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How To Draw Your Dragon by LittleFireDragon How To Draw Your Dragon by LittleFireDragon

This is my guide to dragon anatomy. It is not a traditional tutorial that shows you step-by-step, "here's how to draw this picture of a dragon", because nobody ever learned anything from that, and if they did it was from subconsciously doing what I'm skipping to here.
You see, a tutorial that walks you through but never explains doesn't teach you how to draw, it teaches you how to copy. To truly draw, you need to learn to See. Seeing is understanding how something works, so you can picture it in your head and understand how it all connects. For animals, this requires you to know how the bones work.
Thus, I've shown a reference, rather than a how-to guide. I've explained in detail, and hopefully by my explanations and good old observation, you'll be able to figure it out.
Give a man a tutorial, he'll fill a page. Give him a reference and he'll fill a sketchbook.

One more thing: practice. I took years to get this good. You won't get there overnight. Deal with it. Just keep trying.

Note: Should be antorbital fenestra. I keep typing anti for some reason.

Part 1: Basics
Part 2: Skull
Part 3: Eyes
Part 4: Basic Flesh
Part 5-1: Back Legs
Part 5-2: Front Legs
Part 6-1: Bat Wings
Part 7: Torso

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:iconloudlywhispering:
LoudlyWhispering Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014  New member Hobbyist General Artist
I like it. This will certainly help me with my dragons. And nice pun, by the way. :)
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:iconlittlefiredragon:
LittleFireDragon Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Heh. Thanks. :)
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:iconmegankoss:
MeganKoss Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2014  Student Photographer
This is brilliant! Call me crazy but I believe Dragons could have existed! Because its anatomy is possible! :) This also helps me LOADS with drawing them! Thank youuuu :) 
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:icondv02:
Dv02 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have a firm belief that humans will make dragons, once we have enough genetic research from most animals, like the R-Rex, Horse, and perhaps a hawk, with a bit of human cranial DNA to make it intelligent. It night not be able to breath fire or fly (on the first try), but with the leaps in medical advances we have (designer babies are possible now, just not allowed on ethnic grounds)... Of course, I think starting with a unicorn would be easier. Because one day a bored scientist will say, "why not?"
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:iconlittlefiredragon:
LittleFireDragon Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
*Addendum to previous comment*
Anyway I'm glad you appreciate this.
If my tutorials aren't enough, I suggest looking into dinosaur anatomy.
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:iconlittlefiredragon:
LittleFireDragon Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Hm. If dragons existed I doubt they were large, breathed fire, or had four legs. The wyvern build is more plausible.
That being said, by that definition of a dragon, they did indeed exist - we just now call them pterosaurs.
anwo.com/store/media/rhamphorh…  Meet Rhamphorhynchus. He's small and doesn't breathe fire. But he has leathery wings, talons, an arrow-tipped tail, and a mouth full of sharp teeth! :)

The thing about dragons is they're just a distorted vision of real creatures. Did giant, fire breathing monsters ever live? Almost certainly not. Did things exist that we could look at and say "Yeah if I were a medieval peasant and I found that skeleton, I'd think it was a dragon"? Absolutely. Only today we recognize most such creatures as pterosaurs or dinosaurs - which, incidentally, is what I base my dragon anatomy on.
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:iconvoraciousamphy96:
VoraciousAmphy96 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Student General Artist
I'm learning how to draw dragons myself, yet not sure if using picture refs and drawing off them is a good thing.
I used tutorials to draw a whole dragons and like 5 heads.
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:iconlittlefiredragon:
LittleFireDragon Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist

The thing about references and tutorials is that tutorials generally walk you through it step by step without actually teaching you how anything works. It's memorization rather than learning. And it teaches you to draw only the one dragon it shows you how to draw.

Some tutorials, like those from DragonArt by neondragon actually EXPLAIN things, and that makes them a weird tutorial/reference hybrid. These are good.

The ones that just say "Hey draw a circle. Now draw another circle. Connect them like this. No, I won't explain why, just do it..." are not so good. It teaches very little and if you try to repose the dragon or draw it from another angle you're left wondering what to do because the tutorial never covered that.


Of course, merely copying a reference picture isn't much better. Again, that's mechanical rather than learning. A reference picture is intended not for you to copy but for you to examine. To look at it and go "OH so THAT'S how that works, okay, I understand now!" And if you understand it, physically, you're more able to draw it.


It's the difference between memorizing a multiplication table and actually learning how multiplication works. Either way, if you have memoried that 2 x 2 is 4, you'll be able to multiply two and two together. But if you only memorized it, you won't necessarily be able to apply the same principle to three and three, which you could do if you learned the basics of multiplication instead of memorizing tables.


Am I making sense or am I talking gibberish again?

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:iconvoraciousamphy96:
VoraciousAmphy96 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Student General Artist
You're making sense,I understood what you said.

What I do, is I tend to really not examine reference pictures I tend to follow them,because I really don't know how to draw the actual thing too well. LIke with some of my dragons I followed off a reference because I had no idea how to draw the actual thing. That's what I tend to do with my drawings,and I'm trying not to do that anymore. 
 And it's become more of a habit to look at the picture and follow it as I draw it,how would I fix that exactly ?


I do get the example, I need to really learn basics of drawing dragons and how they work,I've been just using tutorials, which I was starting to feel like they weren't really helping me, which they weren't very much. I think I just went to them because I was a beginner and had no idea how to draw a dragon head ,dragon,pokemon,etc. I'm trying to learn the anatomy and look a pictures to get ideas instead of just something I copy.

Following drawings and copying a reference is kinda a habit. When I am drawing,I look at the drawing and try to draw it by looking at it and following it.

I've been taught that I should actually examine my references, but the main thing my mind does is it goes, "I don't know how to draw that,maybe I should draw this that I'm seeing right now. I've been dependent on copying references to get good drawings for two months.
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:iconlittlefiredragon:
LittleFireDragon Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist

Ah, yeah. That's a problem a lot of people have, learning to break out of just drawing the lines they see and actually figure out how those lines connect.

That's why I like using skeletal references so much. They force you to not directly copy (since you're usually not drawing a skeleton), but give you proportions to work from and joints to look at. :)


Best of luck!

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