How to Draw a Dragon Part 2: Complete the Full Dragon, in Detail

Full dragon cartoon image

Structure and form in place, let’s tackle the full dragon now – complete with all the detail that you can think up. Ready to finalize a brand new dragon of your own creation?

Excellent. Let’s begin!

First Step – Blue is the Color of Choice

In the world of digital art, a soft blue is ideal for sketching out drawings on paper – before scanning them onto the computer, and into image editing software. When creating a lineart, working with layers in a program such as Photoshop… blue penciled crayon lines help to act as place holders for your new, clean & crisp calligraphic black line strokes. Also, the blue lines are easily removed – once working in such a program, leaving only the black lines in the end.

I mention the above – as most of the lessons on the site, start with blue baselines. And aside from blue being my favorite color… you get a better understanding of why I go about it this way.

Anyway… here’s where we’ll begin… the completed shaped outline from the end of part one…

Fading the previous cartoon dragon image to light blue

And just to make things easier for you… as you carefully bring a unique dragon of your own into view… I’ll lighten up the blue ever so much, so you can more easily see and place your lines.

Let’s do this!

Second Step – Draw the Head of Your Dragon

Begin the head of your dragon by sketching in the eye, and the nostril- as they’d be seen with the tilt of the head taken into account. When you’ve done this, carry on using the steps here to help you progress.

Here it is…

Drawing the eye of the cartoon dragon Drawing the snout of the full dragon cartoon Drawing the lower mouth of the full dragon Drawing the mouth details of the dragon like teeth Drawing the dragon's horns Drawing additional horns for the dragon

And this is good for now. Sure – add more details, etc. if you like at this point. In my case though, I think now’s a good time to move on down to the left arm. It’s always nice to pay attention to the sequence by which things come together. Saves from erasing later on. Your choice of course!

Next up…

Third Step – Connect the Left Arm to the Head

Here’s how to draw the arm of your full dragon – as it follows up along the neck, and connects to the base of its head. Remember to incorporate your own unique style and ideas into your work as you move forward. No limits!!

Here’s how it looks…

Drawing the left arm of the full dragon
Drawing the claw of the full dragon cartoon
Drawing the upper arm of the full dragon
Connecting the head and arm with the neck

Well – things are looking pretty good up to this point I’d say. Keeping along the left side of the dragon, and then moving in and around the central portion – chest, stomach – and finally down to the tail… let’s continue on.

Here goes…

Fourth Step – Bring Forth the Core Areas of Your Dragon

Sequence taken into account, move on down first – to the left leg of your dragon. Draw in this part – and then… slowly bring the underbelly into view. Use the steps to help you out – as always! 🙂

Here’s how it looks…

Drawing the lower leg of the dragon
Drawing the lower foot of the dragon
Drawing spikes for the full dragon
Drawing the plated underbelly of the full dragon
Drawing the lower legs of the full dragon
Drawing the details of the full dragon

Easier when you think a little bit – planning that is! – before you draw the full dragon. Sometimes, just going straight to the lines works out well. Other times, planning like this is more helpful. Really, I think it all depends on how much practice you’ve had. It’s subjective.

Finally – out to those hulking dragon wings!

Fifth Step – Wings to a Magical Staff

The wings of this dragon are large – as they should be. Sometimes though – when drawing something in a limited space, it’s difficult to incorporate a true likeness of the wings – as they should look in order to be able to lift a dragon off the ground. I’ve encountered this before, but here – I’ve done my best given the space – to make the size of its wings ‘big enough’ in order to sustain the full dragon in flight.

But of course… if you like… make yours BIGGER!!

Drawing the wings of the full dragon
Drawing more spikes for the winged full dragon
Drawing the forks of the inner wing of the dragon
Drawing the skin on the wings of the dragon
Drawing the spikes along the tail of the dragon
Drawing a staff for the dragon

I think the idea for the staff was really cool. Here – I wanted to incorporate it such that the dragon could harmonize the powers of both flame and magic to createa synergistic ‘energy blast’ – as you’ll soon see in finished full dragon drawing and colored drawing.

Almost done now…

Sixth Step – Full Dragon Fire Blast

This is a really fun step. The lines mapped out from before – really help as you slowly twist and turn your lines – giving off a ‘fire-like’ effect. Notice too how the flame path goes a little out of wack, as it makes contact with the orb at the end of the staff.

OK – here’s how it looks…

Drawing fire coming from the dragon's mouth
Drawing a beam and another layer of flames coming from the dragon's mouth
Drawing the dragon's other wings
Drawing the other wing details

Of course – once you’ve got the staff and fire in place, you can finally go about bringing into view – the right wing, as it appears smaller and in behind everything else we’ve drawn so far.

Again, sequence helps!

Well – it’s all led up to this point. Here’s how the lesson wraps up… a little color… a little detail… things to make this dragon – all the more AWESOME!

Final Step – Your Full Dragon in View, Colored and All

Before we add any color… let’s first have a look at the BIG PICTURE… check out how things turn out with all lines – and zero framework lines… displayed. From this point forward, you can color your dragon anyway you choose. But I went with blue… it, red and black being the top three picks from the You Decide! survey.

A final look…

Black and white drawing of a full dragon cartoon
Cartoon drawing of a full dragon

Pretty neat I’d say! The blue – especially this darker shade… really looks cool. But for sure – a black dragon, or even a red dragon – ANY COLOR! – would look just great. Have fun experimenting with it.

In closing, what else can we say!? This was so much fun to create and very well worth it. I really hope you enjoyed this lesson, and that it’s inspired you to take your imagination and creativity to a whole new level. 🙂

See you next time!