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Shimmer Fey – A Painting in Four Stages

posted by Matt Ward on Jun 27, 2009.

In today’s post, I am thought I would show some of the stages of my digital painting entitled “Shimmer Fey”, which I painted for my wife. This should give you at least a glimpse of my workflow when creating a detailed illustration like this. Of course, every single project is different, but for the most […]

In today’s post, I am thought I would show some of the stages of my digital painting entitled “Shimmer Fey”, which I painted for my wife. This should give you at least a glimpse of my workflow when creating a detailed illustration like this. Of course, every single project is different, but for the most part, these stages represent the way I work. Let’s start with the initial sketch.

Original Sketch

Stage 1 -Original Sketch

Often, if I am working on an illustration of some sort, I will do at least one initial sketch on paper. Sometimes, I will scan that sketch and use it as a starting point. In this instance, however, I did everything right in Photoshop itself, using my Wacom tablet. The first stage was just a really loose sketch, which was basically just to establish the positioning of the fairy, and to block out some main lines.

Stage 2 - Basic Colours

Stage 2 - Basic Colours

Once I had the sketch established, I increased the resolution and started blocking in the basic colours. This helps to establish the palette for the piece.

Stage 3 - Much More Detail

Stage 3 - Much More Detail

This third stage shows the biggest leap in progress. By this point, I have added in the background (based on a heavily modified image of a forest), built up the flower on which the fairy is sitting and worked out much of the detail in the fairy herself. By this point, the basic feel and composition of the piece has been set.

Stage 4 - Final Image

Stage 4 - Final Image

The fourth stage is also the final stage. From the third stage through to this completed image, most of the work simply involved what I call polishing. I worked up a bit more detail. You’ll notice that I also changed the colour of the flower itself. Because I work with so many different layers in my Photoshop illustrations, it was easy to just apply a couple colour adjustments to the layers containing the flowers.

I also worked to create more depth through the use of light and shadow, and by applying a slight blur to the immediate foreground. If you compare the final product against the image in its third stage, I think that you will find that it has a lot more weight and dimensionality.

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About the Author

Matt Ward is a digital artist who lances freely under the moniker of Echo Enduring Media, and specializes in graphics design, illustration and writing. He is also the Creative Director for Highland Marketing, a creative direct marketing company based out of Waterloo, Ontario. You can follow Matt on Twitter

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Comments

Jun 28, 2009

Kelly says:

Nice babe. I love my painting and I look forward to seeing other ones.
God has definately blessed you with this talent.

Sep 3, 2009

justBcoz says:

Fantastic! Thanks for this, Matt. How interesting to see your process. I *must* get into this myself – I have a little tablet pen thingy that I recently bought for this very reason and you’ve inspired me to take the plunge! Gotta start somewhere, sometime :-)

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