Moving from background to foreground I start adding blues to the dragon. Keep in mind my light source is the end of the woman’s staff. Everything must stay true to that source.
Finally I get to put down some paint. I start in the background and lay down the darkest colors. In this case I’m painting large blocks of blue black. Don’t worry I can always make adjustments later.
Let me give you a word or two about color. Colors on opposite sides of the color wheel create contrast and so they stand out or pop when they are beside each other. The woman’s flesh tones will contain reds, yellows, and oranges. The opposite of orange is blue. To make the woman pop out in front of the dragon I will make the dragon’s skin a blue, darker and more gray as it recedes into the distance. Below is a start on the dragon’s arm.
I transfer the sketch to the “ground” using carbon paper and going over the lines of the sketch with a hard lead. The ground or canvas is 1/4″ masonite primed with white gesso. Gesso is a flat white acrylic based paint that acts as a primer. The original sketch goes on the wall as visual reference while I paint. I use more gesso to clean up the transfer and make a few more changes to the sketch.
Above, I have added horns on the dragon but I’m still not happy with the shoes. Below, you can see the lined piece of paper I am using to get the flooring into perspective. Notice how the lines get closer together as they recede into the distance.
And the final sketch. Time to start thinking about color.
This is a first draft sketch of all the elements together on one sheet. It’s like a dress rehearsal. As soon as I finished this sketch I could see a few things I want to change. I am not happy with the the angle of the woman’s head. The “mane” on the dragon is a cliche’ and he has some anatomical problems that need fixed. The costuming of the woman needs work and the dragon’s claws and eye need details. A good solid start though. The overlap of her staff and the dragons head places him BEHIND her. The curve of the masses is guiding your eye where I want it to go.