Scaling up my selected thumbnail and combining features and sketches to get to a final idea. I had to look up saddles to get the shape of mine right. I changed the proportions to fit better with the body. I imagine such a mid-heavy creature needs a balanced front and back, so he/she needs a sturdy tail and heavy skull. I decided not to draw the human character in because I don’t have a design ready for it – it would just be a bunch of BS and I feel like the saddle already dictates scale.
One thing I’m super anal about is dragon wings. It’s ALWAYS bothered – always – since I was a small child – that most dragon wings are drawn as thin, flimsy bat wings. Nobody stops to think that such a heavy creature needs a little more than that? How do they get it off the ground if they don’t have the strength to move that much air? I feel like thinking of such things is a duty of the character designer. Your character can look cool, but if it looks unbelievable (not necessarily that it needs to make sense or look realistic, just feel believable), then your design is garbage.