A Fairy Book – My Process Using Pencils & Computer

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Once again it has been eons between my posts. I thought I’d take you through a process I am doing in making drawings for my fairy book. This is not a lesson, it’s just the way I am producing these drawings.

I’m using mixed media involving pencil drawing and computer colouring. I want to apologize for the low quality photos; they were taken with my tablet.

I start with a sketch, of which I don’t have to show, but none the less that’s where it always starts. This drawing is of the Fairy Keeper and his pet. I haven’t come up with names for the keeper or his pet yet but the pet is an RTC (really tiny cat). Of course you’ll notice that the man is smaller than the cat which means he is also quite tiny.

The entire drawing is drawn with an HB graphite pencil. Once I’m satisfied with the drawing, sometimes that’s 2 or 3 or 4 drawings later, I begin the process of shading it. Each type of shading requires a different shade of pencil. As you probably already know there are many shades or hardness of pencils such as H (1, 2, 3, 4, etc), B (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) and F. You also have HB which I use to make most of my drawings. I use the H pencils for my lighter shadings and the B’s for the darker shadings. As I’m shading with the pencils I’m also using a stump or tortillon to blend it. There’s a good explanation of the difference between these two smudging tools at this web site—Pencil Drawing – Blending and Shading – Learn to blend and shade your drawings with JD Hillberry. I must admit, after watching the video I realized I wasn’t using these tools in an entirely correct way, but I did get the desired effects I was looking for. There’s also another web site I found to be quite informative, Rapid Fire Art 

Fairy Book artwork from begining

Once I’m finished the shading, I scan the drawing at 600 dpi grey-scale. I find this setting works best for my purposes. Next, I open it in Photoshop and the first thing I do is select Image, mode then RGB so I can add the colour. Then I tweak the drawing a bit using the levels adjustment to bring out a little more detail in the lines. This can also be done during the scanning process, but I find it works better in Photoshop. Now the process of colouring begins by adding a new layer and naming it. For example, I will make a layer for face or skin tone. Next I go to my foreground colour picker to choose a suitable colour for my skin tone. For the Fairy Keeper I chose a medium pink-orange tone. Using a soft mechanical pencil brush, I begin adding colour to the face. While adding the colour I change the layer blending to “Colour Burn”. The layer blending is different for other parts of the drawing depending on the effect I’m looking for. For instance the clothes are done using a “Linear Burn” instead of the “Colour Burn” to give the colour a little more intensity. I also use “Overlay” on occasion. I will do each part of the face on a different layer then make a new group layer from selected layers and call it Fairy Keepers face. That way if I decide to change the colour of his eyes I can just go to the face group, find the eyes layer and change the colour. It’s also helpful using groups to keep the layers list from getting too long. From here I just do each part of the drawing adding layer after layer until I’m finished.  I used some special brushes to make the grasses and bubbles. I also added a couple of my individual fairies to this drawing of which I went through the same process to colour. One on the roof and the other behind a blade of grass. Now I’m finished colouring the drawing.

For the last thing I open a template that I’m using for the frame around each of the drawings. Next I will go back to my finished drawing and flatten the layers and then drag it over to the template, size it to fit the square and change the outside colour of the square to match with my drawing. That’s it I’m done. I make a glossy print and put it on the wall with the rest of the fairy work I have done so far then go to work on the next drawing.

As I said at the beginning, this is not a lesson. I don’t always do things by the book where art is concerned, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I learn a lot with each endeavor and I really enjoy what I do.

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Fairy Book Samples Part 3

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Fairy book continued:

For this post I have made up another sample page for my fairy book. This was done in the same way as the previous drawing of  the Fairy Queen… using a pencil drawing, then shading with different pencil types (HP, 2B, 6B, 2H, etc.) then scanning to paint in Photoshop. I’ve changed the background and frame from the last entry, so I’m showing the two sets of pages including the Fairy Queen and the new pages of the Fairy Keeper to show how the new background and frame look with both. Please keep in mind that the text on both pages is not the actual story, they are just faded words I added to show how the fonts will look in the finished product.

I am still working on many more drawings and I’m sure they’ll take quite a while to complete. Hopefully I’ll be able to share with you one new  page set a month until I’m ready to write the actual story for each image. Anyway I hope to enjoy my latest creation. Cheers for now!

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Fairy Book in Progress

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You’ll remember that I had several different methods that I was looking at for the art work to be used in my new fairy book; well I have finally decided how I want to proceed. I started with my usual pencil drawing, but instead of re-drawing it on to a canvas or water-colour paper I scanned it into the computer and started adding colour using Photoshop. For me it showed the best results for what I imagined this book to look like.

Here are samples of how I did this and what a two page spread will look like.The first photo is of the drawing without anything done to it. In the second one I’ve used levels in Photoshop to bring out the contrast a bit. The colour is added to the next one and the last is with the border and background colours as well as the description page with the lower flowers added for the text to fall between and the fairy wings on either side of the heading.

There is still a ton of work to be done on the project and I will probably make changes to backgrounds and maybe even colours but this is the general layout. Also I just want to mention that the words on the page are not necessarily how it will be in the final. I just thought it up while I was putting the page together. My process will be to draw all of the characters and scenes first then add the story to each illustration.

Let me know what you think. I’d love to know.

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My Fairy Story…The Beginning

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For my post this month I’ve produced some samples of the type of art work I’d like to use for the fairy book I am going to write. I’d like to make the book mainly illustration with short story bits to explain each illustration. I don’t have a complete story yet, but I have many of the characters created and drawn already.

For the last couple of months I’ve been drawing the same scene and using different mediums to see which one I should continue to produce for the entire book. I was hoping I could get a little help from my friends and get your opinions. You’ll notice that not every scene is exactly the same. I was also experimenting with different ways to make the final scene for the bubble fairy. And before you say he doesn’t have wings he can’t be a fairy, this is a different kind of fairy book and you’ll see in the end why I call him the bubble fairy. Who knows, maybe I’ll add wings in the end.

So here they are the 4 scenes in the mediums I thought worked best. Let me know which illustration you think would be best in my fairy book.

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