Paint a dragon with personality
Manuel Castañón shares his process for painting an original dragon, from sketch to finished illustration
Manuel Castañón paints an original dragon.
This image was made as an entry for the Facebook group Draw or Die’s monthly Ascension contest. The idea was to paint ourselves with our own personal dragon, one that would “Symbolise who you are and what you love about everything in life”. It was meant to be our inner fire, as artists, something that drives us forward.
I must confess this prospect made me feel like a child. Since dragons were among the first things I started drawing at the age of four, my love for them has only grown stronger over the years. I wanted to show my love for fantasy and art, the joy of my inner child, what I am and what I want to be, all in one image.
Needless to say it wasn’t easy. This is the fourth iteration I did for the contest over a one-month period. It was the breakthrough after a lot of failed compositions and colour choices, but once I arrived at this sketch everything went smoothly. This is the process I’m going to show you.
Never let yourself get discouraged when you’re struggling. Craig Mullins once said, “Failure is 99 per cent of the artistic process”. And he’s right!