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WP's Dragon Guide, part 03 by Paperiapina WP's Dragon Guide, part 03 by Paperiapina
And back again, just when you thought I might have stopped, my dragon nagging continues!

Previous part: [link]

Well, I was supposed to upload this already weeks ago, but my scanner and I had some disagreements about the situation.

Oh, and before I forget, I'd like to thank ~shiari, who first told me about "the hanging butt syndrome" looooong ago. I don't know whether she is the person who made the term up or not (in case you did, sorry for stealing your term) but it is a really good term. So thanks! ^^

And HUUUUUGE thanks to everyone who commented on the previous parts of this guide. Sorry that I haven't answered you all, but I sure read every comment and enjoyed them! ^^

All comments are highly appreciated! ^^
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:iconsaphira1334:
Saphira1334 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
*SHRIEK finally someone who understands i knew there was a reason that whole hanging butt syndrome (lolz) was bothering me before i really started drawing dragons
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:iconanhedral:
anhedral Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
An excellent tutorial, informative and hilarious. You see so many depictions of dragons that pay no respect to anatomy or aerodynamics, so it was fantastic to see all of the important considerations set out in these three pages.

Personally, I have some problems seeing dragons as hexapods. In evolutionary terms it places them completely apart from all other land vertebrates, and I don't quite see how you would fit the musculature for two pairs of limbs in the front part of the body. There could also be power-to-weight ratio problems for a large flying reptile with four legs. Instead, I think the giant pterosaurs would make a great starting point. They've certainly got the size, and you could always make some small-ish skeletal modifications for the purposes of fantasy. A nice one would be to modify the articulation of digits 1-3 to give a primative manipulator on each wing.

Again, excellent work Paperiapina!
Reply
:iconlarry03052:
larry03052 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013
Some other thoughts...

Avatar has made people aware of the Meissner effect where superconductors will float in a magnetic field. One assumption one might make is that dragon bones are, in fact, loaded with unobtainium (I prefer the name upsidaisium - Squirrel and Moose discovered it first). Probably not enough to fly unassisted, but enough to cancel quite a lot of weight. This also explains why dragon bones are magical and highly sought after.

Another idea...limbs are described by HOX genes, which are master genes that click on or off depending on their generation and their location in the body. You probably have seen polydactyle cats who have way more than the normal number of toes. A bat-like animal with such a mutation would be able to support a larger and stronger wing. If the mutation actually affected individual limb segments, rather than the whole limb, segments would bifurcate - rather than upper arm to lower arm, upper arm to lower arm one and two, then lower arm one to hand one and two, doubling the number of bones at each segment. The resulting wing is quite complex, but could potentially be huge and quite strong. Add in a little graphite fiber, and you've got a wing big enough and strong enough for a dragon, that can still fold up.

With regard to bats...it's no accident their wings are very handlike. Many biologists have expressed the opinion that outside of actual primates like monkeys and apes, bats may be our closest living relatives, having branched off of the protoprimate ancestor we share. Kind of makes flying humans just a bit more plausible.

One final idea, a hexapod ancestor might arise by a stutter mutation in the hox gene controlling limb development, providing the extra limb needed. Contrariwaise, it is also possible that the draconic wing evolved from the front legs, but the front limbs came from another source, some portion of the clavicle developing a spur that might support a "pseudo-limb" which would function as a front leg, but might not resemble a "normal" leg, and may be quite different in structure.

</end braindump>
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:iconorionide5:
Orionide5 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2013
Very nice, and you drew the pterosaur's wing structure perfectly. Interestingly pterosaurs probably didn't have bulging flight muscles on their core; instead it's distributed around the body and the base of the arms, making the pterosaur airplane-shaped while in flight. This helps because pterosaurs couldn't bend their necks much; they had to hold their heads pointing directly forwards while in flight.

