Step by step little thoughts on each stage I saved when working on my Lava Dragon. Feel free to ask any questions!
1 - The sketch for this came together quite quickly. I was really focused on making a composition which continually led your eye back into the image, making use of an almost circular composition helped by the tail. This step was also planning some rough values, and the initial idea of this creature being covered in lava.
2 - Trying to get a colour scheme here. I got rid of the lava at this stage - I really wasn't sure exactly where I wanted to go with this! I didn't like the wings, so put in some feathers on a whim. Toyed with having him shooting fire, but this clashed with the tail. Of course, I keep my sketch on a different layer and everything else is just very, very rough as i'm still messing around.
3 - Brought back the lava and swapped the wings back to standard. Wasn't happy with the sky, needed a complimentary colour to offset the warm, so went with a cool blue grey for a night sky.
4 - Started refining a little on the face. All layers flattened so I don't have to worry about which layer i'm on and can just concentrate on painting. Much funner this way! I always make a copy of the sketch and leave it hidden ontop. This way i can always keep track of my original lines to make sure i don't lose any vital information.
5 - Refining down the body. I discovered a new brush at this stage which was fantastic for me as it gave me a lot more sharper a texture. The brush I usually mainly use is textured, but can be quite soft at times.
6 - Last stage is just more refining! Always remember to add a highlight layer at the end to really make things pop. I just use a white on an overlay layer and lower the opacity so it's not too in your face. I added a wash of the background sky colour over the dragon's face on a low opacity to help give the idea of distance. Definitely need to work more on distance, as i'm always reluctant to really push it as i'm afraid of losing details. But obviously, that's the point as it's far away! I really need to learn to just not add those details in the first place!