Drawing For Fantasy Illustrations: Creating Mythical Creatures.

Are you fascinated by the realm of mythical creatures and eager to bring them to life on paper? “Drawing For Fantasy Illustrations: Creating Mythical Creatures” is a comprehensive guide that will take you on an enchanting journey into the world of fantasy art. Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience, this article will provide you with valuable tips, techniques, and inspiration for drawing captivating dragons, majestic unicorns, and other awe-inspiring mythical beings. Get ready to unleash your creativity and unlock the secrets of creating stunning fantasy illustrations.

Materials and Tools


Pencils are an essential tool for any artist, and they play a crucial role in the creation of mythical creature illustrations. Different pencil grades can be used to achieve varying levels of darkness and shading, allowing you to add depth and dimension to your drawings. It is recommended to have a range of pencils, from H (hard) to B (soft), in your art supplies. This will enable you to create fine details as well as bold and dark lines, depending on the effect you want to achieve.


Erasers are just as important as pencils when it comes to creating mythical creature illustrations. While it’s common to think of erasers as tools for fixing mistakes, they can also be used deliberately to create texture, highlights, and shading. Make sure to have both a kneaded eraser, which is soft and malleable, and a standard eraser for precise erasing.


Choosing the right paper for your mythical creature illustrations is essential. A heavyweight paper with a smooth surface is recommended, as it can withstand the numerous layers of drawing, erasing, and coloring you will do. Additionally, the smooth surface allows for better control when working with fine details. Consider using a paper specifically designed for drawing or illustration, such as Bristol board or drawing paper.

Inking pens

Inking pens are used to create clean, crisp lines in your illustrations. They are particularly useful when outlining your drawings or adding intricate details. Different pen sizes, such as fine tip and brush pens, can be used to achieve different line widths and effects. Experiment with different inking pens to find the ones that work best for your artistic style.

Coloring materials

Coloring materials bring life and vibrancy to your mythical creature illustrations. Depending on your preferred medium, you can choose from colored pencils, watercolors, acrylic paints, or digital coloring tools. Each medium offers unique qualities and effects. Experiment with different coloring materials to find the one that best suits your artistic vision.

Understanding Mythical Creatures

Research and inspiration

Understanding mythical creatures requires research and exploration. Take the time to immerse yourself in books, folklore, and mythology to learn about different creatures and their characteristics. This research will provide you with a solid foundation for creating accurate and believable illustrations. Additionally, seek inspiration from other artists’ interpretations of mythical creatures to spark your creativity and develop your own unique style.

Common features

While there is an incredible variety of mythical creatures, there are often common features that can help you identify and represent them accurately. For example, dragons are commonly depicted with scales, wings, and fire-breathing abilities. Studying these common features will enable you to capture the essence of each creature and make your illustrations more authentic.

Symbolism and cultural significance

Mythical creatures often hold great symbolism and cultural significance. Understanding the stories, legends, and beliefs associated with these creatures can add depth and meaning to your illustrations. Consider the cultural context and symbolism behind each creature you draw and incorporate these elements into your artwork. This not only enhances the storytelling aspect of your illustrations but also gives them a richer and more profound impact.

Foundational Drawing Skills

Basic shapes and proportions

Mastering basic shapes and proportions is essential when drawing mythical creatures. By breaking down complex forms into simpler geometric shapes, you can establish the foundation of your drawing and ensure accuracy. Practice sketching different shapes and experimenting with proportions to develop your skills in this area.

Anatomy and musculature

Understanding anatomy and musculature is crucial for creating realistic and believable mythical creature illustrations. Even though these creatures are fantastical, their bodies still need to adhere to certain anatomical principles. Study the anatomy of animals and humans to inform your drawings and ensure that your creatures have a sense of anatomical credibility.

Understanding movement and foreshortening

Movement and foreshortening are important aspects to consider when drawing mythical creatures in dynamic poses. A solid understanding of these concepts will help you capture the sense of motion and create more engaging and compelling illustrations. Study how the body moves and experiment with different poses and angles to develop your skills in representing movement and foreshortening.

Sketching and Ideation

Thumbnail sketches

Thumbnail sketches serve as quick and rough preliminary drawings that allow you to explore different ideas and compositions. These small, simple sketches help you experiment with various poses, perspectives, and design elements before committing to a final illustration. Take the time to create multiple thumbnail sketches to find the best composition that effectively captures the essence of your mythical creature.

Exploring different poses and perspectives

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different poses and perspectives for your mythical creature illustrations. Varying the angles and viewpoints helps add interest and expressive potential to your artwork. Consider the personality and characteristics of your creature and choose poses and perspectives that best convey its unique traits and story.

Developing character designs

Character design is an essential aspect of creating mythical creatures. Consider the personality, backstory, and cultural context of your creature when designing its appearance. Determine its physical attributes, such as size, shape, and unique features, and incorporate them into your character design. Let your creativity flow and explore different variations until you find a design that resonates with your vision.

Adding Detail and Texture