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How To Draw Your Dragon...


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Some of us on the Forums participated in an event called Inktober. One of the Prompt Words was Dragon. So for the 12th  of October I did a Dragon. I took Work in Progress pictures, so I thought it might be fun to post them in the WIP section. (Finally getting around to posting them three months on.)


I posted some free advice about using ink markers in the Inktober thread and I followed some of my own advice to draw this. Trying to figure out how to quote that post...but it is not allowing it for unknown reasons. (First save)



On 10/9/2019 at 12:33 PM, TGP said:


A few marker tricks/techniques:

  • Put the blob of marker colour down first. Then come back and clean up the edge with black outlining.
  • Try colouring on the BACK of tracing paper. It creates a muted version of the marker colour.
  • A bright white Prismacolor pencil is the go-to tool for adding highlights.
  • Dark outlining can be warm dark or cold dark instead of black. Try dark browns or a reflex blue/navy blue respectively.
  • Leave a touch of paper between an outline and the colour on some edges. This is another way to get a highlight, especially back-edge high lights.


There it is ^ I had to save; do a second post; which merged with the first post; and then edit. 


Right then, on with it, following my own advice... 


Step 1

Grab a mechanical pencil and outline the basic area where the Dragon is going to be. Mostly, this step is to make sure that the drawing doesn't run off the edge of the paper. But, there are a few key details like the eye location... the jaw...


There is no pic for this step. Sorry. It didn’t occur to me to do a step-by-step and the pencil lines were so faint because I used such a hard grade of lead it probably wouldn’t have shown up in the photo. 


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Step 2

Following the almost unseeable pencil lines (or at least treating them as a suggestion), take a huge, chisel pointed, red/orange marker (mine was a Sharpie Brand) and color in the whole dragon.  Avoid filling in the eye, leave some white spots...




Also... spot a dark, dark, almost reflex Blue marker (in the box of markers) and get the idea to do some waves. (Originally, it was just going to be an S shaped sorta dragon bust...but then inspiration reared its silly head.) There is a bit more of the blue but it is hiding behind the cropped edge. 

Edited by TGP
fixing spacing
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Step 3

Next do the eye. If the eye goes wrong the whole thing will be a train wreck. So I did that first...if I had bombed out I would be out one sheeet of paper and some red ink.


The eye got some amber/goldenrod ink  and then it was defined and cleaned up with black. 


After that add an edge along the front. Throw some shadow ink where the nose is. Start defining the top edge of the snout. Fine and Ultra fine Sharpie matters are my friends for this:


I didn’t crop away so much of the blue this time. Also, the idea to try to do ashes floating on the water had popped up by this point (instead of attempting sea-foam) better still, Ashes was a second  Inktober prompt word. 

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Step 4

Is much like step 3, just keep adding lines along edges. Make sure to never cover up a spot of white where the orange didn’t turn out solid. Start adding rows of scales.  Fill in the jaw, first adding fangs and teeth, again it’s all about leaving things white. Every little fleck of white is the highlight along a crest or a ridge or a glistening drop of water. None of them are mistakes


The ashes got some serious extra stippling, not that I am all that sure it is convincing. I looked at internet pix of ashes for references. There was even a set of pictures from a sailing ship that found a huge plume/patch  of volcanic pumice from an underwater volcano that happened off of New Zealand last year. 


Sorrry about all the random shadows most of them are from the phone-cam that took these. 

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Step 5

Keep adding scales. And those little pebble like things that are like scales. Back in step 4 there was a fang that hung down too far into the orange. It wasn’t white inside. That wasn’t a mistake. It was merely a hint that the poor dragon has a rotten tooth. The same golden brown from the eye was used to discolor the tooth. 


At this point it is time to channel Bob Ross as best you can:

“...there is a happy little row of scales right here...”

“...maybe they are bigger than that last row of scales...”

“...some shading will make this area a crease and that will make this other area a ridge...”

”...maybe there is a Jowl Line right there, it’s your dragon, you decide...”


Look out for areas where the Orange got a little extra dark because the strokes overlapped and turn those into folds and features. Thicken up lines so that they look like the shadows on the bottom edges of scales. Just keep adding little details...in tiny areas. 

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Step 6

This is getting close to the end. Only one more in/progress shot left after this one. The scales on the body have made it to the waterline. The ash on the water is pretty much done. A darker purple-ish red Sharpie marker was found that had a fine tip on it.  It has been used over the orange to deepen the colour and create shading effects in places. 


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Step 7

Last in-progress snap (possibly this is the final?). At this point it is almost a spot-the-differences game. 


There is a strong shadow under the head and mask on the neck that was added. Line weight on all the edges has probably been gone over again, especially the lower edges to make them look more shadow-like. 


It is fun to draw things this way. When I  get to the end, the drawing winds up looking perfect, no stray color outside the bounding lines, with lots of neat details many of which happened by accident. Another advantage is that if a small spot is difficult and is causing a “how do I fix that?!” thought, there is always some other zone to work on. More scales to add or something. Meanwhile, the mind can work on what to do with a troubling area. 


Hope it was fun to see the process. 

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