My nine year old daughter, Rainbow, is a big fan of the Dreamworks film How to Train Your Dragon, as well as the Netflix exclusive series Dragons: Race to the Edge. So much so that she decided she wanted to create her own “Book of Dragons”. Mostly this consists of her drawing various dragons, some based on beasts that appear in the show, and others being creatures that she makes up on her own. Parts of the book are based off of printables that I found online, while other parts were created by studying the Dragonpedia section of the official Dreamworks Dragons website.
My daughter’s desire to make her own dragon rider notebook was at least in part inspired by reading Cressida Cowell’s The (In)Complete Book of Dragons. When Rainbow told me that she wanted to create her own dragon book I was easily sold on the idea. Let’s see, helps her practice her reading, writing and drawing skills and keeps her quietly entertained for multiple hours in a row. Yeah, no arguments here.
A girl with a plan, she almost immediately started drawing and carefully cutting out dragons that she wanted to add to her book. Seeing that she was serious about wanting to make a book of her own I picked her up a blank lined journal on sale for $5 at Winners. Given that we already own enough coloured pencils, crayons and markers to outfit a medium sized classroom or two, spending $5 on that journal was the only money put out towards creating her book.
I opted for a lined journal, over a blank artist’s notebook, because I wanted to emphasise working on her writing skills. (Yep, I’m a tricky mom. Yes, I am.) Some pages she filled with writing, while on others she drew the background scenes for her dragons to fit into. The dragons themselves were drawn on art paper, carefully cut out, and then glued into her book.
I also spent an hour or two searching around online and I found some great resources for helping to make her dragon book complete, everything from colouring sheets to PDF samples of some of Cowell’s books.
In the end, Rainbow now has a book which she has created on her own, one that she has put many hours into and is justifiably proud of, and one that she keeps going back to, adding more bits and pieces to her “Life of Dragons”. I’m proud of her for putting so much work into it (and secretly pleased that she’s been spending the summer working on her spelling and penmanship).
How to Make Your Own Dragon Book
You will need: a blank book, drawing supplies (pens, pencils, coloured pencils, markers, etc), scissors, glue, art paper, printer paper and access to a printer.
Online Resources for Making Your Own Book of Dragons
- The Dragonpedia section of the official Dreamworks Dragons website. This ever growing encyclopedia of dragons is home to information about over forty different species. There are write ups about each dragon, and stills taken from the various How to Train Your Dragon films and television episodes. This is a great spot for inspiration. If your child needs a little kickstart on what to write in their own book they can borrow information from the write ups. While the stills make a great reference for drawing their own dragons.
- The How to Train Your Dragon Books section of Cressida Cowell’s official website. The site includes synopses of the thirteen books which have been published in the series (so far), as well as character bios, location maps, and tidbits from the author. The Dreamworks version of Hiccup, Toothless, and the others, are different in many ways from the book versions. Both are fantastic in their own ways. I urge you to keep an open mind.
- Various things you may want to print out (and possibly cut up) to help create your own dragon book. This can be particularly helpful for younger artists who can get frustrated when their Night Fury or Deadly Nadder doesn’t look quite like the one they saw on TV.
- a colouring sheet featuring Hiccup and Toothless
- a colouring sheet featuring Toothless
- a colouring sheet featuring Stormfly
- another colouring sheet featuring Hiccup and Toothless
- one more colouring sheet featuring Toothless and Hiccup
- a colouring sheet featuring Astrid and Stormfly
- a PDF excerpt from the How to Train Your Dragon novel
- a PDF excerpt from book number two, How to Be a Pirate
- a PDF excerpt from book number four, How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse
- a PDF excerpt from book number seven, How to Ride a Dragon’s Storm
(Also, for more colouring sheets, connect the dots, colour by number, and other printables featuring the Dreamworks dragon rider characters check out the printables section of their website.)
Other Sources of Inspiration for Creating
Your Own Complete Book of Dragons
Head to Netflix and watch the How to Train Your Dragon movies, and the various short films and television shows that have been produced (Not sure what to watch first? I’ve published a quick guide to how to watch Dreamworks Dragons.)
Read Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon books, which you can grab on Amazon, or look for at your local library.
I also suggest consulting books on how to draw dragons. I gave Rainbow a book called “How to Draw Dragons”. This book was something I had from when I was a child and is long out of print. A good substitute might be something like Ralph Masiello’s Dragon Drawing Book or Drawing Dragons by Sandra Staple.
If you do end up making your own dragon book I’d love to hear about it (my daughter would be tickled pink to know other people are out there creating their own dragon rider notebooks).
Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, and as such I am compensated to provide thoughts and suggestions about what’s currently showing on Netflix. As always my words and opinions are my own.