The complete picture of this dragon drawing may look quite complex but do not get repelled by that. I am going to show you how easy it is to draw a dragon.
As you know there are many kinds of dragons and they differ according to the culture.
Imagine the dragon as a huge serpent with legs or wings and fire all-around…or to say it more simplistically, as a huge decorated snake.
The following picture I made is a Chinese Dragon.
It is a very simple drawing, although it may not look like that at the first sight…but…if you follow the steps, starting from one simple winding line you will eventually end up with a perfect dragon drawing.
Your drawing may be slightly different from this one, which is perfectly OK.
You are here to draw your own dragon, not to copy like a scanner. The hair on the dragon, its face, etc will be slightly different in your picture and, that is good.
Drawing a Chinese Dragon is not just some dragon drawing. It is actually a connection with the Chinese culture. Make it nice, make it fun and make it better than mine ;-)
OK, go ahead, click on the thumbnails to enlarge each one, if necessary print them out as you wish. You can draw it directly or use tracing paper.
Observe well the above ready picture first. See how the body of the dragon is winding. See the shape of the curves and imagine a central line (a kind of axis) going through the entire length along the body. Now draw that line.
I draw that central line with several pencil strokes. Make as many strokes as necessary, you can always erase them later. The more you practice the fewer strokes you need.
At this stage, you should have an “S” shaped winding curve. Now add a bit of volume to that S-shaped line. Notice how the body of the dragon is winding, tilting, or bending.
As the position of the dragon in this picture suggests it is much convenient to start to draw and work out the body parts from the tail. Dragon has a lot of thick hair on its head and it continues till the tail.
This drawing is rather symbolic so the back of the dragon may appear spiked or as if there are flames or simply furry.
The fur on the back top continues from one side of the body to another, as the dragon bends.
Head of the dragon is easy. Click on the image and see how simply I sketched the very approximate outlines of the head. Yes, there are many strokes on this dragon drawing…as many as I initially needed.
You only need to mark out 3 basic parts on the head. These are the eyes, the nose, and the mouth. Make them all visible by weak pencil lines.
Now you can go deeper into detail. Outline the shapes of each 3 parts. If possible start with the eyes, then go to the nose, and finally draw the mouth.
You are still drawing by very gentle weak pencil strokes; so do not push the tip of your pencil too strong.
The Chinese dragon has a mustache, beard, thick hair, and a pair of long whiskers on each side. On its head is a pair of antlers.
At this stage, I just forgot to draw but I added them later (see the fourth picture from below).
When the head is roughly ready you can start to draw the hind legs. Use an extra sheet of paper under your drawing hand not to blur your dragon drawing. The legs slightly resemble a bird’s legs so try to make their shape like that.
Draw the front legs. The Chinese dragon has 5 talons on each leg, but here they are hidden so we cannot see them all.
Good. Your dragon drawing starts to emerge in its full scale. Now you can start to gradually emphasize by thicker and darker lines the body of the serpent. Begin from the tail.
The Chinese dragon has scales throughout its entire body. Open the thumbnail and see in detail how I drew the scales. I made 2 lines on each scale on purpose so that it looks more sharp and crisp.
When you draw the scales always work out towards the tail, it will be easier. I would suggest doing a little sketch/study on a separate paper to see how it comes out.
So, here is the place where I actually corrected the head of the dragon, namely I added a pair of very simple antlers. Can you see them? They are hidden in thick hair so they may be hardly visible but antlers should be there.
If you do the dragon drawing only by pencil you can start to shade the dragon’s body as it is outlined here. Simple strokes will do the job perfectly.
Since all this drawing is by graphite HB pencil, most of the body parts appear blackish. Parts that look as if they were piled upon each other may be difficult to distinguish one shape from another.
I suggest leaving a tiny (very slim) borderline around those parts, especially on the hair of the dragon’s head.
Hair and antlers would be otherwise impossible to distinguish. Enlarge the picture and notice this important step.
Make sure you have the thin borderline, especially on the head. Too much hair and other elements are just bundling in that area.
Use a sharp pencil and pencil-shaped-eraser to draw the borderlines. Using these two simple tools will help you tremendously, you’ll see.
OK, your dragon drawing is ready. Erase the last grey dust from around the body so that the white parts on the paper remain as white as possible.
You can do the same drawing by using colored pencils or pastels.