How to draw a dragon

How to draw a dragon
October 12, 2022 No Comments Animal & Creatures, Art Sarthi Lam

Dragons are some of the most well-known mythical creatures, made famous from fairy tales and ancient legends. If you want to design a dragon on your own, first pick what type you want to draw. Western dragons look similar to other lizards or dinosaurs with wings and are some of the most commonly seen types in art. Eastern (Chinese or Japanese) dragons usually don’t have wings and resemble a snake more than a lizard. With a bit of practice and patience, you’ll be able to draw any type of dragon!

  1. Make a large and small circle next to one another for the front and back of the body. Start by making a large circle near the middle of your paper, using a compass if you want to get it perfectly round. Then draw another circle that’s about two-thirds of the size of the first one to the left of it so there’s a small gap between them. The larger circle will become the chest and shoulders of your dragon and the smaller one will be for the hips.
  • Don’t overlap the circles or else your dragon’s body will look too short.
  • Your dragon will look longer if you put the second circle further away from the first one.
  • Be careful not to draw the circles too large or else the rest of your dragon won’t fit on the page.

2. Draw a smaller circle with a rounded trapezoid to make the dragon’s head. Make a circle that’s about one-third of the size of the front of the body, and place it above the largest circle so there’s a large gap between them. Where you draw the circle will determine how long your dragon’s neck will be. Add a small rounded trapezoid to the right side of the circle to give your dragon a snout.

  • Use a compass to draw the circle if you want it to look perfectly round. Otherwise, it’s okay to draw it freehand.
  • Draw with light pencil lines so you can erase and reposition the head if you don’t like where you drew it the first time.

3. Sketch curved lines connecting the head and body circles.
 Start from the bottom of the head and draw a curved line that connects to the far right side of the large circle. Then make another S-shaped line from the top of the head so it intersects the top of the large circle to complete the neck. Add a curved line from the top of the large circle to the top of the circle on the left. Make the dragon’s stomach with another curved line that connects the bottom of the large circle to the bottom of the circle on the left.

  • Avoid using straight lines when you connect the circles since it will make the dragon look unnatural.

4. Put in lines for the legs so you know what shape to make them. Start near the center of the largest circle and draw a straight line angled backward so it extends past the bottom of the circle. Then add a small dot to the end of the line for the ankle joint before drawing another straight line angled forward that’s about one-fourth of the length of the first one. Attach a straight horizontal line for the dragon’s foot. Continue adding lines for the legs on the front and back circles until your dragon has 4 legs.

  • Some dragons may only have wings instead of front legs. (Those dragons are called lindworms or wyverns.) If you don’t want your dragon to have front legs, just leave them off.

5. Sketch out rounded tube shapes around the lines you drew for the legs to bulk them up. Start by drawing a curved line on either side of the leg lines you made earlier. Make the legs so they’re about the same thickness as the diameter of the head. Keep the straight guide lines you drew in the middle of the curved lines to add muscles to your dragon’s legs. Extend the legs down to the ankle joints you drew at the bottom. Draw 3-4 toes on each foot that end in points to give your dragon some claws.

  • You can also draw circles and ovals over your lines instead of tube shapes to make the musculature look more realistic.
  • Look at pictures of other lizards and reptiles to use as references for your dragon’s feet since they may have similar features.

6. Add a curved tail coming out from the back of the body. Start from the top of the medium-sized circle where the and draw a curved line going toward the left side of the page. Make the line about the same length as the dragon’s body before ending it. Then draw a second curved line from the bottom of the circle that follows the curves of the first line. End the second line so it forms a point with the first one.

  • You can draw your dragon’s tail as long as you want it.
  • Make the tail narrower as it gets closer to the tip so it looks natural.

7. Sketch out curved lines for the shape of the dragon’s wings. Start the base of the wing at the top of the largest circle just behind the dragon’s neck. Extend a curved line going back from the dragon’s neck and end the line when it’s over the middle of the dragon’s body. Then make another curved line going angled toward the head and end it before it intersects the neck. Make a long curved horizontal line that ends above the tail to make the top of the wing.

  • You can add spikes to the top corner of your dragon’s wings if you want.
  • You can make the wings larger or smaller if you want.

8. Add the webbing to the wings to connect them to the body. Start from the tip of the wing that’s over the tail and make a wavy line back toward the center of the dragon’s body. Once the line intersects the dragon’s back, draw curved lines from the top corner of the wing so they extend to the wavy line you just drew to make the webbing.

