Diana Probst, Cambridge Artist

Dragons: Day 1 – Initial Sketching

A small watercolour sketch of a red dragon with an egg fending off a blue dragonLast week I brought in a new commission, on the subject of great big winged flying majestic lizards – I’m going to be painting dragons. The client would like to replace a print over her mantelpiece, meaning it’s going to be big enough to keep me busy for a while; it comes in at 75x60cm, 30×24″. I spent a day in sketches looking at various colour combinations, before I started designing the picture itself. That gave my client time to think about what she wanted without me being on her paid time; it also gave me time to practice dragon poses and think about anatomy. I have dragon pictures here and there in my sketchbook, and I looked up a couple where I had sketched out the skeletons, as well as going back to basics with oval shapes for positioning.

The pose is not the one shown here, but it will have two adult dragons and probably one juvenile in it. I have a mental colour scheme, and my next step is to draw a medium-sized sketch that the client likes. It might take a few tries. Then I use that to make my finished oil painting.