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Medieval dragon design

Hello everyone!

I want to create a medieval dragon design. I have always loved those oil paintings of knights fighting dragons. All these dragon have some things in common; the sad look on the face, the curly tail, the pointy snout, the serrated and decorated wings, etc. I want to have all these things and more recognizable features in my modern-medieval dragon design. 

On these paintings, dragons look very small, like little reptiles. While this seems more realistic, I'm going for a larger creature that may tower over the knight. I mean, it looks so easy for the knight to kill a dragon and they seem to be bored. I want to change that and make them actually fear the dragon. Bow before the mighty dragon, human!

1 sketching

I started sketching out bodies, but didn't really liked the way they turned out. so i tried the brush thingy; those creatures became more bear and anteater like. Firstly i was thinking of a bear-like reptile. Bulky, standing on 2 feet, big head with massive teeth and short snout, scales and a little bit 'o fur. Also scrapped that, to continue with a 4 legged reptile.

So i tried sketching the head first. I always tend to do that. I made a fishy head, a alien head and a bear head. I love to create weird alien creatures and this one has his mouth split on top revealing his tongue that sticks out through it. So he has his tongue outside his mouth. But it was to weird and not fitting for the medieval dragon. I go with the last head.

These are different shapes for the head. 1 has large rabbit ears and small pointy horns. also a rather sad looking eye, haha.  2 has a bigger snout, wing-ears and fiercer looking eyes. 3 has more scales on the snout, very small ears, more pointy horns and rounder eyes. 

I have combined head 1 and 3 and this is the result. little hair on his chin, small ears, 'sad' eyes and added a horn!

final body shapes inspired by medieval painting, but all with different body shapes. I think I'll combine 2 of these to get the final look!

2 References and studies

I collected some reference photos from google. And yes, a baby hippo for the ears. I also really like the look of the armadillo feet. Why the lion? well, since my design has really loose skin hanging around his mouth, like a dog or lion. It represents the mouth of the original medieval dragon. 

Some particular parts I'm gonna use for the dragon

That's it for reference, now to studies!

They are not very accurate to the picture, but hey, its a study right?

3 Refining the concept & Final pose

I created a side- view of the dragon and a front head view. Notice the komodo dragon front claws and the armadillo hindlegs. The wings are small cause he doesn't use them to fly only to scare predators. 

Next are the colors of the dragon. I wanted to go for a wild, dark greeny look, but also with some bright colors for scaring off bigger predators or humans. I also did the colors of an orange Iguana.

I really like the red tip at the end of the tail. He can use it as a decoy to catch his prey. I want to darken the rest of the body and make the tip of the tail bright red. The wings contain bright 'eyes' on the ventral side to scare off predators. The dorsal side is dark green so that it fits with the body when fold. final colors:


I started on posing my dragon. I wanted him to evoke a komodo dragon in a attack-mode, standing on two feet, leaping in the air, with his wings spread. He shows off how big and terrifying he is. 

last pose. He stands on 2 feet, which i tried making a bit thinner, but I liked the shorter big legs more. It makes him look stronger. I also made the wings bigger to make him look more impressive. Like a frilled lizard that makes himself look bigger.

Line art

4 Lighting/shadows

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