Monday, May 25, 2099

Welcome to The Dracopedia Project



Welcome!  The Dracopedia Project is an ongoing site where I will be sharing the latest info, pics, news and videos about the bestselling book series Dracopedia along with a host of dragon related artwork.  Be sure to follow along to get all the latest information and be a part of the Dracopedia community.

Enjoy

WOC


Dracopedia
Dracopedia
Everything you ever wanted to know about dragons, but were afraid to find out!
Fantasy artists can now breathe easier thanks to this less perilous alternative to drawing dragons from life. Dracopedia offers you safe, easy access to the world's most prominent dragon species, from tiny, innocuous feydragons to the ferocious wyvern.
For years, artist William O'Connor has traveled the globe, studying dragons in their natural environments. His findings, field notes and sketches have been compiled for the first time into this single, beautifully illustrated compendium--a natural and cultural history of the beasts as well as a step-by-step drawing workshop.
Details of the anatomy, behavior, habitats and legends of 13 major dragon families
Heavily illustrated with field sketches, anatomical studies and gesture drawings
Shows the start-to-finish creation of 13 striking paintings, illustrating key concepts that apply to every medium
Dragon demonstrations include: amphiptere, Arctic dragon, Asian dragon, basilisk, coatyl, dragon, dragonette, drake, feydragon, hydra, sea orc, wyrm, wyvern
Dragons have terrorized and delighted humans for centuries--continue the tradition with Dracopedia. It's packed with inspiration for putting "fierce" into your fantasy art, as well as the facts to keep your dragons true to life.





Dracopedia: The Great Dragons
An Artist's Field Guide to the World's Great Dragons!
Creatures of great beauty and terrible ferocity, dragons have been featured and revered for centuries. Of the thousand-plus species still in existence, none have inspired more folklore and artistic awe than the eight species of Great Dragons. Within these pages, these fire-breathing monsters of legend - the rock stars of the dragon world - come to life through the work of artist and adventurer William O'Connor.
Not since the original Dracopedia has there been such a beautifully illustrated and meticulously researched guide on the subject, with special focus on the distinctive features of each species - from the broad horns of the Icelandic white dragon to the elaborate neck frills of the Ligurian gray. Based on the author's expeditions to sanctuaries around the globe and consults with prominent regional experts, Dracopedia The Great Dragons presents never-before assembled facts and instruction to help you capture the heart-beating grandeur of these magnificent monsters. Inside, find everything you need to know to capture the essence of your favorite dragons through your artwork:
Learn about the habits, anatomy and natural history of 8 fierce and fantastic dragons
Each profile features sketches, drawings and start-to-finish creation of a stunning artwork, illustrating key concepts that apply to any medium
Discover special techniques for achieving dramatic lighting effects, powerful compositions and the incredible sculptural forms and textures of dragons
Includes a gallery of dragons and a foldout comparison poster


Dracopedia:The Bestiary
Dracopedia: The Bestiary
Unleash the Beasts!
For millennia historians, artists and scientists have chronicled their ideas and discoveries of mythological and magical monsters in encyclopedias known as bestiaries. From Asia to America, Japan to the jungles of South Africa, the vast menagerie of exotic and legendary creatures has populated the imaginations of all cultures for centuries.
Beautifully illustrated and fantastically detailed, Dracopedia: The Bestiary is a modern, but no less unsettling reimagining of the ancient version. It is an A-to-Z artist's guide to animals of the legendary world. Some, like the griffin and yeti, may be familiar to you. Others--like the enigmatic questing beast and ferocious manticore--may seem new and strange. Some may even haunt your dreams. Inside the bestiary, you will find:
Secrets of each animal's evolution--origins, habitat, anatomy, diet and more.
Fantastic illustrations created using pencil sketches and digital coloring.
Four-stage demonstrations taking you from concept and design to under-painting and finishing details.
By drawing on the forms and features of more pedestrian animals, you'll learn how to give shape to the bizarre creatures that roam the depths of your imagination, adding to the bestiary of the ages.






















Dracopedia, Dracopedia:The Great Dragons, Dracopedia:The Bestiary are ©&™ William O'Connor and William O'Connor Studios




Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dragon of the Month: Icelandic White Dragon






Great Icelandic White Dragon
Dracorexus  rekjavikus


Size: 50'
Wingspan: 75'
Recognition: Quadrapedal body, with long tail and broad wings. Markings: vary by season.
Habitat: Maritime cliffs of Iceland
Classification: Draco/Aerodraciforme/Dracorexidae/Dracorexus/D. rekjavikus



The White Dragon of Iceland was long considered to be a creature of mythology. In the medieval Welsh epic The Mabinogion, an invading White Dragon battles a Welsh Red Dragon, ravaging the kingdom in their wrath. This encounter is the earliest known account of the White Dragon until the 17th Century when the White Dragon of Iceland was documented by early explorers and naturalists.

