About the Artist
[Hi, I'm Kelsey - Geeky mom, Epic wife, Illustrator.]
How did Fat Dragon Artworks get started?
When my son was born in 2011 I really wanted to continue to stay home with him after my maternity leave was up, but I’ve always been the type of person that feels stagnant if I’m not doing something productive and there’s only so many times one can stand cleaning the house right? I was sculpting for fun and at the suggestion of several people I started offering my artwork for sale. I admit it was pretty nerve-wracking at first, but It’s been an amazingly positive experience and I’m glad I decided to take that leap. Even more importantly, it has allowed me to stay home with my son and experience watching him grow. Flash forward to 2017, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune arthritis that affects, among other things, the small joints in my hands. This makes it difficult to sculpt as often as I used to, and I started looking for other ways to continue feeding my creative side while taking the stress off my fingers. Recently I have discovered a love for digital illustration and made the decision to officially change the original business name "Little Fat Dragons" to "Fat Dragon Artworks". This allowed me to pay homage to my beginnings while looking forward to future creations!
How long have you been sculpting?
I got my first taste of sculpting in high school and really enjoyed it (though not the wheel throwing, I was always terrible at that) but it was never more than an occasional hobby until after my son was born.
How long have you been drawing?
I've been doodling since I was a kid, but never in any serious capacity. When the arthritis in my hands literally forced me to take a step back from sculpting I decided to explore other mediums to let out that pent up creativity that always seems to be bubbling away in my brain. Digital illustration has always fascinated me but I shied away from it because it seemed so complicated - all those layers and brushes and textures, I didn't know where to start. I would play around here and there but at the start of 2019 I made a pact with myself to practice every day. I've stuck to that and it has made a huge difference!
Dragons are awesome! Really I blame my fascination with dragons entirely on the 1977 cartoon version of The Hobbit (which premiered the day I was born, it was fate right?) – I would rent the video tape over and over, so much that the copy owned by the video store started to get pretty worn out. I loved Smaug, and would try to draw him and paint pictures of him all the time!
I can’t really explain it but I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of a sleeping elder god capable of incredible evil and so horrible that you can’t help but go insane at the sight of him….done cute!
How did you come up with your own style?
Time, patience, and perseverance - I didn't rush headlong into selling my work, I just practiced and made changes and eventually the Little Fat Dragons were born. So often I see people just starting out in clay (as I once was) who copy works done by popular artists and put them up for sale. It was very important to me that I not do this, I wanted to be able to say that without a doubt these were my OWN creations and I am very proud of this fact.
What are your sculptures made of?
They’re made from polymer clay – the most common names people are familiar with are Fimo and Sculpey. I mostly use the Premo brand of Sculpey as it has some lovely colors available and it’s a nice consistency both before and after it bakes. I also use Super Sculpey with some larger pieces
How big are your sculptures?
They really vary in size depending on what I’m doing. Most dragons fall between 2″- 4″ and most Cthulhus are approximately 2″, occasionally I'll make a biggun in the 6" or so range...but it's very rare!
Why are such small creations so expensive?
Pricing is often one of the hardest things for artists to determine, because you’re asking people to buy both the artwork and your artistic ability combined. While one is tangible, the other really isn’t, and some people have trouble with that. I determine the pricing for my artwork based on the amount of time and skill it took to create them. If it’s a simple piece, it will be less expensive than a something that takes many hours and involves a lot of detail work.
Do you take commissions?
I currently am not taking commissions due to a very busy schedule.
Your clay is so clean, how do you do that?
I wash my hands a lot, and I’m a bit of a neat freak about my workspace. Another handy thing to use is a little bit of rubbing alcohol on a small brush. It can help clean up the errant bit of dust or smudge, especially on those lighter colored clays.
My work always ends up with fingerprints, it’s so frustrating, how can I avoid it?
Prints are hard to avoid, and over time you just learn how to best hold the sculptures to avoid nasty prints, and you learn better smoothing techniques as you practice. I promise the first sculpts I made were very funny looking and full of prints!
Do your sculptures have any sort of inner structure for support?
Yes! I usually use foil or wire to create an armature inside the sculptures. This gives them extra support and keeps them from collapsing on themselves, especially during the baking process when the clay is heated. Without the support they can get very droopy.
Do you have a pricing guide?
I don't currently have an official pricing guide - with so many creations it was hard to keep it up to date, most of my work runs between $45-$225 depending on size and detail and it really varies from piece to piece.
Do you only sell online?
Currently I sell most of my artwork online, but I will occasionally join the convention scene as a vendor and it’s a lot of fun so I definitely plan to continue attending various conventions. I’ll be sure to post which conventions I’ll be attending and where my work can be found - my schedule largely depends on that of my son and how I'm feeling healthwise.