How to Draw a Dragon

How to draw a dragon cartoon picture

In this lesson, let's take a look at how to draw a dragon, one that's highly detailed - and as you can see from the image above... quite unique from other dragons. When I began creating this lesson, I had a simple image of a green dragon' in mind. As I progressed though - I thought it would be neat to give this one a special power.

Basically - this dragon has the ability of 'poison'. Each of the orange areas (nails, spikes, etc.) are highly toxic and are very useful to it in battle.

In your case - as you work through the lesson, feel free to change aspects of your picture. You might give your dragon the ability of 'ice' or 'fire'... or maybe something else. Get creative!


First Step - How to Draw a Dragon's Structure

When it comes to learning how to draw a dragon, it's a good idea to use some sort of guideline to help you out as you progress. Establishing and maintaining proportion early on will make things a whole lot easier down the road.

Here's how to draw the framework of your dragon...

How to draw a dragon - simple framework How to draw a dragon - drawing a framework

How to draw a dragon - completed framework

Similar to other dragons, the core parts are easily sketched in as three circles (actually an oval for the head). In your case though, make sure you use lightly sketched pencil lines as you map out your framework. This way, they're easily erasable when it comes time for the permanent ones.

OK - let's keep going... How to Draw a Dragon Step Two!...

Second Step - How to Draw a Dragon Head

As you well know, dragons can look all sorts of different ways. And that's why it's so fun to draw them... you really get to let your imagination run wild. This one in particular's got bony protrusions coming out of its skull - each one capped with a poisonous cap.

Here's how to draw the head in six phases ...

How to draw a dragon - eye and mouth How to draw a dragon - drawing the teeth How to draw a dragon - drawing the chin and brow How to draw a dragon - drawing around the head How to draw a dragon - head details How to draw a dragon - completing the head

Starting with the eye, mouth and then working your way out and around from there - sketching in the head of your dragon is pretty straight forward. The tricky part I'm sure - while viewing the examples above, is the potential frustration in trying to get yours to look like mine. And here's what I say to that...

DON'T!! :-)

Just as I come up with a wild-looking look for my dragon, see what you can do with yours. There's no 'one right way' to go about it. Experiment. And have fun.

Third Step - How to Draw the Neck of Your Dragon

Moving down, let's go ahead and sketch in the neck of this dragon. In segments, draw each part similar to how I've done below...

How to draw a dragon - starting the neck How to draw a dragon - drawing the neck details How to draw a dragon - completing the neck

With each segment of the dragon's underbelly, I added an extra little 'squiggly line' detail. This - as you can see in the finished drawing above is an area where poison seeps out - part of its special weapon!

On to the next step...

Fourth Step - How to Draw the Leg(s)

Next up - and moving down to the bottom, draw the front legs of your dragon. Use the lines to guide you along and similar to how I've done - form the legs with a series of curved lines.

Here's how to draw them...

How to draw a dragon - drawing the chest How to draw a dragon - drawing the upper arm How to draw a dragon - arm details How to draw a dragon - drawing the forearms How to draw a dragon - drawing the claws How to draw a dragon - arm details

In many of the lessons here on the site, I'll often say that leaving the details until the end is a good idea to go about it. Still, the more you practice drawing, the more you'll want to try out new things. Drawing the details in as you go can be lots of fun too.

When you're finished the front legs, it's on to the back legs. Here's how to draw them (or it!)...

How to draw a dragon - starting the back leg
How to draw a dragon - drawing the back leg
How to draw a dragon - completing the back leg

Just like a dog or cat's - I drew the back legs of this dragon to be double-jointed, allowing it to crouch slightly. And yes, there should be one extra back leg, but considering the dragon's position, I thought it would look OK if we left it out. You can be the judge by having a look again up top. If you'd like to add the other back leg though, mirror it up and to the left - same as the front legs.

Next up, How to Draw a Dragon - Step Five...

Fifth Step - How to Draw the Wings

Actually, for now it's just 'wing' and not quite 'wingS'. Just like the back leg, you can leave out the right wing until the very end. It's fairly simple to mirror it over on the other side once you've established the size/shape/detail involved in the first one.

Here's how to draw the left wing...

How to draw a dragon - drawing the wing How to draw a dragon - continuing with the wing How to draw a dragon - drawing the wing segments How to draw a dragon - finishing the wing

As you can see, the orange guideline is helpful to use as a reference point when sketching in the various parts of the wing. A dragon wing contains long fork-liked protrusions (almost like another hand). Take your time as you draw each part. And try and get them to be the same relative width. Remember, when learning how to draw something - perfection is not the key. Getting things similar is better.

Got the wing drawn then? Good stuff - we're just about finished now. Let's wrap things up by sketching in the rest of the neck, along with the tail and any remaining details...

Sixth Step - How to Draw the Neck and Tail

Sequence is usually very important when drawing something complex like a dragon. I say 'usually' as different people have different preferences and styles when it comes to drawing. In these lessons however, I aim to show you how to draw things in an easier manner. It's up to you to decide which way you most enjoy going about it.

Now that we've come back to the neck though - it's pretty clear that this particular sequence of tackling a dragon is quite useful. The bottom of the wing is set slightly in front of/as the dragon's shoulder and so it's pretty clear now how the rest of the neck will take shape behind and above it...

How to draw a dragon - drawing the neck How to draw a dragon - completing the neck How to draw a dragon - drawing the neck spikes How to draw a dragon - drawing the tail spikes How to draw a dragon - drawing the tail How to draw a dragon - completing the tail

And same with the tail shown in the other examples above. Drawing it last only makes sense as a good portion of it is obscured by the dragon's wing.

So - how did things turn out? Everything looking pretty neat? In this final step, let's reflect a bit on the lesson, and check out what the finished version looks like...

Final Step - How to Draw a Dragon... Complete!!

How to draw a dragon picture

Well, now you have a much better idea of how to draw a dragon. Next, take out a good eraser and get rid of your lightly sketched pencil lines underneath.

The final result might look something like the one on the right. But then again -- maybe it looks completely different. And if so - GREAT!

This lesson, as with the many others you'll find here on the site, are meant to trigger your imagination. If you see me draw something one way, it could very well give you ideas for other ways to tackle it. And that's what it's all about. Being creative!

What now? How about some color? According to the 'special ability' you gave your dragon - grab some pencil crayons brighten up your drawing.

And that's how to draw a dragon. See you again soon for another!