How to Draw a Dragon -- Who Likes to Draw




Introduction: How to Draw a Dragon -- Who Likes to Draw

About: My name is Kevin Palivec. I'm a network engineer who lives in Texas. I love building useful stuff from scavenged parts.

In this Instructable I'll Show you how to DRAW, clean, scan, color and shade a dragon who himself likes to draw!

First off. We need to decide what our dragon is going to look like and what pose he or she will be in.

first thing is to doodle out a thumbnail image. this is just a scribbly drawing to get an idea on paper to work from.

Here's the thumbnail image I doodled out for this project.

At this point we don't really care how good our dragon is. We just want to get something onto paper that we can refer to when we start the real drawing!

Step 1: Start Our DRAGON! Line of Action

Ok.. all drawings have a beginning and one of the first things you want to do is draw the "line of action" this is basically the "flow" of the eventual drawing.. it's what the rest of the drawing is going to be constructed along.
Along this line I've done circles to start where our dragon's head, nose, chest and stomach will eventually be. This helps you get an overall feel to see how things will come together as you draw. Don't be afraid to scribble as much as you want at this point. We'll Clean up what we don't use later on.

Step 2: Flesh Out Your Dragon

In this step we add to our line of action sketch. Here we start adding details. using our initial line of action and body markers to help guide where the rest of the details go. As you can see we're still very scribbly at this point. Again, don't be afraid to messup at this point anything we don't like can be modified and or removed before we finalize the details.
Just add and edit as you draw.. at this point we're doing everything in pencil!

I do all the body shapes with circles and then add details later.

Step 3: Add in Your Dragon's Details.

now it's time to give our dragon his "look" Here we're adding in his details. I'm a cartoonist so my dragons are typically rounder and friendlier looking than other dragons. However these techniques can be used to draw more ferocious dragons as well.

Here I've added in the body lines and cleaned up some of the edges.
This is still in pencil so we can change or modify as needed

Step 4: Time to Clean Up Our Dragon's Image!

Now We're ready to Clean up our dragon's image.
(they're not all mean violent brutes!)

Actually We're going to ink our drawing. There are several ways to do this....
In my early drawing days I'd turn the drawing over... take a pencil and scribble a black area all over the opposite side of the drawing... then I'd lay the drawing on a clean piece of paper and trace the image. the pressure would cause the graphite from the black area to transfer a copy of the drawing I traced... kinda like a poor mans carbon paper.... I didn't use carbon paper because it wont erase. the resulting image on the clean paper would then be traced with a black fine tip sharpie. However later I got a lightbox. This makes cleaning up an image much easier!!
See the images below...

Step 5: Complete the Inking Process.

Having line arted and inked the dragon we need to do an outline to make the image professional looking.

You'll need a broader tip sharpie for this..

We're just going to outline the outer edges of the dragon drawing with our broad tip sharpie.

Step 6: Now It's Time for a DragonScan

Now we need to scan our inked and cleaned dragon into a computer.
With this drawing we're going to do the rest of our work in the digital realm!

We need to get a clean line art image into our image editor so we can color and shade it.

Step 7: Giving Our Dragon a Digital Makeover Starts Here

Having scanned in our dragon we need to clean up the scanned image to improve the contrast and linewidths..

this is easily done by adjusting the image brightness to almost full and pulling the contrast to full

Step 8: Convert Our Image to Color

Now we need to convert our line art to RGB color so we have the whole spectrum of color to work with.... it's easy! See the image below

Step 9: Time to Give Our Dragon Some Color!

now we begin the part of the process that brings our dragon to life! Color! Dragons are colorful characters and ours is gonna be green! Yeah I know.. not too original but... I like Green!

We need to pick a good shade of green!
See the image..

Step 10: Start Painting Your Wagon.. I Mean Dragon!

We start doing paint fills of each part of our dragon.

at this point you're going to find holes in your drawing that will let color fill parts it shouldn't.. when you do you need to pick a small black pencil brush and fill in the holes
then refill the part that shouldn't be filled with white.

Repeat this process as you color the dragon...

Step 11: Now Our Dragon Is Flat-colored

Ok.. We've colored our dragon.. He's green. He's got yellowish wings... He's majestic! He's also very 2 dimensional, colorwise.

We need to give him some depth!

Read on to the next step!

Step 12: Color Shading Our Dragon

We need to shade our dragon. This gives him depth of character!
Plus it also just makes em look cooler!!

We have to use the select tool and pick each part and shade it individually.

See the images below for details.

Step 13: Shading and Finishing...

As you select each area you'll switch to the brush with the darker color.. you'll have to imagine a light placed somewhere over your dragon and how the light will fall around the edges.. a round arm for instance.. the part of the arm away from the light will be darker... draw the brush along the bottom of the arm and see as the darker color fills the edge. do this for the entire image and each color..

Step 14: All Done!

when you finish shading your dragon he'll have a rounded look and seem to pop off the page!
See the images below for the finished dragon and a side by side image of the dragon with his shading removed and set beside him so you can see how the shading helps!

I hope you have enjoyed Drawing a dragon with me!

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    6 years ago

    Nicely done.


    13 years ago on Step 14

    I like this instructable, ive seen artwork sort of like this on a link in, would that be our site? by the way, what software is that?


    Reply 13 years ago on Step 14

    On the web my artwork is found at I draw dragons online under the name Malathar. is Dee Dreslough's website. But If memory serves she does have a link to my work. Or did at one time.
    the program used is Adobe PhotoShop but any drawing program would work.
    A good free one is GIMP It has many of the features of Adobe and the price is right!! =)


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    is the gimp program safe? i just like to be sure cuz im getting a new computer and i dont want it to start crashing right after i download the programy thinging.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    The Gimp is safe. I've got it installed on my current windows machine and have had it installed on many machines in the past. I've never had any problems with it. It's simply an open source graphics program.
    (meaning it's been written to be free and the programming code for it is available to anyone who wishes to add to it or just see how it works)
    There's no malware or virus payload included with it if you get it from the delevlopment site

    Here's an extract from their webite....

    GIMP is Free Software and a part of the GNU Project. In the free software world, there is generally no distinction between users and developers. As in a friendly neighbourhood, everybody pitches in to help their neighbors. Please consider the time you give in assistance to others as payment.

    Dont be afraid of it.. it works good!


    Reply 12 years ago on Step 14

    ok, thanks. just curious. thanks again!


    13 years ago on Introduction

    okay. That's it! I'm saving up to get Adobe Photoshop! You can do SOOOO much more with it than the MS one! This 'ible is terrific! you must be a professional artist. I'm just a wannabe.


    13 years ago on Introduction

    this thing is awsome so awsome that it I drew it ten times


    13 years ago on Introduction

    Yay 1st comment! anyway, great instructable, you get a 10 outta 10 from me!