View Full Version : Dragons! My sketch practice

10-30-2009, 03:48 PM
So I wanted to post a screenshot today with a white dragon - but I couldn't find any open source freely available white dragon art that I liked. So I'm doing my own.

Not a map I know but as a few people have been putting up non-mapping wips here I thought I'd stick it up too for fun.

Here he is so far:

10-30-2009, 04:05 PM
Excellent illustration, Torstan! Better than any illustration I've posted.

In fact the only Dragon illustration I've posted here, just got noted because my dragon's got nipples!




Steel General
10-30-2009, 04:18 PM
Cool stuff Torstan! (no pun intended)

10-30-2009, 04:24 PM
I like that a lot but he doesn't have a tongue :) Great sketch.

10-30-2009, 04:42 PM
Pretty awesome. Might be a sketch but it's pro quality as far as I'm concerned. What's the medium?

Also, I hope nobody's taking offense that folks (me included) have been posting non-map art in the General Discussion area. I like to see what other artistic things people are working on. Maybe we need a non-map art forum? :)

10-30-2009, 04:49 PM
Thanks Mearrin! It's all photoshop.

Okay, I think this is done. If anyone has any thoughts then I might do a little more to it.


10-30-2009, 05:19 PM
Might make a good supporter for a map :).

Needs another head on the other side or perhaps a tail winding down for the lower right.


10-30-2009, 06:42 PM
Thanks Mearrin! It's all photoshop.

Egad. Well, then, I'm doubly impressed. I would have sworn it was charcoal on roughish paper but was wondering what the white strokes were. If digital I would have guessed Painter. Done in Photoshop that's very impressive.

As to what else to do with it I guess that depends on purpose. What are you planning to do with it? It's good to go for a lot of purposes. For a cover illustration it might want a bit more work.

10-30-2009, 06:53 PM
:) Well it's not going to be a cover illustration. This is for a screenshot in my series about the Breaking of Forstor Nagar project I'm involved in. The screenshot will be up on Monday (but for those who want a sneak peak it's here: screenshot (http://fc03.deviantart.com/fs50/i/2009/303/6/0/Not_ready_to_fight_a_dragon_by_torstan.jpg)) Note that not all of the art there is mine. The tokens are Devin Nights and the portrait of the warrior is by Tyler Bartley.

However if I were to truly want to polish this - do you have suggestions?

As for the photoshop issue - not only is it all PS, it's all done with a hard round brush. Probably what I use 99% of the time these days. The shades are all done with layers set to soft light and built up over a textured background.

10-30-2009, 08:06 PM
However if I were to truly want to polish this - do you have suggestions?

Well, a real artist might have more suggestions but here's mine. It's still pretty sketchy. You've got all of the right shapes and colors in there so I think it's just a matter of continuing to refine it until you get it to the level you want to reach. I've been practising painting lately but have generally done it on just one layer (or one for skin, one for hair, etc). For me it just means progressively smaller brushes, gentler color variation, and usually lower opacity. I'm not fully understanding how you're using layers but I imagine it's mostly the same.

I, for one, very much like sketchy. Most of my favorite art (fine and fantasy) isn't photo-realistic...in fact I generally dislike photo-realistic stuff. That's why I said I think it's done. I'd put it into *my* bestiary next to the white dragon entry...yeah, if I had a bestiary. :)

10-30-2009, 09:01 PM
Okay, I think this is done. If anyone has any thoughts then I might do a little more to it.

No - I think it's just brilliant! I love the style!!!

I'm hopeless at keeping my drawings loose! :(

But as long as we're sharing, I have a dragon pic here - http://craigssketchpad.co.uk/2009/05/the-big-bad-dragon/
(It's been on hold so it's not officially finished but I did a quick make-ship finishing on certain elements with the idea of going back to it at a later date. ...That later date is still to come)

PS - Well deserved rep to you! :)

10-30-2009, 10:16 PM
Dang, y'all are smokin me. I'll stick with maps :)

10-30-2009, 10:33 PM
Thanks all. That's very kind.

Ascension, certainly not. There's a reason I try to avoid posting portraits of people over here. I just can't get them to work. I certainly can't handle the poses you've been knocking out. Keep at it, you've got some great stuff there,

I always preferred drawing dragons. I'm just a little shocked I've let it sit for so long.

