Saturday, August 22, 2015

Work In Progress - Dragon, Update One

My favorite wood handle
quilling tool and a few pieces
of the latest project.
I'm always in the middle of some relatively big quilling project.  It's usually something I'm creating for a gift, and so I want to do something really nice.  So I'll start the project, but will still quill other, smaller things when I need a change of pace, (or just a break from doing the same color over and over if filling in a large space.)

Pick a nice permission-free
book of designs.
At the moment, my 'big project' work in progress (WIP) is a dragon.  I've been wanting to quill a dragon for a long, long time, but didn't find any patterns.  I finally realized I was going to have to get clever, and find a drawing of a dragon both that I liked, and that could be expressed well with quilling.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, design and motif books are a great source of ideas.  I bought a motif book about dragons that was specifically permission-free, so I could do as I liked with the design and the finished product.  I spent a long while flipping through the book and trying to make a decision.  My friend likes designs with Asian elements, so I chose to narrow the search to Asian dragons.  And then I spotted a good one.  It was too small for what I wanted, but my copier cured that by expanding the image several hundred percent.

Dragon colored in with pencils.
Size of the dragon can be seen
using my grid, four
squares to the inch.
With my pattern in hand, the next issue was color.  I made several copies of my pattern, and then used my colored pencils to try different color schemes.  It didn't take me long to hit on one I really liked, with a neon/lime green for the body, yellow for the underbelly and face, and then a host of other colors like orange and blue for the spines, and purple for the claws.

I was pleased with the result, and figured that this had some great elements to express in quilling.  The only concern I had (and have) is the face.  Haven't gotten that far (yet).  Note that an arm and a leg are behind the main body, and that the tail is also flipped up to be up above part of the body and the lower part of the tail.  I wanted to quill this difference - make the dragon dimensional.  So I had to plan ahead which pieces needed to be quilled and then glued in what order.

Then came the fun part of just experimenting.  I didn't know what size paper I needed, so simply dug through the huge box of spare paper (that I'm sure every quiller has) found some stuff I had a lot of, and used that to figure out what size paper I was going to need to get a given size shape.  I figured the scales would be best expressed with teardrop shapes, and the underbelly, well, I just started following the lines.  As soon as I knew I had a good, repeatable size and form, I switched to the bright green (that I don't have a ton of) and the bright yellow, and started quilling away.  I immediately liked the effect, and was encouraged!  I'm always worried when I start a big project - will it "work" or just not look right.  I'm pretty sure the body of the dragon, at least is going to look just fine.

Image Credit:  My pix of my quilling, and a line art from the book Dragons - A Book of Designs, by Marty Noble.  Dragon line drawing is specifically free for use.  BUT my quilled version of the dragon is my own design, and I hold the copyright for that.


  1. I love the beautiful, bright colors in that dragon, and the way those colors extend out to purple claws. You have a great sense of how color works.

  2. Thanks! I'm glad you like the color scheme - took some experimentation. I definitely wanted the colors to be bright, fantastical in nature, like the dragon.