How I cre­ate… A dra­matic mo­ment

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1 De­cide on a theme and the vis­ual an­gle

I be­gin by con­sid­er­ing what vis­ual an­gle to take, to push the sto­ry­telling as­pect. It’s more in­ter­est­ing to see fig­ures from a dragon’s point of view rather than the other way around. It goes against con­ven­tion and might re­veal a dif­fer­ent side to the clas­sic fan­tasy beast. Once I set­tle on the an­gle, I draw rough lines to set the im­age within a frame.

2 De­velop be­liev­able char­ac­ters in con­text

The look and dy­namism of the dragon lies at the heart of this im­age, and needs to be en­hanced within the scene. I imag­ine that my dragon has the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a snake and bat, and so its phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance has to re­flect the sharp­ness and cun­ning of th­ese two an­i­mals. Their traits suit the theme of hunt­ing in the shad­ows.

3 De­tail and en­hance the gen­eral aes­thetic

I paint the dragon’s wings and neck care­fully. It’s cru­cial for me that the en­vi­ron­ment has an epic feel­ing, which I achieve by lay­er­ing the light and en­hanc­ing the depth of the scene. The dark cliff faces con­trast strongly with the bright wa­ter­falls and moun­tains un­der the sun, which in turn clearly out­line the dragon’s men­ac­ing form.

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