Craggles: great dragon. How did you get the fire to look like that?

Oh, and just to be clear. This dragon is CC-BY-NC-SA as in my sig. So free to use with attribution in any non-commercial venture. I had such a hell of a time hunting for free dragon art that the least I can do is to give some back.

10-30-2009, 10:37 PM
That's cool, I can't draw dragons to save my life...even if Craggles' was breathing on me. That fire looks like a variation on a theme from the comet tutorial. Never got mine to look that nice, though.

10-30-2009, 11:48 PM
I wish I had Artistic talent like you guys. Unfortunately I don't, Just have Autistic talent. Great pics guys

10-31-2009, 05:53 AM
The Dragon Fire!

Photoshop is the app of choice here.

It started as a fireball image (an explosion filmed from above) which was a stock image that I can't remember where from (this image is many years old now)* or it may have ben a reder from Particle Illusion Wonder Touch (http://www.wondertouch.com/) which is a great app for still images as well as animations.

The plan was to have this Dragon as an A0 poster in my living room so it's VERY large!!!

I used the still image and copied it to new layers set behind the original one and made them smaller and smaller (which meant that the closer flame is sharp instead of starting with the smallest size and making it bigger which would mean it'd be too blurry. This is obvious to most of you but I needed to make it clear for all people and everyone was a n00b at one time).

I was very happy with the flame at first. it was white and orange - and ONLY white and orange so didn't 'pop' as much as I'd like. A little further down the line I came back to the flame and added a bit of red to it here and there.

I used several layers to colour on top of the flame set to blending modes of 'colour' and 'colour burn' which gave it that vibrant, intense feel.

What's important is the these red colours painted on top were not made by using the standard circle brush (with either a hard of soft edge). I have many brushes that I've collected over the years as well as a lot that I've created for specific images.

When you use a standard brush, it creates a smooth area as you drag the the mouse. This is because the spacing of the brush is set to a low value. In the brush panel, you can adjust the spacing of the placements of the brush shape making them act like a dotted line. We don;t stop there!

I choose a brush shape that's not round but something with raggedy edges. I set it's spacing to be quite high and then I select the size to be effected by the pen pressure (I use a graphic's tablet) or you can set it to random. I also set the rotation of the brush to totally random which means that this raggedy shape of the brush will be applied to the layer at differing angles creating a random feel to it.

Next, I jump into the colour options for this brush - again, I'm still in the brush panel. I choose to have it vary between the foreground and background colours (which I've already set to yellow and red).

Turning on the scattering option is next. This causes the now random sizes, angle and colour shape of the brush to not follow my stroke of the pen but to vary it's position either side of it in a more hap-hazzard manner which gives it a more organic feel.

Once I was happy with the fire, I carried on painting the dragon. A short while later, I was thinking whether I could make it even better!

I put all my fire layers into a layer group and duplicated it. I then hide the original (so I can go back to it at a later date if I screw the next few steps up) and I 'merge group' which gives me one layer. I added curves adjustment layer above it increasing the contrast but i needed a little more! I went through a few filters to generate a blurry bright bloom within the fire. I really can't remember off the top of my head which ones I settled with and I could have doe this instead (or in combination to) - I duplicated this layer as well. I blur it and then change it's blending mode to 'linear dodge (Add)' which brightened it up again and gave it the impression it's generating light (or at least that's what was intended).

Few, that was long winded! Sorry for making you guys sit through it and I hope this answered your questions - if not, let me know.

Again, the above info for the brushes is known by many here already - I just included the extra info for the newer members.
Ooooh - I'm feeling a video tute coming on for an introduction to Photoshop brushes. If there are enough enthusiastic requests, it shall be done but if not, I could probably use that time to sleep some more. :)

My common locations for Stock are as follows...
(several of these have offers like 'free image of the week' and the like which I harvest in case I'd need them in the future)

These sites are worth bookmarking as they have a tremendous wealth of inspiration and provide you with cheap quality images and in some cases free. As I said at the beginning, the fire ball could have come from any one of these stoke sites (or even the Particle Illusion app).

Steel General
10-31-2009, 08:30 AM
It look's fantastic, about the only thing I would suggest is to maybe make it a bit more bluish-white or maybe have some icicles or something hanging *shrugs*.