Dragon (a tutorial)
To begin with you will need the following;
1. Super Sculpey clay (actually, almost any Sculpey or Fimo will do for this, however I would personally recommend Super Sculpey, in skin tone as it's the most versatile and easiest to work with)
2. Aluminium modelling wire, roughly 1 metre of. I use 3.2mm wire from this seller on eBay but as long as it's malleable enough and not too thin, it'll do.
3. Some pliers, wire cutters etc. for bending and cutting the wire. You don't need pliers to bend it, as it's very soft but if you're bending smaller parts or trying to get a sharp angle it's much easier to use pliers. You will need wire cutters.
4. Some short pieces of thinner wire, paperclips work well, or those bendy black things you get in the boxes of electrical products that keep cables tied up neatly, just remember to remove the plastic coating if you're cooking them in the oven.
5. Superglue, optional. I hate superglue and try to avoid it where possible but sometimes it can be a friend indeed.
6. A reference picture. This can be one you drew yourself or one stolen from the t'internet, like mine below.
For my reference picture, I'm using the black dragon on the left, as I prefer them to Oriental style dragons.
When making any figure, the key is to support it structurally from inside and this is one of the functions of the wire, the other being to give you some form to work with. You'll want to make the skeleton in a few parts, so fashion a crude body (from head to tail) out of one piece, using wire cutters to cut it off when you're done. I'd recommend always waiting until you're done before you cut your piece off. Next you'll want legs, so bend the wire to make two legs, of equal length out of one piece of wire, bearing in mind that the dragon's front legs are shorter than his hind ones and they bend like dog's legs (i.e. backwards in the middle)
Body and front legs
Next you'll want to straighten out those paperclips and use them to tie the pieces together, if you're having trouble getting them to stay, try making a small indent in the body piece, in which the legs will sit. If you're still struggling to keep it steady, here's where I would drop a little drop of superglue onto each tie, just to give it that extra support. Don't worry if it's not totally durable, you're going to strengthen it with tin foil later on and then finally with clay.
Paperclips used to tie up the joints
Now the skeleton is complete, you can have a final play with it, bend it a little bit, pose it but don't go too mad as it's still pretty fragile. Here's my finished skeleton;
Next step, musculature, to follow..