It was now time to flip this puppy, to get a fresh perspective and see all the bloody mistakes. Immediately I felt I needed to throw something further into the right bottom corner so I added some billowing sheets. I was hoping they'd illustrate motion, or at least add more dynamics to an otherwise empty spot of canvas. I wasn't aware of it yet, but I'd soon have those sheets giving me a headache from trying to figure out what wasn't working in the piece (Fig.05).
So… now we get into the ugly rodent-ish pug phase of the dragon's head. Ugh! I was not happy with this and knew from the get go I wasn't happy with it, but I nonetheless kept with it for much longer then I should have. I'll spare your sensibilities and include only one picture with the Pugrodent. Besides the head, I also refined the shape of the palace, which to me was more appealing now, especially when coupled with the brighter white.
I also worked up the clouds, trying to make them more interesting and also started planning to light them so that they would help define the dark lower half of the dragon's head. It's important to make sure that clouds both reflect light and diffuse it within their masses, so at times they can almost look like they are glowing from the inside. This is more evident with the Cumulous types of clouds (the great big fluffy ones) (Fig.06).
Face fixed up, additional horns added. I chose a crystalline sort of glass look for the horns for visual appeal because I wanted to give an impression of delicacy to these enormous beasts of burden. I took the fire out, just to see how it would look, added more of the town, making sure to use it to sell the enormity of the dragon. I also fiddled with the towers, experimenting the whole way through the process (Fig.07). From this point it was all polish. I used the two included brushes to add an underlying layer of texture to the dragon, keeping their opacity at 30% the whole time.
The straight tower in the foreground wasn't dynamic enough, so I decided to curve it up significantly and give that area a slight motion blur. Although to be honest, to this day I'm not sure that the tower ever really added to the overall piece … I also brought back the fire, and enlarged the mountains, I felt that these elements made the piece more dynamic. Finally, to further sell the dragon, I added scales, treating each individual scale loosely as you would half an oval, lit up area, mid transition, shadow and bounce light if applicable. Finally, I found a texture I liked online and worked it onto the palace, painting over it where necessary (Fig.08).
And so there you have it, my finished submission!
It's been months since I've really taken a good look at the piece and so of course there are things I see now which I would have changed. As commented earlier, I'm not sure the foreground tower needs to be there because it detracts and does not seem to fit the piece well. I also would have liked to have made the city a little more in disrepair; there's not enough bedlam… finally, the veins on the hand, they're badly painted, I should have done a better job with them, no excuses.
The competition lasted a few months, but I got to it in the last two weeks. To me that's foolishness and I shouldn't have waited so long if I was serious about this piece. If I had given myself enough time maybe I would have caught some of these issues before I submitted, but as it stands they're in there and that's the price you pay for procrastinating. That being said, I'm glad I participated in the competition, it was a pleasure to do and quite a challenge. Now I just have to make sure that next time I've got more space to step back, breath, and critique!
If you have any question or comments feel free to contact me at
Free Brush's Download