As every artist knows, inspiration is drawn from all around.
Recently, we watched Eragon. There's an impressive battle scene, with dragons swooping through the night. A few days later, we read "The Sunflower Sword", which also features dragons.
As soon as we'd finished, Jude got out some paper and markers and started drawing dragons. I could see that the image of fireballs exploding against a dark sky had stuck with him, as he drew picture after picture, using one colour of marker on white paper. On one of those rare afternoons when I didn't feel overwhelmed by the mess of the house, I sat down with him to teach him how to bring colour to his imaginings.
Dollar Store craft paint and computer printer paper was all it took to bring those ideas to life. He struggled with the idea that he didn't need to add all the details right away. We started with just the basic dragon shape, then painted it in basic blue. Next, we painted the surrounding night sky. Jude can be very single-minded, and was very resistant to this "lesson" in art because it wasn't looking the way he envisioned it...
Once the paint had dried, I gave him a fine brush dipped in darker paint, and told him to add all the details he wanted to the dragon's body. I helped him with some of the finer areas, following his directions. He asked me if I'd paint Eragon riding on Sapphira's back, sword in hand and quiver of arrows on his back.
After a big breath, he realised he could trust that I "got" his vision and could help him realize it on paper! So we started to work on another painting, depicting the "bad guy" on his dragon. We talked about how we'd want the artwork to look once displayed, and ended up creating the two paintings so that when hung side by side, the dragons would look like they were facing off in the night sky.
I have started a pile of the kids' artwork to be board-mounted. Once dry, Jude's dragon series was added to the pile. The next day, he started exploring brush technique and paint layering on his own, to his (and my)delight!