After submitting the illustration for publication, I decided to add a bit of color.

Dragons, Colored Pencil over Pen and Ink Illustration

In its black and white original state, the dragon illustration was published in 1997 on the cover of Once Upon A Time, a publication for writers and illustrators of children’s literature.

Pen and Ink illustration

Though I rarely use colored pencils, they seemed like the best option for coloring the completed pen and ink drawing.  I decided to use a double complementary color scheme, red/green and yellow/purple.  I wanted the fiery red and yellow to dominate.  I am not fond of red and green next to each other because they are too close in local color value.  I was able to keep the green of the dragon in the foreground light and bright while still maintaining a strong contrast in value with the high key yellow ledge.  The green dragons in the background create an easy transition from the ledge to the space beyond because the value of the green scales is so close to the value of the red sky.  I used the purple to add a bit of fantasy sparkle to the dragon wings and reflected light into the shadow sides of the rock cliffs.  A touch of red mixed into the yellow on the ledge, and the red blossoms in the bottom right keep the eye moving from the background space through the mid ground and up to the foreground where it is directed back to the sky by the direction of the blossoms.

When using such saturated colors, the effect is less chaotic when the palette is extremely limited as it is here.