Ahh the dragon, the one monster to appear in nearly every human culture, it is little wonder many seek to recreate it. This will attempt to shed light on drawing this marvelous creature of our imagination (or perhaps not just of our imagination?)…
This maybe slightly advanced for some beginner artists, for a very, good, very simple dragons drawing.
Step 1: Let’s Get Started
This is to give you a brush up on dragon speculative biology (for a better understanding of how they may work), and a step-by-step on sketching a dragon.
Materials you will need to complete the drawing:
Sketch pencils, I used mostly a 0.5mm mechanical pencil with HB lead
Eraser, I personally recommend kneaded rubber erasers
Paper, I used parchment, just because I like the smoothness
Light, good lighting is essential to any artwork
Surface, to draw on, I prefer angled, but flat will do
Step 2: Dragonology 101
To be able to draw anything, you must know what you are drawing. Here’s a crash-course on dragonology. To skip this relatively important step and just draw a freaking winged lizard, head to step 4.
Here’s some links to several sources of speculative dragon biology and a bit ‘o dragon lore
Here be Dragons! <–Rather ok, lots of lore
D.R.A.G.O.N.S. <-- A wee far fetched, but very detailed and thought provoking
DRAGONS~ <–Hasn’t been updated in a decade, some good art though
Animal Planet: Dragons <–Oh My Spaghedeity! Awesome! Mostly video however, but gives you an idea how they move
Wikipedia, Dragons <–Good ol’ Wikipedia
My Thoughts on Dragonolgy:
Origins? For starters, I feel that dragons, if the did/do exist, would be a highly evolved reptilian animal that either branched off from early theropod dinosaurs, or from early Monitors, or Iguanidae like-reptiles, for these species exhibit many dragon like traits (like, OMS those ickle buggers bite hard!).
2 legs or 4? My guess is 2 legged, 2 winged. However all gliding reptiles use flaps of skin, not wings like a bat. This suggests that it is possible for a dragon to have 4 legs and a set of glider “wings” but I doubt it could get bigger than 1 meter in length. This said, I go for the 2 legged bat winged velociraptor (but bigger).
Fire breathing Easy, flint stones are picked up and carried in mouth, and when fire breathing is desired, they are simply clacked about with the tounge whilst the beast reverse farts (through the mouth somehow, more of a burp really). Alternatively, flammable poison may be spat and lit in the same manner. Poison spitting + fire breath would be pretty awesome…
Coloration As you may know, some reptiles can changecolor. Much of my life I have watched with fascination as the lizards around my house battled for dominance, utilizing there ability to change color to intimidate there opponents. Color changing is not limited to anoles and chameleons, although I can’t find any “official” documention, a wide variety of reptiles and amphibians can change with mood and body temperature. One fairly dull looking lizard, the Texas Spiny (<–fearsome up close), can turn it’s underbelly a brilliant blue when excited. So in short, dragons can theoretically be any color.
Food Well, probably not human virgins, LOL i think that was pervy minstrels day dreaming. My guess would be deer, pigs, fish, etc… Feeding habits would probably bee akin to eagles, just larger.
Behavior In my opinion, like a great big bird of prey.
Intelligence High, able to understand most emotions, but probably not capable of speech. May be domesticated and capable of learning complex commands.
Step 3: Dragon Examples/Models
Generally it is a good idea to have a model for your artwork. But by the general nature of dragon and fantasy artwork, models are rather hard to find (dude if Elvish models were easy to find…). So we will do the next best thing… check out other peoples’ work. It’s not plagiarism, since we aren’t copying there work, so don’t feel bad about drawing dragons and whatnot very similar to someone else’s. Some of the links in step 2 have a lot of artwork. Go ahead and check them out, save some of them and pull them up on screen while your drawing. Believe me, having some sort of reference makes the task much easier and less time consuming. Here are some more works that aren’t on the links I gave that were very helpful for me.
Step 4: ‘‘Now’’ We’ll Draw a Dragon
Right, time to crack out your art supplies listed in step 1.
A short note before we begin
I am not a great artist
Nor am I a pretty good artist
I’m just a kid who likes drawing things that fly about in his head
For that reason don’t limit yourself to what I am showing you. Draw what you want.
We’ll sketch a bipedal (2legged) dragon moving about on the ground. Due to the nature of sketching, you will find instructions on the images as notes. Once done with this simple pencil sketch, go ahead and add color with whatever medium you have handy (paints, pencils, ink…)
I’ll add tutorials on a dragon with rider, and an Oriental once I have the time.
On the thought of time, for a simple sketch like this, it doesn’t take long to draw it (just it takes me awhile to scan upload post etc…), don’t use the excuse of not having enough time to avoid drawing.
Step 5: Conclusion
Presto! You’ve drawn a halfway decent picture of a dragon, slap yourself on the back.
Now what? Well simply put, keep drawing, it’s the only way you will get better at it. When I get some time, I’ll add a tutorial on drawing a dragon with its rider (it’ll be the same dragon and gal as in the picture I showed you), and drawing Oriental dragons.
Suggestions and comments are welcome!