This tutorial deals with how I made the dragon in Frog and Friend:
I had tried several times previously to create a dragon from photographic sources, starting with an iguana or a crocodile, but it always ended up looking like a distorted iguana or crocodile and I binned it, so this time I started with a scanned pencil drawing of a dragon:
These are all the source images I used:
Apart from the teeth, tongue and membrane of the ears, the entire dragon was made
from bits of the iguana head, which I flipped horizontally to match the direction of
the drawing before selecting bits of it to use. The important thing is to find large,
high-quality images, especially when you are going to chop a lot of bits out of them
and distort them.
To change the direction of the eye I selected the pupil and iris, copied them, moved
them forward and erased the front part to fit the eye, then I used a small Clone tool
to paint over the original eye with the colour and texture of the eyeball area, which
was a bit fiddly, as there was not much to work with.
You will notice that I used the cheek area of the iguana quite a few times as it had
the best scaly texture.
I selected and imported the horn from the iguana's nose and placed it on the nose of the dragon, stretching and warping it slightly to make it longer and sharper. I then duplicated the horn to build up all the other horned pieces, scaling, stretching warping and erasing edges as appropriate. Even the thin, trailing bits were made from the same source:
The membrane between the horny elements that make up the ears was taken from a
bat's wing and cut to fit the area, then I used Hue/Saturation to adjust the colour
to blend in with the green of the rest of the head, and duplicated it and darkened
it for the other ear.
The neck was created in the same way as the head from the iguana cheek for the top of the neck and the mouth for the underside, scaling and warping them to fit. The spines down the back were simply copies of one of the horns on the side of the head scaled and warped to fit. I also added the frog at this point. I left the frog the same colour as the dragon because I wanted the viewer to look closely at the image to spot it:
I got rid of the drawing and darkened the background to make the dragon stand out more.
I flattened all the elements of the head and neck and Ctrl/clicked on the thumbnail of
the head layer to select it. Then I created a Multiply layer on top and used a soft-edged,
black brush to paint in all the shadows, smudging where necessary to get the right effect.
The selection meant that I could not stray outside the area of the head while painting.
I then played with the opacity of the shadow layer until it looked right at about
75 per cent.
Finally I added a yellow Overlay layer on top of everything at about 25 per cent to give
a warm colour uniformity to the whole image.