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"It simply isn't an adventure worth telling if there aren't any dragons."
- J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings
Myths of dragons can be found in almost every culture. Like the one in this cartoon drawing guide, many dragons were depicted as scaley reptiles with wings like those of bats. Some were said to have magical abilities or fiery breath.
Where did legends of dragons come from, and why are they so widespread? Some researchers believe it is do to the common fear of snakes, and that dragons were exaggerations of real reptiles. Others point to the giant fossilized bones of dinosaurs and ancient mammals. In many cultures, dragons were once revered or feared as deities.
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Today, dragons remain a key element in science fiction and fantasy stories. This easy, step-by-step cartoon drawing tutorial, for example, resembles the characters from Disney’s Pete’s Dragon and The Sword in the Stone.
Would you like to draw a cartoon dragon? Sharpen your pencil and grab your eraser - it's time to fly on dragon wings!
Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Cartoon Dragon
1. Begin by drawing a circle. This will become the dragon’s head.
2. Draw a large oval or egg shape below the head. This will become the dragon’s body.
3. Draw a line between the two shapes, forming the neck.
4. Draw two smaller ovals overlapping the original oval. This will help form the dragon’s legs.
5. Draw curved and straight lines to form open half-circle shapes overlapping the small ovals. These are the dragon’s feet.
6. Extend pairs of curved lines from the head, allowing them to meet at points. This forms the beaklike mouth.
7. Extend two curved lines from the point that the body oval meets the neck. These will become the dragon’s arms. Draw curved lines at the end of each to indicate the hands.
8. Draw a long curved line extending from the rear leg. This will become the tail.
9. Flesh out the dragon’s neck by drawing two curved lines from the body to the head. Use the original line as a guide.
10. Flesh out the arms and hands. Use the previous lines as the top, and extend new lines to form the bottoms of the arms and “C” shaped hands.
11. Draw curved lines on each side of the head. Draw a series of short lines at the corner of the mouth.
12. Draw a long, curved line roughly parallel to the line of the tail. Allow the lines to meet at a point.
13. Draw a smaller oval within the original oval of the body, outlining the belly. Then, draw a long curved line down the tail, also outlining the underbelly.
14. Draw two ovals within the face to form the eyes. Within each, draw a circle within a circle and shade between them, indicating the pupils. Use pairs of curved lines to draw the eyebrows, pointed on each end.
15. Erase the guide lines, leaving a clean outline of your draconic character.
16. Use curved lines to flesh out the lower jaw. Draw a curved line through the mouth and shade above it. Use short lines to enclose the small triangular teeth. Above the mouth, draw “U” shaped nostrils, with a small oval inside each. On top of the head, enclose two semicircles to form the bases of the horns. Enclose the horns using pairs of curved lines that meet at gentle points. Finally, draw a flame exiting the dragon’s mouth. Use curved lines that meet at jagged points to enclose the irregular shape.
17. Draw the dragon’s batlike wings. Use long curved lines that meet at points.
18. Detail and texture the wings. Draw a triangular claw on the top of each. Then, contour the wing membrane with curved lines that meet below the claw.
19. Use curved lines to indicate the claws and toenails. Enclose triangular spikes on the dragon’s head and down the neck, back, and tail.
Color your cartoon dragon.
Printable Drawing Tutorial
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