Dragon Drawing Lesson – Part One

Dragon drawing silhouette image

Well here we are with yet another dragon drawing lesson, this one offered in three separate parts and more complex then the other ones to date.

Well here we are with yet another dragon drawing lesson, this one offered in three separate parts and more complex then the other ones to date.

Why a three-part lesson? Because there are three distinct phases – each one building on the last. If it were only one phase, there’d be way too much to cover!

Here in Part One, you’ll be creating a simple framework which will be very helpful in Parts Two and Three as you go on to finalize your dragon drawing.

Sound good? Great. With that said let’s charge straight on in and get going with another cool dragon drawing lesson!

A simple framework for drawing a dragon

First Step – Establish a Starting Point

The first step in creating your dragon drawing is to lightly outline the three core components of the body – head, chest and groin.

I recommend you start with a simple circle in the middle of your page for the chest area. After that, draw two more circles for the head and groin at a desired distance away from the chest.

See how my drawing is tilting slightly? Do the same. Actually, follow along as closely as you can for now. You can deviate from mine a little later on – in Part Two perhaps when you’ve got a nice structure to work from.

OK – got your three circles mapped out? Good stuff. Now go ahead and connect them with simple curved lines. I say "curved" as it’s nice to be able to outline the future stance/action of the dragon with a smooth, flowing guideline as it is more natural than rigid straight lines and leaves more room for imagination!

Alright, one more thing before step two. Just as I’ve done in grey, use a dotted line to give your dragon drawing three separate centerlines to work from. They will of course come in handy very soon when you’re balancing the left and right sides of your drawing.

Oh, and do make sure to turn your top centerline into a curved cross – just like mine. In the example above, you can see that the dragon’s head is positioned so it’s looking slightly up and to the right.

Moving on…

A developed framework for drawing a dragon

Second Step – Arms and Legs

The arms and legs are next and were going to position them in a relatively simple manner — left side equals right side!

You may be wondering why I switch back and forth from circles to lines for this framework. Well, for me it’s easier to work with this arrangement. But for you, you may just find it better later to use "all circles" or "all lines" or maybe even squares and rectangles.

Always remember that the purpose of creating this framework is to maintain symmetry and proportion so that you can focus on the goodies – the details, later on. Use whatever shapes you want for your framework if you like. But even still, I do recommend you same as I do for now.

In the case of the arms and legs, lets keep it simple and ensure that both sides are the same. How? Use your center line(s) of course. Just be sure that you recognize that the dragon is slightly off-centered.. turned slightly to the left (our right). This means you’ll see more of what’s on the dragon’s right side (your left) and slightly less on it’s left side (your right).

In my case, I drew the shoulder circles first followed by the upper arm lines. Next, the the elbow circles… and well – you get the picture. For the legs, it was three lines followed by the foot circle at the end – that exact order.

Quick note… it’s important to do a decent job at this stage but not a perfect one! This is only your guideline and you’ll be erasing it in the end.

Continuing on…

Third Step – Giant Hulking Dragon Wings!

Alright, time to give your dragon some huge "bat-like" wings – extended for all to see! This step follows suit with the previous two. Keep symmetry by balancing the left and right sides. Remember… because the dragon is turned slightly to the left (your right), we’ll see slightly less of it’s left wing – same with it’s left arm and left leg.

A dragon framework complete with outstretched wings

Isn’t it neat how the wings of a dragon kind of resemble another set of arms!? It’s like having an extra-long set of arms with gigantic spiny fingers attached at the ends! And then to top it off… huge flaps of skin connected in between. Strange but interesting thought… just another check on the list as to why dragons are so awesome!

Zooming in on the head of the dragon

Fourth Step – Head Structure

Depending on how you want your dragon drawing to look, you’ll need to pre-define the structure of it’s head.

The head in the example appears to be looking slightly up and to the left. Noting this, I’ll use the centerline to map out the features accordingly.

Start with two small circles – one for the end of the upper snout, and the other for the end of the lower snout. Position them in accordance to how you want your dragon to look. In the example, my dragon drawing will look as though the mouth is open… perhaps roaring or breathing fire!

With the circles in place, connect them to the appropriate areas on the centerline. After that, draw a couple small lines for horns protruding from your dragon’s head.

The lower part of the dragon drawing framework

Fifth Step – Fingers/Claws

This step is pretty simple. You know you want your dragon to have fingers and/or claws, so here’s how…

Four lines per circle does the trick just fine. I’ve drawn mine so that the hands are just sort of "hanging" there. This is a pretty basic stance and it will make drawing the hands later on all the more easy!

The claws/talons/toes – whichever – on the feet, are drawn in the exact same way as those on it’s hands. Map out each digit with a small curved line. And remember that whatever you do to the left – do the same thing to the right. Refer to your dotted centerline to keep everything looking nice and symmetrical.

OK, one last thing and it’s on to Part Two!

Final Step – Use a Dotted Line to Position Your Dragon’s Tail

The final step for Part One is to map out the tail of your dragon, a pretty straight-forward task.

A dragon’s tail is an extension of it’s spine and as such, it should continue along and away from the body relatively in line with centerline(s) that you drew in order to keep symmetry. Here’s mine below… a light grey wavy line. Yours of course will be dotted.

Completed dragon drawing framework image

If you really want, you can save sketching the tail for Part Two. It really is the last thing you need to worry about, unless of course you plan on having it come in front of your dragon drawing in some way. Maybe you want it wrapping around it’s leg or something.

Alright then.. everything good up to this point! Fantastic.

Well fellow dragon enthusiast, you’re all done Part One. You’ve got a great dragon drawing framework to work from now, one that will make the second part of the lesson all the more easy!

Part Two of this dragon drawing lesson will involve sketching out the shape of the dragon along with adding a few details here and there – your half-way point before you progress onwards to create a really cool and truly unique dragon drawing of your very own!

Click here when you’re ready to check out Part Two.