Help with drawing and proportioning

I am trying to work on drawing fictional creatures called Drogons, but what’s been hard for me to do is proportioning. I get inspiration for my Drogons from canines (including dogs and wolves), but I am bad at proportioning, particularly when it comes to drawing their legs. The front legs are extremely long while the hind legs seem to be a bit short when they’re in the “sitting” position.

What I’m trying to do is make the proportioning of the creatures more appealing, while making them different from that of a wolf or dog. What do I do?
I asked this question because someday, I would like to draw a Drogon on an art software as better concept art if I try to import a picture.

You can take the picture of a dog, displaying the bones and measure it.

This measurement is entirely made up, is not based on some strict rules, is only about having a solid approximation. The idea is to stay within the right proportions and then some variation and error can be introduced, which is harmless.

My own thinking about taking measurement is to have only one fundamental unit as the base - say the skull - and then replicate the rest based on 1:1 ratio. There are other ratios as well, 1:1.5, 1:1.618, 1:2, 1:3… that tend to describe the shape 100% better and more accurately, but somehow my own opinion is that it makes it much harder to replicate the shape in the future (takes more effort to reproduce the dimensions from scratch).

But with 1:1 ratio you can immediately eyeball the result, with no second-guess. You can store the coordinates in your mind (such as the torso is three times the skull). Or even transfer the measurement anywhere else (coin-pencil-paper, circle selection in photoshop).

2021-04-07 18_32_00-Blender

If you want to get better at drawing dogs then the best thing to do is to draw more dogs. Don’t try to make like finished illustrations, just practice capturing the feeling of a dog. Think less is more, volume over completion. Draw way more than you think. Having trouble with their feet? Draw a hundred dog feet from references. Still having trouble? Maybe it’s not the dog feet giving you trouble but your fundamentals.

If you want to get better at drawing in general then you could try to do some drills like free hand straight lines, circles, point to point, ellipses, boxes in perspective. Do some master studies of of paintings. Don’t fall down the rabbit hole of doing stuff like Draw a Box on reddit forever.

Fun With a Pencil by Loomis is a great place to start developing your drawing skills. You can find the PDF online for free.

Though in the beginning I was against the use of grease pencil, because it felt like cheating.

Now I just don’t bother to think of it twice. I just roll with whatever does the job better.

Since that way shapes can be transformed and repositioned easier than anything else, it worth a try to start thinking about sketch in terms of 3D space.