Thursday, 10 December 2009

Work in progress for a fairy design.

This was going to be an illustration for one of my 'Fairy Cake' designs, but I have now decided to use it in a collage I am making for a friend for Christmas (I will post the collage when it's finished - I hope my friend doesn't read my blog in the meantime, haha).  I will use the painting for a card illustration at a later date.  Anyway, this is how I drew my fairies.  First of all, I sketched out a very basic idea in my sketch book:

I scanned the image into photoshop and drew around the figure with a black line.  I then started to experiment with colour:

This is a close up of the unfinished fairy's head.  I'm painting her hair in a swirl pattern to match the swirly tail on the heart.  I like swirls and curls and a lot of my designs incorporate this.

I then decided to change the dress colour to a turquoise blue and I added a friend for symmetry (I used the same fairy but flipped her and changed her hair and her face slightly).
I made the heart bigger so I could fit the beautiful words 'A friend is someone who dances with you in the sunlight, and walks with you in the shadows':

It's not a very good image, but I used this design in a simple collage for my friend, on canvas 8 inches by 8 inches.  I printed it out on handmade paper, glued it to the canvas and embellished it with gingham cotton ribbon, lace and buttons that I found, shaped as hearts. Hope she likes it :-)

Friday, 4 December 2009

Pen sketch of my niece and dog - 'Friends'

I was going through my sketch book and I thought I would post this pen sketch I did of my niece, Charlotte, walking one of my dogs, Daisy, on Doxey marshes in Stafford back in May this year.  I remember it was a beautiful evening with a slight breeze, and we took the children and the dogs for a walk before their bed time. (I also remember my other dog, Dougal, had a little altercation with another dog... but that's best forgotten).

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Ping's blog

I have decided to take a leaf out of my friend's blog.  Her name is Ping and any blogs and websites she finds inspiring she posts to her blog to share and hopefully inspire, which I think is an excellent idea.  A wonderful website should be shared.  With that in mind, and as I find her blog inspiring, I shall post it on here :)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

'In Ancient Egypt' by Ian MacDonald

This is an illustration I did for a book cover for an educational book called 'In Ancient Egypt' by Ian MacDonald, published by Educational Printing Services. The publishers wanted a montage of Egyptian images for the book cover, my illustrations combined with photographs that were provided for me. The finished book cover is below.

The publisher wanted me to produce the illustrations in the familiar ancient Egyptian style, ie. simplified figures in profile.  Here are a selection of line drawings.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Dougal as a puppy

This is a work in progress, started last year and then put to one side.  It's a personal painting for myself, of my dog Dougal when he was 8 weeks old.  I have copied Dougal from a photo my friend took of him, but I have added the butterfly.  Dougal was a little monster and I don't think he could have stayed that still with a butterfly fluttering past his nose... the little tyke would have snapped at it and tried to catch it, like he used to snap at people's feet as they walked by.  Anything that moved was a game of chase to him... he hasn't changed much.  Dougal is a Scottish Terrier and is eight and a half years old now.  Thanks for looking :)

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Work in progress for one of my 'fairy dance' paintings

Finished Illustration - Hooray!


I've added the fairy to the background and tweaked it a bit.  Hopefully it's finished now.  I don't know what to call her yet.


I have cheated a little here.  This is the background I designed for my 'Auburn Fairy' painting, but as it is meant to be a series, I thought it would be nice to keep to the same background and colours (plus it's easier for me, hee hee).  To produce the background, I used layers.  First, I chose a basic white background.  For the second layer, I painted some ivy (inspired by the ivy growing plentifully on my fence at the bottom of my garden) which I manipulated on Photoshop and made slightly transparent so that the white background showed through.  I then added a smaller, purple layer that became the border and I used the same ivy painting again as my fourth layer, which I placed on top of the purple layer, 100% opaque this time.  There may be easier ways to do this but I'm not an expert in Photoshop and this is just how I do it.  I use a Wacom Intuos 3 graphic tablet and pen to paint with pixels - I'll never go back to using a mouse again.  I'm going to add the fairy to the background now.

I have finished the detail on the fairy, now to add the background.


I then start adding more detail to the dress: folds, pattern on the fabric, the lace etc.  Once I've finished this, I'm going to work on the wings. I've pointed her foot downwards so it looks like she is dancing in the air rather than on the ground.


I then start adding detail, starting with the head.



This is the second stage of the painting. I have decided to paint it digitally using photoshop.  I have scanned the image into photoshop and tidied the edges and then applied a wash over the sketch.


Work in progress: This is a pen sketch for the second painting in the series entitled 'The Fairy Dance'.  I don't know what to call her yet though.  Her dress is inspired by a mixture of eighteenth century fashion, the high waisted 'empire line' is late eighteenth century, early nineteenth century, but the sleeves are earlier.  However, fairies are timeless and wear what they like and don't follow fashion.  I envisage her in rose pinks, with blonde hair.  Please check back to watch the painting in progress.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Monday, 7 September 2009

A sketch of a flautist for an illustration

The sketch of a flautist street performer I saw in Glastonbury (above) was supposed to be for my new series of paintings called 'The Fairy Dance' in which he was inspiration for a piper. I have decided against painting a piper now, but hopefully I will use him in another illustration.  Sketches and ideas are never wasted.  The pen sketch (below) shows the flautist clothed in eighteenth century costume, ready to be my piper in my painting.  Hope he didn't mind me sketching him.  

Auburn fairy detail from 'The fairy dance'

One of the fairies from the series of paintings 'The fairy dance'.  This is a pen sketch of one of the fairies in my new painting.  I will post the finished painting on my blog when I have finished.  Although it's not based on anything from literature, I found the poem below, by Carolina Eliza Scott, and felt inspired by this verse:

The fairies are dancing — how nimbly they bound!
   They flit o'er the grass tops, they touch not the ground;
Their kirtles of green are with diamonds bedight,
   All glittering and sparkling beneath the moonlight.

by Carolina Eliza Scott

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

'l'amour' wedding fairy cake

A design for my 'fairy cake' range, a wedding fairy cake called l'amour. Above is a close up of the happy couple and the finished illustration.

'Happy Birthday... With Extra Icing On The Top'

This design is for a series of illustrations called 'Fairy Cakes'.  This one is called 'Happy Birthday... with extra icing on the top': a yummy chocolate fairy cake with pink vanilla frosting and plenty of chocolate sprinkles.