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My Dragon Ate My Homework

Digital Painting

This is the first digital painting I ever created. The concept popped into my head back in 2005 when I found a sketch of a dragon on some math notes in an old binder. My notes were always full of doodles and sketches that took over the pages, almost as if they were coming to life. The first iteration was in colored pencil for my high school AP Studio Art portfolio, but I never felt I had done the concept justice. So, years later, when I purchased my trusty digital tablet and pen, this seemed like the perfect concept to bring back as a digital painting. I only had Photoshop Elements at the time (thank goodness, I now have Photoshop CS5), and the painting took more than six months to complete.


This piece captures a moment just before mayhem. I had a lot of fun adding all the little details hinting at the havoc this little creature is about to wreak: the bend and almost imperceptible crack in the pencil, the way the claws dig into the paper, and of course, the singed and torn corner of the page. The dragon’s expression was the last piece of that puzzle, and to get that just right, I spent a lot of time referencing my parents’ cat.