Clay Dragons with Bella Enchanted Studio!
By Michele Thymmons and Bella of Bella Enchanted Studio
Have you ever seen a dragon that is some beautiful, so detailed, so realistic, and made with love that you expected it to either give a puff of smoke out of its nostrils or start moving, stretching, looking up at you, etc? These are the amazing Dragonkins Bella makes. The words that accompany each dragon tell the story of that particular dragon, who they are, what they are, how they came to be, and even pulling you along for part of their journey at times.
I have fallen in love with dragons ever since a young age, watching Dragonheart, the Never-ending Story, and so many more where dragons could be both friendly and an enemy. Bella’s dragonkins, make me fall in love all over again with dragons and how each person’s creative vision of a dragon is something unique and special that when they offer it to the world, with it comes a piece of their heart and who they are. True dragon hearts to be shared and inspire each of us in our journey to create and show the world the uniqueness and one of a kind (OOAK - kinda a cool acronym :) that is us. Keep reading for Bella’s story below as well as additional resources to help you on your sculpting journey. By the way, the below dragon is probably my favorite (if I can actually choose only one) of Bella's as it combines dragons with knowledge and a love of books :) Two or rather three (dragons, learning, and books) of my favorite things!
I will be your guide through the wondrous world of Mirordor; a magical realm of intrigue, unfathomable magic, and Dragonkin! Every Dragonkin in Mirordor has a story to tell, some sad, some happy and some downright silly, but one thing is for certain, no two dragonkin are alike. Dragonkin live within the world of Mirordor, a parallel world to our own, a place where Humans have not stepped foot in a millennium. Until I came along.
My Name is Bella, your dragon loving tour guide. I'm a 29 year old woman with a couple of tattoos, a three year old son and an American pit bull terrier. I have been sculpting with polymer clay for 1 year and 7 months. I am completely self taught with 13 years past experience in the Baking and Pastry world as a professional cake decorator. In my spare time I enjoy playing Skyrim, Digital Drawing or reading Fantasy, if my time isn't being occupied by my feisty Superhero son.
I started working with Polymer clay in December of 2016. It was something fun to do for Christmas gifts and I was having a creative influx. I started off small like most artists do in the beginning, getting your toes wet so to speak. I was scared to spend too much money, scared of messing up, and scared of being rejected. I made basic creatures that slowly evolved as I got comfortable with clay and at first I made anything and everything just to get my name out there.
Starting off in the clay world I was blown away, inspired and intimidated by the sheer number of artists out there. I was most inspired by artists such as @regnumdraconis, a croatian tattooist that also makes beautiful fantasy inspired Jewelry from clay with heavy Tolkien vibes screaming magic. Erin @whisperfillies hand sculpts these drop dead gorgeous little fillies with such personality and flair it blows your mind. However, my all time favorite sculptor was @enchantedwyrm. She makes these dragons that make your heart stop for their beauty. They looked so perfect and are even more so in person. Each of these ladies were not only extremely talented and awe inspiring, but kind, humble, and helpful as well. Their feeds look beautiful, their art was perfection and they had an amazing following. They were everything I aspired to become. They were my role models in the polymer art world.
To get good like them I had to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE and practicing meant I needed to know where to start. I watched YouTube videos, read blogs, and scoured pinterest. I developed my clay skills quickly as I was practicing every day. I would try a new technique, something I had learned on youtube or a suggestion from a facebook group each day. As a newbie I reached out to other up and coming artists frequently for help. I talked to them and we traded knowledge of things we had learned in our separate journey's. I relied heavily on the internet, amazing advice and my passion to create something truly unique to me. I spent months discovering my personal style. Officially launching my first Dragonkin with a story early October 2017 and I haven't looked back.
Art and Fantasy have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, an intrinsic part of my makeup and design as a human. It was a no brainer that combining my love of stores with my love of Dragons would be successful. When I was living true to myself and making art that made me happy I not only gained a following, I gained faith and confidence in my self. As I sculpted my Dragons, they began to take on a life of their own and so did I. If I have one piece of advice to give: Be true to yourself and make art you want, art that makes you happy. Success will follow.
Some of the Resources I used and still do:
The Blue Bottle Tree - AMAZING for anyone starting out as a clay artist. I can not recommend this site enough. From trouble shooting to Tutorials you can find what you are looking for. If this was a book the spine would be broken from how many times I have used it.
Sculpted Products - I buy almost all of my clay supplies from here. They are the most reasonably priced that I have found and offer fast shipping.
Youtube- Basic I know, but its a treasure trove of information, some good, some bad. One thing is certain, if you start off looking for something, ie; "polymer clay tutorials" it will send you down a rabbit hole to a world of infinite possibilities. If you have an idea of what you want to do as an artist, type it into the search box with your art medium of choice, ie: "polymer clay foxes." Even if you don’t find exactly what you are looking for, you will learn something new that will help you develop your skills.
