I’m pretty happy with how Ancalagon turned out here. Here’s how I did him:
For his look, I browsed the web for good closeups of… lizards. There’s an awful lot of great lizards out there – horned lizard, dragon lizard, and armadillo lizard were just a few I looked at in order to make the scales look good. The scales were really my main aim with this one. Lizard (and dragon) scales are really tiny in areas where mobility is needed (like the shoulder), and larger where they have to protect. Together, that made for a great irregular and interesting look. The wings were inspired by Pterosaurs.
Here are the painting steps:
First, a sickly yellow wash for a sickly light in the background. I used a mix of bright yellows, Sepia and a bit of blue for that. This reduced one compartment of my water box to a very sickly yellow brew, which will come in handy later on.
Darkening the wash in places, and working out a brighter portion of sky to his left.
With Sepia, Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue, I created a purplish base colour for Ancalagon. The mix was still far too clean. So what I did was to use it together with my dirty yellow water; more in some places, less in others. The mix of complementary colours – yellow and purple – made for some very natural-looking subtle hue variation in the overall dragon body.
Then I started to detail his face, adding a first darker layer of paint. I left standing some of the lighter purple layer underneath, and was careful not to paint the scales too uniformly. Leaving a white edge on all of them in the same place would have become pillow shading.
Again, some hue variation for more vividness in the colours. In my palette, I had my purple paint next to a more brownish blob of paint, and I frequently dipped the brush into the more brownish too.
Painting around the veins in his wings. To make them stand out less, I later put another, darker glaze on top of the wings – the liquid watercolours leave very pronounced edges standing if you go over them again with another glaze, which I used to my advantage here.
A third, even darker, layer for the face and other selected areas of scales.
On the “arm” (in the wing), I left some highlights standing to suggest muscles.