  • Dragon wings traditionally look similar to those of a bat, so you can use pictures of them as references for your drawing.

9. Give your dragon features and horns on its head. Start by drawing small circles for the eyes near the top of the head. Add a bumpy brow ridge above the eye to make your dragon look angry or menacing. Draw a line from the end of the muzzle toward the center of the circle to add the mouth, and put a few pointed teeth coming out of the mouth. Then give your dragon 2 curved horns coming off the back of its head to give it more character.

  • Some dragons have ears that resemble their wings. If you want to add ears, draw them directly below the horns.
  • The pupil in your dragon’s eyes can be round or look like a slit.

10. Erase any lines you made that aren’t a part of your dragon. Use your eraser to remove any marks you made that aren’t a part of your dragon’s body, such as the circles or lines in the middles of the legs. Work carefully so you don’t erase any of the dragon’s outline, or else you’ll have to redraw sections. Wipe or blow away any eraser shavings to clean off your paper.

  • Use the eraser on your pencil or use a clickable thin eraser to clean up lines in tight areas.
  • You can go over your dragon’s outline with a pen or thin marker before you erase the guide lines to ensure you don’t remove any marks by accident. Let the pen or marker dry completely before erasing since it could smear.

11. Add scales if you want to make your dragon look realistic. Once you clean up your drawing, add small curved or wavy lines inside the dragon’s body to make a scale texture on its skin. Don’t draw every single scale since it could make your drawing look messy. Work lightly in pencil so you can erase the scales if they make your drawing visually confusing or if you want to adjust the size of the scales.

  • You don’t need to give your dragon scales if you don’t want.
  • You may also add spikes along your dragons back to add more texture and detail.


How to Draw a Dragon – Instructions for Easy Dragon Drawing

For as long as humans have had mythology, dragons have been central characters. Breath of fire, intimidating wings, tough scaley skin, and fiercesome teeth are the trademarks of the mighty dragon. When it comes to drawing a dragon, the first thing to consider is what type of dragon you want to bring to life. There are countless varieties of dragon friends and foes, all  with different features. In this comprehensive tutorial, we will investigate these differences and lead you through the process of breathing the fire of life into your unique dragon.

First and Foremost, What Are the Different Types of Dragons?

Although we may assume that dragons typically have four legs, a long tail and neck, two leathery wings, a scaly body, and infinite spines along their spine, there is actually a great deal of variety among dragon types. We are going to introduce you to the complexities of six different dragon species. Then, we will lead you through how to draw dragons like these.

It is important to remember that dragons are fictitious (or so we believe), and as such, it is not possible to separate them into strict groups. It is also not necessary for you to stick to any strict guidelines when creating your own dragon. Your imagination is your only restriction, so feel free to play with mixing colors, shapes, and sizes.

The Classic Dragon

You are probably most familiar with this dragon because it is the most common. This dragon has four legs with large claws, a long neck and tail dotted with spines, and two immense wings that allow it to glide through the air. You may recognize this classic dragon from Sleeping Beauty or Shrek. Classic dragons with larger wings could fly much higher for longer, while dragons with smaller wings could only glide for shorter distances. This may be the easiest dragon to draw because it is the one you are likely to be most familiar with.

The Drake Dragon

Although we typically picture dragons with wings, the Drake has no wings at all. These dragons typically have more robust bodies designed to cover the distance on foot. You may find Drake dragons living in water, in which case they may have fins on their tail and back to make gliding through the water easier. The Drake is a strong dragon with thick scales. Many of the dragons in the Lord of the Rings saga are Drakes.

The Wyvern Dragon

The Wyvern dragon is a happy medium between the Classic dragon and the Drake. Lacking forearms, the Wyvern has enormous claw-like thumbs on the upper edge of its wings. Wyvern dragons can use these thumbs to support themselves on the ground, with some using them as front legs. Other Wyverns walk exclusively on their muscular hind legs that help propel them into the air. Smaug from the Hobbit trilogy is a Wyvern dragon, as is Pendragon from Jack the Giant Killer.

The Amphiptere

You can think of the Amphiptere as the polar opposite of the Drake dragon. This fiercesome, but often quite small dragon, has no legs but two strong wings. When it is not silently flying through the air, the Amphiptere slithers across the ground much like a snake. The Amphiptere dragon has its origins in ancient European armory design.

