How to Paint a Red Dragon - Acrylic Painting Class | Tabitha Watts | Skillshare

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How to Paint a Red Dragon - Acrylic Painting Class

teacher avatar Tabitha Watts, Freelance Artist & Aspiring Author

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (15m)
    • 1. How to Paint Your Dragon Intro

    • 2. Supplies & Background

    • 3. Body Structure

    • 4. Two Toning

    • 5. Wings & Details

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About This Class

Calling all dragon lovers!

In this class I will show you how to create a red long-necked dragon.

We will learn about color choices, the basics of animal body structure, and the magic of two toning our flat brush.

Meet Your Teacher

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Tabitha Watts

Freelance Artist & Aspiring Author


Hello, I'm Tabitha.

I'm that creative person that sits on the couch at parties watching people enjoy themselves while secretly hoping to make lifelong friendships with the family pets.

Art is my outlet. It connects me to the world around me and within my own imagination. It's therapy, and emotional expression. There's no wrong way to do it.

Despite being a self taught painter I have taught painting classes in studio to hundreds of people for several years. Even now you can find me on where I teach children how to paint via web connection.

I've studied drawing, graphic design, and photography in college. 

I am a creative lefty who enjoys dramatic music, adventure books, the company of all dogs, and writing fan... See full profile

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1. How to Paint Your Dragon Intro: Hi everyone, I'm Tabitha, and this class is all about dragons. In these sections, I will walk you through easy to acquire supplies, the breakdown of body structure and customizable details that will leave you creating something truly magical. This is how to paint your dragon. Let's get started. 2. Supplies & Background: Alright, to start out, let's grab a towel or rag and a glass of water. For our brushes, we will need a one-inch flat brush, which is roughly two fingers space y, and a half-inch, which of course is a little bit more narrow. And we'll need a detail brush for all of our well, you guessed it are details. Then we need something to paint on. Of course, I'm using watercolor paper and for a nice finish, I'm going to frame it. Washington. As for our colors, we have a nice, warm toned family for my drag and I'm going to be using black, burgundy, and orange for his belly. For my background. I chose burnt hombre, toasted marshmallow and territorial base. Who comes up with these names anyway? Now you don't have to use expensive paints to get the job done. I'm using a mix of Apple barrel and craft smarts, whatever you can find, paint a picture, you don't need to have expensive material. We'll go ahead and grab our first brush, which is the one-inch brush. We're going to use a nice long stroke across and work our colors down towards the bottom. My first color will be the burnt Ambros. I thought I would start with dark on the top and go into light. This would help set the mood for my dragon. Once I have a nice, still moist band of umbra, I will dig into my toasted marshmallow of color. In order to blend, you have to make sure that both paints are still moist, otherwise you're just layering and not blending. I decided to do the bottom in the base to create the idea of dirt. And then I worked in some more umbra for shadows and framing with my background. Then my brush will then go into the water. The Swiss held around the loosen up that pigment and then I'll put it to the side for cleanup later on. 3. Body Structure: Once the background is nice and dry to the touch, we can then begin our dragon. Now I'm going to warn you at first, this is going to look really weird, but trust me, working small with our detail brush will yield a very worthwhile results. Now we need to imagine that our canvas is in three sections. One for the head and the neck, the second for the spine. And the third portion will be for our tail. This will help us with sizing as well. We want to be able to use quite a bit of our canvas. I'm going to roll my detail brush into the burgundy paint. For starters. Remember those three sections, okay. Starting with the head, I go into a curved neck that ends at an imaginary shoulder. In the next section, come up through the spine and I'm going to curve back down to shape a hit. They're in the third section. We will go into the tail and curve it around for the finish. Now, still using my detail brush and the burden days, I'm going to be drawing the legs, little stick figure legs right here. Imagine where we had that hipbone and then where we had that shoulder. That's where we want to put our legs, rewetting my paintbrush that comes forward at an angle and then I'm going to make it go backwards is will be the knee joint. I'll be doing the same thing for the front leg except for the fact that I'm going to be adding an extra joint just for fun. So like the back leg, I'm going to go forward at an angle, go backwards and then come forward one more time, making sure that these lines are about even with each other as far as the back and the front legs. 4. Two Toning: I'm going to switch brushes and use my half-inch and go over everything that I just painted with the wider brush in the same color. So most like following a little race track, we already know where to paint because we've laid out our Blueprint. You'll notice that I made the chest a little bit broader than the rest of the skin. Now that the body is properly filled out, I'm gonna use my half-inch brush to, to tone the paint. And this is going to add a really awesome effect. And by two toning, they simply