I AM REALLY BEHIND ON THESE!
1. Okay, I was really happy with the initial sketch on this one, although I noticed later that the chest looked a little tiny so expanded it. With the tail, I remember seeing some other works recently where a heavy, thick tail would hit the floor which would cause a slight wrinkled effect obviously, where the skin folds on itself. It looked amazing and helped realism and I had to do it with this piece.
2. I ended up changing the horizon line to diagonal as I was worried the piece would be too boring. Looking back, I think this was unnecessary in this piece as there is no real action taking place! But it's a total habit now.
3. Brightened the background sunset yellows and found a really cool dotty brush which helped me with a scale base for the dragon. Clouds painted in. I just go mad with these!
4. Detailing the sea, added in the mountain, strong lighting onto the dragon.
5. Played with the sunset colours here - I added in a line gradient of a yellow and switched the layer to overlay. This really helped add a warm glow to the whole piece. Main detailing to the dragon.
6. Final stage is a lovely colour tweak, I really cranked up the vibrancy. Rock detailing, making the show clear. Final highlighting on the dragon, bringing in some extra golden tones. The birds were a fun effect to bring the viewer's eye into the piece.
Finished piece -