I thought I would try a new kind of entry here. A kind of ‘as I go’ post while I work on something. In this case, it’s an image for a future Location Lexicon location for the IonQuest Games Patreon audience. I thought I would describe some of my thoughts and the process that goes into the first stage (excluding thumbnails) of image creation – the sketch.

The first element of the sketch that I shared with some friends was the skull. I had blocked out super rough ‘masses’ in the image as circles, but this was the first part that I narrowed my focus to. The skeleton is of a black dragon and so I wanted the skull to reflect that. The skull, more than any other single element of a dragon shows what species it it. So the high nostril holes, and the archetypal horns were some of the first focal points.

Next I moved on to the shape of the skeleton’s pose. I thought about what position the dragon would have been in for its last moments. If we assume that no adventurer got the better of it, and that it was in its den, it would likely be covering its hoard. So I wanted the pose to reflect the simple concept of “M I N E” and that meant clutching, encircling, and possessiveness.

I’m trying to work on my storytelling and building of ‘scenes’ rather than singular characters / creatures, so I pulled back by scaling the dragon down. Get it? Scaling down. Dragon.


As I populated the scene with other elements, I made sure to draw viewers’ eyes to the focal point of the image – the dragon’s head – through the use of line.