Photoshop, about 15 hrs
contest entry, the magic words this time being "The Dragon Child"
So thrilled with how this one turned out. ^_^
It helped a lot that I had the idea for the image almost immediately, which left a lot more time for polishing than usual, even with the shorter timeframe ConceptWorld has switched to for the contests- now we only get one week instead of two!
In this world, occasionally a child is born that represents a throwback to some distant draconic ancestry. These births are seemingly random, due to the capricious nature of inheritance, and are found in all classes of society in lands throughout the world. These individuals are highly sought after by the powers that be: in addition to their obvious physical manifestations, their dual heritage endows them with both the incredible magical reserves of the dragons and the precise spell control of the humans, a potent combination. These individuals can become extremely dangerous to those around them, whether by active abuse of their abilities for personal gain or in a child's tantrum, or by unintentional result of a novice's naive experimentation fueled by more magic than the human members of the Mage Council can channel combined. A pure human novice may accidentally scorch their bedsheets or flood their chambers with an indoor rainstorm, but these hybrids have created town-razing firestorms and generated inland hurricanes, never understanding their own strength until they are found in the rubble untouched. Needless to say, all efforts are made to find these rare "dragon children" and ensure that they are trained to control their powers- and to raise them to be happy and loyal citizens of their homelands.
Here we see one such girl, in a playful moment with her caretaker- a dragon who serves as nanny, mentor, teacher, and, when necessary, bodyguard. There is a long history of enemy nations eliminating their rivals' next generation of archmages at any opportunity.