The character was made for the Stylized Challenges #016: Creatures of Legend - Dragons at Threedy.com. After several failed sketches I came up with a roguish looking dragon (Fig.01). I wasn't able to finish within the timeframe of the competition, but I was happy enough with my current progress back then that I decided to give the dragon a second try.
Using the concept as a main reference in Maya, I started modelling the head using a 4x4x4 cube as a starting point. I blocked the head and body using mainly Extrude and CutPoly tools (Fig.02).
The tricky part was then to match the concept details, like the smile and eyes, with the 3D model. I always try to retain certain features like expressions, mood and character if I'm happy with my concept in the first place (Fig.03). I modelled the hands and legs with the same technique and then attached them to the body. The wings were kind of difficult to model because of the thickness; it was tricky to keep all the geometry in quads. The horns, claws, and back spikes were modelled as separate objects (Fig.04 & Fig.05).
The finished model was exported to UVLayout. Most of the time I unwrap the models in one single shell if possible, but in this case I had to put the wings in an extra one with the rest of the character parts and the last thing was to layout the shells manually in Maya (Fig.06 & Fig.07). I imported the model into ZBrush for detailing, using custom alphas and the standard tool to add wrinkles, scales and folds, always trying to keep them exaggerated in some parts (like chest, back, belly, etc) and subtle in others (face, wings skin) to keep everything "stylized” (Fig.08). The finished Tool was subdivided up to level 6 (Fig.09).