Ever wonder how to draw a dragon?
They are such beautiful and majestic creatures that it’s hard to resist!
And they are all over popular books and movies that we love so much! Can you name a few? 😉
That is why I decided to do my own research on the topic, and so I collected the most helpful “dragon books” that will be filled with inspirations, reference materials, techniques and so on.
AND I also asked a couple of artists that have done beautiful art with dragons to share their process. (You can learn from them here.)
Before we get to the list…
Dragon Fun Facts
Dragons are beautiful, majestic and complex creatures. And yet, so many of us are so deeply in love with them!
Did you know that the word “dragon” comes from ancient Greek and means “to see strong” and from Latin dracon – huge serpent?
Also, the most well-known dragons come from two distinctly different traditions: European Dragon and Chinese Dragon.
- The European Dragon is typically depicted as a large, fire-breathing, scaly, horned, lizard-like creature. Their blood is a symbol of a long life, and sometimes has poisonous properties;
- And the Chinese Dragons are most commonly depicted as snake-like and with four legs; They symbolize powers (mostly control over water), strength and are a good luck charm for the worthy ones.
Now, history aside – here is the list:
Top 7 Books
That Will Teach You How To Draw A Dragon
* It stands as the number 1 on my list because I remember myself referring back to it A LOT! The character design is stunning for the dragons, and the Vikings and all the characters overall 🙂 I Love it! It’s not necessarily a “how to” book, but it is filled with the character development sketches, inspirations and ideations – super inspiring and with a lot of variety.
“The Art of How to Train Your Dragon” by Tracey Miller-Zarneke and Cressida Cowell is the official illustrated tie-in that holds in itself more than 350 images from the DreamWorks Animation Feature Film, based on Cressida Cowell’s popular kids book.
How To Train Your Dragon is the story about a Viking Hiccup, member of a Viking tribe. Hiccup lives on the island of Berk in the North Sea at the time when Dragons and Vikings don’t get along. He has to enter a dragon training where he will be able to prove worthy to his dad. Everything seems fine until he meets and becomes friend with a cute injured dragon. And that’s when the true adventure begins…
The book offers you an inside look into the development of the animation film: with a lot of ideation sketches, character developments, concept paintings and discarded ideas. Also, while flipping the pages you will stumble upon commentary and interesting quotes from the production team.
It’s a powerful book full of great ideas and inspiration – a great place to start building an understanding of dragons and their design.
You can also look through some of the pages from this book on your own HERE.
Even if you are not planning to purchase it, it’s worth checking out either way!
This book is by the famous artist from NeonDragonArt.com.
It’s separated into three main topics and one quick guide:
- Part One: Fantastic Dragons
- Part Two: Unique Details
- Part Three: Other Fantasy Creatures
- And A Quick Guide To Fantastic Beasts.
The book goes through a step-by-step process you can implement in your design, as well as covers the various styles of heads, wings, horns, tails and other cool dragon parts.
I think it’s a great reference for someone looking for more than just one way of drawing a dragon, as well as learning to draw the creature from different angles, adding muscle tone and interesting details.
Feel free to judge for yourself while flipping through the book HERE.
Drawing Dragons: Learn How to Create Fantastic Fire-Breathing Dragons is a book by Sandra Staple.
It’s a step-by-step guide full of thoughtful techniques and tips to take away. It has a variety of creatures from fiercefull and angry-looking to loving and protective mother dragons. As well as different ages, genders and poses.
Most of the book is black and white, as it covers the DRAWING, not the painting, however, in the middle of the book you will find 16 beautifully colored pages.
Sandra makes it look so easy! And it’s a wonderful guide for those wanting to build a solid foundation for the creature drawing/design.
It’s one of the Amazon’s #1 Best Sellers! You can see for yourself some more details about it HERE.
- Note: The Kindle Preview and The “Look Inside” The Book on Amazon usually feature different pages you can flip through. So it’s a great idea to check out both! I included the Kindle preview for some of the books, and the other preview you can view by following the links 🙂
It’s a book by
This is a total masterpiece in my opinion! It features a lot of amazing knowledge and explanations on topics such as: how come dragons are able to talk? Fly? And what’s up with all of their habits?
I think that in order to draw a creature masterfully and true to life(not sure how that applies to dragons if you believe they are unreal) – you must know more about them than just the basics! And this book is your go-to guide for that!
The book is filled with amazing things! Such as:
- Various samples of artifacts;
- Interactive envelopes you can open;
- Dragon skin you can feel (!!!);
- Maps, journals and charts that flip open;
- Guide on how to track, tam and fly a dragon;
- And much MUCH more!
Want to be a true master of drawing and understanding dragons? Here is your best book.
