea Dragon

Lion Fish/Leafy Sea Dragon - student project

My original idea for this project was to sculpt a dragon, which I was going to base loosely off of Saphira the dragon from Eragon.

  • Lion Fish/Leafy Sea Dragon - image 1 - student project

I was liking how it was looking. But then I realized it wasn't very original or creative. So even though I love dragons, I decided to start over.

Then I had an idea, I was thinking about how I love sea creatures just as much as dragons. I love how they can flow and bend seamlessly. After scrolling through google images, I then decided on my two favorite sea creatures: the sea lion and leafy sea dragon. Why not combine them?

Lion Fish/Leafy Sea Dragon - image 2 - student project

This is what I have so far, I decided to keep the shape of the head like the dragon's. Then I added the sea lion's fins and leafy sea dragon's dorsal fins. I haven't decided the color yet, but I think I'll combine both patterns. I want to keep him cheerful and happy, and I might even use this pose for the sculpture, but turn his head to the side a little.

Playing around with the color, not sure about the fins yet, but overall I'm happy with it. I think the fins can use some spots and some color change.

Lion Fish/Leafy Sea Dragon - image 3 - student project

I think I'm coming closer to the final design. Ignoring the fact the stripes on the fins are a different color. I think I'm going to choose a color in between the red and brown. I like the addition of the extra fins, I wanted somthing to fill in the space. I'm also considering adding subtle chest plates that aren't defined on the sides. Unless I can think of something else to add, I think it's time to get the supplies I need to start the armature.

Next I've sketched him out from three different angles to help with the sculpting process. After doing more research on the lionfish, I was reminded they have spikes and I thought they'd be a nice addition.

Lion Fish/Leafy Sea Dragon - image 4 - student project

After that I started playing around with what the actuall sculpture will look like. At first I had the idea he'd be at the stop of a wave, but I soon dropped that idea. I designed this creature because I love how they flow underwater.

Lion Fish/Leafy Sea Dragon - image 5 - student project

Now I'm finnaly at the end of the concept stage. I've decided that he will be attachted to a tall rock, similar to Emily's "Doppleback Whale." I did some research on the leafy sea dragon and lionfish's habitats for the base. I want to incorperate the enviorment around the subject to give it more of an underwater look. What I have in mind is some seagrass to represent the sea dragon, and some coral to represent the lionfish. I've never planned this much for a sculpture before, I usually just jump right into it, but this sure has been a huge help and will make everything easier later on! Now onto building the armature! I have a nice oval shaped peice of red oak I'm going to use.

Lion Fish/Leafy Sea Dragon - image 6 - student project

Im finally getting the time to start the sculpting process, but before I did I changed the pose.

Lion Fish/Leafy Sea Dragon - image 7 - student project

I started by U-bolting 3 wires in a tipi shape for the rocks, then I ancored a piece of wire to the base by wraping and gluing it for the Leafy Sealion Dragon that I'm going to shape after I finnish sculptung and baking the base. For the rocks I decided just to use some leftover Sculpey Original I had with me and it worked really well. I think it can use a little more texturing. (I don't know how to turn the photo, haha)

Lion Fish/Leafy Sea Dragon - image 8 - student project

Here's how it looked when I first bulked it out, I want to give him a happy/excited expression. I had the wire coming out of the rocks in the wrong position, so I took the oppurtunity to hot glue it before I sculpted some rocks on top.

Lion Fish/Leafy Sea Dragon - image 9 - student project

I really liked how it was looking from the side, but when I looked at the front...

Lion Fish/Leafy Sea Dragon - image 10 - student project

Yikes... he looks like an evil snake. I think I have to cut the eyes off and try again. Maybe make a deeper eye socket? And bring it in to the middle more. I want him to look like he has front facing eyes.

A month later...

I completly forgot to give an update, whoops! I've already finished the sculpture and sanded him, so all that's left is the paint, I just havn't gotten around to it yet. I figured out the problem with the face. I pushed the front of his eyebrows towards the middle to give him more front facing eyes, then I built up more on the cheekbones. The end result makes him look so perky and happy! This is the first sculpture that I've been able to portray emotion and give a dynamic pose, so I'm really excited about that! For the fins I used Sculpey Premo similar to Leilia's project. My reason for doing this is I wanted the use the translucent clay. When you hold him to the light it just make him that much cooler!

Lion Fish/Leafy Sea Dragon - image 11 - student project