Dragon Tooth Art


New workshop tour

Where I sculpt fossils

by Thomas Clinch creator of Dragon Tooth Art

After several years of using whatever space that I could throughout my home or backyard (when the weather is nice), I have finally taken over my own basement and created a workshop for my sculpture.

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How I Make 3d Sculpture

with a 3D Pen and a 3D Printer

11/16/2021by Thomas Clinch creator of Dragon Tooth Art

     Over the years, I have refined my sculpting method to allow for greater flexibility in my craft. Recently taking up drawing with the 3D pen, I have been able to create sculptures that are lightweight and durable without compromising on form. 

For a short video on the process, look here: 

Once I have a sculpture created, I can then scan the item onto my computer and print a copy of the original item. After some finish work, I can print an exact replica of my original artwork and fossil replicas. This new process allows me to work on multiple sculptures at once and carry a wider array of items in my shop. 

Dragon Tooth Art is continuing to grow through evenings and weekends and I will continue to grow my shop. I am creating smaller ornamental items that will be easier to produce and sell at a lower price point. 

As my shop continues to expand, so does my process. I began with reductive sculpting from foam, and transitioned to additive sculpting with the 3D pen. Now I use a combination of both to streamline my creative process. 

The origin of my sculpture and the roots of Dragon Tooth Art

3/19/2021by Thomas Clinch creator of Dragon Tooth Art
Dragon Tooth Art Origin Story Leader Image

     The roots of Dragon Tooth Art stretch way back into my past. I've always been creating things. Starting with Duplos and Legos as a toddler to using paper in my second grade classroom to make a diorama of dinosaurs that covered several desks. I've always loved art and had a passion for learning about dinosaurs, but I didn't see a future in it, so I went to college focused on studying medicine.

     Two years in, I came to the realization that I had made a mistake. While I enjoyed the study of anatomy, I did not enjoy the competitive nature of premed courses. The knowledge that it would only get more extreme as I progressed toward medical school left me depressed and even suicidal. That is when art saved my life. 

     There were a few art electives thrown into my first year of classes, but by the end of the second, it had become a lifeline. All of the medicine and biology I had focused on for nearly two years left an imprint as well, so that naturally branched into creating anatomical art. 

    By the end of my final year, I had changed my predetermined degree path from premed to studio art. My final project was to construct a series of life size human skeletons depicting several of the major organ systems in dynamic and artistic poses. I sculpted the internal structure of the human body using styrofoam, blue jeans, wire, glue and paint, and they all looked realistic.  

     Things began to change quickly after college with the recession in full swing, my post graduate plans were toast, and my father was diagnosed with cancer. Now working as a caretaker, I felt my degree was useless, so I began to turn to art again as an escape. Instead of continuing to make human anatomy art, I made my first dragon.

    Using my knowledge of anatomy, I decided to combine my love of fantasy with my art and make the bones of a real dragon that could physically exist if evolution worked in its favor. Since the material I used was so lightweight, I didn't go small. The skull was two and a half feet long and I made most of the rest of the skeleton too! That year caring for my father and sculpting dragon bones was the birth of Dragon Tooth Art. 

     My father recovered from surgery and went into remission, and I finally found work as a Scenic Artist. Things were looking up! I moved out on my own and the seed of Dragon Tooth Art kept growing. After I realized that there was nowhere to store a full size dragon skeleton, I started working on a smaller scale mostly on dragon skulls. 

     During this time I really refined the custom shaping of the skull while also revealing the fierce nature of the dragon. This was when I made my very first sale when my best friend asked that I make the dragon skull from Skyrim. He just had to have one and knew someone with the skills to make it. I thought that was my one and only sale, but I did not realize just how much things were going to change.

     Certain people have the ability to see things in ourselves that we fail to see in ourselves. When I met the woman who would become my wife, I hadn't considered turning my art into a business. She took one look at the things I had made and told me that she thought I had paid someone else to make these fantastic items I had on display, and that I should be producing them for others to enjoy.

    Of course, I had a list of excuses about why I couldn't possibly. The sculptures were completely out of foam at the time, and they were incredibly delicate. I didn't see a way to display them where anyone would want to buy one. I didn't think anyone would want to display one anyway... 

     The reality was that I was mostly just scared to fail. She saw past all of those minor issues and helped me realize that I could resolve them quite easily. I created a hard coating to put over the delicate foam that made them exceedingly stronger and used my newly acquired wood working skills to craft bases that displayed and protected my sculpture. Suddenly, in 2016, I opened my Etsy shop Dragon Tooth Art.

     As the next few years passed, life continued to change rapidly. Through the births of my two little boys, changing my day job, getting engaged, buying a house, and all of the other things that life threw my way, Dragon Tooth Art was there growing as I developed a niche in the arts and collectibles market. 

     At first I only offered dragon skulls, and custom dragon skulls. Then I moved onto creating other sculpture and full size dinosaur skeleton fossil replicas. Velociraptor was the first dinosaur that I sculpted and it was something I made for fun. It was amazing to find that there was so much interest in dinosaur fossil replicas. My childhood dream became reality and the paper dinosaurs from the second grade had evolved into full size dinosaur specimen replicas. 

     I was limited by my material. The delicate foam kept my art as only a curiosity and a trinket for display and marvel. Dragon Tooth Art was going to take a new turn when I discovered a sculpting material that allows me to keep the other properties I enjoyed about using the foam but is also so durable that my pieces become immersive tools for education or play. The next big change in my life came as everyone's around the world changed amid the coronavirus pandemic and it was on the internet. 

     Discovering a new YouTube channel is a pretty common occurrence, but at this time I saw a new one that really changed things. In my day job, I had experience with 3D printers. For a few years, I had paid the bills finishing 3D printed items for commercial use. 3D pens always seemed like a novelty toy for kids. The method I saw the artist use in The Video Linked Here made me realize that the 3D pen is the future of Dragon Tooth Art. 

     Now I have totally transformed the way that I make my art. Once my sculptures were just a curiosity, and now I have turned them into fossil specimens that can be handled safely. Made out of durable plastic and finished by an artist fascinated by the study of bones, fossils, and dinosaurs. 

    And the future? Now that I've incorporated the 3D pen and have begun to master the plastic medium, the next step is to incorporate the 3D printers I've learned to operate. Soon to come: we are hopeful for 3D scans of my previous work incorporated into new 3D pen drawings. The future is full of continued growth and change and I'm excited to see where it goes!

     Thank you so much for reading my first blog entry. I plan to write another soon explaining the research and drawing process that goes into each project. Any comments you have are welcome at my email: DragonToothArt@gmail.com. Reach out to me with one of the methods on my Contact page.