The White Dragon makes its home in the high cliffs of Iceland overlooking the northern Atlantic ocean. Like other members of the Dracorexidae family this powerful dragon can grow to enormous sizes in excess of 75' wingspans. Using the high cliffs and strong ocean winds the White Dragon can soar for long periods of time surveying its territory which it will guard voraciously. The White Dragon feeds primarily on large sea animals, such as seals, small whales and fish. The camouflage abilities of the Icelandic dragon are unique to its species, ranging in color from pure white to mottled browns and grays. These changes are similar to other arctic animals such as the arctic fox, and range widely from summer to winter. Making lairs in the high cliffs near the ocean the White Dragon will hibernate through the winter awakening in the spring to court and mate. Once a female White Dragon has chosen a male and the eggs are laid, the male will abandon his family and search for a new territory. 

It is possible that the rare encounter mentioned in the Mabinogion was the instance of a White Dragon migrating from its home in Iceland to the cliffs of Wales. Today there are very few specimens of White Dragons still alive. Like all of the Great Dragons, they are an endangered and protected animal, with their native habitats on the shores of Iceland kept as preserves. Visitors to Rekjavik Iceland often enjoy Dragon spotting cruises to try to catch a glimpse of this powerful and majestic animal in its natural environment.












To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:



©William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dragon of the Month: Fafnir

by
William O'Connor

Arthur Rackham.  "Fafnir and Sigurd"

For thousands of years dragons have fueled the imaginations of artists and writers all over the world.  The primeval fear, awe and respect that we humans have had for these creatures has written them into the very fabric of our cultures, with myths legends and fables about dragons filling hundreds of volumes.  Perhaps nowhere in the world was the legend of the dragon more iconic than in the legend of Sigurd and Fafnir.

Fafnir was not a true dragon but was in fact a dwarf who was transformed by greed into a dragon killing his father Hreidmar, and stealing the golden horde for himself.  Sigurd, the son of Sigmund is enlisted by Fafnir's brother Regin to take the legendary sword Gram, hunt down Fafnir and slay him.  Once Sigurd encounters Fafnir he realizes that the dragon is too powerful to fight and so he digs a pit outside the dragon's lair and hides inside.  When Fafnir leaves his cave to find Sigurd, he steps over the pit and from below Sigurd thrusts the sword Gram upward and impales the dragon, killing him.

This tale is a classic story of Germanic dragon lore and establishes one of the best stories that influences dragon stories for hundreds of years, where the hero is unable to vanquish the dragon through strength of arms and must use cunning and deception.  Pieces of the Sigurd and Fafnir tale are seen again in the JRR depiction of Smaug in The Hobbit.  

Below are some historical examples of art of Fafnir...

Enjoy.

WOC



















Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Python Dragon Time Lapse Sketch



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deU3AGtGoPM&feature=share

Check out my Time Lapse video of a recent digital painting: Python Dragon







Enjoy!

WOC



Friday, April 17, 2015

Dracopedia World Expedition-Chicago



April 13-15 was yet another stop on the Dracopedia World Expedition! This time in Chicago for C2E2. I had a great time visiting The Windy City and getting a chance to talk with all the great fans of Dracopedia.

The new dragons for Dracopedia:The Great Dragons were a big hit. Everyone seemed to enjoy a different species for a different reason and are looking forward to reading more when the book is released in June.

A special mention to Jamie Stanley who I had a great talk with about how she would like to see the Dracopedia Dragons made into toys or miniatures. She was so enthusiastic she went home and made me this amazing little sculpt! Thanks again Jamie, its great! I have it sitting in a place of honor in my studio.

Thanks to everyone I met, old friends and new friends, and I'll see you soon when the Dracopedia World Expedition comes to another Con!

Enjoy.

WOC

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dracopedia:The Bestiary


An Artists Guide to the Creating Mythical Creatures 

by William O'Connor


  Unleash the Beasts!
For millennia historians, artists and scientists have chronicled their ideas and discoveries of mythological and magical monsters in encyclopedias known as bestiaries. From Asia to America, Japan to the jungles of South Africa, the vast menagerie of exotic and legendary creatures has populated the imaginations of all cultures for centuries.
Beautifully illustrated and fantastically detailed, Dracopedia: The Bestiary is a modern, but no less unsettling reimagining of the ancient version. It is an A-to-Z artist's guide to animals of the legendary world. Some, like the griffin and yeti, may be familiar to you. Others--like the enigmatic questing beast and ferocious manticore--may seem new and strange. Some may even haunt your dreams. Inside the bestiary, you will find:
  • Secrets of each animal's evolution--origins, habitat, anatomy, diet and more.
  • Fantastic illustrations created using pencil sketches and digital coloring.
  • Four-stage demonstrations taking you from concept and design to under-painting and finishing details.
By drawing on the forms and features of more pedestrian animals, you'll learn how to give shape to the bizarre creatures that roam the depths of your imagination, adding to the bestiary of the ages.

 Available at:
Amazon

Zburator

Griffin

Enfield

Manticore

Dragon Turtle













Dracopedia ™&© William O'Connor Studios.  Text and images ©2014William O'Connor


Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Minotaur

  William O'Connor


Recently working on a concept project for a client I have been exploring the art and the myth of the Minotaur. At first glance we are all familiar with the fantasy monster of half man half bull that lurks in the bowels of ancient labyrinths. This has been a staple of gaming and stories for decades and I myself have faced innumerable minotaurs in cavernous hallways, dispatching them with sword and magic in everything from Dungeons & Dragons to World of Warcraft.

