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Scale Tutorial by Droemar Scale Tutorial by Droemar
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.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2011-08-01
Suggester's words: I'd like to suggest Scale Tutorial by *Droemar due to its excellent dispelling of the common myth on how to shade scales, and its detailed explanation on where to draw in scales and when to not. ( Suggested by Quanyails and Featured by FantasyStock )
:iconthe-elvenqueen:
The-Elvenqueen Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
An extremely helpful tutorial, thank you very much! I always thought the dragons with every single scale drawn out looked...strange. Now I understand why! :huggle:
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:icontitanium-zen:
Titanium-Zen Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I always knew that Dragons drawn with full scales didn't always looked right.
This is awesome 
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:icondrakora5588:
drakora5588 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014
Thank you!!!
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:iconchip667:
chip667 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my!! This tutorial is very helpful. Thanks for sharin it with us ^ ^

I used it to make this chip667.deviantart.com/art/Arc…
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:iconpublicreign:
PublicReign Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2013  Student General Artist
Thank god this exists. man no matter how many times i review scales i cant seem to grasp it but this is great 
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:iconlucky757:
Lucky757 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you =D
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:iconmad-dog-neuro:
Mad-Dog-Neuro Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2013  Student General Artist
If you do dragons based on snakes you will have that "garden hose" look. Make the garden hose look like a snake. Glossy dragons are good dragons.
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:iconcoralarts:
CoralArts Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is very good tutorial, and very useful too! :)
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:icondracostarhome:
dracostarhome Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013
I saw this a while ago and I guess I forgot to save it, this is a pretty good jumping point as far as tutorials go.
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:iconchlorophylltheleaf:
Chlorophylltheleaf Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Oouuhh...I understand now what this tutorial mean.
Not all scales must be draw. Because, if it has a full/too many scales, it looks flat and unrealistic.....many professional artist did this mistake too, to be honest. I've seen like this a lot.
Drawing the full/too many scales only eat a lot of time, but the result is unsatisfying. That what the lessons I got from this tutorials. ^^ Thank a lot for this tutorial. C: Of course, this tutorial is very rare, for me. ^v^
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:iconkchikage:
kchikage Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
wow! thank you for posting this tutorial. there's so much logic in drawing scales!
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:icontrollberserker:
Trollberserker Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Finally some useful scale tutorial. Thanks.
Reply
:iconsilversirensongs:
SilverSirenSongs Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
now if you could do a tutorial on how to draw fish (or mermaids, I draw them a lot)
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:iconcatlover1672:
catlover1672 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh my goodness, finally!
I've been looking for a decent scale tutorial for the longest time DX
I knew you don't draw each individual scale
I just wasn't sure where to draw scales and where not to
If only I could find a shading tutorial for small scales on skin ><
Or the many different types, like thick scales, stick out scales, soft small scales etc.
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:iconthemeguy:
themeguy Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for this. It saved my arse when I was doing this [link]
And I learned how to do a new thing all thanks to you! Yaaay!
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:iconmamaelm:
MamaELM Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012  Professional General Artist
That links to the front page btw
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:iconthemeguy:
themeguy Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So it does....well shit.
[link]
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:iconmamaelm:
MamaELM Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012  Professional General Artist
haha, your icon matches this realization very well.
Reply
:iconyumezaka:
Yumezaka Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Very infomative! Yes, THIS is the kind of guide I was looking for. Your mentioning of rhinos and elephants were rather eye opening. I've got more animals to study in a different way. Thank you for sharing your wonderful tips!!!
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:iconchlorophylltheleaf:
Chlorophylltheleaf Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Oouuuwwww....;__;
This is really helpful....TTnTT
I jsut really hard to search this tutorial from day to the day......
But,*gasp* I just found it on here!*o*
Thank you so....much for the tutorial that you've made it!;u;
It's really extremely helpful!:love:
Reply
:iconthemonsterchick:
TheMonsterChick Featured By Owner May 25, 2012   Digital Artist
by far the best scale tutorial yet.

