How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Fantastic creatures may not be real, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be drawn in a realistic way. If you want to learn how to draw a dragon, in this tutorial I will lead you step by step. You can also use the tutorial to create a base for your own dragon, with the details of your own choosing. Muscles, wings, claws, scales—this tutorial has it all!

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

1. How to Draw the Pose of a Dragon

Step 1

It’s nearly impossible to draw something from imagination step by step without a base. Try to quickly sketch your idea without any details—just the pose and general proportions.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 2

We’re going to build upon this sketch now. Draw a big oval in the chest area. Dragons have huge chests, because they need powerful breast muscles for their wings.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 3

Attach the shoulder blade to the front of the chest.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 4

Define the back of the body.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 5

We need to make sure we know where the ground level is. Draw a line towards it.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 6

Draw the legs now, paying attention to all the joints.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 7

The default pose of the legs is easy, but also boring. Let’s create the other pair of legs to make it more dynamic. Imagine every part of the leg is like the hand of a clock, with the joint at the center. Draw the path on which it would go.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 8

Draw the other pair of legs using these paths.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 9

Add a circle at the end of the neck. This will be the whole width of the head, not just the brain case.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 10

Add the shape of the muzzle.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 11

Add the rest of the spine: the neck and the tail.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 12

Time for the wings. This will be a rather unnatural pose for the wings, but all the other poses require perspective, and I want to keep it easy. If you want, you can try to pose the wings in some other way.

Let’s place these new shoulder blades on the back, as with birds. Then add the arm and the forearm.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 13

Add all the parts of the fingers, one by one. The second one should be the longest.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 14

Because of our simple perspective, the other wing is hidden. However, a dragon with one wing would look weird, so feel free to add a part of the other one.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

2. How to Draw a Dragon’s Body

Step 1

The pose is ready, so now let’s add some body to this bare skeleton. Draw a circle around the arm—this will be the triceps and biceps all in one.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 2

Cover the shoulder with one long mass.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 3

Connect it to the arm with a line. This whole area will make the shoulder mass.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 4

Add the shoulder muscles to the other leg.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 5

Add a big oval for the thigh.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 6

Connect the thigh to the hips.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 7

Add the other leg as well. This one will be in the front.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 8

The wrists and ankles have a special bony shape, so it’s important to make this area distinguishable.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 9

Add the paws. Front or back, they should have roughly the same shape.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 10

Add the other part of the paws: the “palms” and “feet”.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 11

There’s one more muscle mass needed to make the legs complete:

How to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 12

Finally, some minor details…

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 13

… and the final outline of the limbs.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

3. How to Draw Dragon Wings

Step 1

Wings need muscles, too—they’re arms, after all. Start with a huge shoulder muscle right at the base.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 2

Then some biceps…

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 3

… and some mass on the forearm.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 4

Let’s add some shape to the elbow and the wrist as well.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 5

You can now outline the muscles in a fancy way.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 6

Add the muscles to the other wing as well.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 7

Don’t forget about the wing-finger—it gives the wing some of its arm functionality back.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 8

Add the joints to the wing-fingers.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 9

Outline the fingers.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 10

Finally, add the membrane.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

4. How to Draw Other Dragon Parts

Step 1

Time for more details of the head. The best way to start the head is to create a simplified skull for a base. First, the brain case…

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

… the eye socket…

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

… the upper jaw…

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

… the jaw joint…

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

… the cheek bone…

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

… and the lower jaw. Simple, isn’t it?

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 2

The chest is slightly rotated towards us, so draw the muscles connecting the arms and the “hole” for the neck.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 3

Draw the neck muscles attached to the back of the skull.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 4

To create a realistic dragon neck, don’t forget to place the larynx behind the skull.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

This will let you create this neat triangle with a space for the throat, the windpipe, and the flame tube.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 5

Attach a powerful chest muscle to the wings.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 6

Finish the shape of the main body.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 7

If the dragon is related to dinosaurs, it will look nice with dinosaur hips. Add this shape to the base of the tail to make it more solid.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 8

Finally, finish the tail.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

5. How to Draw Dragon Feet

Step 1

There are a couple more details we need to add before the body is fully shaped: the toes and claws. First, draw the tip of the middle toe. Leave some space for the claw, and flatten the pad as it’s pressed to the ground.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 2

Draw the curved claw.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 3

Draw the other toe, shorter this time.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 4

Many animals have a “thumb” called a dew claw on their front legs. This is helpful for holding the prey while eating, and, in the case of dragons, for catching prey in flight.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 5

Outline the full length of the toes. Create a hump right between the tips—this will suggest the joints beneath.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 6

Add the big pads under the paws.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 7

Don’t forget about adding details to the wing-fingers as well!

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

6. How to Draw Dragon Scales and Other Details

The base of the body is done, so you can now finish it any way you want! I will show you my way, but feel free to create your own details. If you’re drawing traditionally, you can put a new sheet of paper over the sketch to draw the clean final lines, or use a darker tool to make the sketch less visible.

Step 1

Draw the eye and the nose. The smaller the eye, the bigger the dragon will seem.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 2

Draw the wrinkles under the eye.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 3

It’s hard to make any facial expression when you have hard scales on your face, but the scales themselves may create a false expression. If you want to make your dragon look angry or badass, put some bigger scales along its brow.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 4

Create an outline of the head out of big scales.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 5

Give the lips smaller scales to make them more elastic.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 6

What’s a dragon without horns? Make sure you attach them to the upper part of the skull, not to the lower jaw by accident (I have nothing against horns on the lower jaw, but it’s harder to make them functional).

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 7

Draw rows of smaller scales in the other areas.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by StepHow to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 8

Outline the feet.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 9

Time for the body scales! Draw rows all over the body, adjusting their shape to the 3D form beneath. Imagine that you’re trying to cover the body with parallel rows of tape.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 10

Cross the rows now, creating a pattern of roof tiles—each line of one row should be placed between two lines of its side rows.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 11

You can cross some of the bigger parts with lines to make these scales more detailed later.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 12

Connect the lines in rows with curves to create an outline of the scales.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 13

Outline the scales in a detailed way.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 14

The wings don’t need too many scales, so just sketch a few of them at the base. Outline the fingers as well.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 15

Outline the membrane.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 16

Finish the drawing by thickening the outer outline and adding some details.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Step 17

If you want to turn this piece of line art into a finished artwork without coloring, you can add simple, sketchy shading. This will add some volume to the dragon’s body.

How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step

Good Job!

You have drawn a beautiful dragon! Do you want some other simple, step-by-step drawing tutorials? Check out one of these:

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How to Draw a Dragon Step by Step