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 :)

Saturday, 23 January 2010

An Embroidered Fairy by Vicki White


This is an enchanting, embroidered picture of a fairy that my friend, Vicki, made for me for Christmas and put in a little frame.  Unfortunately, the camera doesn't do it justice.  My camera has broken and I had to use my iphone, but I loved it so much I just had to post it on my blog as soon as possible.  It's a very simple and beautiful design. I love how she has embroidered everything except the dress and the cute buttons, and has topped the wand with a sequin.  What makes it more special to me is how the polka dot fabric matches my kitchen!  I would love more of her designs decorating my house (I know what's on my birthday and Christmas list this year) and am trying to encourage her to sell them.  She also makes cushions :)  Please contact me if you would be interested in seeing more of her designs.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

'Dancing In The Moonlight'

I decided to enter a competition to design a cover for the magazine 'Imagine FX'.  I didn't see the competition till late, so I revamped one of my unpublished fairy illustrations (previously posted on my blog), as I didn't have much time to start from scratch.  I don't expect I'll win but it was fun painting and I'll add it to my portfolio.

The moonlight idea came to me whilst walking the dogs one evening, when there was a full moon.  It was quite a fresh night and the sky was almost clear, with lots of stars, and I thought how beautiful the moon looked peaking out from behind a cloud, and how light the night was, not quite as light as day of course, but light enough to see things clearly.  I imagined the fairies in their glad rags, having a party and dancing in the moonlight, boogying along to the latest fairy chart music played on a fairy flute and other magical instruments, or maybe even the fairy equivalent to an iPod, if they are hip and trendy fairies.  I sometimes get carried away with my imagination and my husband often wonders why I take so long walking the dogs at night, haha.

This is something similar to what it would look like with all the graphics in place, using the template given in the competition.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Sketches of my Scottish Terriers

These are just silly sketches I did of my three Scottish terriers, Dougal, Daisy and Millie.  They tend to be sleeping a lot in these sketches because this is the only time they stay still, haha. I had a lovely new sketch book for Christmas from my husband, and I couldn't wait to make my mark in there, so one cold Christmas afternoon, while Colin was watching 'The Italian Job' on the television and the dogs were dozing by the fire (or begging some treats in the case of Daisy), I got out a biro and a pencil and began to sketch away.  I had a cold at the time, so I only managed a few in the end.  I thought I would add them to my blog.  They only took a few seconds to a couple of minutes to do them, hence they're not that good, but I feel they catch the essence of my dogs' personalities :)

Dougal (above)

Dougal and Daisy (above)


Millie and Dougal (above)

I didn't get to finish the one above, which was a shame.  Dogs don't sit still long.  There are always cats to chase and postmen to bark at, or squeaky toys to kill...