Alien Dragon

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Thread: Alien Dragon

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    Alien Dragon

    Working on a birthday present for a friend. He likes the Alien movies and Starcraft so I'm using both Giger and Zerg references. Right now it's very messy as I'm only fleshing out the basic look right now. But his birthday is March 23 so I need help so it's perfect by then! Please help me out! I don't want the lack-luster crap I normally dish out.

    REFERENCES:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...arCraft%29.png

    http://th04.deviantart.net/fs70/200H...75-d519qx3.png

    http://origin.kaboodle.com/hi/img/c/...=1305935320000

    Alien Dragon

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    What is your dragon standing on? Where is the ground plane?

    Recommended reading: "The Art of Animal Drawing" by Ken Hultgren, "Perspective Made Easy" by Ernst Norling.

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    I didn't realize it made a difference in the early stages. And it's a bit late for me to order books. If you have them would you mind scanning the pages you think would help me most?

    Drew again from scratch. Cleaned up some of the lines and added some more musculature. Still having trouble with the headpiece even with the new reference.
    http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs28/f/20...cromanthil.jpg

    Alien Dragon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfyre View Post
    I didn't realize it made a difference in the early stages
    It makes ALL the difference in the early stages. Theoretically, the early stages is exactly where you want everything to be perfect so that you have a good solid base to work from. Without that good basic sketch, not even the prettiest rendering in the world will be able to cover up your flaws.

    Order the books when you can or look them up on the internet; a few day's wait isn't going to make a dramatic difference in your artistic career (or this image for that matter). Regarding the image, it has a lot of beginner's flaws; your dragon is still not standing on the ground (the toes are going right through it), there is no indication of a basic structure (skeleton) and the proportions need work (why such a short neck with such an immense tail?), in short there's a lot of studying of forms, perspective and referencing from real life needed to make this work. Be sure to look up some of the more common animals; cats, dogs, horses, birds and lizards. Study how they work, how their bodies are built up, how they balance their weight on their legs. You can't build up a creature without knowing the structure underneath it's skin, which seems to be your main problem right now.

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    Ok. I'll at least look them up and see if there are any pages posted online. I'm usually good with the 3/4 view but that headpiece has been giving me trouble. I already own NeonDragon's book DragonArt and it helps a little but her style is a bit cartoony for what I'm going for here. Also, the tail is long because I'm using the Alien reference who's necks are extremely short. Unless you're talking about how it would effect flight which I haven't decided on whether or not the wings will be flight-worthy, vestigial (Zerg queen maybe?) or if it'll have wings at all. Also contemplating extra legs to follow the insectoid/Zerg theme.

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    Your anatomy looks extremely cartoony and unbelievable. All I can say is use as much reference as you can and you need to add structure. At this point though it's a matter of you need to invest a huge amount of time into learning drawing fundamentals which will take a while. Since you are on a limited deadline for this piece I suggest doing some quick thumbnails trying out different poses and design options to make it more interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Avvatar View Post
    Your anatomy looks extremely cartoony and unbelievable. All I can say is use as much reference as you can and you need to add structure. At this point though it's a matter of you need to invest a huge amount of time into learning drawing fundamentals which will take a while. Since you are on a limited deadline for this piece I suggest doing some quick thumbnails trying out different poses and design options to make it more interesting.
    Ok. This is going to make me sound incredibly stupid but you're going to have to define "thumbnail" to me in the context you're talking about. I've been taught that thumbnails were tiny little sketches for trying out different poses and styles. But the way you said it made it sound like I have to draw a bunch of little perfect portraits. I've been sitting here for 40 minutes trying to do a bunch of thumbnails to post and they all look like crap. I can't even work with the ground lines because I always end up going through them rather than resting on top of them.

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    It doesn't have to be perfect at all, the opposite, is a crude tiny drawing (in grayscale if you can), with 0 details aside for the general forms

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    These are thumbnails (for example, there are many ways to do them); http://www.jasonzuckerman.com/wp-con...sitionsweb.jpg . They are small, quick sketches that show the overall idea you have for the character, composition and/or value setup.

