Recently I had a chance to draw the un-dead Viserion from Game of Thrones for a video tutorial for Envato Tuts+. The tutorial was only about drawing, but the line art I’ve ended up with was too pretty to leave it empty! So I painted it, using this opportunity to practice painting scales as seen from a distance. I spent a lot of time walking in circles, so I can’t tell that I know a fool-proof method of painting things like this, but if you’re curious about my process, keep on reading.

1: Line Art

I added a pattern of scales to my drawing of the dragon. I think it’s necessary to draw the guide lines for scales, but the actual shape of them can be left for the painting part.

2: Basic Colors

I added the background and the basic colors. As always, I painted these with big, textured brushes, to capture the general idea.

3. Shadows

Because I wanted to use a dramatic lighting for this piece, I added very dark shadows. Still, they weren’t very detailed.

4: Extra Light Source

This was a confusing part. I added the flame, and I added some light of it to the dragon’s body. But shouldn’t I keep it for the shine stage? Or include it in the shading? I have no idea.

5: Details

I painted over the line art now, using a more precise brush to add all the details.

6: Shine

I added a few layers with shine. I feel there must be a more efficient way of doing this!

7: Final Details

I added some heavy glow (using the Glow blend mode). Then I opened the file in Photoshop to add some blur.