Sunday, November 8, 2009

Large Commission Finished

I finally got the large dragon commission done. This was allot of work. The background alone took many many layers and much work. The dragon has about 8 layers including thousands of individual scales/bumps. I was asked to do a realistic, non fantasy dragon. I used real lizards, mostly Monitors as my base. The client wanted a brown/bronze color, they wanted the dragon to be about to pounce (lizards just stand very still before pouncing). I decided to make it about to attack some birds and so the one raised claw. "Draconis Tristanis, the Bird Hunting Dragon" 20 x 30, Acrylic and watercolor colored pencil on Canson board. 62


  1. This is FANTASTIC, Tristan. It's one of the best things I've ever seen you do! The realistic colors, the landscape, the majestic dragon, just fit together so beautifully. You could sell prints of this.

  2. Coming from you I consider that a great compliment! And I will sell prints as long as I can get a good enough quality picture to work from. Being that this is so large my digital photo is not quite as perfect as I would like.

  3. Tristan:

    This is very, very nice work. I agree with Pyracantha -- if the commissioner will allow it, sell some prints of this! You may be able to find a service with a large-format scanner that can capture the detail in this piece.

    I'd love to see a close-up of just the dragon, expecially just its scales. The smaller scale seen here cannot possibly do this work justice.

    My only quibble? For a dragon about to pounce, it doesn't seem to have much tension coiled in its limbs. It reminds me more of a cat about to swat at a moth than a lizard about to attack and consume its prey. But maybe that's just me. And maybe it's just the scale (no, not the dragon scales, you goof, the scale of the overall work being minimized by necessity). Does this even make sense? Am I being too hyper-critical? (Probably, but you know that it's meant as CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, always constructive!!!)

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. After reading about it being in the works, so to speak, for so long, the end result was certainly worth the wait!

  4. Jon, as I said, lizards tend to just get realy still before they "pounce". His back legs and wings are in the right position to be in flight almost instantly. I could maybe have had his back claws more tense or gripping looking but from watching a great documentary on Monitor lizards, they just get still, there is really no give away that they are about to pounce or sprint. They just get perfectly still and then...BAM! For strickly visual storytelling reasons, I could have done it different but I was treating this like a true nature study and not a fantasy picture. I understand and appreciate your critique. Asking questions about why I did something or pointing out something I missed or didn't see is always helpful!

  5. Tristan:

    I understand your points and your intentions for the painting. I guess I'd have to see some of the same reference material that you've mentioned regarding lizards to see that "Calm Before the Storm."

    Now, are you going to post a close-up of the scales? ;)

  6. Jon, the pictures are just not high enough quality to get a clear close-up of the scales. But prints seems to look ok, they just aren't super detailed.