Saturday, March 07, 2009

Princess Moonbeam and IF: Legendary

Once again, I am slightly changing my original post since it fits so well with this week's Illustration Friday theme, Legendary. Princess Moonbeam comes from a Japanese Folk Tale/ Legend. When I posted this illustration at first, I forgot that I had planned on showing a couple steps of my acrylic process. So I am now posting those below.

Here's an illustration I finished for Story Book Art's ad in the 2010 Picture Book. It's a illustration of Princess Moonbeam from the Japanese folk tale. The moon is calling her back and she is about to drink the elixir of immortality and go back to live in the moon with her moon mother once more. She is sad because she must leave her earthly parents. I painted it in acrylics all except for the the moonbeam. I did that digitally. It just seemed like too much of a bother to try and figure out how to do it in acrylics.

Step one: The first step is thumbnails. It is important to work out how your composition will look in a thumbnail. Unfortunately, my thumbnail sketches are long gone, used as scratch paper for my kids to draw on.

Step two: Get the sketch right! This saves so much trouble in later stages. Sometimes I need to draw and redraw until I feel happy about it. Sometimes I even need to stop and go back to thumbnails. I was lucky on this illustration that I only had to tweek a couple things to get the sketch right.


Step three: Color study. I do this on photoshop. I even use colors from other acrylic illustrations I have done and scanned in, picked up from the eye dropper tool.


Step four: First I transfer the sketch to a gessobord by tracing it over graphite paper. (Even though I LOVE gessobord, I am wanting to change this to a kind of paper, since I know art directors don't like illustrations on a board because they like to use drum scanners. Does anyone have a wonderful paper that they use? I would love suggestions.) Then I do an underpainting. In this painting I used purple first then quickly painted in the rest of the colors where they were supposed to go.

Step Five: Finished acrylic painting. Step six on this one was to scan in the painting and add the digital magic, which you can see in my finished piece at the top.



Just for fun, here is a couple of photos of my pallet, since a lot of my friends get a kick out of how high the paint is getting. The photos are not very clear, but it's pretty funny.


20 comments:

joanarca said...

you really make awesome illustrations.

Shannon Christensen said...

Interesting to use the acrylic and then digital, but very effective. I really like the composition of the bamboo trees, actually, I like it all, but the trees are just really dynamic.

Twilight Book Club aka Kellie Dickes said...

Hey, the illustrations look amazing.

kathy hare said...

beautiful..

Jack Foster said...

Wow Shawna you've done it again! Love the colors, and the glittery stars effect...awesome! Love the angle to with the arching trees. Fantastic!....as usual.

Brandi said...

Stunning work and very cool to see the process including the lovely sketch!

Coreopsis said...

Lovely illustration! I love the composition, and the colors! Very impressive.

R.J. Peña said...

Awesome :)

Maria Madonna Davidoff said...

Fascinating work. lovely! and thanks for sharing the process!

INDIGENE said...

This is a beautiful illustration! I really love how you showed the process and thanks for sharing the bit about the moon light! Wonderful work!

Mick said...

Very nice.

I use Rives BFK because it lays flat after applying gesso. I put the gesso on with a squeegee or a foam roller--sanding between coats. I've seen people use illustration board (a variety of surfaces to choose from) and then peel the paper off of the backing for scanning. Too risky for me.

Valerie Lorimer said...

This is so beautiful! I love everything about it.

Isabelle said...

Wow, beautiful image!
I read your process with great interest, I was wondering why you underpaint before the real colors?

Thanks!

Nathanael Lark said...

Gorgeous! This is the first time I've seen your work (found you on IF) and I'm an instant fan!

Shawna said...

Thank you, thank you all for you very kind comments! I wish I had time to write on all of your blogs also!

Isabelle, to answer your question about underpainting. On this one I did the purple underpainting because I thought it would give a little more energy to the colors where it showed through, Then I blocked in the main color shapes quickly- this moves the whole process along. It helps me see the picture as a whole and helps the whole thing go faster. Hopefully that makes sense!

TheIcePixy said...

Sorry, I haven't checked out anyone's blogs in forever! I love how the finished piece turned out! And you remembered to put the little sparkles in the moon beam! I love it! Also, I have to say, I was totally wrong about making the red into purple on her dress . . . I think the red looks awesome!

Roberta said...

Wonderful post and excellent ilustration!! She's lovely!

Bella Sinclair said...

Wow, wow, WOW! What a wonderful post. I love following your process. Just fascinating. And your palette at the end!!! This is one gorgeous painting. The colors are just beautiful and deep. Must be the underpainting. And thank goodness we live in a digital age, eh?

Ashley Smith said...

Totally my favorite by far of anything you have EVER done. Not kidding. Its beautiful...

adrienne trafford said...

incredible work - makes me so happy to watch the work in progress as well...