Noah Crawford, US
The ability to paint wear and tear can support both the characterisation of your creatures and the narrative of an illustration. Has your dragon been attacked with weapons or claws? If it gets into a fight, does it usually come out on top? The appearance of injuries can help the viewer answer these questions and more.
When you begin rendering in your scales, don’t worry about painting wounds until the dragon’s finished. Typically, scales are oval or diamond shaped. The scales on the face will be smaller than those on the body. You don’t have to render individual scales. Focus on rendering the scales where the light hits the skin, because that’s where the most detail will be present.
To paint a recent injury, use a saturated dark red to outline the gash, and fill it with a lighter red. Use dark pink in the middle of the wound for exposed flesh. Paint a subtle highlight around the edges of a wound for torn skin. If there’s a lot of blood oozing out of the wound, add a few specular highlights to the drops of blood.
Consider adding some tears to a dragon’s wings. On a new layer, paint in a hole using the colour of the background. Add some subtle pink colours around the edges of the tear to imply inflammation.
This battle-worn dragon is looking a little worse for wear, with scarring caused by claws wrapping around his neck, and scratches on his face. Scars can be as simple as flaws in the scale patterns in a slightly
darker colour. Add some subtle highlights to emphasise the edges
of healed scar tissue.