I’ve been having a lot of fun with variations on a drawing I first made in the spring of 2014, while I was in California. My original concept was to create a pair of leaping, swooping dragons in mid-flight, who could be positioned intertwining in midair. Here’s my original ink drawing for one of the planned pair:

Yes, this dragon does owe a great deal of its anatomy to my Italian Greyhounds Jake and Brenna. I’d had to leave them at home when I was in California, and apparently I was missing them even more than I thought i was. 🙂

My “iggies”–Jake and Brenna. More inspirational than I guessed?

When I began to work with the drawing again after my return to Kansas, my Adobe Illustrator software developed a glitch, and for a while I couldn’t use it. So I began to play with the basic line drawing as a base, and applied color with my Prismacolor pencils. The first variation I finished was Blue Pounce. I framed it and sold it in January.

Blue Pounce, 2014, by Jan S. Gephardt

After Blue Pounce I made smaller-sized versions of the basic drawing, and experimented with different color variations. This led to a series of Leapin’ (Fire) Lizard images, which I framed in 5X7″ shadowboxes and have exhibited this summer at the science fiction conventions ConQuesT 46 (Kansas City in May) and SoonerCon 24 (Oklahoma City in June).

Three of the Leapin’ (Fire) Lizard variations: Orange, Green and Violet.

I also created a slightly larger variation and titled it Red Fire Lizard. I sold it at ConQuesT, along with two of the Leapin’ variations. 

This is Red Fire Lizard, 2015, by Jan S. Gephardt. Photo shot through frame glass, hence the reflections–but I sold it sooner than expected! 🙂 

But after the basic color studies, I wanted to experiment with different “markings.” I (loosely) based the two most recent pieces on color-patterns found in Koi fish. I’ve always loved those members of the carp family, and have planned to do some kind of paper sculpture based on them. You might remember a much earlier experiment, described on my Artdog Observations Blog in 2011. 

This is a 2010 paper sculpture koi, part of a piece I never finished.

Here’s how I “revisited” the idea of artwork based on koi, in my most recent dragons:

This is my work-in-progress, Showa Dragon, along with examples of “showa” koi patterns at left.
I finished and framed Aka-Bekko Dragon, 2015, and exhibited it for the first time at SoonerCon 24. At right is an example of the “aka-bekko” koi marking.

You’ll note I still haven’t created the “other dragon” of the originally-proposed, intertwined pair. Stay tuned for more variations on this theme.

IMAGES: All images except the two koi photos are my own work. All rights are reserved, but you may reblog any of them if you don’t alter the images and include an attribution and link back to this post. 
I originally collected the two koi photos in 2010 or 2011, and since they were downloaded as resource images for my own personal use I did not note the source URLs. I have repeatedly attempted reverse-image searches, but I regret I have been unable to find them online. 
Since these were the resource images on which I based my dragons, I have reproduced them in the interest of an accurate record, hoping this constitutes “fair use.” 
If these images are yours, I regret I was unable to find your website–and I’ll be delighted to give you credit, if you’ll please contact me through this blog.