Hail the dragon

One of the more elusive creatures in Far North Queensland is a Boyds Forest Dragon.

I’ve only spotted these dragons once. We were staying in Port Douglas way back in May 2006 and one day decided to meander along Mossman Gorge in the Daintree Forest north of Cairns.

There were two dragons clinging to slender tree trunks and being peered at by Japanese tourists, a fortunate event otherwise it’s unlikely we’d have noticed their presence and my life would’ve been emptier for not having seen them.

I’ve been meaning to paint one of these lizards but time, circumstance and sheer laziness meant this wasn’t a happening thing.

Holidaying again in Port Douglas in October 2015, it was time to do some painting. Despite another slow walk through the Mossman Gorge, not a single dragon was spotted.

What’s a Boyd’s Forest Dragon look like?

Here’s my photo from 2006. The light was poor so had to use a flash … it rather washed out the colour of the dragon. Boyds Forest Dragon in Mossman Gorge, Queensland

This lizard is medium sized with quite bright markings. They’ve got pink scales on the cheeks, mustard yellow beneath the jaw line, and olive brown skin with brighter patches of yellow, black and white. Surprisingly, despite all that lovely colour, they’re a shocker to spot in the forest.

They’re endemic to the wet tropics region of North Queensland so you’re not going to find one anywhere else but in a zoo.

The drawing begins

Their eyes are quite beautiful so I to start with, I decided to draw just one eye. When I manage to take a better photo, will draw the whole creature.

These creatures are quite complex with all those little scales, so the drawing was by the far the longest part of the process.

Time for a little watercolour to be added to the pupil and around the scales.
Boyds Forest Dragon eye with some watercolour

Some additional colours added to the section beneath the eye.
Boyds Forest Dragon - eye with some watercolour

Some colour added to the top of the eye. At all times one is wondering at what point one is going to completely stuff this up.
Boyds Forest Dragon eye with some watercolour

Some tweaks to the iris and it’s done.  Not one of my best but I enjoyed puttering with the detail. In retrospect it needs some more darks to delineate the wrinkles, but that’s a job for another day.
Boyds Forest Dragon eye