4 tips to draw a dragon

Who says heroic fantasy says dragon. It is almost inevitable. If, like many people, you are fond of this kind of universe, this tutorial is just for you. Here are 4 tips to help you draw dragons. 

How to draw a dragon – tip n°1 : Accept some constraints to create better

The dragon is a mythological creature which only exists in everyone’s imagination. For this reason, drawing a dragon is not like drawing a horse, a dog or any other existing animal: in absolute terms, one might say there is no specific rule to follow.

However, creating an animal that does not exist does not allow a complete freedom of expression. If it is a perfect excuse to explore one’s imagination, the animal in question must remain plausible and consistent with the idea we generally associate a dragon with. For this reason, it is recommended to apply certain anatomical principles that are to be found in animals, starting with a level of credibility for the overall structure, which involves a skeleton and a coherent muscular anatomy (we’ll talk about it immediately in Tip # 2).

In this case, is there any room for one’s imagination and creativity?

In terms of proportions first: it is easy to play with them. One can vary the length and width of the neck, wings, body, tail, legs, etc. The potential is almost infinite at this level. Even some details like the shape of the snout or paws can lead to multiple interpretations. We will not forget either all the cosmetic side of it, where it’s easy to explore different options in terms of colors or accessories (horns, combs, peaks, etc.).

How to draw a dragon – tip n°2 : Master the basics, which is the skeleton…

Back to the basics: the animal’s structure. Like for the horse, we offer you here two plausible interpretations of a dragon’s skeleton. Mentioning horses, note a lot of similarities with this animal when drawing the dragon’s body, regardless of the model. So, it is generally enough to be inspired by existing animals and giving it a twist to find a possible skeleton. The only slight touch of fantasy here is the presence of wings in addition to the animal’s four legs. Usually we do not find this combination on winged animals, since the wings are usually substitutes for front legs. Here, therefore, we bend the rule of the usual “construction” drawing two legs hung up the pelvis and two wings.

How to draw a dragon – tip n°3 : …and the muscles !

The basics : it is also what can be found on the skeleton, namely the muscles. No need to complicate one’s life here too much: we will be guided by the muscular anatomy of existing animals.

Still, it is the area where the wings are hooked to the dragon’s body that offers the opportunity to engage in some anatomical interpretations.

How to draw a dragon – tip n°4 : Build up a library of pictures

Even before the sketch phase, building up some quality documentation is the first step of any work for many confirmed designers (isn’t it, Cécile Carre?). The ideal of course is a photo documentation but in the case of dragons, unless you want to draw the Komodo type, it’s a safe bet that you won’t be able to grab much on it. But to have at your disposal quality dragon drawings is a huge plus to understand better how to draw the beast, see what type of position it may adopt, how light reacts on the animal’s different volumes, etc. For this purpose, the image search engines will be of great help (Google Images and especially Pinterest which stores images of very good quality).

How to draw a dragon : Let’s go deeper into the topic…

best-book-dragonsIn this tutorial, we try to give you some tips to help you draw dragons more easily, but it would be a lie not to mention that the topic has been dealt with before and in a very comprehensive way. In this sense, if you are particularly interested in the design of dragons, we can only recommend you a book simply entitled DragonArt.

The book is exhaustive, giving all the keys to draw and colorize dragons to get successful drawings : structure, volumes, lights, rendering of materials (such as scales), poses, etc., including the many drawings of dragons that are good sources of inspiration. The book also offers you the luxury of some keys to draw other fantastic creatures.

Discover on Amazon: Dragonart: How to Draw Fantastic Dragons and Fantasy Creatures


dragons-artbook-how-to-draw-dragonOtherwise, if you’re more interested in a more cartoon style and animation drawing, we can only recommend you the artbooks of the excellent Dreamworks movies How to Train your dragon. Artistic quality guaranteed!

Discover on Amazon: The Art of DreamWorks How to Train Your Dragon

The sequel : The Art of DreamWorks How to Train Your Dragon 2

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