Always looking at those awesome works other people do and then wonder how they do it but yet no one wants to give the big "secret" away
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:iconhreindyr:
hreindyr Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2012  Student Digital Artist
This is really helpful. Thank you!!
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:iconbubbletea19:
BubbleTea19 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012
Thanks!
Reply
:iconikisusi:
Ikisusi Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very helpful and better than many other tutorials :nod:
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:iconligarththedragon:
Ligarththedragon Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
This is really good, I've always struggled to understand what scales would look like in different places. This helped! 8D
Reply
:iconnalasugar457:
Nalasugar457 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ooh, this will be really helpful for future drawings!!! Awesome dinosaur in the middle!!!
Reply
:icontirikou:
TiriKou Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much , this helped me alot ~ :D
I will submit a dragon drawing I made right now Traditional, and then you will be able to see how you tutorial helped me :)
Don't have to watch me, just remember my username to go see later C:
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:iconotokoyo:
Otokoyo Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
One of the best tutorials on this subject i have come across. Thanks for the tips!
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:iconneonbluewolf:
Neonbluewolf Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2011  Student General Artist
this is amazing! I love all your work i had no idea about the breaking up scales like the alegator pictuer!Thank you. time to practice my "scales" and arpeggios
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:iconsaru-kami:
Saru-Kami Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Great tutorial! :heart:
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:icondracosangheili:
dracosangheili Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Very nice tutorial. Love how you include the rules about implying scales.
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:iconnelires:
Nelires Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2011  Professional General Artist
Why is this the only tutorial of it's kind on DA, seriously. I've been going through the internet with a fine toothed comb for days trying to find something like this.

Normally I only draw furred or feathered creatures so I needed some serious help with where to start for going about scales that didn't make my character look gaudy with unnecessary detail, and didn't give me some form of wrist owies after a few hours. Thank you so so much for this. :3
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:iconcrimson-firefox:
crimson-firefox Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Totally just realized; i've seen your DA before today. That little nagging voice started up when I saw your icon, but I definitely remember this. Small world, huh?
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:iconfantasystock:
FantasyStock Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011
:iconcongratsddplz:Congratulations once again on your Daily Deviation! You've been featured in the August 2011 Resources DD Summary. Thanks for sharing your resources with the community!!
Reply
:iconkastien:
Kastien Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Lol wish i'd seen this before I made a sketch of Zalazane; ([link])
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:iconmegajoy-coon:
MegaJoy-Coon Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2011   Digital Artist
Heheh... 'woolgathering phase'. I'm soooo definitely in that phase. Thank you for this tutorial, I now have hope for scale tutorials! :glomp:
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:iconunosombrero:
UnoSombrero Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2011
I had no idea that scales evolved from teeth until just now 0_o
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:icondarkdragon43:
darkdragon43 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2011  Student Digital Artist
my god, how did you draw the alligator? IT LOOKS SO REEL...

But no, seriously, this will be a lot of help for me.
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:iconbigguy90:
bigguy90 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2011  Student Digital Artist
well put id say!
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:iconoverlyequipped:
OverlyEquipped Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2011  Student Digital Artist
I am certainly glad to have found this tutorial if I ever need to work with something like this.
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:icondragonhearteve:
DragonHeartEve Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011
This will help greatly for my Dragon art. Thanks so much!!! I knew I didn't have to draw every scale, just wasn't sure how to go about it. :D
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:iconxternal7:
xTernal7 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
THIS.


...is an awesome tutorial. And it actually helps more than all tutorials on scales I saw before combined. You have my thanks for sharing that tutorial.
Reply
:iconfeloniusmonk:
FeloniusMonk Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey, this is awesome. Well drawn out and explained, helps a lot!
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:iconzoey04:
Zoey04 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
*bows down* Oh thank you thank you thank you. I finally understand.. I always thought I had to draw every scale but now I will try this technique. <3 Congrats on the DD!
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:iconsandtrap:
Sandtrap Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011
As D. Alexander Gregory once proved... Painfully detailed scales are only important if what you're trying to show the scales off.

Nicol Bolas don't need no freakin' scales, man.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011
I think that was one of the biggest leaps I made in my artistic journey, was when I realized not every detail is the same.
Reply
:iconblazn-samurai:
Blazn-Samurai Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
Thanks for the tutorial!
Reply
:iconnavanavin:
navanavin Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Very useful thanks!
Reply
:iconnetherstray:
NetherStray Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Don't amazing things happen when you're fed up with other peoples' inferiority? Glad you shared this. I noticed the same stupid thing... No pointers on how to cover a beast in scales, no tips on different kinds of scales, just... Scales. Not even scales good enough for making 3D textures.
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May 19, 2011
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