One last thing that could be mentioned: Pterosaurs attained much larger sizes than bats and correspondingly have much better adapted wings. Whereas bats just have a skin membrane between the fingers, the wings of advanced pterosaurs were based on a layer of stiff fibers for reinforcement, had a muscle layer that allowed them to change their wing shape (dragons with bat wings might not need this since they have multiple wing fingers) and had air pockets within the wing membrane that made the wing an airfoil shape.
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:iconsasiadragon:
Sasiadragon Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
If you are ever considering continuing this four-year-old pile of awesomeness, please drop a word about eye-placement. That book you've mentioned also has this problem, and I've seen it a lot of other places at well: The dragon is a mighty predator, knowing to hunt down buffalos and elephants and blue whales, and so on and so forth ... with the eyes painted on the sides of their head.
I guess that since this is four years old, you don't want me to point out mistakes, right? Even though this is an excellent guide and could help a lot of dragon artists, there's a few things that bugs me, not about the points and the info, but the "why should you do this"-parts.
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:iconpaperiapina:
Paperiapina Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2013  Student General Artist
Oh, you have no idea of how much I'd like to redo this whole thing. There's so much things I'd want to address that wasn't mentioned here (like DRAGONRIDERS) but hnnnnnngh! So much ideas, so little time (and so little ability to organize it all coherently).
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:iconsasiadragon:
Sasiadragon Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Organizing is not that important. Better good guide with no organizing than no guide with no organizing, if you know what I mean. But I understand if there's no time for it :)
Dragonriders really have caused me a headache. The best thing I could come up with was that dragons trained for soldiers had got a cut in each wing for the rider's legs/feet early in their life ... it just seems quite brutal.
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:iconmajass:
Majass Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Professional General Artist
I looove this series of tutorials! Thanks for posting them!

I thought I'd point out that what you mentioned on the bat wing anatomy is actually a common misconception. What was described as the palm is actually the wrist bones of a bat, and the first long "digits" are actually the metacarpals, or "palm" hand bones of a bat :) Here's a link to show what I mean! [link]
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:iconpaperiapina:
Paperiapina Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Student General Artist
I should really re-do this thingy, I've learned so much more since I drew these (nearly four years ago!) that they kind of bother me. I swear I'll update this someday. Someday...

I'm still glad they amuse you! :)
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:iconmajass:
Majass Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Professional General Artist
Yay I think you should! :D They're very helpful!
Reply
:iconshadowkissedangel:
ShadowKissedAngel Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012
I love this! I draw dragons as well, and I hate seeing people with too-little wing! I personally love bigger wings, as it looks more realistic. I also like bony, ripped, tattered, scaly, and feathered wings! I just love it! Thanks for this great tutorial! Sooo glad somebody decided to make one like this!
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:icondragonnightart:
DragonNightArt Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I knew most of this to begin with, (membranes, bones) but now I finally know exactly how to attach chest muscles. and also "Hanging Butt Syndome". Next time my sister tries to draw a dragon with incorrect wing membranes, I'm gonna throw that term at her.
I want to write a book about them, but my problem is fire breath. So you have some hydrogen or methane, but you have to have a way to light it. I'm not quite sold on the idea of a "Spark Pouch" in their mouth, so I'm looking into chemical ignition sources, like that one beetle that can squirt boiling chemicals at predators.
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:iconredcat1887:
redcat1887 Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
LOL! Hanging butt synrome :D
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:icondaikithewolftic:
DaikiTheWolfTIC Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011
what happened to pard four? :O_o:
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:iconcaptaindashund:
CaptainDashund Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
well, it's a four-part tutorial :/
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:icondaikithewolftic:
DaikiTheWolfTIC Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012
that's what I asking
Reply
:iconroukon13:
RouKon13 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I loved this though i wish you made one for wolves!
Reply
:iconslipping-star:
Slipping-Star Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
thank you! God I hate those sorts of dragons. T.T Or the ones with the elbow-bones. -shudders-
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:iconwolfinson:
Wolfinson Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
You know what, I really appreciate you making this. Not only has it brightened my day with a few laughs, it has actually helped me understand more about how the structure works.