My research into the mythos of the minotaur uncovered a great deal more. When doing a simple Google search for “Minotaur” I was confronted with what seemed a vastly divergent representation of the monster. Everything from classical urns to contemporary game concept art and an unsettling number of erotic hentai depictions of the beast. I came to realize however that all of these are intimately related, and what I thought was a straight forward two-dimensional monster, has revealed centuries of psyco-sexual development.

The original version of the Minotaur story begins in ancient Greece. The monster that is half man half bull is also the half son of King Minos of Crete, born to queen Pasiphae who indulged in bestiality with a bull. Minos imprisoned the monster in an elaborate labyrinth designed by Daedelus. Every year seven youths are sent into the labyrinth to be sacrificed to the Minotaur. The hero Theseus famously brings a spool of thread which he unwinds behind him, and once slaying the monster, follows the thread backward to escape the labyrinth.
The Minotaur GF Watts 1885
But, I’m more interested in the character of the Minotaur himself as an archetypal figure. He has the intellect of a man and the violent virility of a beast. In classical philosophy this was known as the Dionysian/Apollonian Dialectic. The discourse among philosophers such as Socrates as to whether Man was an intellectual creature or a physical creature. Dionysus being the god of hedonism and physical pleasure while Apollo was the God of the arts and science. The Minotaur was a physical manifestation that Man had aspects of both. The cannibalistic devourer of human flesh (figuratively and literally) and conceived by the lustful infidelity of the queen with a bull. This hideous offspring is unwanted and unloved by both his parents and locked away as an embarrassment, while his sister Ariadne is beautiful and adored by everyone. The motif of the labyrinth or maze is universal throughout many cultures as representing the twisting and turning of the path of life, adding to the complex symbolisms of the Minotaur myth.

By the time of The Age of Reason in the 18th century philosophers such as Descartes and Hobbes began to further explore the Duality of Man, later explored by Freidrich Nietzsche in Birth of Tragedy (1891). Was Man an animal with the mind of a god? or a god trapped in the body of an animal? and in what combination did these two aspects of the human condition struggle with each other?
Minotautomachy Pablo Picasso 1934
In the 20th century the advent of psychoanalysis began to codify this duality into a science. Freud’s theory of the Id versus the Ego and Yung’s development of the concept of Archetypes became the leading theories of the day. The classic Oedipus Complex that every man wishes to kill his father and sleep with his mother is deeply represented in the Minotaur myth. The most notorious of artists to explore this theme of the Minotaur was Pablo Picasso. Having spent much of his adult life in dramatic and destructive relationships with a series of women Picasso explored the theme of the Minotaur in a series of drawings and engravings to try to better understand his own subconscious, that of the lecherous, adulterous man who devoured women, in conflict with the intellectual artist who created paintings.
Alien Concept Design. H.R. Giger
Today as I explore the infinite realms of the internet I find that depictions of the Minotaur are more common than perhaps anytime in history. In 1979 Ridley Scott produced a sci-fi reimagining of the Minotaur story with Alien, where a group of sacrificial space-miners are hunted in a warren of hallways and access tubes to either be devoured or impregnated by a horrific monster. When concepting the Alien, artist H.R. Giger was noted to have said that he gave the Alien a decisively phallic shape, because that people are equally terrified of sex and death.  Most recently, I think the character of Tyrian Lannister in the story The Game of Thrones, is a literate metaphor of the Minotaur Complex. Finally, there are the crude and pornographic illustrations made by young artists in the form of what is called “hentai”. (I will not display any of these images or link to any sites), but what I at first found disturbing I realized was the same conflict within the minds of young “artists” to try to come to terms with their developing sexualities and intellects. The same dramatic dichotomy that has faced generations of people regarding nascent sexual urges in stark conflict with their intellectual understanding of gender roles, sexuality and societal standards. Viewed from a purely clinical point of view, these outwardly disturbing images are an interesting insight of what originally intrigued the ancient classical poets and artists. Man as sexual and violent animal, versus Man as intellectual and thoughtful citizen. This duality still rages today, and the Minotaur is there uncomfortably in our subconscious thrashing in the labyrinth of our minds threatening to escape.


Enjoy: Go Forth and Learn.

WOC


for more interpretations on the Minotaur Myth read:

Psychology Today: Why Myths Still Matter: Facing Your Inner Minotaur and Following Your Ariadnean Thread
By
Stephen Diamond. Phd

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evil-deeds/200912/why-myths-still-matter-part-four-facing-your-inner-minotaur-and-following-you

A Gallery of Minotaur Art: 

Theseus Slaying Minotaur Bayre 1845




















Pablo Picasso


















Minotaur Greek Urn





















Karn the Minotaur





















Minotaur D&D 1st ed. 1976







































©text William O'Connor 2014. All images used for educational and editorial purposes as per the Copyright Code of Fair Use.