Sheffield students come face-to-face with life-size dragon sculpture

Artistic pupils from a Sheffield secondary school been given the opportunity to come face-to-face with a life-size, fire-breathing, paper made dragon.

Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 3:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 1:56 pm
Dragon art by Andy Singleton at Astrea Academy in Sheffield as designed by Saif Abdullah Mahmood said and poetry by Jayda-Imarni McKenzie

The giant paper sculpture, designed by Yorkshire-based paper artist and illustrator Andy Singleton, was unveiled to the lucky group of art students in Years 7 and 8 at Astrea Academy on Tuesday, November 19.

Thirteen metres long and with a wingspan of six metres, the freestanding dragon is made from over 1,000 A4 pieces of paper.

It took around 10 hours to be brought to life in the school’s library by artist Andy – who has created sculptures for brands and places including PlayStation, Harrods and Kensington Palace - alongside Keir Birch, the head of design and technology at Astrea Academy Sheffield.

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Dragon art by Andy Singleton at Astrea Academy in Sheffield as designed by Saif Abdullah

Mr Birch said: “I’ve known Andy for 17 years – we went to art college together, I knew how talented he was and how enthusiastic he was especially amongst students to help provide arts education. I knew it was a unique opportunity to get students really engaged with their art and poetry skills.

“It’s been lovely to see the students coming in and trying to sneak a peek in the library while we’ve been building it. It’s an imposing, impressive, awe-inspiring thing and what I love about it is I don’t think any of the students here will forget this.”

When designing the life-size creature, a big part of Andy’s planning was looking at how to create forms, shapes, and textures for its body and skin such as the texture of the dragon’s hide which is the result of scoring on paper, giving the appearance of ridges and spikes.

The art students were given the chance to learn about those concepts and use them in their own designs as part of a school-wide competition while in English lessons, students were given the opportunity to use their creative writing skills to write a poem about the creature to be in with a chance of attending the official unveiling of the beast.

Dragon art by Andy Singleton at Astrea Academy in Sheffield as designed by Saif Abdullah

The winners were also allowed to ask Andy questions about his work, quizzing him about the materials used and how he created the sculpture.

Year 8 student Saif Abdullah, was one of the winners. The 13-year-old said: “When I knew there a dragon competition I was really excited. It was my first time doing an art competition but I’m passionate about drawing and sketching so once I knew I had an opportunity to show my skills to the school I went home and did a quick sketch and a few days before the competition I started planning the colours.

“There were some ups and downs, it took about 40 minutes to draw it and about eight hours to colour it because I’m still new to colouring. I was proud when I found out I’d won, once it was announced I threw my hands in the air and celebrated.

“It just feels amazing to be able to see the dragon – I can’t believe how big it is!”

The sculpture was donated to the 11 to 13-year-old children of Astrea Academy Sheffield by stationary suppliers Viking Direct UK.

The school now hopes to invite those living in the surrounding community to come and see the sculpture.