Monday, December 6, 2010

The Redcrosse Knight and the Dragon

I'm currently working on a new private commission of the Redcrosse Knight and the Dragon. As the digital sketch develops I will transition to a traditional oil medium. Still working on the design. It is also the subject of my new video sketch evolution on YouTube
To watch the video click here: Redcrosse Knight

Enjoy
WOC










































To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.com/Dracopedia


©2010William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 29, 2010

St. Margaret and the Dragon

St. Margaret and the Dragon
William O'Connor ©2009


When we think of dragon slayers we always imagine brave strong knights in shining armor riding their chargers with lance in hand slaying a horrible dragon and rescuing a maiden in distress. St. George is a perfect example. Beowulf and the army of the 12 Lords, The Redcrosse Knight of Spencer's Fairie Queene is another, doing battle with a titanic 600' long flaming flying beast for three days. King Seigfried kills Fafnir and of course, as I'm sure we are all anticipating being brought to life in vivid digital 3-D CGI, Bard of Esgoroth who slays Smaug in The Hobbit.
There is however a great dragon slayer who tends to go overlooked, a 15 year old shepherdess girl who slays a dragon single handedly with nothing more than an iron cross from around her neck.

St. Margaret is an amazing story, and one that I had only very briefly mentioned in my book Dracopedia, and had gone mostly unnoticed in my research until I moved into St. Margaret's Parrish in Pearl River , NY. On the first day attending church in our new home there above the alter in vivid stained glass was St. Margaret standing on a dragon. Thinking this serendipitous, I began to do some research and became very impressed with this young lady!

Starting life as the daughter of a powerful 5th Century Roman priest, she converts to Christianity and refuses to marry and denounce her faith. She is cruelly tortured and (stories vary here), she becomes a shepardess living in the country. Here she encounters a dragon who swallows her whole. Some stories suggest that it is Satan in the form of a dragon, but the imagery and metaphor is still poignant. A young teenage girl tortured and violated by the minions of her own father is then devoured by a dragon. Instead of surrendering, instead of giving up, she fights back, and cuts and hacks her way out of the dragon with her iron cross. Eventually however she is put to death instead of renouncing her religion. (That is a really tough girl!!) She shows up again briefly as one of the Saints that appears to Joan of Arc.

The sketch above is a design I developed of St. Margaret and the Dragon, with the intention of finishing a full painting. (Do Churches still commission Alter pieces?) It recently was included in "Sketchbook Confidential" put out by Northlight Books, where I've included several of my dragon drawings and talk about my process. Below I've attached a few art history examples of Margaret and her encounter with the dragon.

Enjoy and Good Dragon Hunting!

WOC

















To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.com/Dracopedia


©2010William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dracopedia Sketchbook #005

Dragons love to sleep. Warming themselves in the sun is a big part of the day, using their wings as solar panels.
Two studies of dragons in Couchant pose.

Enjoy

WOC


















To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.com/Dracopedia


©2010William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dracopedia Sketchbook #004

Pencil drawing of the Coatyl.....
feathered dragons are very interesting to draw, and studying dinosaurs is a big help.

WOC
















To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.com/Dracopedia


©2010William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dracopedia at ComicCon


Thank you to everyone who came to NY ComicCon. What a great opportunity to to talk to all the fans of the book and meet new ones. I sold out my stock by Saturday afternoon, so to those of you who couldn't get a signed copy, I'm sorry but the book is available as always at the Amazon page link below....
I hope to see you all at the next signing, or con, and I look forward to hearing your comments and feed back.

Thanks.

WOC



To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.com/Dracopedia


©2010William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dracopedia Sketchbook #003

New Dracopedia Sketches for the week.....Keep watching and I love to hear your ideas and comments. I'm trying to keep up with new images more regularily so be sure to follow and share!

WOC

















Great Welsh Dragon Head Study

9"x12" pencil on paper
©2010 William O"Connor
















"Acadian Dragon Sejant"
8"x10" Pencil on paper
©2010 William O'Connor






To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.com/Dracopedia


©2010William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dracopedia Sketchbook #002

Foreshortening dragons is always difficult. This is a sketch started as just a head study, and kept getting bigger and bigger....I've included a detail so you can see all the pencil rendering, I love pencil rendering so I won't paint this one.

Enjoy!

WOC














"Great Icelandic Dragon" (#004)
12"x16 Pencil on Paper















(#004-detail)



To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.com/Dracopedia


©2010William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dracopedia Sketchbook #001

Some recent Dragon Sketches....Enjoy.

WOC

























































To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.com/Dracopedia


©2010William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dragon Beacon

video

In studying the Great Dragons of the World, biologists have debated the function of Fire Breathing. Today it is understood to have many functions, but none more spectacular than the mating displays by male dragons.
In this short Kinetic Sketch I demonstrate the dramatic displays given by dragons in their complex courting rituals.
Enjoy.

