This project was born following a request I received to make the cover art for the new fantasy novel written by Karl Guthorm (I had previously worked on the first book he wrote Il Signore dei Corvi
, which can be translated as "The Lord of the Ravens", where the ravens are dragons).
The subject was simple: just a woman with a dragon. But I wanted to make something interesting, which also had a "royal" air, so I focused on creating an elegant feminine figure and a small dragon. From this the idea of the "Mistress of the Dragon" was born: she is the dark queen, a witch of obscure powers, in her domain, the land of Ghranee.
The decision to make a realistic figure, using 3D as the main tool, guided me in the search of numerous photographic subjects to use as references to give me ideas. I started by making a general sketch in Photoshop, just establishing the rough shape and color to get an impression of the overall feeling of the piece.
In this draft the character had a piece of headgear, maybe a curled crown or horned helmet - it didn't really matter; what were important were the general shape and the contrast between the body and the background. Also the creature on her shoulder was just sketched, almost transparent, but this was enough to give an idea of its shape. The pose wasn't easy to make, as while I was using a classical composition for the illustration, I also wanted a lateral view that could transmit serenity (Fig. 01