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Videocast: Enigmatic Baboon 3 - Drawing a Dragon

Marin Balabanov, November 2013

In this episode we take a look at drawing a fire breathing dragon using pencil, pen and computer coloring with Pixelmator on a Mac. (Video auf Englisch)


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The Enigmatic Baboon is the video cast by Marin Balabanov about comic books, video games, science fiction, drawing and mobile devices.

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Full Transcript of this Epsiode

Hello and welcome to the Enigmatic Baboon. In this episode we will take a look at how to draw a dragon.

The finished image is a green dragon standing on a rock breathing fire. What did I use to get there? Well I start out with a sketch on paper. I use a mechanical pencil, an eraser, a fine technical pen and a thicker pen. I use drawing board and a computer with a graphics tablet.

First of all I pencil sketch the general shape of the dragon and then start working in the details of the form. Then I switch to the technical pen. I start cleaning up the contours and adding some more details.

After erasing the pencil line I use a thicker pen to give the lines some weight and add blacks for shadows.

Then I have my finished ink drawing which I scan into the computer - you can get good results using a good mobile phone camera and a steady hand.

Once I have the ink drawing on my computer I load it up into a painting program. In this case I use Pixelmator, quite an awesome and affordable piece of software. You can of course use Photoshop or Gimp.

I convert the image to grayscales and increase the contrast to get a cleaner line. Then I select only the black lines and use the selection to fill the contours in pure black on a separate layer. This is important, because in the beginning I will be working beneath layer with the contours.

Now I start coloring the image on the layer beneath. I use fat brush and then fill up the enclosed areas of the same color.

Once this is done I start shading the colored areas with the burn tool. Sometimes I prefer not using the burn tool but rather use a darker shade of the same color. I like that the burn tool gives me more nuanced shades and repeated strokes over the same area will produce a darker color.

So these are the steps: Color, shade with the burn tool, add highlights using the dodge tool.

Then I switch to layer with the line art and start smudging the line art. This allows me to work in even more detail. I can change some of the lines, add more depth to some of the coloring and make the line a bit less jarring in some areas by making it lighter.

I then merge the layers and start smudging the line art into the coloring to make it more organic. This gives the image a much more painterly quality and I can continue to add details and make the occasional corrections.

At this point it is a too and fro between smudging, adding highlights using the dodge tool and deepening shades using the burn tool.

Once I am happy I extend the canvas to give the dragon more space. Then I expand the rock by smudging with a large brush.

The fire is easy: I just add some red and yellow strokes on a seperate layer, add a diagonal motion blur and make the layer more transparent. Then I erase the parts where the teeth would be in front of the flame.

The background is a gradient fill from light blue to a saturated turqoise. The clouds are white brush strokes with some motion blur and transparency.

And now we have a green dragon perching on a rock breathing fire!

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Ich schreibe auch auf Twitter unter: twitter.com/secretwars. Zudem habe ich zwei kleine Comic-Blogs: 80ies Comics are the Best! und Snikt! The Comics of the Nineties

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