Thursday, 28 January 2010

Don't Get Too Carried Away On Your Birthday

This is an illustration of a fairy being carried away by a heart shape, birthday balloon.  As with all my fairy cake ideas, I'm also going to include a cake (otherwise why call the illustrations 'fairy cakes'? hehe), probably a cupcake again, as I think they are really sweet.  I'm thinking of calling this illustration 'Don't get too carried away on your birthday', but I'm not sure yet.  Personally, I always get carried away on my birthdays - not physically, like in the illustration, but usually after one too many glasses of Sauvignon Blanc, but that's another story...

Anyway, I thought I would explain the process I used to design it, as I have with a couple of my illustrations in the past.  I'll keep adding posts until I have finished.

Step 1: I started off sketching my idea for the fairy in my sketch book and then scanning it into the computer (below).

Step 2:  I paint the background different shades of green.  I then start a new layer and add the sketch of the fairy, then start to fill in the illustration with a wash of colour in Photoshop (unfortunately, I had my forgetful head on that day and forgot to save it at this stage so can't show you the first wash).  Then I start adding detail.  I like to work on the subject's head first (please see close up of the fairy below) as the face and facial expressions defines the character.  I have decided to make her blonde and her hair swirly and curly - I must have a thing for swirls because I always try and incorporate them somewhere in my illustrations.  Maybe it's because I have curly hair? - and I added a pink flower to her hair as it's the 'in-thing' in fairyland at the moment, according to Vogue (the fairy version).

Step 3:  I decide the original pose, with the arm straight at her side, is too stiff, so I just change the angle  of her arm a little.  I then add more detail to the rest of her body.  I have decided to use soft pinks and creams for her dress and wings and I still need to finish the balloon and add more detail and shading to the fairy.  I usually use different layers to paint different parts of my fairies, such as face, body, wings (you can set the wings layer on a low opacity then, so that they become translucent like real wings and the background shows through) but this time I didn't, although I can't remember why I decided on this and wish I hadn't now, but never mind.

Step 4: I continue shading and highlighting and adding more detail to the fairy, such as a lace overskirt, (below) and I also add the balloon, which I have decided not to make heart shape, as there will be too many hearts in the finished illustration.

This is the cake I've worked on to add to the fairy illustration.  I decided to make it a 'proper' looking birthday cake, rather than a cupcake as I did in my previous birthday fairy-cake illustration. I painted the sponge cake in different layers.  The icing was done on a separate layer, using the special effects 'drop shadow' and 'bevel and emboss', to give it a slight 3D effect.  I'll merge the two illustrations together next.  

I've decided to change the balloon from pink to red, to match the hearts on the cake (using the colour adjustment option under image in Photoshop).  I've attached lots of balloons to the cake to make it look as though the cake is being carried away as well as the fairy.  I added a shadow beneath the cake and...finished :)

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