i had an idea....

I had an idea that needed a dragon and this it the beginnings of it’s head. This is with a subsurf added but not applied. If I apply the subsurf my render loses the texture, i’d appreciate any suggestions on what i’m doing wrong there. Suggestions in general appreciated. working on teeth then bottom jaw now.

I would advise against applying any SubSurf modifier before finishing modeling all the creature. Otherwise you will end dealing with way too many polys to maneuver around while doing details or doing big changes to whole body parts. You can increase the SubSurf divisions and decrease it back again to increase perfomance and allow you to model, then switch back to high poly-count and see if the texture is doing fine.

In other words, never apply SubSurf unless you are sure you are done doing changes to that part of the model. That’s my only piece of advice there.

PS: I love red dragons. Keep it up thumbs up

actually i had saved and then applied the subsurf to see how it was looking with the intent of restoring and continuing my work.

You do not need to apply a modifier to see its effects on the model, if it’s in the stack and activated (the little camera and eye logo’s) it will show it’s effect on the model.
As to why it got rid of your texture when you did apply it, if you are using any kind of UV mapping then applying a subsurf changes the mesh structure, thus destroying the UV unwrapping, to make it show again you’ll need to re-unwrap, but as was said, you shouldn’t be applying the subsurf anyways.
Hope that helps, if you need more help understanding how modifier’s work I’d suggest checking out the blender wiki.