Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category


Dragon Incense Burner (c) The Full Gamut Workshop

! ! ! RAWRR ! ! !

If you checked out my series of posts about the dragon diorama, here is the final result.  I spent around a total of 20 – 30 hours of work trying to get this dragon to look just right.  I was really trying to get the castle and the dragon both to look realistic.  If you click on the small images they will open larger if you want to see better detail.

Materials Used

The dragon itself is a ceramic figure I acquired which I painted the whole project in a series of different acrylic paints using various techniques.  I also added some ground cover details which I bought at my local hobby store and scrounged in the yard for some neat rocks to add to the display and make it a little more realistic.

Once I had everything glued down where I wanted it, I went back over the ground cover and painted in a few high-lights with some light green paint.  Which I think lends to the realism and looks kind of like new growth.

My favorite part is the base.  I lucked out and found this neat piece of gray felt which was pre-stamped with a rock wall design (I would had added a picture, but my lighting made it turn out a sickly green color.)  I added the felt to cover up the ceramic bottom and to keep it from scratching my furniture.

I did seal it lightly with a few coats of a spray matte clear coat as well.


All in all, I really liked this project even though I always dream too big.  While my dragon didn’t wind up “harvest colors” like originally intended, and there is no moving flames, or even a giant cavern with ambient lighting — I still consider this a success.

My dragon turned out super realistic, the castle looks amazing, and my tufts of green sponges look like real little bushes.

Personally, I think my other half is just glad I got it finished.  I’m pretty sure he was tired of me moaning about trying to get it perfect.

As always: I’m ready for the feed-back.  If you have any comments or wish to share please give proper credit (where its due), or just leave a post.  I’m always looking for new ideas and challenges.

Don’t forget I also paint miniatures for gaming  too (make a request under the custom order link at the top of the page).  Hopefully I will be able to get some decent pictures posted soon for you all to see.  I have a “Skeleton Horse” and a “Red Draconian” miniature I just got finished this week!

Check below for some more images of the dragon.  Thanks for Stopping by!


(c) 2013 The Full Gamut Workshop Click for a larger view.


(c) 2013 The Full Gamut Workshop Click for a larger view.

(c) 2013 The Full Gamut Workshop Click for a Larger View


So, as an update to my last post on my diorama project New Project – Diorama – Conception.


I had the entire diorama fleshed out and ready to coat in layers of sticky gooey paste and was proceeding to do so, but then changed my mind.   The volcano didn’t look quite right, and my rolling hills just didn’t roll.  I also thought how much cooler would this look with some fake stage fire and some lighting effects.  Deciding that I would now have to figure out the electrical problems involved, knowing that I would need minimum a focal light or three, at least two computer fans, and maybe some LED Christmas lights it was going to create a challenge.  Currently I am still puzzling over exactly what I will need to do.

I tried some battery operated Christmas lights I found in the attic, but they are actually too tall for where I want to put them.

[picture of lights]

In the meantime i figured well, I have a couple of working computer fans.  I’ll get the big dragon assembled with the fan.

[picture of dragon]

Unfortunately, once the dragon was all assembled and the fan in place, there wasn’t enough air flow that I needed to produce the stage fire effect I was looking for.   I also discovered after about 4 hours of research on YouTube that I constructed this dragon a little backwards.

So now, I’m back to the drawing board, and I’ll have to redesign the big fire-breathing dragon to better accommodate air flow, and a slightly modified skeletal structure so I can do some better sculpting with the paper mache.

So.  It has been a long time since I have given an update on the dragon Diorama.  I am really sorry about the delayed update.  During the winter my brain seems to slow down and even if I want to be creative unfortunately, I get writer’s block, writer’s cramp, and want to stab myself in the eye with a pencil when i look at the things I create.
As a solution,  I try not to be creative.  I spend a lot of time trying new techniques, reading, and playing Rock Band.  (currently I can play most songs on hard.)
I also spend a ton of time brainstorming new work for the season.  The dragon will one day be finished.  I’m hoping to learn a few new techniques to get it completed.  I do, however, plan on getting my airbrush skills crazy awesome over the next year.
I’ll keep you posted, whether its a success or an utter failure.
Cheers all.

It’s been a while since I have posted and I have now managed to find time to get one out.  Currently I have been extremely busy working on a new project:  My dragon diorama.   To sum up in a nutshell, eventually the diorama will be complete and will include a handmade mommy dragon and nest, and for effect an erupting volcano.  As far as scale is concerned, I’m building the entire diorama to be able to sit on a bookshelf easily.

Check back later for more insight to the building process on the mommy dragon and the landscape.  I will make a future post about it.

Dragon/Castle (c) D. Hellm 2012

It all started with a ceramic incense holder which was given to me by my other half.   He had it given to him as a gift and had been carrying it around for about 15 years.  The person who painted it meant well, but I wouldn’t put it out because honestly I thought it was very ugly (up there with purple dragons.  Dragons ARE NOT a metallic purple.  I’m sorry.  It just looks fake no matter what you do to it).  Imagine a ceramic figure painted by a kindergartener — that’s what it looked like.  Basic gray castle and bright green three-headed dragon.  No detail work and colors that didn’t seem to mesh well.


Detail Dragon Head (c) D. Hellm 2012

Finally, I decided to pull this poor unloved sculpture out of storage and paint it so I could enjoy it.  I started with a flat black base (normally it lends more of a realism to the finished result), although on hindsight, I should have made it a nice primer gray, my lighter colors wouldn’t have needed so many layers.

The dragon’s coloring was inspired by autumn/fall colors (most particularly pumpkins and Chinese ornamental carp.)  After working the dragon almost finished, I decided why not make a diorama out of it.  So I stepped back and started looking at the dragon closer.

Personally, all artwork must tell a story down to the smallest detail.  I’m sure the original artist of the mold for this piece had a story in mind for it, but I’m at a loss for what it is. The dragon looks like it is bursting out of the castle, but why?  Proportionally, the dragon is almost the same size as the castle, but if you look at the tiny doorways in the castle the scale is set at 6mm = 6ft.  That’s a HUGE dragon.  So then, I got to thinking, what could place a dragon inside the castle AND be frightening enough to the dragon to force it to try to escape?

A bigger, angry dragon.

So, to tell the story of this dragon, I decided he was a thief who stole and broke eggs from another much larger mother dragon’s nest.

I painted the castle first, after looking at tons of real castle images so I could capture a sense of realism.  Then I started on the dragon after I was done.

All Images are (c) D. Hellm 2012





So I have just added my first project.  You can find it under the projects tab at the top of my blog.