Introduction: Draw a Dragon Wing

Dragons have always captured the imagination, and now you can learn how to draw its awe-inspiring, legendary wing, the power behind its flight. I've always loved drawing, as far back as I can remember--capturing the image of whatever I wanted, from a fight scene to a beautiful sunset. Dragons, however, have been a consistent subject of my art for years, and I always find the wing to be the most powerful and domineering part. As a result, I've decided to show others--you!--how to draw this brilliant fantastical creature's wings, spread up and open in all their glory.

Use the video below or its written equivalent to learn the steps in order to illustrate an open dragon wing in profile.

NOTE: I'm using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on a Cintiq 13hd drawing tablet. Other mediums are just as viable for use, including but not limited to traditional pen/pencil and paper, other digital programs, paint, or markers. Should one be using traditional methods, I suggest performing steps 1 through 3 with lighter marks and going over them with darker ones. Just be ready to adjust your methods if you're using a different medium, however necessary. The basic concepts, though, should be consistent.

Step 1: Draw a Basic Dragon Body

This is just to provide a base on which to position the wings, which will connect at the shoulder. I suggest drawing this at the bottom of the page, preferably small in size.

Step 2: Draw the Basic Joints

Now we're going to illustrate the joints in a wing. You see, the average dragon wing is based on the wings of bats, which evolved from a hand-like limb. As a result, wings are essentially just giant arms with long fingers, connecting via membranes of skin. So, to illustrate a dragon wing, just draw a giant arm, with long, extended fingers. Draw circles where joints like the elbow, wrist, shoulder, and knuckles would be. NOTE: you can add as many or as few fingers as you like--this is a fantasy creature after all--but keep in mind that they should mostly be spawning from the "hand" portion. The one finger I drew at the elbow is an exaggeration of many animals' "thumb" (dew claw) being farther away from the rest of their toes, and further towards their elbow (just look at a dog or cat's foot!).

Step 3: Draw the Skin Membranes

Here, we add the bulk of the wing--the connecting tissue between each finger. Draw a curved line from the tip of each finger, curving inwards towards the inside of the wing. This will provide a realistic bend to the skin. We will add more detail to it later.

Step 4: Flesh Out the "arm"

Before now, the arm of the wing was just a line with circles indicating muscles and joints. Now, we're going to--quite literally--flesh it out. Make it 3-dimensional; add bumps where the joints, like the knuckles and fingers, are. Pretty soon, your wing will start to look properly supported by a muscular limb.

Step 5: Add Folds and Stretch Marks

This is a very important detail should you want your wing to look relatively realistic: stretch marks. Wings are made of leather and skin, and they bend and fold and flap and move on a daily basis (assumedly). They're going to gain folds and marks that show both the age and the activity of the dragon in question. Add them near the joints, where the wing will crease. The more marks, the older the dragon is, most likely. Or, perhaps, they are simply more experienced in flying.

Step 6: Add Color + Details!

Add some color and some shading, perhaps add scars or any other defining mark, and you're done!