Now if I can get enough confidence to actually draw one....
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:iconwolfinson:
Wolfinson Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, and could the membrane ending farther down the tail work with say (and I know it's odd) flying eyeballs? I have what i call a 'flyball' (gonna check my gallery to see if it's there) and when I look at it, yes it's cool but for some reason doesn't look right....
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:iconroccenere:
RocCenere Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing. (:

Excellent work with these three!
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:icondandypandy12:
dandypandy12 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ive loved hese tutorials for a long time! i always refer back to them when i draw dragons. but a dragon foot tutorial would be AWSOME!
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:iconj-raveneye:
J-RavenEye Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2011
I know this is an old post... but im gonna comment anyway! :D
Great tutorial about wing structure, I actally like the way you write instead of typing, it makes it less formal and more like its a person who wrote it :)
Perhaps small wings on a dragon would work the same way feathers on some raptors (the dino ones) would. For attracting a mate and intimidating others.
In my own opinion, a more "realistic" dragon (if you take evoloution into account) would be a wyvren, animals high in the food chain, as far as i know, always have four limbs rather than six.
Can I ask, where or what did you look at when you wanted to find out about muscle and skeletal structures?
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:iconnightsoftoledo:
NightsofToledo Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2011
I liked the part about the flying muscles. *Nods* xD Very informative. I will be sure to use it from now on, thank
you.~
Reply
:iconroflo-felorez:
RoFlo-Felorez Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2011  Student Digital Artist
I LOVE YOU <3
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:iconetomo:
Etomo Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011  Student Digital Artist
This is super helpful. :3 The nice thing about this tutorial is that it doesn't just tell you how to draw a wing, but it tells you why a wing needs to look the way it ought to. Following a step-by-step drawing of a wing can help you figure out how to draw it from one angle, but understanding the mechanics and anatomy behind it gives you a framework to manipulate your knowledge to fit that you need to be able to do.

But yep, this was super informative, thank you for this!
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:iconarbitrarythinker:
Arbitrarythinker Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm sorta a connoisseur of dragon tutorials, and this is by far, the most complete, entertaining, and conducive for anyone trying to improve their skills. Well done, jolly good show my dear chap!
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:iconkimbargh:
Kimbargh Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2011
I learned alot today, thanks!
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:iconlostkavi:
Lostkavi Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2011
Oh, and will this be being continued?
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:iconlostkavi:
Lostkavi Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2011
L
O
V
E
<3 X27
It's hysterical. And i've not mentioned it before, but your expressionisms are priceless. You are a fantastic artist, and I pity the poor dragon suffering from HBS (my own does so ;-;)
Reply
:iconm4wie:
M4WiE Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
oh yeah this is so awesome
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:iconnightwolfemp:
Nightwolfemp Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think you may have hit upon almost all of the rants I have about dragons. Granted this is also the same rant I have on winged horses. I can't figure out how bird winged horses would work. The feather to fur combo doesn't work in my head.

