Drawing a Dragon Horse

Báls Head

If you’ve read Defiance, or the first chapter, you’ll already be introduced to this character. I started drawing Bál a year ago but stopped while I was writing to the rest of Defiance. He’d been sitting in the corner of my room for a bout a year and once the second book was published a week ago I figured I should probably finish him.

As usual I did all my initial sketches on wax paper

Apart from the obvious shape of a horse (a friesian horse) there were a few changes I made to Bál. He needed to have a more reptilian look than a normal horse, so I give him hooves with claws, a long lizard-like tail, scales and a face that was more angular.

Sketch The Head At First Laying Down The Colour

I had originally planned on painting him with a pale wash of watercolours, but now I’m very glad that I only painted a light wash of colour under him and decided to stick to pencil for the rest. I can only imagine how long it would have taken for me to finish him if I’de decided to paint him too

What I used (**):

 Makeup Brushes for blending • Mechanical Pencil • White Gel Pen • Tortillions • Rubber Blending Subs

I started out by getting the shape of the muscles and feet right. I had considered drawing him with his teeth bared so that you could see his sharp (carnivorous) teeth, but I felt that I wanted to capture the beauty of this animal in this drawing. Besides, if I saw an animal like this running at me with those feet and that kind of skin I think I’d already be scared enough without seeing his teeth. Especially if it had Ulf on it’s back.

Legs Half Drawn

That drawing above is where I left him a year ago to finish writing the book. At that point I had a clear enough image in my head of how he looked so that I could write about him. And also, if I’m honest, I couldn’t quite face drawing the rest of the scales.

What I used Scales so many scales

A year later I started drawing him again (and those bloody scales). I just put a ten hour playlist of Imagine Dragons and got started. About three days later I was finally finished! (and I promptly swore never to draw him again).

Almost Done Bál

And that’s the final drawing! I have to draw Ulf too soon (for a super secret Outsider related project which involves art;) but I’m pretty sure I want to draw him without Bál. I think if I have to look at one more scale I might just throw my pencil across the room.

You can read the book here


  1. Rae says

    Please, please, please do a book of all the artwork when you’re done with the trilogy!!! I would love to own my own prints of how you envision all your creations :)

  2. Sally Marham says

    I love the idea of a combined horse/dragon. For some reason, whenever I draw dragon faces, I always use the horse face structure. I love the way you’ve made it even more reptilian. And even though those scales were a swine to draw, my goodness the overall effect is well cool!

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  4. lucylike says

    Wonderful drawing as always Klaire!
    I just wanted to point out that the backline of Bál looks very unhealthy. Horses that are ridden correctly have a more straight back and support the rider with the muscles along the spine.
    Hope this information helps if you change your mind about drawing him again ;)