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How to paint a dragon

Updated on August 18, 2014

Being a budding fantasy artist I love nothing more than to sit at my easel with brush in hand or sit at the desk with my graphics tablet and laptop painting in Photoshop. Both methods have there particular feel and method of working likes and through my Hubpage you will see the hap- hazzard approach to some of my work. From traditional painting with acrylics, to digital painting and drawing using Photoshop.

This particular dragon art painting (see below) started life as a basic drawing in my sketch book and the step-by-steps below will show the process I took to create it.

Before I start, I wanted to highlight the importance of the sketch book. Everyone works in a different way and whatever works best for you, is the best way forward, but for me the sketch book is at the heart of much of my work.


I say this as all paintings need to start somewhere and my artwork start as a doodle and scribble in my sketch book. Some, just a gesture of an idea that then builds into a more established drawing. You never know when an idea will come to you or when you might see something that gives you that spark of inspiration for your painting. This is why I always carry a sketch book no matter where I go. Some of my best ideas come at the most odd moments. I might be waiting to pick the children up from school or waiting for an appointment, so having a small sketch book at hand means you can jot down your ideas and elaborate on them at a later stage. I have had some very basic sketches that I have gone back to many months later and which have formed the basis for some great drawings.

With all this in mind, a great piece of advice I can give to any budding artist, fantasy or not, is to carry a small sketch book and pencil as often as you can. It will suprise you how many ideas and sketches you can build up by just jotting and doodling down ideas when you get the chance. There have also been times when I get a complete mental block and nothing seems to go right. Looking at the ideas, scribbles and notes in my sketch book really does help to get the ideas flowing.

That aside, the dargon painting seen here is of a bizarre dragon that lives within the walls of ancient castles. We have all seen the films where armies try to scale the walls of anciant castles and I thought it would be a good idea to design some kind of built in castle defence, in the form of a dragon. Thia dragon would wait for the soldiers to scale the walls before striking out and killng all in reach.

Dragon Art - Lovely source of dragon art inspiration

Dragon Art: Inspiration, Impact & Technique in Fantasy Art (Inspirations & Techniques)
Dragon Art: Inspiration, Impact & Technique in Fantasy Art (Inspirations & Techniques)

Absolutely love this book. It's larger than many standard books and as such has some lovely large images of the artwork, which makes all the difference. It also inspired me to produce the digital painting you see below in the step-by-steps.

 

The PC Drawing Tablet I used to create the image below

If you want to know which PC Drawing Tablet I used to ceate the Dragon art below, and many more of my pieces take a look at www.drawingtabletreviews.com. Here you will find a review of the PC Drawing Tablet I used, information on drawing tablets and artwork. There will also be a growing number of reviews coming soon.

The first step is just to add some tone and basic texture to the paper and this is to get something on the paper and get the ball rolling.
The first step is just to add some tone and basic texture to the paper and this is to get something on the paper and get the ball rolling.
Adding colour over the tone and texture helps to move the painting forward and cover the remaining white paper.
Adding colour over the tone and texture helps to move the painting forward and cover the remaining white paper.
I begin to build up texture to the painting and adding areas of tone.
I begin to build up texture to the painting and adding areas of tone.
More colour and texture is built up at various places on the image
More colour and texture is built up at various places on the image

It' s at the stage I wanted to mention that the paintings I do can be a little hap-hazzard. I do jump from one area to the next, building up areas of the painting as I feel. There isn't really any pattern or logic to it, but it seems to come together. I think this comes from a need to move the painting to a stage where I feel satisfied with it. I really believe that whatever works for you is the best route to take.

More tone begins to be added to build up form and detail
More tone begins to be added to build up form and detail
Additional detail and tone is added and on this painting I start to add detail to the background. There isn't a grand plan with my paintings and I build up detail, texture and tone as I see fit.
Additional detail and tone is added and on this painting I start to add detail to the background. There isn't a grand plan with my paintings and I build up detail, texture and tone as I see fit.
Here I start to tighten up some areas and it's at this stage I start to feel better about the image as I can start to place detail and see an end in sight.
Here I start to tighten up some areas and it's at this stage I start to feel better about the image as I can start to place detail and see an end in sight.
Detail is built up, additionl colour is added. It's at this stage that I like the image a lot more as adding the detail brings the image to life and it's nice to see the image fall into place.
Detail is built up, additionl colour is added. It's at this stage that I like the image a lot more as adding the detail brings the image to life and it's nice to see the image fall into place.
Detail continues to be added, more colour added to the shadows and general enhancements all over. I also keep adding texture and little details to the background.
Detail continues to be added, more colour added to the shadows and general enhancements all over. I also keep adding texture and little details to the background.

Learn from the pros and get inspired to produce your own Dragon Art

Using the graphics tablet and painting in Photoshop gives you great freedom. Being able to have different layers which you can turn on and off, the ability to undo your mistakes (always a good thing) and the complete freedom to add and subtract different colours and textures. All with the ability to change, redo and tweak. Using the technology at hand and all its functionality is great, but it's only a tool like a paint brush and it's down to the artist to use those tools the best way possible. This leads me back to the sketch book, as all the technology in the world is useless without the user and their ideas.

I hope the step-by-steps above help to illustrate how I work on some of my paintings but if there are any questions just comment and let me know. All feedback is welcome and appreciated.

As I have mentioned, everyone's way of working is different and the best way for me might not be the best for you. The end result is the goal and how you get there is great fun and seeing your fantasy art painting take shape and then finish, is great.

Looking at other artists work is always good, as the more art you soak up the more inspiration you can draw on. I have put some Hubpages together based on some great fantasy art books I now have in my fantasy art book collection. They are recent books but really do show some good tips and advice for artists of all ages. I always refer back to them just to see how a certain artist has produced a certain effect, or just to get inspiration.

Take a look at my fantasy art book reviews here 1- How to draw and paint fantasy art Vampires and 2 - Draw and paint fantasy art Warriors and Heros , both books offer some great inspration and a host of step-by-step projects to help produce your own fantasy art.

If you liked the demonstration above, then take a look at how I created the digital dragon art below (click the link in the caption)

Cave dragon digital fantasy art created in Photoshop, click below to see an insight into how I created it.
Cave dragon digital fantasy art created in Photoshop, click below to see an insight into how I created it. | Source

Fantasy art book reviews for inspiration

I hope that the above step-by-steps give you some idea as to how I work. I tend to have a very erratic style and jump from one place to the next, from one colour to the next. Many will say that this is not ideal but whatever style you chose to work in and the method you chose, if it works for you then it's the correct way

There are a number of fantasy art book reviews which are always great for some inspiration, so take a look via the links below


Visit my fantasy art blog here

Source

My blog is also taking shape so check it out here at unholyscribe fantasy art blog. Various content, including thoughts, artwork and general stuff I find on the net will be finding its way onto my blog and any feedback is welcome.

My Deviant Art page, take a look and feed back is welcome

My Deviant Art page showing various art work from traditianla landscapes to fantasy art, traditional and digital.
My Deviant Art page showing various art work from traditianla landscapes to fantasy art, traditional and digital.

Take a look at my Deviant Art gallery filled with my scribbles, both traditional art and fantasy art created using various medium, pencil, pen, paint and digital.

Take a look at my other fantasy art

There is plenty more of my art in my Deviant Art gallery, from landscapes to the bizzare and look out for many more art Hubpages to come.

Cave Dragon - Dragon Art by Jon

Water Dragon - Dragon Art by Jon

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    • profile image

      Ben 

      7 years ago

      Love this painting and wish I could paint as good, will look at it deviant art gallery cool stuff

    working

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