Dracopedia: A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World by
It has been compiled from years of sketches, finds and field notes by the artist William O’Connor, that has traveled all around the world studying dragons. It is definitely a great resource for learning how to draw dragons step-by-step as well as to learn about their history which will help you keep them true to life.
It goes through drawing materials, digital painting tips, as well as the behavior, biology, specifications and history of 13 major dragon families!
It also features:
- An enormous variety of sketches, anatomical studies and gesture drawings;
- A step-by-step process to creating 13 beautiful dragon paintings (concepts that will work for any medium).
Note: This book is for “Advanced Artists” in my opinion, as even though it goes through the process step-by-step, the final paintings are quite complicated to achieve. However, don’t get discouraged! As after a few tries you will be able to create these amazing paintings as long as you have the will, and are not afraid of a challenge! 🙂
You can look through some more pages from this book before making up your mind HERE.
DragonArt Evolution: How to Draw Everything Dragon is a book by
This book is a follow up from #2 done in a similar style and feature even more ways of drawing dragons with more detail than ever, as well as many new tips and tricks along the way.
- 60+ step-by-step drawings of a variety of dragons;
- In-depth tutorials for separate dragon parts: eyes, horns, wings, limbs, ears and others.
- It’s broken down into two parts:
- Part 1: Dragon Anatomy and Equipment;
- Overbite Jaw;
- Underbite Jaw;
- Beak Jaw;
- Dragon Wings;
- Dragon Limbs;
- Dragon Bridles and Saddles.
- Part 2: Dragon Demonstrations;
- Dragon Head Shapes;
- Dragon Expressions;
- Medieval Dragons;
- Lung Dragons;
- Dragon Hatchlings;
- Fairy Dragon;
- Sea Dragon;
- Dragon Lich;
- Feathered Dragon;
- Mesoamerican Dragon;
- Dragon Rider;
- Dragon Scene.
- Part 1: Dragon Anatomy and Equipment;
You can always read some more reviews about it HERE.
The last book on our list “How To Draw A Dragon 7 Awesome Books” is this beautiful piece by William O’Connor!
As you might have noticed already – it looks very similar to our #5. That is because these two beautiful books are by the same author! As a matter of fact, this one was published 3 years later from the previous one 🙂
The Great Dragons features a researched guide on dragons with a special focus on each one. It is a book filled with facts, stories and instructions on how to capture these marvelous creatures!
You get to learn about the habitat and history of 8 different dragons: Acadian Dragon, Icelandic Dragon, Scandinavian Dragon, Welsh Dragon, Ligurian Dragon, Crimean Dragon, Chinese Dragon and an Elwah Dragon. As well as enjoy a huge amount of sketches, drawings and start-to-finish artworks.
You can see a preview of what you get in this book HERE.
Begin Learning Now
I hope you enjoyed the list, and even if you don’t decide to get one of these beautiful creations, I recommend you still check out what’s inside them! You will get so much inspiration just by looking through the pages 🙂
I know book deliveries can take a couple of days to get to you, that’s why I think it’s worth checking out our “How To Draw A Dragon Tips From 5 Artists” blog post featuring a lot of amazing artists: Sanjay Charlton, Dennis Sabino, Yuriy Skorohod, Hana Kuro, and Milena Młynarska. You can definitely learn a lot from them, and get inspired to start creating!
Remember the artwork on the top of this blog post? It is by Sanjay Charlton. I asked him a couple of questions about this piece that you can find following the link above, but also here are some of them:
Anna: What inspired you to draw this dragon?
Sanjay: I really like anything fantasy and anything powerful and dragons seem to be the weapon of mass destruction of the genre. So how could I not?
A: Did you collect any reference material or do some research before you started?
S: Yes, I looked at a lot of reptiles, especially for textures. I looked at various interpretations of dinosaurs and most importantly I looked at how other artists interpreted various types of dragons in different styles.
A: When you just begin the process – what do you think about? Are you trying to understand the skeleton/muscles or how do you work?
S: Primarily I think about the pose and how everything else supports that. Form, skeletal makeup, muscles, skin texture and then lighting.
A: How do you make sure that this fantastical creature looks believable and true to life?
S: Outside of the structure, texture and lighting, imperfections go along way. Teeth that jagged and misaligned, textures that are not uninformed and so on.
You can read the rest here.
Hope you are inspired! Good luck in your studies of these marvelous dragon creatures 🙂
And make sure to save one of our images to Pinterest for future reference :*
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Good luck on Your Art Path,
– Anna, Your Art Bud 😉
Blog Posts to check out next → ” 14 Best Figure Drawing Books For Beginners”