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The Storm Dragon

Another week, another contest. This time I decided to enter at's Creature of the week once again. What made this slightly different however was the fact I was entering this competition with only 3 days left as opposed to the original 7. Because of this I didn't have nearly as much time to get feedback on my designs or my progress, and much of it was done on the fly. Luckily I think this turned out to be one of my better designs, so I'm quite happy with how my workflow seems to be improving.

Anyway, the brief was such:

Dragons come in all shapes, colours and elemental properties. This week your task is to design a storm dragon, one with the ability to harness the raw power produced in storms of all kinds. The idea here is that the dragon would be dormant, or significantly less powerful between storms, but upon the first signs of storm clouds might awaken and wreak havoc (or whatever else a dragon with the power of storms might do) using it's ability to harness wind, rain, thunder and lightning. This can take the form of a breath weapon or whatever other dragon-ly power you decide to give it. As an added challenge, I'd like your dragons to be illustrated in a storm scene, preferably (though it will not be a requirement) using one of it's storm-themed powers. Think about what physical traits the storm dragon might have, especially in terms of pre-existing dragon tropes. Try to think if there might be a physiological reason the dragon only gains its powers during a storm. Think: shape of the wings, composition and length of it's spikes/horns/spines, even colour and really try and make your dragon really fit the theme in terms of it's appearance. Due to the time of year, I will be giving you two weeks on this one. Use it wisely.

Round requirements:

- The creature must be recognizable as being a dragon

- The creature must have the ability to harness the power of storms while they are in progress, but be dormant and/or powerless at other times

- The creature should be illustrated in the middle of a storm

I'm actually a very big fan of dragons, sure every fantasy artist has a thing for dragons, but I thought this design could be something different. Nowadays with things like World of Warcraft there's far too much emphasis on the Western Wyrms, and so my design was to be based on the more serpentine wyrms of the east.

I started off basing my designs on newts, salamanders, snakes, even horses for a few, but these were the sketches I came up with, as well as a final design I really liked the look of:

After cleaning up the final design I ended up with this:

The body I liked, however, the head looked too reptilian. I wanted this to look like an amphibious creature but this just look juxtaposed and really didn't fit.

A few clean ups and colours later:

Much better! By this point I had also decided on the kind of colour scheme I wanted, it needed to vary between, red, purple and orange, I wanted it to really look like this creature was made of the electricity it fed on

Something still didn't look right though, it was too messy, the values needed work and the focal facial point really needed more definition.

After a few more hours playing with the design and painting we finally end up with this:

This certainly was one of my better designs, and I really feel like I'm making leaps and bounds in colour. It's just a shame it lost the competition by one vote.


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