Step 3: A new approach
Remember all that stuff in the previous post about how despite looking so different from the thumbnail, the dragon fit with my composition in essentially the same way? Well... that was all true, but I decided to go in a different direction.
Obviously a lot of big changes, but I was excited about them because some of the concepts were starting to come full circle in my head. Each iteration is always going to be informed by all the work done beforehand, so don't be afraid to sacrifice something you've worked on if your goal is to make the final product the best it can be. In many cases it's at least worth trying something different to see things a another way and confirm that you are in fact on the right track.
Basically I decided that I wanted this painting to be more about the dragon and not just a mouth attacking the viewer. To accomplish that he needed to be at a different angle to see his body in a more descriptive way and get a good view of how he's put together. At the same time, I was thinking about how he actually fit into the landscape. Why does he live here? Why is this place suited to his anatomy?
What if his design was based off whales and dolphins, and he had the ability to dive underwater..? That immediately gave me some ideas for a better direction to go in (and a unique style of dragon) so I started reforming his body to feel like it could function in water. I still liked the wing cutting across the page, and the long tail so I kept those elements and pivoted him around to a nearly profile view.
You may also notice I flipped the background again, and zoomed it out even further. This is a common tendency with me and one of the reasons I was happy to be doing these steps in photoshop... I also began making one of the rock towers more architectural, backed by the idea that my dragon here was the guardian of something hidden inside. ( Adding simple narrative elements are always a good idea and get me thinking about a piece on a much deeper level.)
As for color, adding it was out of curiosity more than anything. I'll be getting rid of it in the next step, but I had wanted to start thinking about it.