So here we are at the fourth or fifth distinct version of this image, and I think we can call it the final one.
For a good number of years now I've been trying to get a reasonably accurate representation of Zel down on paper - both for my own reference and to point people at if they ask what he looks like. The third reason is also "just because" and for the simple joy of drawing something.
While I'd got a few general sketches down, they were all pretty small and didn't really give a proper look at his face. After a two or three year hiatus from drawing, I started scribbling this down.
As far as getting a proper 3D model to look at and refer to, this is complicated somewhat by the inability to get a dragon to magically appear and stand still for a couple of hours so I could draw him! So some improvisation was called for.
Initially I used a photo of my own head to get some reference points down, then just ran with it from there really, through a pencil sketch which I then digitised; onto a version which was "inked" and then added some colour - albeit somewhat washed out as I've still not quite figured out how to get Zel's hide to look the colour it should do. For all intents and purposes it's black, with a blueish sheen visible on any highlights. I'll experiment further in future, but for the time being this at least is at the right end of the spectrum from a chromatic point of view. That did however leave one big detail missing - and that's the mane. This was the result of a good deal of "playing" in the Gimp, and is at least a reasonable effort I think. It should be a bit longer, laying further over the side of his neck, but this gives a reasonable idea of how it looks I think.
I've also tried to sort out the angle of the neck relative to the head from the original working version http://www.furaffinity.net/view/4710099 - still not convinced it's 100% right, but is a lot better than it started!
Overall, I'm quite happy with how this has come out I think - gives me a nice goal to aim to better with my next work too!
EDIT: Even a few years down the line since I drew this, I am still very happy with how the eye came out, even if the rest of the image isn't great...