How to Draw an Avatar Dragon

Cartoon drawing of Turok the Last Shadow, from the popular movie Avatar.

Drawing this mighty Avatar dragon – or as it’s actually referred to in the film – a Leonopteryx (by humans) and Toruk (by the Na’vi) was a ton of fun. After seeing the movie for a second time (in 3D!!), I just had to create a drawing lesson around one of the coolest creatures in the film.

This animal also is referred to as "Last Shadow" – as its shadow is the last thing you see before… well… it’s the last thing you see! 🙂

To the sky!

First Step – A Leonopteryx Framework

I remember seeing the previews for this movie. And just by seeing some of the Banshees (smaller dragons), it was difficult to make out the shape and form of these animals.

Here’s what I came up with…

Framework image, from which to draw an Avatar dragon cartoon character - based on the movie.
Completed framework for an Avatar dragon cartoon, from the popular Science Fiction movie by James Cameron.

So yes, an Avatar dragon, it does look like. But really – with the shape of its wings – it sort of takes on the form of a butterfly, or some other sort of insect. It’s a truly unique animal, making it all the more fun to draw.

And speaking of which – let’s do just that!

Second Step – How to Draw an Avatar Dragon

Given the shape and form of our Toruk – now it’s time to sketch in the lines that bring the animal into view. Indeed – the uniqueness of this creature, does make it a bit tricky to draw. It took some experimenting to come up with a way for you to (I think!) best go about it.

Anyway… here are the steps to recreate a homage to the Toruk – cartoonified in my own unique style of drawing – beginning with the top of its head…

Drawing the first part of the head and horn, of the dragon from Avatar.
Drawing the head of the Leonopteryx from the famous movie, Avatar.
Completing the head of the cartoon Avatar dragon, based on the movie.
Drawing the chest area of the cartoon Avatar dragon.
Drawing the arms of the Turok dragon from the hit movie Avatar.
Continuing with the arms and groin of the Avatar dragon from the movie.
Drawing the wings of the cartoon Avatar dragon.
Continuing to draw the wings of the Turok dragon from Avatar.
Drawing of the legs and more details, of the dragon from the movie Avatar.
Final touches for drawing the dragon Leonopteryx from the movie Avatar.
Black and white drawing of the Turok or Leonopteryx, the dragon from the movie Avatar.
Colored drawing of Turok the Last Shadow, the large orange dragon from the famous James Cameron movie, Avatar.

As always – the colors do all the justice on the paper with respect to "making it look how its supposed to look". Think about it… how many times – before you actually add color to a drawing that you’re working on, do you say…

It just doesn’t look the way I wanted it to.

The color makes the drawing in many cases. So don’t be afraid to push on through right to the end. Given the right color scheme, simple black and white lines can be perceived quite differently than you may have originally thought.

Well – that’s it for this lesson. See you real soon for another!