animal Drawing Tutorial

How to draw dragons

A tutorial on how to draw dragons, focusing on anatomy.

Tutorial category: animal  
Tutorial type:
Submitted by:
Tools used: This tutorial can be done using any medium




Step 1

Before starting to draw, think about the pose. Do you want your dragon to sit, to jump, to lie down? Think about the point of view. Are you looking at him from the front, the rear, from above or from below?
The dragon I'm using as an example will be sitting and he is viewed from the side.

Now, the second step is to draw a line for the spine of the dragon.


Step 2

The second step is to draw a circle for the upper body and one for the lower body. Usually the circles are about the same size.



Step 3

Draw a circle for the head and a square or circle for the snout.


Step 4

The next step is to draw the joints of a front leg. Draw circles for the shoulder, the elbow and the paw.


Step 5

Now connect the joints by drawing 'ovals' and add a oval or triangle for the paw.



Step 6

Draw circles for the joints of the hind leg: the hip, the knee, the ankle and the paw.


Step 7

Connect the joints by drawing ovals.


Step 8

Use the same method for drawing the other two legs (step 4,5,6 and 7).

Important: pay attention to the proportions. The leg must have the same length and thickness (as in the hind legs must have the same proportions as well as the front legs). Also, it's important to draw the entire leg even though some parts are blocked from view. By doing this you ensure the proportions are right and that the feet and paws are on the right spot (you won't get body parts sticking out at weird places).


Step 9

Draw the tail.


Step 10

Add details to your drawing, such as eyes, horns, toes. You can also give your dragon specific designs (eg. markings, frills).


Step 11

Now go over your drawing and make a line art. I have left my dragon sketchy, because I like it that way, but normally at this point you would create a line art and delete the sketch layer (if you're working with a computer program).


Step 12

Photo (C) Michael Nichols
[ LINK ]

Here are some extra tips:

1. Big tip: if you're having difficulties with poses, search for cats and dogs pictures on the internet. Sketch a couple of dogs and/or cats. These animals are very good references for dragons, because they have similar anatomy (at least, my dragons do). By sketching dogs and cats you will improve quickly with poses - it might sound boring but it really helps.

2. Ask yourself these questions: is the pose natural? Is the dragon balanced? Where would my arm be where I in that position?

3. If you see a mistake, try and fix it. If you tried to fix it but just couldn't get it right, try and find a reference or perhaps ask a fellow artist for a little help - seeing how another person would fix it can help you improve as well.

4. Ask others for criticism. Two people see more than one.

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