How I cre­ate… a dragon rider and his mount

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1 Line work sketch

Some peo­ple work bet­ter from shapes, oth­ers work bet­ter from line work. Start­ing with lines feels more nat­u­ral to me. I like the com­po­si­tion and the idea of this sketch. It looks like the char­ac­ter is pro­tected un­der the dragon’s wing.

2 Adding ‘stripes’

I cre­ate a new layer un­der the lines and start paint­ing. I want to make this im­age bright and cheer­ful. I use the light­ing to ‘stripe’ the im­age and cre­ate depth, while at the same time keep­ing a sense of warm light and cool shad­ows.

3 Re­fine, re­fine, re­fine!

From this point the process is pretty straight­for­ward – just paint over the lines! I use ref­er­ence for the face and take in­spi­ra­tion from other artists for the en­vi­ron­ment – and from horses, to help de­pict the dragon’s mus­cles.

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