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Western Dragon Skeleton Anatomy by TheDragonofDoom Western Dragon Skeleton Anatomy by TheDragonofDoom
I've been asked numerous times to do anatomical studies on western dragons, so i figured I would give it a shot. I hope this is helpful to you dragon artists out there. I'll start on the muscle study ASAP.

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Initially, this is a stunning, high-quality piece that provides useful information. Most of us who love animals and creatures love to see how they work, and the skeleton is the most popular of the bodily systems for study.
While there are a few dragon skeleton diagrams out there, even fewer are as well done as this one. This adds quality and variety to the dragon diagrams out there, and it's nice to see another artist's interpretation of a basic dragon! The proportions are excellent, and the posture of the spine, neck, wings, and limbs is very realistic and believable.

This diagram provides great interest, as all the bones are clearly visible, with the exception of the toes covered up by the tail. The fact that all of those little tiny bones have been included and labeled is incredible work on the artist's part and gives a great start to any novice dragonologist! Even those "floating" arm and leg spikes have been included, although not labeled.
However, while the information is useful, the labels are a little difficult to read. Possibly more spacing between them and/or a slightly larger size would clear this up. The font chosen is easily readable, once magnified, however.

As an animal lover and a dragon designer of my own OC's, I see only a few skeletal aspects that might be an issue on a fleshed-out dragon. However, I understand that all dragons are subject to the imaginations of the artists, and that there is no right or wrong way to draw a dragon. Below are simply tips to what my personal opinion holds a fully functional dragon to be.

The teeth are very nicely done, and reminiscent of a dinosaur. The fact that the lower canines are correctly in front of the upper canines displays that much research has gone into creating this. However, the sharp, backwards curve of the canines, while stylistic to an angular, sharp appearance, makes it seem as if the dragon would have a harder time catching prey. Modern creatures have more forward-angled canines as to make catching their prey faster and more readily. However, snake teeth are this sharply angled back, although they have prehensile jaws. Either way, it's not necessarily the curve of the teeth that hold the prey, but the jaw power of the predator.

The horns on the skull have a very nice texture and shapes to them, but it seems as if the lowest horn on the skull would collide with the highest horn on the jaw, rendering a very narrow limit to opening the jaw. However, I cannot see how far out either of the horns curve from the skull or jaw, so it's entirely possible that the jaw horns would pass under the skull's horns. The base of horns, while seeming like they would collide upon the dragon opening his jaws, would not. If this dragon's skull is built as finely tuned as modern creatures (which it seems it is!), the jaw's highest horn would pass entirely under and around the skull's lowest horn, and with canine creatures unable to move their jaws sideways (like humans or cows), the horns are perfectly tuned to pass by each other without interference. Nicely done!

The wings' attachment is quite interesting. As there are no creatures, living or extinct, who had four limbs plus wings, it's not for me to say that the attachment is off or wrong. However, I can't help but notice that the shoulder blade is shared between the forelimbs and wings, meaning that when one limb moves, so will the other. This is not necessarily a problem, but brings to mind many intriguing questions of functionality and flexibility. Generally speaking, the base of dragons' wings are thought to remain stationary, but with this configuration, it brings a new dimension of movement and flexibility. I cannot say if this is a good or bad thing for the dragon, but it certainly makes the creature-lover's mind spin with possibilities.

Excellent work!
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LordGrimwing Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2015  Student General Artist
DominaDraco Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've been trying to learn how to draw dragons correctly, and this actually helps! :)
TheDragonofDoom Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2014
I'm glad it helps! :)
ToshirotheKnightWolf Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
o w o awesome!
Ghostlykoopa Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Student General Artist
rachaelm5 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Beautifully done.  I like the way you incorporated a lot of dinosaur-esque anatomy in this guy's skeletal structure.
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Submitted on
August 25, 2014
Image Size
1.0 MB


2,809 (5 today)
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Camera Data

Shutter Speed
1/49 second
Focal Length
27 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Aug 10, 2014, 10:07:43 AM
Adobe Photoshop CS6 (Macintosh)
Sensor Size