WOC

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dragon of the Month: British Spitfire Dragonette















British Spitfire Dragonette(Dragonel)
Volucrisus britainicus

Size: 25'
Wingspan: 30'
Recognition: Bipedal body with small fore limbs. Long tail and broad wings. Bright green and tan markings (male) Brown Markings (female)
Habitat: Highlands of the British Islands
Taxonomy: Draco/Aerodraciforme/Volucrisidae
/Volucrisus/V. britainicus

Soaring high over the lake district, or winging across the English Channel in bright formations, no sight in the dragon world conjures a more romantic image than the English Spitfire Dragonette. The Dragonette has a long history in Britain, beginning with its introduction by the Romans during the reign of Claudius in the 1st C. Although small breeds of wild dragonettes existed earlier, it is the Roman Dragonette that begins the proud tradition of riding dragons in England. When Rome abandoned its English provinces in the early 5th C. the English dragon riding tradition went fallow for hundreds of years during the reigns of the many saxon and viking warlords.
In 1066 William the Conqueror reintroduced the riding dragon to England where today's breeds begin their lineage. During the middle ages the monarchy prided itself on a formidable dragon force, and many knights used riding dragonettes as their mounts. During the crusades many knights returned to England with Arabian breeds that were additionally added to English breeding stock. King Henry V is known to have rode an early English dragonette into battle at Agincourt. Even Oliver Cromwell is documented as having used the riding dragon during his campaigns.

The modern riding dragonette that is today known as the British Spitfire was first documented in 1815 as the name of the mount of the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. The field marshal's fame led to the breeding of his personal dragonette into an seperate breed that became known as the Spitfire. The Spitfire became the most famous and popular riding dragonette breed during the nineteenth century, and in 1833 was adopted as the official breed of British Royal Dragon Guard, which was a small elite troop of British dragoniers, and is still to this day.
The Spitfire is most famous for coming into its own during WWI. At the height of the war in 1914 there were over 1000 Spitfires on active duty, performing reconnaissance missions over enemy held territory. Sadly however the slow flying, unarmored dragons were easy prey to the new weapons and by the end of the war only a few dozen still remained having been completely eclipsed by airplanes. In WWII it is no coincidence that the most beloved and famous fighter aircraft was dubbed The Spitfire.

Today the Royal Dragon Guard still uses Spitfires as their mounts, and are kept at the Royal Mews, near Hyde park in London. These Spitfires are used for ceremonial purposes only, but the Spitfire is still a favorite among breeders and racers.












Spitfire Overhead View














Wild Spitfire Habitat



To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.com/Dracopedia


©2010William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dragon of the Month: North American Wyvern

North American Wyvern
Wyvernus morcaudus

Size: 30'
Wingspan: 30'
Recognition: Bipedal body, with long barbed tail and broad wings. Bright wingspots (male)
Habitat: Alpine mountain North America
Classification: Draco/Aerodraciforme/Wyvernidae
/Wyvernus/W. morcaudus




The most dangerous species of the Wyvern family of dragons, the North American wyvern has become synonymous with danger. First recorded in 1805 in what is now Yellowstone National Park by the Lewis and Clark expedition. The animal has quickly become both hated and admired for its ferocity. Making its natural habitat in the North American Rocky Mountains stretching from Utah up into Canada, the NA wyvern is the largest predator in its environment hunting bison, elk, and caribou as it is available. The NA wyvern may live in packs of up to a dozen individuals hunting in teams, bringing down several prey at a time. The male wyvern is the primary hunter bringing kill back to the lair for females and hatchlings to feed. In the fall rutting season, the male wyvern's unmistakable wing spots grow more vibrant and are used in complex displays to attract females.
Scientists believe that the North American wyvern is a direct cousin of the extinct European wyvern, much depicted in medieval and gothic paintings. It is argued by some dragon-biologists that with the rise of humans in Europe throughout the middle ages and into the Renaissance, that the much-hunted wyvern migrated to North America. Abundant and larger game in America aloud the wyverns of the Rockies to grow to almost double their European counterparts size, becoming the largest member of the wyvern family.
The North American wyvern was hunted extensively throughout the 19th century during the expansion of the frontier. In 1913 Glacier National Park in Montana was designated the first protected habitat of the North American Wyvern, followed afterward by Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Illegal poaching by ranchers, as well as the decimation of the bison population (their primary food source), brought the NA wyvern to the brink of extinction. In 1965 the World Wildlife Organization placed the wyvern on the endangered species list. In 1998 the population of the wyvern had grown back to such a point that today the animal is legally hunted in certain places. There are over 100 reported wyvern attacks every year by hunters, hikers and ranchers throughout the Rocky Mountain States. Despite the dangers the North American wyvern is one of the most powerful and beloved animals in America and every year millions of people flock to National parks hoping to catch a glimpse of this magnificent animal.

Historical Imagery of the Wyvern....

















To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.com/Dracopedia


©2010William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dragon of the Month: Firewing Amphiptere

Firewing Amphiptere
Amphipterus viperapennigus

Size: 5'
Wingspan: 5'
Recognition: Long snake body, bright red and orange markings on wings
Habitat: North Eastern United States.
Classification: Draco/Aerodraciforme/Amphipteridae
/Amphipterus/a. viperapennigus





The Firewing Amphiptere is one of the hundreds of amphipterae that are native to North America, and has long been a common sight in its native habitats of the woods in the Appalachian mountains of New England. This medium sized amphiptere hunts for mice and insects in the woods stretching from the Blue Ridge mountains in the south to the Berkshire mountains in the North.

Today, with much of their natural habitat threatened by development the firewing has adapted to its new surroundings. In urban centers like New York City it has made a new home hunting the rats and pigeons that populate the city's streets and parks. Nesting in high eaves of skyscapers and apartment buildings, the firewing is a much beloved addition to city life.
below: Historic images of the Amphiptere:






















To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.com/Dracopedia


©2010William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.