January 3rd Thursday

  • SVS OG

    So over Christmas I drew these two thumbnails…I was really looking forward to getting started - a chance to do real scary dragons instead of cute ones!…woohoo! …but I knew I had to get my other critique piece out of the way first…now I’m concerned because @Jiří-Kůs is doing dragons too, and I don’t want to tread on his toes….but I’m hoping I can make mine properly different with the angle, story and style, etc.


    The setting is Victorian England..you see I live in south-west UK and near us we have some beautiful Victorian houses..I don’t live in one myself but I walk down streets like this a lot. For ages I’ve been thinking, ‘I wonder if I can work one of these houses into a 3rd Thursday?’ ..so when this months prompt came up I thought ‘this is my chance!’ And then I had to think of a monster to perch on the roof…so drawing a proper dragon fitted right in. And Stanley was a popular name in Victorian times so I thought that could match up.

    These are my reference pics:



    My story is that Stanley is a dragon-herder…he is meant to keep the dragons away from the town, but this time he failed. Then he runs out to see a HUGE pair of dragon eyes/dragon head staring right at him..not actually menacing, just ‘whoa’. (my dragons aren’t actually bad, they’re misunderstood). So I’d like to try and push the worm’s eye view looking up at the dragon quite a lot….(a chance to practise 3 point perspective too…). There are three dragons, and one Benedict Cumberbatch-type character with a spear, who is also a dragon-herder. The Benedict character is really annoyed, not just because he has three dragons to chase away, but also because Stanley hasn’t done his job properly.

    So I hope that’s different enough…gotta get started properly with the drawing next.

  • Pro SVS OG

    Love the concept, looking forward to where you take this one!

  • I was actually quite surprised nobody thought of dragons 🙂 Its funny that my thinking process was quite similiar... I saw these Normandy houses I wanted to draw and also havent drawn monsters for years....booom a dragon in a street 😃
    Looking forward to see the finished piece!

  • SVS OG

    I'm glad you don't mind @Jiří-Kůs, I'm sure by the time we've finished they will be totally different! Yeah it's fun to find stuff you want to draw and work it into assignments like this. I'm looking forward to seeing your piece develop too!

  • SVS OG

    Here's my progress on this...



    Rough thumb to work out values:


    And sketch with rough values added:


    My idea is that these are white, almost ghostly dragons. They aren't violent unless threatened but the locals associate them with death, and think that death will come to anyone they get close to. So the dragon-herders have the important job of keeping them away to stop sickness spreading.

    This scene takes place at dawn, I took this reference pic to try to get an idea of colours/lighting:


    The Benedict bloke holding the spear has a fire at the end, so that's going to be a second light source, though secondary to the dawn light (I think).

    Still working out how I'm going to paint this - am thinking of going for full digital paint this time. Suggestions welcome..

  • I really love how much you have thought out the intent and story behind your characters! I had a portfolio review with an Art Director and he told me again and again to get to know the characters I was drawing...what were their likes, dislikes, personalities, back story etc. because doing so will help one create a character and not just an object. @Lee-White also talks about it in his Visual Storytelling Techniques. You are doing just that! I suspect this is going to be an awesome illustration!

  • I really like your composition for this one. It looks very exciting! One thing i see is the distance and size between the dragon on the building and the one on the ground; they don't seem to make sense to me because they are pretty close to each other yet their sizes are much different. Unless the one on the roof with its size is intentional otherwise I would bring the building he is sitting on closer to the foreground.

  • SVS OG

    Thanks @Joy-Heyer I appreciate your positivity, I'm going to try and make it the best I can..only 3 days left though, eek!

    @Naroth-Kean Thanks for pointing that out...I'll try and fix that perhaps by shifting the smaller dragon further back in the street, if I can work out how to do that...

  • I love the look on your dragon! Really impressed with your layout too, you've done a great job with your reference. Can't wait to see color!

  • SVS OG

    Well, this is mine…I’m not satisfied with it but at least I’ve got something to submit. Stanley needs work…but I just ran out of time.

    But on the plus side, through doing this I learnt a few things:

    • that this is not the painting style I want to do long-term.
    • I got a bit more familiar with overlays to enhance lighting.
    • I did plan my values, but next time I’m going to try and do that in a clearer way beforehand, to try and iron out difficulties before the painting stage. This one I found difficult to get the lighting really right, with white things on a dark background, and two light sources.


  • Dulcie, This is beautiful! I think your light sources look realistic and soft and I could fall into that painterly style. Thanks for sharing!

  • SVS OG

    Thank you @lindsayraecarr 🙂

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