2020, among very many other things, has been a year where I’ve finally made time for a handful of pieces that I’ve always wanted to finish!

Along the same lines as The Little Hill from earlier this year, this recent piece is one from a previous sketchbook that had sat in my flat file for a couple years. Why?

The original idea is a sketch from my 2016 sketchbook collection, DRAGONS AND OTHER INCIDENTS OF TRAVEL. At the time, I was satisfied with the thumbnail and sketch and didn’t feel much need to finish the drawing for the sketchbook that year. Like I touched on in the aforementioned post featuring The Little Hill, I always want a mix of finished drawings and sketches in each sketchbook. It lends a nice visual variety to the collection and also serves to help keep me on track finishing new work, not getting too lost in the weeds of just one piece.

That, and while I always really liked it I found it difficult to justify the time to go back and finish. As a year or two went by and the drawing sank further down in the flat file drawers, it seemed unlikely I’d ever return to complete the piece.

Here’s the sketch as originally presented as a double-page spread in the sketchbook.

So why not go back and just finish it? Well, the original is about 20″ X 30″ thereabouts. And one of the questions I always have to ask is would it be a good investment of my time to settle in and go back through that large of a drawing? When the main goal is the sketchbook and I have a presentable sketch the answer was usually no, and move on. Particularly when I’m interested in moving forward with my next idea or collection. Couple that with ever present deadlines for client work and commissions and it’s tough to make the time.

Ultimately, a variety of reasons to set it aside at the time and few reasons to pick it up again.

But, ah! 2020. As I was going through old drawings I kept coming back to The Little Hill and this dragon one. Somehow I felt it; I felt the window was closing for these two. The dragon one, in particular. At some point I’d be unable to go back (I’m not totally sure if that’s true or not but it sure felt that way). I thought, now or never and cleared some time to see this one off properly.

First, I needed to finish the drawing.

It took a couple days, here and there, but once completed I scanned and prepped the drawing.

After that I referenced my original thumbnail and painted some value and texture on illustration board with acrylagouache.

Scanned, assembled, and ready to go!

All downhill from here.

And there you have it!

While it took a winding route, at long last I can call this one done. And it only took a couple years to get there!

It’s been a year long mess out there and I hope you’re able to weather the storm better than this one poor dragon. That said, he’ll probably be ok, too. I’m told dragons are nothing if not resilient.