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How to paint a dragon - inspiration is the first step

Updated on June 18, 2012

How to paint a dragon is a question I often get asked, and it all starts with
inspiration. That might seem odd but that is the very first step before anything!

Where do I find inspiration for my dragon art?

As an artist that tackles both fantasy and traditional subjects, the work I produce
starts life from being inspired, especially with my fantasy art. With regards
dragons, it goes without saying that dragons are a subject that many paint and
draw, with many more wanting to dabble and give it a go, being a subject close to
the hearts of many fantasy artists.

The information below will set you on the correct track and offer some advice on
how to get started with your adventure in how to paint a dragon and point you in
the right direction when looking for inspiration.

There are many places you can go to that will offer advice and inspiration on how
to paint a dragon and I have tried to bring together some resources that will help,
and below are some of my ports of call.

Where do I get my inspiration from when wanting to paint a dragon?
The simple answer is, many places!

When a think about how to paint a dragon, the first port of call is my sketchbook.
This is the place where I store my ideas and 9 times out of 10 I use this as the
starting point and the basis for my dragon art. I try to scribble some ideas before
I look at any inspiration or reference and there are times when the sketch can
develop to a point where I only have to look at certain reference material, picture
of skin etc.

There are times when the images from the sketchbook can be used with little
alteration. Usually the image is blown up and altered to what I am looking for in
the dragon, but none the less, it starts with the sketch in my sketchbook.

Other times, things are not so straightforward and I often look for inspiration and
reference from various sources.

My places I use for inspiration and reference when thinkng how to paint a dragon

Search for other dragon artists

Be inspired by other dragon artists, but try not to get bogged down and copy their
work. The work of other artists is certainly a source of inspiration when looking to
paint a dragon. The wealth of good work out there is stunning and even on the
worst days, when you can’t seem to get the creative juices flowing, a search on
the internet for other dragon artist will return a wealth of inspiration.

Youtube for dragon art inspiration

Youtube is another major source of inspiration when it comes to fantasy art in
general and when you want to be inspired with how to paint a dragon.

There are many quality Youtube clips that really do inspire me and will certainly
set you on the correct path. I have collected a few of the Youtube video clips below and prepared to be inslired.

Digital art and traditional art online galleries

Youtube is not the only online source for inspiration and dragon art. There are a
number of great online galleries that artists use to display their work. Here you
will find some stunning work from some of the best fantasy artists in the world.
I have listed some of these below n the resources section.

Nature and photography books

This might be a strange port of call when thinking about how to paint a dragon,
but most fantasy art is backed up with roots in the really world.
Nature and photography books offer stunning photographic inspiration that you
would otherwise not be able to use. Animal teeth and the ski of reptiles all help
as inspiration when drawing, sketching and painting your dragon.

Build a reference library

As an artist I was given some advice many years ago where I was told to build a
reference library of images. How often have you seen an images in a magazine
or book that catches your eye? Copying and building up a scrapbook of images
is worth its weight in gold with regards inspiration.

Book collection

One of my other sources of inspiration for dragon art and general fantasy art, is the collection of fantasy art books. I have been collecting for over 20 years and it's always great to look back on the wealth of artwork within the pages of these books.

20 years of collecting brings some great artwork and inspiration

I love to paint dragons and when you are thinking, how to paint a dragon, starts with being inspired and excited about the painting you are about to undertake.

It's fun and exciting to be able to paint such a subject as a dragon. It can also be a frustrating one, as you compare your art to some of the fantastic work you can see every day on the internet. This is all part of the process, but being inspired, enjoying your work and being happy with the outcome, all starts with that inspiration and passion. The places I look for that inspiration and reference are mentioned above, but if you have any other places that the budding dragon artists can look, then please let me know.

Some of the video inspiration you will find on Youtube

Dragon World book, great inspiration and with some of my own dragon art in it!

Dragons Domain, great inspiration and step by step guide from a master, Bob Eggleton!

See how I painted my own fantasy dragon art at
See how I painted my own fantasy dragon art at | Source

Fantasy Dragon Art and how I painted my own

Fantasy dragon art has always been an interest of mine for many years. I have collected fantasy art books for over 20 years and I certainly have had some great inspiration. Take a look at my own Fantasy Dargon Art and how I painted it. There are some easy to follow step-by-steps and feedback is always welcome.

Do you like fantasy art?

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    • vox vocis profile image

      Jasmine 5 years ago

      I've never had experience with digital art, but I'll take a look at the book you recommended - no objections to learning something new :)

    • Jonathan Grimes profile image

      Jonathan Grimes 5 years ago from Devon

      Hi Vox

      Thanks for the feedback on this hub to and great to see that you liked it and voted it up, thanks. If you are looking for more dragons take a look at my Dragon World book review, as this has some of my digital dragon art int he book.

      Thanks for the vote up


    • vox vocis profile image

      Jasmine 5 years ago

      Dragons are mystical creatures with so many wonderful colors to play with if you decide to paint them. I've been meaning to paint one; inspiring hub, voted up!