    As for the alien reference; not a very good reference in my humble opinion. The alien tails move in completely unnatural and illogical ways (and honestly I've never been a fan of the alien's animations). Your dragon seems to be made of skin and bone; a long, extremely flexible tail on a body like that would hinder any sort of movement. That, and your creature simply looks very heavy at the rear right now; a massive tail like that has weight to it that can't possibly be countered by such a short upright neck. It's all in the weight distribution, in other words balance.

    Look at these guys for example;

    Alien Dragon

    Alien Dragon

    Alien Dragon

    Also, the tail will be shorter as the neck is more upright, because that will shift the weight over the legs more.

    Alien Dragon

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    Ok I think I gotcha. Short neck = short tail.

    I never really cared for Giger's art in general and I've never really watched any of the Alien movies save for bits and pieces.

    What id the dragon was strictly terrestrial? If it was able to move quickly then a sleek and slender body with a long tail would make sense right? Like a cheetah. Or would it be a bad idea to use a cat as a reference for this?
    http://joshuamhood.com/wp-content/up...02/Cheetah.jpg

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    You can use any animal as a reference; whichever you think is best for your design . A long tail yes, but even the cheetah's tail is not thrice it's body length and it's not quite as heavy at the base; it has a lot of freedom of movement which it needs to turn sharp corners and stay balanced while running. You have to consider the functionality of your design; most animals are built the way they are for a reason. If you know the reasons, you can play with them.

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    Ok. Reference first then embellish.

    Sorry this took so long. Stuff happened. And because I'm unable to access Photoshop I wasn't able to scale it down so it's a bit big and I'm just giving you the link instead of posting the image itself.

    Sketches with X's are ones I like best. X1 is up on its hindquarters looking forward. X2 is hunched over and stalking prey ans X3 is what I've already been working on.
    http://i435.photobucket.com/albums/q...psba3532e5.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfyre View Post
    Short neck = short tail.
    Giraffes and squirrels show that is wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    Giraffes and squirrels show that is wrong.
    Yeah; I did not say a short neck means the tail is short per definition, it's just all about balance. A giraffe's neck is very upright and it's back is slanted so it doesn't need a tail to balance out the weight. A squirrel uses it's tail for balance as well.

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    Yeah I should have known that.

    Any thoughts on the thumbnails? I know they're messy but I have problems drawing small.

    And after seeing a pic of the Alien Queen I realize that my version looks too much like her rather than a dragon. What's the best way to do this?

    Last edited by Dragonfyre; March 9th, 2013 at 10:58 AM.
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    Trying out the stalking pose but the dang body looks like a jelly bean and I'm not sure how to fix it.
    Again, big file. Sorry.
    http://i435.photobucket.com/albums/q...psc3e4f668.jpg

    Refs:
    http://image.shutterstock.com/displa...h-63947680.jpg

    http://heroclix-game.com/heroclix-bl...Tail_Alien.jpg

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    I anyone there? I would REALLY appreciate help with this!

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    Name:  aliendrgnskch_03_zpsc3e4f668.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfyre View Post
    the dang body looks like a jelly bean and I'm not sure how to fix it.
    Again that's because you're just drawing the outside. It's great that you're using the wolf reference for the pose and outlines, but it still doesn't show you the structure underneath and so you don't know what you're looking at. Look up a couple of animal skeletons and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

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    Thanks for the example sketch! Those help a LOT! So you're saying I should draw an entire skeleton? I've been erasing the "stick figure" that every drawing starts with to keep the sloppiness down.

    And what do you think of the site DragoArt? I usually avoid it because everything on there looks "cheap" but could it really be f help at times?

    And is tracing ever acceptable or are real artists to avoid it like the plague?

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    You don't have to draw a full skeleton every time you draw a creature, but you have to be aware that it's there and that it's the very base that everything is built around. What helps is to do a few thorough skeleton studies so that you know what's what and where the joints are, then if you're going to draw a new creature, use the knowledge you have of the skeleton only very simplified. The most important things for you to capture are the proportion of the bones and the positions of the joints (and how they bend), so focus on that when you study.