mean that I'm going to dip one corner into my original Burgundy and the other color into my orange. And like a crocodile where it's dark on top and bright on the bottom. That's what we're going for here. And we don't want to make anything wider. Again, we're starting at the head and following the trail just like we did before when they're filling in the body. But just keep it nice and narrow on the neck. And remember every time you push bristles to Canvas, you're blending every single time. And so it'll be a much smoother transition with that same brush and not renting it out because I want all these colors and work together. I'm going to start filling in the lights. The back leg needs to be broader than the front leg, which makes sense. It's going to be kind of like a horse leg where it's much thicker and bigger in the back. So I'm essentially making the shape of a turkey leg or it's wider at the top and it gets smaller at the knee joint there. And I do the same thing for the front leg as well. I'm make a wider shoulder and it gets narrow as it comes down to the joints. For the seat, I simply take my brush and hold it horizontally and then basically swish it back and forth to create these kind of shoes on the bottom. They'll look a lot more impressive when we put claws on them later on. Now in order to make the legs that are on the other side of our Dragon, we want to do about half the size when we're doing the back leg and we're dipping into our orange color, still with the darker Burgundy in there as well. All these colors are blending together to help create some texture, some shadowing for us. And I just replicate the leg that I've already done, just half the size and a little bit of a space in-between where the foot will go on the other side. Now with the front leg, I leave a lot more of a gap. Kinda gives the idea of movement. And it's going to be about the same size as my original front leg, but still in that brighter color to match on the other side. Hopefully now you can start seeing something of a dinosaur taking place, which essentially is what a drag event is, just with wings. 5. Wings & Details: Now returning to my detail brush, I'm going to take my burgundy. And like we did with the body, I'm going to sketch out my wings coming at an angle from the bottom portion of the spine where it meets that shoulder. We're gonna come back in an angle and curve around, sign the hollow of the neck and where the spine meet. And that's where we want to start our wing. And remember, you can always finesse this later on. We're just sketching out a skeleton basically. And then I'm going to come up at an angle here towards the back of the top part of the neck. Now, from inside of the corner, we're going to be making some bone structure here that holds the wings together. And I want them to be staggered, like want the top part to be the longest. And that gradually gets shorter with each arch that comes out all the way to that little one there in the middle. And you can adjust these, make them a little bit longer or shorter. However, you need the wings to be, take your time, make it look awesome. After I have all those staggered, then I'm going to switch colors over to my orange, just so you can see the difference of what we're doing here. And I'm gonna do an inverted arch on the outside of the wing here. And then I'm gonna make little arches that connects those points on my wings. And you can hopefully start to see that it's starting to look a little bit more like a wing and less like a broken umbrella. That last curve is going to attach to a dragons that it has a better support for the wing. Returning to my half inch, I'm going to take dark burgundy and work from the corner out towards the arch. And then I'm gonna take my orange and worked back into the burgundy. I want inconsistent blends here because this is really cool. That makes it look like there are folds in the skin of the brain. Do this for the entire wing. You'll notice that I switched back and forth having some areas much brighter orange and some dark burgundy. Have fun with it, play around with the colors, adjust the wing as needed, and just enjoy the process. Kinking refers dragon. Once I'm done with that, I've horse rinse out my brush and I'm going to go out and create kind of a shadow underneath, migrate and get that out of the way. Because in a little bit we're going to retire this brush and returned to our detailed breast for all the final touches. And as you can see, I've made a murky gray color here and I thought it went well with the background. Everything kind of has a smoky Earth tone about it. And so I just mixed the Bayes, the toasted marshmallow, and the black, just to have a fun little bottom piece there. Alright guys, it's time to put our embellishments onto our dragon. Taken that detail brush, I'm gonna create my face with two simple cones basically on either side, one longer than the other. If I have them separated, it looks like the mouth is opening. And then I just filled them in and kind of drag them back towards them. And then put a little tip on the nose as well. Of course, you can customize your dragon space however you see fit. I decided to go with black teeth. I thought they were a lot more impressive than having regular old white tea. Now from here on out, it's up to you how you want to inbalance a dragon and putting so many tonight on there, I'm going to be putting some spikes on the back of the neck and the tail. Due to tails, maybe a spike ball of its tail. Whatever you would like on your driving. He should explore your creativity. My final touches are the bone structure in the wing. And this I think just helps to enhance it. And then last but not least, I'm going to put a white pie on here and leave it blank. And it looks ominous thing today. Okay.