More Dragons

More Dragons

Two posts this week.
Another Dragonology cover (there will be another two shortly). These are re-issues, and will contain the original interior illustrations by the excellent Douglas Carrel and Nick Harris. As usual, I’ve attached the preliminary bits and bobs to show how the piece developed. Despite the complicated perspective, this one seemed to slot into place without too much fiddling about (much to my surprise – I was expecting trouble).
Secondly, I am guest blogging over at
This month’s subject is about tragedy and how writers deal with it. I followed on from Richard Collingridge’s post where he describes how illustrators can create a suitable mood for such a topic. Being a happy-go-lucky scamp, I have managed to avoid these sort of serious issues throughout my career, which is why my article is quite short…


The Trouble with Dragons

As a children’s book illustrator I have attempted to depict dragons many times.

Because my style veers towards the literal, this causes me no end of stress as I can’t seem to get my pencil round the anatomy of a creature that enjoys the use of four legs as well as a pair of massive wings. I spend a lot of time arranging the composition so that this anatomical absurdity is cunningly disguised, usually with liberal swathes of billowing smoke and mist. Occasionally, I discover the text does not stipulate the number of appendages and I am free to opt for my preferred dragon physique: that of a bat or pteroadactyl. The downside to this approach is that the poor creature is reduced to a shuffling mess when earth-bound but, for elegance in flying, the loss of two legs is worth it; I can avoid getting in a muddle with my muscles (the pectorals and deltoids being particularly awkward).

Recently I have been drawing a lot of dragons for a series of book covers (sketches and one finished example attached, as well as a couple of previous takes on the beasties in question). The other day I was moaning to Terri Windling in the butchers about this subject, and she has instigated a moveable feast over on her blog concerning the nature of dragons in mythology.