The Wyrm Dragon

Also known as ancient dragons, the Wyrm dragons are an ancient race revered among other dragons. The Wyrm dragon does not have any limbs and generally cannot fly either. They move around by wiggling through sand or over the ground. In addition to the lack of limbs, you can identify a Wyrm dragon by its wide jaws. The Wyrm dragon may be the easiest dragon to draw because it does not have limbs and wings, which can be complicated.

The Oriental Dragon

The Oriental or Asian dragon varies widely in its appearance. Some Oriental dragons have four legs and two wings, while others have no legs or wings but can still fly. You can easily identify the Oriental dragon by the glorious mane that flows from their head across their back. Oriental dragons also have horns that look like antlers extending from the side of their noses. Mushu from Mulan is an Oriental dragon, as is Haku from Spirited Away.

How to Draw Dragons: First, You Need the Right Equipment

To breathe the firey life into your dragon drawing, you will need some supplies. You can make dragon drawing easy with the right tools, so we suggest you try to get hold of the following:

  • Good quality A4 paper for your final drawing (weight between 135-190 g)
  • A simple HB pencil for the initial planning, as it can easily be erased
  • A 3B or 4B pencil to add the detail
  • A good quality eraser like those from Staedtler
  • Good quality coloring markers like Copic Markers, or more affordable Prismacolor Markers
  • Fine liner pens like the Sakura Liners for final detailing

These equipment suggestions are for your final drawings. If you like to carry around a sketchbook and pencil or pen to capture any moments of inspiration, these do not have to be of high quality. We do suggest using a mechanical pencil if you prefer to use pencils over pens, because you will not need to carry a sharpener around.

How to Draw a Dragon Step-by-Step

Now that you know what kind of dragon you would like to create and have the right tools, we can get going. Following the steps in this next section of the tutorial will make dragon drawing easy for you. You can use a reference picture from Google if you are not comfortable drawing a dragon from your imagination. When learning how to draw a dragon, step-by-step processes are your best bet.

Planning the Anatomy of Your Dragon Drawing

One of the trickiest parts of drawing dragons is nailing the anatomy. Luckily, dragons are up for a certain degree of interpretation, but it is still important to capture the right sort of anatomical structure. Let us go over some strategies for achieving the perfect proportions in your dragon drawing.

To begin, using your HB pencil, map out the basic anatomy of your dragon. Draw circles where the head, belly, and thighs of your dragon will be. You can also draw a line to map out where your dragon’s tail will lie. Following this, you will simply connect the circles to create the outline of your dragon’s body.

It is now time to draw in the legs and wings of your mighty dragon. Begin by using rough circles to place the various leg muscles onto your dragon’s torso. Using circles helps you to divide the proportions equally.

The largest circle will represent the shoulder or hip of your dragon. Use smaller circles for the thighs and biceps, and then even smaller ones for the calves and forearms. This stage of the dragon drawing process may take some time to get the hang of, so if it does not look right, simply erase it and try again until you are happy.

To draw the wings, you can bring a curved line from just below your dragon’s neck up over its head. From this top edge, you can draw another slightly downward curved line towards the back of your dragon. The back bottom edge of the wing should meet the torso just before the tail. You can connect this edge with your top curved line with small curves like a spider’s web.

Time to Add Some Detail and Linework to Your Easy Dragon Drawing

Once you are happy with the anatomical proportions of your dragon, you can start to add some details. You can add horns, spines, or fins to the back and tail of your dragon. The details you add depend on the type of dragon you are drawing. Once you have added all your desired detail and you are happy with your dragon, we can move onto the outline.

We like to use a 4B pencil to outline the important lines before going in with the liner in order to make sure we are happy. If you are satisfied, you can use a liner to draw the main lines of the dragon.

Outline the torso, head, and limbs with your liner, allowing the lines to become thicker where they meet. For the finer details like scales, scratches, or scars, you can use a thinner liner. At this stage, you have a beautiful line drawing dragon of your creation.


About The Author
Sarthi Lam Sarthi Lam is an author of LoogleBiz for both adults and teens, including The Kill Club and her upcoming YA debut, She’s Too Pretty to Burn. She was born in Tamilnadu, India and has lived most of her life in Los Angeles.

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