.... Which *drum roll* hits on my Biggest rant of all, and you mentioned it with dragon riders. I can't for the life of me figure out how anyone could think that a winged horse Could be ridden, I've tried dozens of variations of the theme and can not figure where a rider could sit (unless they lay clinging to the neck stretched on top of the wings ... no never mind it still doesn't work), that wouldn't interferer with the motion of the wings or membranes. So I'll keep my eyes open in case you decide to go on that rant.
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:iconvoidblade:
Voidblade Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
hyvin kattava opas. luustorakenteen ymmärsin jo aiemmin, mutta lihakset olivat hieman uusi juttu.
btw, haluaisin sinun arviosi tämän tyypin [link] siivistä. tosin ei sinun ole pakko sanoa mitään...
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:iconpaperiapina:
Paperiapina Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2011  Student General Artist
Kiva jos oli avuksi.
Lihaksethan joka tapauksessa liikuttavat luita.
Tjaah. Mihin tarkoitukseen hahmolla on siivet? Ja miksi? Onko sen tarkoitus ihan puhtaasti visuaalinen (näyttää komealta), pitääkö sen voida liitää, vai ihan aktiivisesti lentää? Vai jotain muuta? Ja mistä ne ovat peräisin, onko kyseessä lentämään kehittynyt laji, vaiko magian avulla keinotekoisesti luodut raajat? Vastaus riippuu ihan käyttötarkoituksesta.
Mitenkäs muuten, kuvasta on vähän hankala sanoa, kun kädet tulevat tielle, mutta miten siipien kalvot menevät? Oikean puoleisen (katsojasta nähden) käden alla näyttää siltä kuin siipikalvoa ei olisi siivenkyynärtaipeessa (taustan väri näkyy). Se pikku pätkä kalvoa kyynärpään ja ranteen välissä on tärkeä lentävän siiven toimivuudelle, sillä se estää siiven käsivartta suoristumaan liikaa ja menemästä rikki. Se on nivelen suoja sekä henkivartio, ja se myös kasvattaa siiven pinta-alaa parantaen sen toimintatehokkuutta.
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:iconvoidblade:
Voidblade Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
no, tyyppi kuuluu rotuun joka aiemmin osasi lentää, mutta joutui kauan sitten muuttamaan maan alle, missä siivet pääsivät hieman surkastumaan.
ja kyllä, ranteen ja kyynärpään välissä on kalvo, minulla vain sattui pikku moka värityksessä...
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:iconpaperiapina:
Paperiapina Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2011  Student General Artist
En näe siivissä mitään isompaa ongelmaa. Pienelle koolle on selitys, ja periaatteessa myös rakenne on ok. Lihaksista on paha mennä sanomaan kun on kamppeita päällä, mutta jos siipien tarkoitus ei ole kannatella painoa, ei lihasten tarvitse näyttää siihen kykeneviltä.
Mitä tässä muka pitäisi sanoa?
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:iconvoidblade:
Voidblade Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
kiitän arviostasi.
Reply
:icontreeforest:
treeforest Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2011
ive been trying to teach my friend about wings for a while and they still didnt get it after three weeks. then i show them this and....boom they finally realize the importance of the membrane meeting the body. thanks so much
Reply
:iconargothiaandkhaos:
ArgothiaAndKhaos Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for making this tutorial/guide/thing, it's very helpful :) as well as a very enjoyable read :D
Reply
:iconkestrelraptor:
KestrelRaptor Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thankyou so much for this, it's very useful info. =)
Reply
:iconbenni15:
Benni15 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2010
Thanks a lot for that tutorial. I learned a lot and I laughed real hard x3
(I can't type because of all those push ups XD)
Reply
:iconetoma:
etoma Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this was both enjoyable and informative. thanks for making it!
Reply
:iconthornwolf:
thornwolf Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2010
Awesome tutorial! I laughed, I cried, I....learned *nods*
Reply
:iconsapphire-essence:
Sapphire-Essence Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm not trying to be rude or a smart-ass, but... There's no such thing as a Pterodactyl. It's more rather Pterodactylus, Ramphorinchus, or Ornitochirus. Anyway, I loved this. It helped explain something I've been trying to explain for a long time. xD
Reply
:icondark-dragon-kyra:
Dark-Dragon-Kyra Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2010
Just read all three parts of this guide.

You successfully covered every single nag I have about dragon wings. EVER.

Though I personally think that small wings would work well as mating decor... But that's just me. <3
Reply
:iconcaradecunha:
caradecunha Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well was drawing here my pretty little dragon and if continued till the end he would have had the "HBS" XD

Very very veryyyy, goood ma friend!
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:iconmsblackrobin:
MsBlackrobin Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Nice!! I/OTHER peoplez can use that for clay and stuff too. It's kinda funny, it just made me notice why I didn't like some dragons, even though they look pretty. THEY CAN'T FLY!! XDXD
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:icondandypandy12:
dandypandy12 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
im ah liking thes!!!
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:iconlizardpride:
LizardPride Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Ha, greatest rant ever. FACEPALM! I loved it!
Reply
:iconflareblitz:
flareblitz Featured By Owner May 12, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, this has coincided pretty well with my recent thoughts. Lately I was designing a bat-person and therefore researching wings and musculature (though, of course, not as in-depth as you have been, I realise now) and got sidetracked to dragons. And after reading up what little I had on wings, I began to have the same thoughts towards the stylised dragons. (And Pokémon, but that's another story!) So, yeah, this guide helped A LOT, and I can relate to it. Awesome work, all in all!
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