Pinterest- A treasure trove of inspiration and information! Whether it be color palettes, tutorials, a dinner recipe, you'll find information that can lead you to more information. I used Pinterest in the beginning to learn how to take better pictures, how to use hashtags, how to write a captivating caption, how to run a small business and the list goes on.
Facebook groups such as Polymer Clay Sculpting Lounge, Beginning polymer Clay-Sculpey, Fimo, ect., HOP! are a great resource of information and a great way to meet like minded individuals.
Note - This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you, should you click through and make a purchase.
Everyone creates, designs, and learns things differently. With this in mind, I’ve tried to include a variety of articles/resources below and will continue to add more even after the article is published. Most of these resources are free but others include classes or resources that are paid.
Myths and Legends Surrounding Dragons:
For this post I wanted to focus on more videos rather than reading about mythical dragons. So I’ve specifically focused on videos describing or showing you dragons and exploring myths around the world.
5 Most Powerful Mythological Dragons From around the World delves into 5 different myths worldwide to include fire breathing dragons, and specific types of dragons in ancient Greece, China and other countries. The video is 7 minute long by Beyond Science and a very interesting listen.
11 Dragons You Won’t Believe Actually Exist is a different take on dragons but delves into what types of real dragons actually exist today such as the Komodo Dragon, the Dragon Snakes (scales truly look like dragons!), Bearded Dragons (you can have your own living dragon as a pet!), the Pink Dragon Millipede (NOT made up!!! It’s really pink and looks like a dragon!), and that’s only the first four!! The video is 7 minute long by Facts Verse and definitely interesting to see parts of our world you may never have seen before!
Serpents and Dragons: Crash Course World Mythology #38 is literally a 12 minute crash course on dragons and serpents found throughout history.
Did Dragons Really Exist?: Documentary on the History of Dragons is the longest video of the list. It is an hour and 40 minute documentary diving into the myths and legends surrounding dragons to see, could they really have existed? Maybe they were around with the Dinosaurs and they died out with them which would explain why we do not see them now.
In Search of History - Dragons is a 42 minute History Channel video searching for dragons throughout history. A lot of places throughout history that dragons came to be are shown here.
Adding to last weeks clay sculpting (and Bella’s great resources listed above), the below three are mostly videos, going with the resource theme of videos this week.
Sculpting a Dragon with Clay with ClayStation takes you through the steps from building the foundation of your dragon/piece using mesh, foil, and wires. Then once your base is established, you can start adding on the clay to make your dragon.
How to Sculpt a Dragon in Polymer Clay - Sculpture Tutorial takes you through each step needed to create an amazing dragon! Of which the first rule is to truly make sure you build your base strong.
Sculpting Magnifico, the Dragon takes you through the fast mode of a video of how he sculpted his dragons Magnifico. Nothing is left out :)
Craftsy has a number of courses and patterns available online and range from how to create silver metal clay , fairy doors , beads , jewelry , and canes for cutting and use in sculptures or jewelry. Some of these are free while others are a small amount (less than $10). I have included links (affiliate links - which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you, should you click through and make a purchase.) on each of the items above so you can start your journey to make your own clay sculpture. In fact, this link will allow you to save up to 30% on all craft supplies!
Where you Can Purchase these Materials/Equipment:
Consumercrafts has a wide variety of clay brands from plast-i-clay , sculpey , craft smart clay , and other smaller brands. You can also choose from modeling clay , oven bake clay and other types of clay. Equipment needed to create your clay sculpture such as clay tools can also be found on the website. The clay comes in so many colors that you may not have to paint, just use the clay. I have included links (affiliate links - which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you, should you click through and make a purchase.) on each of the items above so you can start your journey to make your own clay sculpture.
If you prefer to actually touch and see (maybe even smell :)) these items and discuss them with someone physically, most of your local craft stores have some of the types of clay described above as well as the equipment. These stores can include Michaels, Joann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, sometimes even Staples, CVS, Target, Walmart, and other grocery stores may have modeling clay or other types of clay and the equipment needed to craft the base/foundation of the clay sculpture you want to capture.
Thank you for joining us for this 5th Maker Feature! Check out Bella’s website (www.enchantedbella.com) for gorgeous and amazing dragonkins and so much more! You can also read more about her and other dragon makers in the article 29 of the Most Talented Dragon Makers on Instagram . Other maker features about sculpting, pattern writing, blog creating, and wood carving can be found here and Tutorials about Tailwind, blocking handmades and others can be found here. I’d also love to hear from you about what types of resources you want more information on as well as Makers you would like to nominate for a Maker Feature! Please email (email@example.com) or leave a comment on this article! Looking forward to hearing from you and have a great day!