Kristen and I considered using Harry Potter dragon colors. This idea was scrapped and replaced with pastels since neither one of us could figure out what the hell "Harry Potter dragon colors" actually meant.
I've talked about changing pattern colors before. In this one, there were color families used, but no real shading. Choosing a new letter color definitely helped since that gave me something to match the other colors to. I ended up writing out the symbols and randomly assigning a new color to them. Then I sent Kristen this elegant and super helpful picture of what embroidery floss on top of gold fabric might look like.
To minimize crumpling the stitches in my grubby little hands, I did the letters all the way across, then started to do the dragons from the last letter. While I could have started at the far right, I wanted to avoid as many counting mistakes as possible. Each letter was 18-19 stitches wide and two stitches between each letter put the width at 160+ stitches. Counting that out would be a terrible idea even for people who actually know how to count.
For the backstitching, I went with black for the outlines and claws, and sparkles if I already had the color for wings and spines. Here you can see what the finished stitching looked like before the backstitching was done.
The pink dragon to the right wasn't finished because I also realized that I needed to do backstitching as I went. Before this epiphany, I'm not sure how I thought I was going to do the backstitching without mangling the dragons in my grubby little hands.