When I first started thinking through ideas for the Seven Deadly Sins art show I felt like I either had to represent all of the sins (Pride, Envy, Lust, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony, and Wrath) or just focus on one. Lust seemed to be too easy, so I played around with some sketches for each of the sins and came up with the concept of Sloth as a fat dragon. And what makes Sloth a sin? Why it’s crushing undeserving spawnlings under the weight of your laziness.
After trying out some different ideas with the fat dragon, I sketched out another dragon laying on the fat dragon. It made me start thinking about how I could incorporate a representation of all the dragons in the same illustration.
The scribble on the right was my first concept for the final composition. I started working out details of the piece and thinking about ideas for each dragon.
Playing around with lots of ideas. Part of designing characters is working through the cliches first. Eventually you have nothing left to do but come up with some new ideas. Fortunately I liked enough of my ideas that I actually didn’t have a place for all of the ones I liked. A documentary on lizards on the galapagos island helped with inspiration.
The “final” thumbnail. I blew up this sketch and refined it with marker paper.
To get this:
From there I took it into Photoshop and refined it to the sketch in this post. One thing you’ll notice as the sketch is refined is the changes in relative scale. One of the things that was important to sell the concept was having interesting contrasts in scale. In the initial sketch the dragon queen was too large compared to the other dragons. I scaled here down, and cropped in on the bottom dragon to make him seem more massive; as if he is emerging from below. I think I could have pushed his size even more.
From there it was ink, ink, ink, color, color.