When I was in my woolgathering stage for my dinosaur stuff, I was completely stymied by the scale tutorials offered here on DA. Almost all of them used the same technique, and almost all of them were for dragons. So I had to do my own research and look at how folks like Gary S. Paul and Luis Rey did their stuff. (And James Gurney, for that matter.) Looking into the wide, wide variety of scales and how they work made a lot of the tutorials kind of insulting, since they broke things down into a icon instead of examining how one would draw a whole frickin' dragon without drawing every single forsaken scale.
So here's what I've learned, and I thought I'd share it. Wanting to draw things with scales should not ever mean that you have to draw EVERY single scale it grows. You don't draw every hair on a horse, or every bit of fur on a dog. The rule of implication can apply to dragons, too.
EDIT: Wow, a DD? Seriously? That is so awesome! Thanks to everyone who faved or commented; I'm really glad this has helped so many folks.