Chinese Dragon drawing (part 1)

by Vincenzo


If you can realize a chinese dragon drawing you are on the route to becoming a great drawer.




These amazing mythological creatures can be difficult to draw due to the sinuous shape of their body and the ornaments that traditionally accompanies the different body parts.


Chinese dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology and folklore, with mythic counterparts among Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and Turkic dragons. In Chinese art, dragons are typically portrayed as long, scaled, serpentine creatures with four legs. In contrast to European dragons that are considered evil, Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, and floods


We will realize a powerful yet simple drawing of a chinese dragon. It will capture the essence of these imaginary creatures but it will be a simplified and more iconic version of the more traditional representation.


Let's start drawing!


Chinese dragon drawing - Watch those curves!


chinese dragon drawing


The first thing you want to define when drawing a chinese dragon are the curves of his body. The chinese dragon has a snake-like body contrarily to the Western dragon and it is crucial that you get those curves right. They do not have to be exactly like mine but you need to capture the sinuous nature of our dragon friend.


So, start by drawing a single line and make sure this lines develops with smooth curves and bends from the top to the end.


chinese dragon drawing


The next step will be to add a sketchy version of a head, a couple of claws and the actual body.


The useful thing about the (green) line we have used to define the curves of the dragon is that we can now use that same line to define the spine of the dragon itself. This will be useful to position the limbs and subsequently to position the scales that run along the spine.


In yin and yang terminology, a dragon is yang (male) and complements a yin (female) fenghuang or "Chinese phoenix".


Chinese dragon drawing - Adding the body parts


chinese dragon drawing


This step is to show you how I have decided to positions the legs. You can follow if you want or not but when you draw them, try to go with the flow of the body when you position them.


chinese dragon drawing


As you can see I have worked on the face a little bit here. This is not the first version I came up with, actually I have tried and redrawn it many times, but it is the version that I liked the most.


It would be futile to ask you to copy my version of the dragon face becaus I think you should come up with your own. Just google chinese dragon and search for traditional pictures of the chinese creature and get inspired. Try to come up with your personal interpretation of this creature.


If you search around you might notice that the dragon is sometimes represented with a very angry expression and aggressive aspect however I have decided here to soften it up and rendering a friendly and lovable chinese dragon.


Go to Part 2


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