    Avoid DragoArt. Not because the art looks cheap (the art is not too bad to be honest) but it teaches you nothing except how to draw that one thing that one way. It does not teach you how to draw that same thing a different way, which is pretty useless.

    As for the tracing, it's more personal than anything, but I only find it acceptable as a last resort when you're studying something and you just can't seem to get it right. As a means to study though, I don't think tracing is very effective since you don't have to look very carefully or understand how something works to be able to trace it.

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    I tried to follow yours but it still looks off. The hindquarters seem too high and the chest might be a bit low. I can't get make the feet look diagonal. Also experimented with what it might look like with small vestigial wings.

    Alien Dragon

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    Still having trouble with that one hand.
    Alien Dragon

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    I can't get that hand right! I've tried several refs including my own hand. Some help would be really great.
    Alien Dragon

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    Ok, I know you guys are busy and have real lives and everything but absolutely NO ONE has anything to say about my progress? I could really use all the help I can get.

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    Did I offend someone or do anything that made everyone disappear? I can't get better if I don't have some pointers! Or else I'll just keep making the same mistakes and not get anywhere.

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    If you know you're doing something wrong, and you know what that is, don't wait to others take you by the hand and correct it. Decide what you need to do and do it.

    Your picture still looks bad, sorry to tell you. I suggest you stop trying to make something complete, and spend a good (3 or more) hour to do little sketches. Whole bodies, poses, references, difficult body parts on different angles. All that until you are comfortable with this dragon and all.

    Again, complete nothing, only sketches nauseum. Kept learning.

    One more thing, I think this project exceeds your actual skills, so, try this picture later when you have more practice or draw it more simplified

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    It's not that I've stopped working on it, I just haven't bothered to post anything. And I can't just give up because it NEEDS to be done by the 23rd. That includes coloring. I don't want to give him a crappy piece of junk because I "simplified" it.

    Can you please show/tell me exactly what I'm doing wrong? I know you said that I need to work on the individual pieces but I need to know exactly what I'm doing wrong or else I have know idea how to make it better because I'll just keep donig the same bad things over and over. I'm a very visual learner.

    Last edited by Dragonfyre; March 18th, 2013 at 11:33 AM.
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    Alien Dragon

    Notice how the paw is looking in perspective. You are still not drawing with structure in mind. Establish horizon line, and draw everything according to it. His back leg looks off too, and should be much closer his left back leg, because I really doubt you wanted him to have pelvis that wide. Also, should he have hands, or front legs, because its anatomy is more human like. Those wings are way too small, and would be useless, because there is no way he'd be able to carry his weight while flying with those. Those paw studies also look more human like, so maybe you should place your own hand like that, and draw it. The fingers don't have form, and look like papers attached to cube.

    Most of the problems are coming from lack of knowledge of fundamentals, especially perspective. You aren't drawing with structure in mind, and thinking in terms of forms, and that is the biggest problem here, I'd say. The easiest way to solve it is to draw one big box, in 1 or 2 point perspective, and then add simplified forms for ribcage, pelvis, legs and head, and only then start adding details on top of those forms. I'm not saying it's easy, but you'd just be torturing yourself with trying to draw something you don't have good understanding of. Also, look for some references, trying to draw something when you are not sure of how it actually looks will not end well.

    Sorry if I sounded harsh, not my intention, I'm just pointing out mistakes you are making continuously.

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    I really am going for a more humanoid hand. Like Giger's Aliens, I want the fingers long and thin with the center fingers much longer than the others.
    Alien Dragon
    And the wings are small on purpose. I'm thinking of getting rid of the webbing completely for a Zerg Queen reference.
    http://pnmedia.gamespy.com/screensho...t/27816448.jpg
    I've been using NeonDragon's book Fantasy Characters and there are pages about hands and one of the examples is in almost the exact position I need (except it's facing the opposite way). I really thought I was using basic shapes the way you're supposed to. You draw the stick figures then add blocks and build from there.

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