Drawing from Your Imagination: How to draw a knight slaying a dragon


It’s one thing to draw from life–or, to draw from some model which holds a physical place in reality, whether it be a photograph, the actual object, a creature, or a person in front of you. It’s a completely different thing to draw or paint something that is coming directly from your brain, and I find it very difficult to do well.  I often fail at it, actually.

How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way
When I was young, I learned from a drawing book called “How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way.”  It was one of the best drawing books I ever picked up, and, when I went to art school, half of my drawing class owned that book!  I see that it is still in print, and it helped me to learn how to draw things from my mind.

In the following series of drawings, I will show you my process of bringing an image that resides only in my head onto the page, then begin to sketch out the details of the composition into a somewhat finalized drawing.

stick figure sketch of dragon and knightFirst, I make some quick “stick figure” representations–in order to get alignment and basic positioning of each subject.  Now is not the time to add any real details–this is a “outline” of the book before it is written, so to speak.

Don’t EVER worry about things looking silly.  If you look at my dragon, it looks like Puff the Magic Dragon rather than some fierce, fire-breathing relative of one of the beasts in an R.R. Martin book series that I know and love.

Just embrace the stick figure!



sketching the dragon and knightNext, I place a sheet of paper over the stick figures and sketch out a more “fleshed out” version of the scene.  I’m still not adding shading really–just a chance to make it more recognizable to the idea in my brain–so I don’t end up forgetting what things looked like in that weird stew of firing neurons and memories.

Things are starting to look like the real things that I thought they would.  But, they’re not perfect–not that I plan to get it perfect.  I never think any of my work is perfect.

the dragon slayer drawing

My Dragon is battling the dragon on my computer, now!

I now transport the image to my computer.  I have a pen tablet and a copy of GIMP (free Photoshop-type open source software), and I begin to “lay in” the shading.

I make a new layer for every different area that I shade.  For example, when I am shading the armor of the knight, I make a layer titled “Knight shading,” that way, I can separate the drawing into easily editable sections–for when big mistakes are happening.

Drawing on a pen tablet–once it’s all set up how you like it–is a lot of fun and quite inspiring.  I use a cheap Wacom Bamboo tablet–you can pick one up new for less than a hundred bucks, or even find them used on Craigslist for $40 (that’s what I did!)

I plan to do more with this drawing, but it’s not done yet.  Tune in for more, or check out some of the other posts I’ve made!

Want to learn how to draw Sonic the Hedgehog?  Here is a step by step video I made to explain how I did it.


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DIY CNC Router Plans (part 3)


< Back to Part 2 of the CNC design

diy CNC machineI had a little time to finish my initial design for the 3-axis CNC machine that I plan to build in the coming weeks.

It’s tough sometimes to find the time between work and family life to get some time (and energy) to put into designing and building–or making some art.  This is just a reminder to you (and to me) that we just have to get in there and get it done sometimes.  Don’t overthink it!  Overthinking things is a great crusher of creativity.  There’s a reason why we have different versions of things–i.e, iPhone 3,4, 5, etc.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they still got around to building it.


I’ve attached a quick part 3 design video from Youtube.  It shows the z-axis and the other two axes moving how they are planned to move in the upcoming video tutorials and blog post on how to build your own CNC machine.

If you’d like to see some more of my diy videos and plans to make, visit the channel here.

> Go to Part 4, How to Build the X-axis of the Hobby DIY CNC Milling Machine

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How to Build a Cheap DIY CNC Router (part 2)

< Back to Part One of the DIY Cheap CNC Machine

This is going to be a long-term blog posting series. I am planning to build a CNC machine for less than $300 that can cut wood, aluminum, maybe steel, foam, and other materials I throw at it.

cnc diy router

Click on image to examine the CNC design.

I’m wanting this to be fun, so I’m not taking it too seriously. Basically, I decided I would just dive HEAD FIRST into this project, and I don’t even care if I’ll ever use it for anything. I am making this JUST TO SEE IF I CAN.

Personally, I think I’m going to pull it off.

I am posting the second stage of my initial design. I did it all in Sketchup, and it is one of the easiest ways to sketch up 3D images to build them. It’s fun to play with, and you don’t need a degree to get going with it.

I added the second axis, the Y-axis, to the machine design.  I’m  wanting the base to be fixed, and the x-axis will move along the base via drawer slides.

The y-axis is also attached to a fixed gantry, and will move along another pair of drawer slides.

I’m planning the z-axis of the CNC router to be fairly lightweight and move vertically while supported by the slides of the y-axis gantry.

I read everything I could about building my own computer numerical controlled milling machine, and this is a hybrid of many of those ideas.

Here is another video I’ve uploaded that shows how both the the X and Y axis are going to move:

> Go to Part 3 of How to Build a Cheap CNC Machine from Wood

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How to Build a CHEAP Wood 3-Axis CNC Milling Table

Read a Review for CNC Plans Here >

initial design for cnc diy

initial design for cnc base with moving x-axis

Ever since I saw a CNC machine for the first time, I wanted one.  They are the perfect combination of precision technology and raw wood-chewing power. But, they’re expensive, and I’m cheap, so I decided to do the next best thing: Design and teach myself how to build my own affordable CNC router table. I am building it out of affordable materials, like wood, screws, “all-thread” rods as actuators, and drawer slides as my linear rails.  I know it’s not ideal for high-precision (and I’ve already caught a lot of flak from many “armchair engineers”), but if it can do even a fraction of what I hope it will do, I will be VERY happy. This is a learning experience for me, and I will document as much as I can. I will have to combine my experience in woodworking, conceptual design, and learn how to properly align 3 stepper motors for true, calibrated 3-axis cnc production. Nema17 Stepper Motors and driverNEMA 17 stepper motor I plan to control all three NEMA 17 stepper motors with an arduino UNO microcontroller and stepper motor drivers. I hope to use the free open-source CNC g-code parser, called GRBL, and I want to keep this build under $300.  So far, I’m at about $240, and I’m using new parts, mainly from Adafruit, SparkFun, Ebay, and hardware stores.  I have almost everything I need, so I MAY come in under budget (yeah, like that will happen!) I started first by researching online. I read about DIY CNC projects on Instructables, CNC forums, and various other spots on the interwebs, and decided on making my design move on heavy duty drawer slides. Here is a quick video of the CNC moving along its X-axis. Note: I have not yet built this machine–it is in its infancy, but I encourage ANYONE to just pony up a couple bucks and get your hands dirty with this DIY project. Have a question or constructive comment? Throw out your two cents! > Go to Part 2 of the Cheap DIY CNC Project

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