While I was with Ibn 'Abbas a man came and said, "O father of 'Abbas! My sustenance is from my manual profession and I make these pictures." Ibn 'Abbas said, "I will tell you only what I heard from Allah's Apostle. I heard him saying, 'Whoever makes a picture will be punished by Allah till he puts life in it, and he will never be able to put life in it.' " Hearing this, that man heaved a sigh and his face turned pale. Ibn 'Abbas said to him, "What a pity! If you insist on making pictures I advise you to make pictures of trees and any other unanimated objects." Bukhari 3:428
Narrated by Aisha: I stuffed for the Prophet a pillow decorated with pictures (of animals) which looked like a Namruqa (i.e. a small cushion). He came and stood among the people with excitement apparent on his face. I said, "O Allah's Apostle! What is wrong?" He said, "What is this pillow?" I said, "I have prepared this pillow for you, so that you may recline on it." He said, "Don't you know that angels do not enter a house wherein there are pictures; and whoever makes a picture will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and will be asked to give life to (what he has created)?" Bukhari 4:47
It appears very clear that we should not draw things that are or were living. But what about things that never really existed? Mythical creatures? Unicorns, dragons, even cartoon characters? I was interested in the answer to this question, so I searched for the answer and found the following:
Assalamoalaikum. i know that drawing or painting human faces or animals is wrong in the eyes of Almighty, and on the day of Judgment we will be asked to blow life into it. however, the thing i would like to ask is it alright to draw or sketch dragons? because they are mythical creatures and never existed, so is it okay if we draw them? please answer in detail. Thank you.
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.
It is not permissible to draw pictures of what is thought to be one of the living creatures even if it never existed in reality, for two reasons:
1- This is because it is imitating the creation, and it is only Allaah Who has the ability to create. It is known that the reason of the prohibition of drawing pictures of living creatures is because it is imitating the creation of Allaah, as mentioned in a Qudsi narration: "And who is more unjust than he who creates like my creation [who tries to imitate my creation]." [Al-Bukhaari]. What would be the case of the one who gives himself the attribute of being able to create what never existed before?
2- Drawing pictures of living creatures is forbidden in order to prevent any forbidden means which lead to something forbidden. This is indeed a great fundamental rule in religion; when Allaah forbids something in itself, He forbids any means which may lead to it.
Allaah Knows best.