Do you find drawing dragons intimidating? Many individuals are initially hesitant to learn how to draw a dragon because they believe it’s a difficult task. However, fear not! We are here to show you how to draw a realistic dragon step by step, without it being a chore. By following these 12 simple steps, accompanied by visuals, you’ll quickly become a master at drawing dragons. And the best part? Anyone can follow along!
Step 1: Begin with the Dragon’s Head
To start, let’s focus on the head. Drawing a European dragon is not as challenging as it may seem. Start by creating a circle for the head. Then, at the bottom left of the circle, draw a carrot shape. This will guide you on where to place the snout.
Step 2: Outline the Dragon’s Body
Next, outline the body of the dragon. Begin from the middle-bottom of the circle and draw a squiggly line in the shape of a “W”. The edges of the line should be round and fluid, resembling the peaks and dips of a “W”. This line will serve as a guide for the dragon’s body.
Step 3: Define the Dragon’s Legs
Now, let’s outline the legs of the dragon. Starting with the front leg, draw a shape resembling a “>” symbol, with the point representing the elbow. Extend a small line from the end of the “>” shape to represent the paw. For the hind leg, create a line in the opposite shape, resembling a “<” symbol, with the point representing the knee. Add a smaller line going outwards at the stopping point of the leg line to depict the back foot, followed by a downward line for the claw. Congratulations! You have successfully drawn the dragon’s legs.
Step 4: Add the Dragon’s Horns
Let’s now move back up to the head and draw the horns. Start by creating a small upward line at the top of the circle. Then, swoop the line into a downward arc, followed by a little flourish back towards the top. Make sure the line has some angular shape to give the horns a realistic appearance. Remember to consider the size of the horns in relation to the head, ensuring they are proportionate and appear well-supported.
Step 5: Bring the Dragon to Life with Wings
It’s time to add wings to your dragon! This step can be a bit challenging, but don’t worry, we’ll guide you through it. Starting from the connection to the shoulder line, draw a line slightly angled upwards. Connect this line to a curved line that will serve as a guide for the folded wing. Remember, it’s okay if the curved line crosses over the tail line.
Step 6: Shape the Dragon’s Body
Now, let’s focus on shaping the dragon’s body. Begin from the top of the circle and extend the horn line slightly past the circle’s border. Then, curve the line downward to reach the snout, forming a slight peak. Notice how this dragon has an angular style. From the peak, create an angled line to form the top lip. For the bottom lip, bring the line slightly closer below the top lip, allowing the teeth to close in on each other. Complete the jaw by adding a squared-off chin. Finally, connect the jaw to the circle in an upward arc. Congratulations! You’ve successfully outlined the shape of the dragon’s head.
Step 7: Adding Flared Scales
Now, let’s add flared scales to the dragon’s back. Create a batwing-like shape with the peaks facing right. Then, at the circle representing the dragon’s head, extend a small line upwards from the bottom of the circle to show where the jawline meets the neck. To flesh out the dragon’s body, create a backward S shape with a second line starting under the dragon’s jaw. Remember to keep perspective in mind, ensuring the bottom of the line is wider than the top. Finally, add a little connecting line for the wing joint, guiding where the shoulder will begin.
Step 8: Define the Dragon’s Limbs, Shoulders, and Feet
Let’s focus on the limbs of your dragon drawing. Starting with the front leg, create a line opposite to the shoulder line. Ensure the line is not too long, but large enough to depict the dragon’s muscular body. Consider how your own arm looks, with the shoulder flowing into the tricep/bicep, followed by the elbow flowing into the forearm. Apply the same theory here and shape the front leg accordingly. That’s how you draw the dragon’s legs and feet!
Moving on to the dragon’s shoulder, create a large triangle shape that narrows downwards, resembling the peak of the “>” symbol from earlier. Extend a “V” shape to the right, ending with a little inward tick (representing the elbow claw). Then, curve the line back in the same direction as the guideline. Congratulations! You have successfully depicted the dragon’s shoulder.
For the dragon’s foot, start with a small claw and extend the line slightly downwards. Then, draw a horizontal line to meet the planned location of the feet. Additionally, you can create an arc on the foot to indicate where the “fingers” will be later.
Lastly, let’s focus on the back leg. Apply the same theory as the front leg, but this time create a muscle shape resembling a “butt” for the hind leg. Make it wider and larger than the front legs, as the dragon carries its center of balance in the back. Connect the triangle shape to the “<” line created earlier, forming the knee. Complete the leg by adding a heel claw and a few lines to match the guideline.
Congratulations! You have now completed the major steps of drawing a dragon!
Step 9: Erase Overlapping Lines
At this stage, you can erase any overlapping lines. Remove the circle from the head and the lines that intersect the legs. These are no longer needed. Great job! This is one of the easiest parts of drawing a dragon step by step.
Step 10: Add More Details
Now it’s time to add more details to your dragon drawing. Close off the tail line with a matching line, starting from a wider width and tapering to a point. Begin from the top flare on the head and extend a line for the eyebrow ridge, ensuring to give it some angular shaping. Moving on to the teeth, create varying-sized triangles along the top and bottom lips, curving inwards towards the back of the head. At the top of the dragon’s head, close off the horn with a wider base and slimmer point.
Next, let’s address the wings. Starting from the connection to the shoulder line, create a second line that matches the direction underneath it. Follow the curved line, gradually widening at the base. Then, add another smaller and shorter curved line on the other side of the closed arc, forming a wing joint. Congratulations! You’ve added essential details to your dragon drawing.
Step 11: Refine the Dragon’s Face
We’re almost there! Let’s now focus on the details of the dragon’s face. Underneath the eyebrow ridge, create a line that widens as it goes towards the back of the head. Be sure not to connect it to the head flares. Just below the defined ridge, draw an almond shape and fill it in to create the eye.
Close off the teeth by connecting the open points of the triangles. Add some ridgelines to the horns and the little backward “S” shape on the chest, ensuring the lines get bigger as they go towards the legs. To complete the inner wing, close the space on the dragon’s back with an upward arc. Finally, erase the line that cuts through the back of the wing, starting at the wing joint.
Step 12: Perfecting the Dragon’s Feet
Refine the feet of your dragon drawing by using the guidelines created earlier. Shape the claws in a way that appeals to you. Dragons are known for their uniqueness, so feel free to add your personal touch while keeping in mind anatomy, weight, and functionality.
Congratulations! You have successfully learned how to draw a dragon step by step. You now have your very own magnificent dragon masterpiece!
Special thanks to Carolyn for sharing her process. Don’t forget to check out her social media @ClazDesign for more incredible illustrations. She also offers amazing prints and illustrations in her shop.
Additional Step-by-Step Drawing Topics to Explore
If you enjoyed this guide, here are some other step-by-step drawing topics that might interest you:
- How to Draw a Rose (7 Easy Steps)
- How to Draw Dogs – Easy Step-by-Step Tutorial for Cute Dogs
- How to Draw Realistic Trees Like a Pro