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Tutorial - Scales Made Simple by TwilightSaint Tutorial - Scales Made Simple by TwilightSaint
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I've had lots of questions concerning drawing dragon scales lately, and I figured that with my latest contest going on, a tutorial might be able to help!

Have scales ever intimidated you? Have you ever dreaded fully-scaling your dragon?

Now get ready to grease up and PUNCH THOSE SCALES IN THE FACE--

*ahem*

Heh, sorry about that. But seriously, scales are /nothing in the world/ to be afraid of or uncomfortable with. Honestly, I used to be, until I figured out this method, and have been putting it to good use ever since. You'll notice from my gallery that I prefer the sharp scales and chainmaille-like scales, but as you can see here, there's literally no limit with these techniques.

Now note that this tutorial is based on the technique that I figured out and use - I figured this out with a lot of experimentation and practice, and understand that it may not work for everybody. However, I have found that this is the easiest and nicest way to draw nice-looking scales without making your hand cramp into a twig or make your dragon look like a medieval illumination where every single scale /looks the same/ and is the /same shape and size,/ which is not the case in real life or for a realistic, living critter!

Shading is rudimentary and just there to add some shape/focus. Also, I draw a lot of inspiration from snakes and other reptiles, as well as inanimate objects like rocks, sand, ice, bark, etc... This will obviously depend on the dragon you're drawing. For general dragon scales, check out snakes, lizards, and gators. For elemental dragons, check out a glacier for an ice dragon, igneous rock for a fire dragon, and the texture of trees for a forest dragon. Heck, you could ever use bricks for an industrial, earthy look, or a car engine for a space dragon!

And when you get to the point where you're really comfortable doing the scales, you won't even need to really worry about the guidelines. Anymore, I just rough in some basic muscle shapes and scale right over-top of that. And it takes me...a few minutes. Tops. And I have a hella fun with it.

There are, of course, tons of other things that I could have covered, but didn't here for length's and detail's sake. This is meant to simplify scaling as much as possible. Scaling shouldn't be an all-day process or take up the majority of the time it takes for a single piece. The key? Don't over-think it.

If anything isn't clear, or if anybody has any questions about anything at all, feel free to ask me and I'll answer to the best of my ability. Or, if you have a scaled drawing that you'd like me to take a look at, shoot me a note or link it here and I'll check it out.

Gauntlet image from here: [link]

Hope this helps!
Peace!
~~~
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:iconpteradragon:
PteraDragon Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2015  Student General Artist
Gosh this is so helpful!!! Thank you so much!!
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks, that's wonderful to hear!  Welcome so much! :)
Reply
:iconepicnightstalker:
EpicNightStalker Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2014
I am printing this and sticking it in my art book
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Glad to hear that it can be of help. :)
Reply
:iconcapitainesullivan97:
CapitaineSullivan97 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Student Writer
This is awesome and helpful, thanks :L Also, I love the expression on the dragon, it's like, "I'm getting reaaaal tired of your crap.."  Sorry :L Just amused me xD Haha
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks, good to hear!  And lol!
Reply
:iconcapitainesullivan97:
CapitaineSullivan97 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2014  Student Writer
No problemo :3
Reply
:iconfreshbreath3:
Freshbreath3 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Student Digital Artist
this is very helpful thank you :)
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great to hear! :)
Reply
:iconthesilentchloey:
TheSilentChloey Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I can't believe I missed something as good as this!!  O.O
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hehe, thanks! ^^
Reply
:iconthesilentchloey:
TheSilentChloey Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:D You're welcome
Reply
:iconcrimson-dragon-king:
Crimson-Dragon-King Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice Job, Very Helpful! :)
I want to learn how to draw any tips?
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks, glad to hear.  And just practice, practice, practice.
Reply
:iconcrimson-dragon-king:
Crimson-Dragon-King Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Your Welcome, Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconawakened5:
Awakened5 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thanks a Lot!
:)
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Welcome!
Reply
:icondark-tyr-3:
dark-tyr-3 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
umm... what if one was to be doing a snake? would these rules still apply and if so, how? since snakes don't show much in the way of muscle lines.
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hmm...yes and no. No since like you said, snakes don't have defined muscle lines like my examples here. But yes in that you can still follow the lines of the vertebrae, muscles lining the spine and belly, etc.
Reply
:icondark-tyr-3:
dark-tyr-3 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks :)
Reply
:icondraconic-metalsmith:
Draconic-Metalsmith Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2013
This could be useful.
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Glad to hear!
Reply
:iconstarryeyed-nz:
starryeyed-nz Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, thanks!
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Welcome!
Reply
:iconandreblackdragon:
AndreBlackDragon Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2013
realy nice and helpful tutorial thanks ! this will really help me drawing !
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks a lot! Glad to hear it'll help!
Reply
:iconandreblackdragon:
AndreBlackDragon Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013
welcome and i think i do have more to thank you and you have to thanks me for a simple commente but anyway ! thanks !
Reply
:iconvirensere:
Virensere Featured By Owner May 26, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is so awesomly helpful! Thanks a lot for this!
Btw What body part is it supposed to be? Or is it just an example? :)
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner May 26, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Glad it could help! And it's just an example - could be a tail or a neck.
Reply
:iconj4b:
J4B Featured By Owner May 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This makes a lot of sense.
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner May 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconshadowthedragoness:
shadowthedragoness Featured By Owner May 21, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
perfect! and this showed up on my tumblr yet i dont follow you there XD
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Cool! And...it showed up on Tumblr? How'd that happen?! I don't have a Tumblr! *grumbles about art reposting*
Reply
:iconshadowthedragoness:
shadowthedragoness Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
haha i have no clue but it did XD
Reply
:iconhunting-wolf:
Hunting-wolf Featured By Owner May 11, 2013
Wow, this might be really useful, thank you so much! :D
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Welcome! :D
Reply
:iconfuyu-oleander:
fuyu-oleander Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is quite useful!
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy it'll help!
Reply
:iconbri-aboredperson:
Bri-ABoredPerson Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2013
I UNDERSTAND NOW. (totally faving for future ref)
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:D
Reply
:iconsaphizzle:
Saphizzle Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013
thanks for this awesome tutorial, you just made a miracle happen to my drawingskills :'D

[link]
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Looks awesome! :D Thanks for sharing!
Reply
:iconsaphizzle:
Saphizzle Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013
thanks/your welcome ^^
Reply
:icondargon1:
DARGON1 Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very nice tutorial! I will have to study this further. Thank you for such great incite.:)
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! :) Welcome!
Reply
:iconjnicholasadams:
jnicholasadams Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013
Been looking for something like this to help with the scales on my 3d model. Thanks, this is great!
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! Welcome! ^^
Reply
:iconpavender:
Pavender Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Very helpful insights, especially with the guide lines! :D
Reply
:icontwilightsaint:
TwilightSaint Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! :D
Reply
:iconaki-rain:
Aki-rain Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks for posting this! It will be super helpful in tackling the one thing that always makes me refrain from drawing reptilian creatures. xD
Reply
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