Nina’s Gifts

by David Dedrick on October 8, 2015

We’re not sure if you remember way back to Episode 100 – our first live anniversary show with guests David M. and Ben Mills – but it was at that show that Nina Matsumoto handed me an envelope with the instruction that I not open it until she had gone.

When I opened it I was amazed to find an ingenious and imaginative retelling of our 100 episode history in the form of an Al Jaffee Mad Magazine fold-in.


It’s all in there: my job as a farrier, me working on a fishing boat, Ian as a dancing pumpkin, Titmouse, the Hate Crime jar (boy, that sure disappeared, didn’t it?), us crossing the border, Ian doing improv, and lots more.


This is what it looked like when it was folded. Pretty clever, no?

If you listened to our 200th episode, you’ll know that Nina crazy outdid herself with some beautiful sculptures of Sneaky Dragon as himself and as My Sneaky Dragon. (I’ll admit it: there were some tears because it was so damn great.)

Nina Process_12

Nina Process_13

She was kind enough to let us take a behind-the-scenes peek at her making the sculptures:

Step 1: Nina based her version of Sneaky Dragon on the Sneaky Dragon drawn for the Episode 36 title card.

Sneaky Dragon Episode 36

I don’t think I have ever drawn Sneaky Dragon the same way twice so there are no worries about going off model. Nina doesn’t show it here, but she actually sketched out Sneaky D so she could accurately shape the armature. Here we can see the wire frame and the tin foil used as filler.

Nina Process_1

Step 2: I’m sure this image cuts out all the swearing and tearing out of hair as Nina turned a glob of Super Sculpey into this dragon.

Nina Process_2

He seems to be missing his arms, but don’t worry, Nina isn’t finished yet.

Step 3: You see? Arms! Nina has finished sculpting Sneaky Dragon. (She even remembered the wings, which is more than I can do!)

Nina Process_3

Step 4: Here he sits in his little cooking tray, ready to get baked. (Insert clich├ęd Vancouver pot smoking joke here.)

Nina Process_4

It looks like a little silver soap dish!

Step 5: Unfortunately, two of us do the show so Nina had to make two sculptures.


Her second sculpture was based on the title card to Episode 88 where Ian, Sneaky D and I got the My Little Pony makeover. A really inspired choice for a figurine, I think anyway. (I took this one for my own.)

Nina Process_4=5

Here you can see the wire armature for My Sneaky Dragon. Notice how Nina has sketched out a guide image of Sneaky D with a rough skeletal system that she has duplicated with the wire. I had the easy job drawing Sneaky D in a flat one dimension. Nina had to take that and imagine it in three dimensions.

Step 6: Look at that! Unbelievable. Oh, wait, it doesn’t have any horns yet.

Nina Process_6

Step 7: Aah, there we go. Horns and an absolutely beautiful job turning my drawing into a 3D object all ready for the oven.

Nina Process_7

Step 8: Here they are post-baking.

Nina Process_8

Apparently Super Sculpey always gets slightly burned in the oven. Unlike a kiln, where the heat source is behind thick insulating kiln bricks, a regular kitchen oven’s elements are close by and really, really hot.

Step 9: A little primer covers up those sun burns!

Nina Process_9

Now the figurines are ready for paint.

Step 10: Both characters painted in Sneaky D’s trademark green and purple. (And by trademark I mean trademark Pete’s Dragon 1977)

Nina Process_10

Apparently Nina forgot to buy some purple acrylic paint so she had to mix the purple colour. (No wonder our sales of Sneaky Purple are going nowhere.)

Step 11: Sprayed with a clear satin finish and lookin’ so fine!

Nina Process_11

Here are those shots again of the two sculptures from different angles:

Nina Process_12

Nina Process_13

And here is a shot of My Sneaky Dragon where he lives near our miniature Orkney chairs. I love it so much.


Nina would like to thank her sculptor friend Emily Coleman whose book Fantasy Creatures in Clay was a great help with this project. You can find it here.

Fantasy Creatures in Clay

And thank you, Nina!


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