Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Floral Fish Dragon

 Last Friday on my Twitch Stream, we did the #DiscoveringDragons Community-Draw-Along! It's a fun event where I welcome all skill levels to push their pencils (or whatever tools they use to make art).

I worked on my piece live on my Twitch stream while viewers worked at home and then on Monday we shared our finished pieces.

Here is my finished colored Dragon. And below are my steps to create it as well as the community submissions.

For #DiscoveringDragons, I post two or three prompt words for everyone to make into a dragon. It's a nice framework for artists of any skill level to focus some time on an 'assignment' to shake the rust off or get the pencil moving again––all while also being loose enough that there's plenty of room for individual expression and interpretation.

This month the prompt was only two words: Fish & Floral.

I opened a few tabs of google image searches of Fish (specifically beta fish) dragons and flowers (specifically Marigolds). 

I started with a pencil drawing on copy paper starting with the head of the fish. I played with varying degrees of opened mouth, then focused on giving it fins or swoopy, draped flower petals that swirled more like a garment's sleeves. 

As I said above, I looked at Marigolds for the flower reference. For the arms, I wanted this to seem more aquatic, so they are a vestigial level of weakness––in fact the next row of limbs back are more like floral fins with arms. I ran out of paper before I added the single horn, so I drew it off to the side of the paper, scanned it, and assembled what you see here in Photoshop.

I then printed it out so I could do the tighter pencil drawing you see to the left on top of it on a light pad.

I taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. Using a lightpad, I was able to see through the surface of the bristol as I inked the dragon. I used Copic Multiliner 0.7 SP pen to ink the art. 

Line quality and texture was my way of making sure the different parts of the dragon could be read apart from one another. Also varying the density of those textures helped sell the depth & distance.

I wasn't able to finish the inks before my stream ended and wished the viewers all luck with their pieces and told them we'd take a look at everyone's work on Monday.

After some dinner, I came back up to the studio and finished inking the piece as I listed to a true crime podcast. Once the inks were finished and scanned, I let the podcast play and started the coloring process. That first step is to flat in the colors––basically professional coloring-in-the-lines.

Knowing the Marigold reference, the flower petals were that dark red orange. I liked the idea of making the fishy bits echo the colors of a Marigold's stem. 

I added color holds (areas where I want the black inkwork to be a painted color) to the flame & the eye.

 For the final colors and all the highlights, shading, and texture I used the dodge and burn tools with a stock photoshop texture brush. Below you can again see the final rendered dragon.

But, as this is a community event, I wanted to share all the other entries posted in the Discord.





Wicked Goblin King





Kelsey - 10 y/o

Sydney - 12 y/o



Nate Pride


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