How to paint scales

There are many types of scales, and when it comes to painting, each of them requires a different approach. For this article, I’m going to show you how to draw a half-dragon girl. Because dragons are fantastic creatures inspired by reptiles, I first obtained some references for those types of scales, in particular photos of lizards and crocodiles.

Such scales are tough, rough or leathery, and in some examples take the form of spikes. They appear in a regular pattern (more or less), depending on the area that they cover: the back, stomach or snout of the beast, for example. This means that you can’t use a default pattern brush to recreate their look; they need to be drawn into place.

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Sara Forlenza creates art for book covers, cards and RPGs. After many years using traditional media, she was introduced to the world of digital art.