Jan 18

Origami Dragon

Dragon Diagram 101

Click on the image to view the diagrams.


Ok, I have to admit it.. this particular project is neither game design or theorycrafting related. There is, however, a very strong relationship between Origami and mathematics, and many of the modern super-technical Origami model designers are Physicists, Engineers, Mathematicians, etc.

During high school and college I was very dedicated to Origami, and spent hundreds of hours folding and designing models (the most promising of which is the Dragon). At the time, I intended to eventually write a book, and so never distributed the few models I designed. Unfortunately, thanks to developing tendonitis in both hands, I don’t do enough folding and design work anymore to warrant holding onto this model for eventual book publication. So, I’ve uploaded all 100 steps of the model here, and if there’s interest, I’ll upload what I have of diagrams for a few other models I designed over the years.

This is actually the fourth version of the Dragon model I designed. I especially enjoy trying to design fantastic/mythological creatures, as they often provide unique challenges and are more open to artistic interpretation than models of existing creatures. In particular, with this dragon I really wanted something with shoulder-positioned wings. Many of the other dragon models out there have wings erupting from the middle of the back, or even have wings connected to the forearms (more like the anatomy of birds or bats), but aesthetically I’ve always felt like a dragon’s wings should erupt from their shoulders. The design style draws a number of elements from two of my favorite designers: John Montroll and Jun Maekawa, and folders familiar with the models of these two masters will probably spot the similarities. Note: I am not in any way attempting to claim that my folding and designing skills are on par with either of these master folders, but rather that I drew a lot of inspiration from their vast collection of models, particularly Montroll’s early open back designs (from Origami For The Enthusiast through Mythological Creatures And The Chinese Zodiac In Origami), and Maekawa’s Winged Devil in Genuine Origami.

Although there are aspects of the dragon model I like quite a lot, for example the sinuous length of the neck and tail, and the shoulder-positioned wings, there are of course a few aspects that I have never been satisfied with (which is why I am still slowly working on a fifth version). The wings, for example, are smaller than I would really like, and I did have to make one concession when it came to economy of (paper) space: there is one point that simply gets folded inside the body of the model, and it serves no purpose. I briefly toyed with the idea of making the point erupt out of the back of the dragon and somehow forming it into a rider, but I could never manage anything that I liked with that regard. For those interested in the design itself, the crease pattern for the model is below.


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