I have created cover illustrations for three different sets of DnD miniature's, one of which included a new Dragon design - the Iron Dragon.
Iron Dragon sketch #1
After brainstorming ideas through the creation of quick thumbnails the next step is to create a more fully realised sketch. The approach I adopted was designed to clearly show some of his distinguishing characteristics; his head and tail.
Iron Dragon sketch #2
I had deliberately adopted a slightly different approach by showing him partly from behind. I liked the idea of conveying the sense of creeping up and surprising the beastie, but it was felt that more direct engagement was probably needed to really grab the viewer.
Iron Dragon sketch #3
As you can see I first twisted the head (sketch #2), then more of the body (sketch #3), but by now the pose had become awkward and the orginal concept was trying too hard to be forced into a different direction.
Iron Dragon sketch #4
Instead I started from scratch. It was important that the image worked, and a cover is certainly not the sort of piece to settle for weak compromise on. However you can see in #4 that I have yet to fully realise the background as I wanted to make sure this was closer to the mark before polishing the image up too much.
Iron Dragon sketch #5
A minor tweak of a foreleg, full realisation of the background and we are good to go. It is unusual to have so many sketch revisions (if any at all) before going into the final painting, but when dealing with an important image I am happy to put all the effort in that is required for a strong piece.
Iron Dragon cover painting.
I think the final image worked well on the box cover, and the original painting has also found a good home in the hands of an art collector. Job done.