Dragons have long been mythical creatures that captivate our imaginations. They are prevalent in folklore, art, and popular culture, symbolizing power and strength or embodying evil adversaries. While each artist envisions dragons differently, these fantastical creatures often borrow characteristics from various animals, particularly reptiles. In this step-by-step tutorial, we will guide you in creating your own unique dragon drawing.
What You’ll Learn:
- The structure of a dragon’s body.
- How to draw a dragon.
- Techniques for shading a dragon.
- A piece of paper.
- A 0.5mm 2B mechanical pencil.
- A 0.5mm HB mechanical pencil.
- A 2.3mm Tombow Mono Zero eraser.
- A blending stump.
- A ruler.
- A white gel pen.
- An eraser or a kneaded eraser.
This is the dragon you’ll be drawing:
And these are the steps we’ll guide you through:
Section 1: Structure of a Dragon
Dragons come in various forms, with different regions emphasizing unique characteristics. However, for this tutorial, we will focus on drawing a traditional western dragon with two wings and four legs.
Step 1: Split Your Canvas Vertically
To ensure accurate proportions, divide your canvas into three equal parts using a ruler.
Step 2: Split Your Canvas Again
Now, horizontally split your canvas into three equal sections. This grid will serve as a helpful composition guide for drawing complex dragon features.
Step 3: Draw an Ellipse
On the lower left side of your canvas, sketch a moderately sized ellipse. This will form the central part of the dragon’s body.
Step 4: Draw a Circle
In the upper left part of the canvas, draw a small circle for the dragon’s head, following the guidelines.
Step 5: Connect the Body and Head
Connect the head and body of the dragon with a long curved line. Add two additional circles to mark the position of the limbs, as shown in the diagram.
Step 6: Draw a Distorted Rectangle
Create the structure of the dragon’s head by adding a distorted rectangle and a small triangle next to it.
Step 7: Complete the Neck
Extend two lines to form the dragon’s neck. One line connects the middle of the head’s circle to the left side of the body, while the other goes from the right side of the head to the left guideline.
Step 8: Draw the Front Leg
Using two bean-like shapes, draw the dragon’s front leg. Since the dragon is sitting, consider the position of the limbs.
Step 9: Add the Claws
Indicate the claws on the leg using three lines of varying sizes.
Step 10: Repeat for the Other Leg
Repeat the previous steps to draw the other leg. Take note of overlapping shapes and erase any unnecessary lines.
Step 11: Draw the Other Leg
Utilize two ellipses to construct the other leg. The back legs should be thicker than the front legs, with shorter claws.
Step 12: Add the Tail
Referencing the guidelines, sketch the tail with a curved line and finish it off with a rhomboid shape.
Step 13: Draw Two Triangles
Start drawing the wings by sketching a triangle and an inverted triangle. The wings should be in a half-open position, as if the dragon is about to take flight.
Step 14: Complete the Tail
Use a couple of curved lines to finalize the shape of the dragon’s tail, ensuring to include the spine protrusions.
Step 15: Finish the Wing
Since the wing is slightly bent, draw the fold using a smaller triangle.
Step 16: Draw the Mouth, Eye, and Horns
Add the dragon’s mouth with an elongated “W” shape, starting from the tip of the triangle and ending near the midpoint of the head’s circle. Incorporate a small “V” shape for the nose. Draw the eye as a rhomboid shape with a semicircle inside. Be sure to reference the guidelines for proper positioning. For the horns, you can use the shown shapes or create your own, keeping in mind their symmetrical nature.
Section 2: How to Draw a Dragon
Before proceeding, carefully erase the guidelines, retaining enough visibility to serve as a base for your dragon.
Step 17: Draw the Head
Unleash your imagination while drawing the dragon’s head. Dragons come in various forms, so feel free to experiment and customize the head shape. Remember to incorporate rough and irregular lines, capturing the reptilian essence.
Step 18: Draw the Neck
Emphasize larger overlapping scales at the front of the neck, and consider adding spines or protrusions along the back of the neck.
Step 19: Draw the Legs
Proceed to draw the dragon’s legs, incorporating small spiky bumps near the joints to add detail to your drawing.
Step 20: Draw the Wings
For the wings, refer to fruit bat wings as a reference point. Add claws at the end of each wing division.
Step 21: Add the Tail and Claws
Sketch the remaining part of the tail, including the spine protrusions. Draw the claws where visible, and add the final touches to the other wing. Erase any lingering guidelines that are still visible.
Section 3: How to Shade a Dragon
Step 22: Apply a Base of Graphite
Using the 0.5mm mechanical pencil, gently shade your dragon. Keep in mind that the light source is coming from above, so the areas closer to the ground will appear darker.
Step 23: Shade the Wings
Shade the wings, filling them with graphite and blending the shades. Remember to create lighter values along the divisions, and add more intensity under the overlapping wing.
Step 24: Add the Scales
Adding scales to the dragon’s body can be time-consuming. To expedite the process, sketch several crossed lines as a base using the 0.5mm HB pencil. Then, use the 2B mechanical pencil to create the actual scales. Apply the same technique to the tail and the part where the wings connect to the body. To make the scales stand out, selectively erase some of them using the Tombow Mono Zero eraser, and add highlights using the white gel pen.
Step 25: Draw the Ground
Add soft traces below your dragon to imitate the ground. Blend the traces seamlessly.
And voila! You’ve completed your dragon drawing. Well done!
Thank you for following this tutorial. We hope you’ve enjoyed and learned something new today. Now you have the skills to create your own breathtaking dragon artwork. Until next time!