Dragon Rider - Concept Illustration

polycounter lvl 12
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Dado Almeida polycounter lvl 12
Due some few (but important) advices I got here in PCount, I´ve decided to push my work a little further (even the simplest ones, like this).

I´m starting a proper thread for this one because I´d like to hear some feedback about the work and my process itself. It´s not 3D (shame), but I think you guys can add much with critiques.

Brief: Dragon Rider

A friend who´s was in the last Gnomon Workshop told me about their community activities to Concept Artists, bla bla bla... I don´t pretend to be part of another Board, but I got interested in their last theme "Dragon Rider". So I decided to draw something (maybe for it, maybe just for fun/practice).

Since my focus in on the character, not the Dragon I spend a lot of time just trying to define him. Mass thumbnails (I suggest all to read the ThumbWar thing) and some mini-sketches I paint in WaterColor (I´m quite fast with this ones):
Then I came up with this Char Concept and some funny idea to a "Device" to control the Dragon: the idea of a people sitting on a Dragon´s back looks kinda strange to me.
Before starting to rush in the linework, I´ve decided to think more in the Composition of the scene and make some color studies:
I was stuckyng with the third one (left collum), but It´s remind me a lot of a Frazetta´s piece. So I change my direction...Put some hard perspective in the Dragon´s body to force people travel "with him".

I´m not quite sure what colors to start. The first is my favorite (fantastic and easy colors), but the last one (when the Dragon´s body is the light source) are probably a most creative choice (based in the ones I´ve painted).

So... How´s I´m going? Please guys, fill my Ego carency or let me know if I´m too lame for art. :-)

Anyway. Thanks PCount to the opportunity.


  • shabba
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    shabba polycounter lvl 9
    If he has a Tesla Flying Board... whats the point of having a dragon? I dont get the flying board.... If I had a flying board... I wouldn't be trying to ride a dragon, I'd be like "look at my flying board you stupid dragon, you've been replaced by technology... biiiiatch."
  • Vailias
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    Vailias polycounter lvl 13
    Lampoly: I do like the overall idea, in some ways I agree with shabba, but I also like the image of a sort of dragon hover chariot that you have going. I think your idea can be even stronger by giving a more direct tie between the hoverboard and dragon. Make it obvious that the dragon is required for the hoverboard to serve its purpose. Like say other greentooth tethers near the front of the board and maybe a small railing /air foil/ windshield sort of thing like some advanced version of an egyptian war chariot.
  • shabba
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    shabba polycounter lvl 9
    OHH I should delete my post before, I understand the flying board now. Its essentially like water skiing behind a boat right? The character stands on the Tesla Flying Board, holding the green reins, and is pulled along behind the dragon! I like that idea alot!
  • Dado Almeida
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    Dado Almeida polycounter lvl 12
    Hey. Thanks for the comments, guys. Here´s the todays update: Linework.
    Since I don´t decided yet (bad) what´s the light scheme, I choose to don´t hatching; maybe later I´ll add some textures and details in the Dragon skin.

    Shabba, Valias: glad you´re liking it. And yeah, I´ve imagined the "Tesla Board" just a anti-gravitational device (it can only float, there´s no motor power). The guy use the Dragon to fly, like the plane or boat in Skysurfing/WaveBoarding.
    Anyway, I do recognize it as a failure in my concept (since the image has to speak for yourself, ahha).
    To that, I´ll add a "light rope"; some kind of streamlined and visible energy wave conecting both Dragon and character. Gonna be nice to paint it over a dark sky.

    That´s it. Hope you like the drawing. : )

  • Dado Almeida
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    Dado Almeida polycounter lvl 12
    Well, just finish this one. I promisse I´ll update the next more frequently. : )

    As you guys can see a change it a lot. A recently local workshop about Composition open my mind for that piece. I´m sure the illustration is much clearly now.

    If you guys are interested in the process:
    The red spots are the ones I think are more "brain work" than technique itself.
    And the great tip for the Dragon line of action was pointed by Funky Bunnies. A great comment wich add a lot to the dinamism of the scene.

    I don´t plant to make big changes in that, but any comment will still be apreciated. That´s for sure.

    Now the next one...
  • Alec3d
    that's so cool, I'd love to see more of those process pics. Could you share some techniques that you used going from the tonal study to the greyscale shading?
  • c0ldhands
    Like the idea myself, but i think you had a more interesting composition in your previous post(the linework one) in this new one both the dragon and the rider are clipped(riders other leg and half of the board). The only thing that I like in the new one is the dynamic of the draconis, its looks faster and bigger because of the bend in the sky it does. Thats what i think at least, but if the rider wouldnt clip and had a more dynamic pose to match the draons then that would be perfect. Hope I could be of some help.
  • Dado Almeida
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    Dado Almeida polycounter lvl 12
    Hey thanks for the inputs guys.

    So. Here´s the "new-new" version of it. Tried to mix the advices/comments gived here and some other good ones.

    Alec3D: so Alec, I think I don´t have much more of this one to share. The piece start as a common Character Concept/T-Pose and turns in one of my best illustrations.

    And about the techniques. I don´t have a particular one, seriously.
    I´m always changing the way I paint.
    One "rule" that´s common in all styles I´ve explored is: make it simple at the beginning (use planes to define form and don´t use too much variations of color/greys; resist to blend, squirt your eyes and keep distance of your monitor to see contrast. ).

    Coldhands: thanks for the comment. Indeed the first idea show more of booth characters, but as a illustration I´ve tried to focus more in the story/mommentum. I use some of your observations to make the last one. Hope you like a little more now. : )

    and thanks to Funky Bunnies for the support in the bend-Tail thing.

    ps.: almos forgot. To make that little glow FX and the Dragon texture I´ve used a custom brush made by Yang Xuenguo. The guy makes a set with good ones.
  • c0ldhands
    Looks way better dude, like the camera distortion! The character has nice details too, I like where this is going.
  • Dado Almeida
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    Dado Almeida polycounter lvl 12
    Hey Coldhands, glad you like it...

    Really wish more oppinions about that art, but I don't think if that is the kind of "stuff" to PCounters. Anyway...
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