This powerfully arresting image depicts an Asian-themed red dragon of legend and its endlessly twisting serpentine body.
This was a commission from my sister, her request being an Asian-themed dragon to go along with some of the Asian-themed decorations in her house. Being the loving brother that I am, it took me years to get around to finally doing it. Dragons are by no means a specialty or an interest of mine (artistically speaking), hence my feet-dragging. I made a couple hasty attempts that never went anywhere. I was attempting to mimic ancient Chinese mural/scroll art, and considered artificially aging the piece to give it an authentic look. Eventually I realized this approach just didn’t interest me (it seemed like too much work and not enough fun), so I decided to do it in my own style.
My intent was to craft a dragon that was fierce and large. Like, brutally complex and large. After a quick sketch of a dragon in the same pose here, I knew I was on the right track and got started. Asian dragons have always fascinated me with their long and twisting snake-like bodies, flowing manes, crazy eyes, and branch-like horns. I know that there are different varieties depending on the culture, with different physical (and symbolic) qualities. Normally I strive for accuracy when it comes to culturally-based images, but in this case I just did whatever I wanted and incorporated aspects and motifs I thought looked best.
My favorite aspects of the drawings are the intricate eyes and the big, blocky teeth. The characterization of dragons in West vs. East cultures is interesting and as diametrically opposed as night and day. Rather than being treasure (and princess)-hoarding monsters to be slain, Asian dragons tend to be benign and wise spirits. Likewise, I didn’t try to create a monster, but rather a powerful and vast being to inspire awe and respect.