Developing a Manga Dragon Character

I originally thought of developing male and female human Manga characters but having played around with some story ideas in my head I think I want the female in the story to be a dragon.   🙂

So I drew a couple of dragons but they kept coming out looking like the lion from the Chinese New Year Lion Dance which is not the look I want.  I reseached some more Japanese styled dragons.  I looked through hundreds, but one of the dragons I really liked was the river spirit dragon form from Studio Ghibli’s “Spirited Away” called Haku who looks like this:

Studio Ghibli Dragon

I like the way his face looks kind of fox-like which makes him more cute than the more reptilian styled creatures.

The other thing I liked were the horns and spikes on a picture from the “Wiki – How to Draw a Dragon page.”  It’s a very basic design but I really liked the idea, albeit in a different format.



So having filled up my eyes with beautiful dragons I sketched again and came up with this:

dragon sketch__WEB

She’ a bit odd, she can be a bit cute but I think I could make her very fierce too which seems good for a story dragon.

So I make an ink drawing of her:

Dragon Ink Drawing FIN_WEB

Looking at her now I think I might change the design a bit in the future and add some of those traditional tendrils which extend from below the nose.  Firstly they would look totally cool but more importantly she can use them as additional limbs to show her friendship with my male character Sam,. the fisherman.  However, if I do that I might need to reduce the general complexity of her head by maybe removing some of the horns or simplifying them.  We’ll see.


I’m going to make a coloured digital version in the next few days.

2 thoughts on “Developing a Manga Dragon Character

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