Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Princess Luna

My dear friend Amanda got married this past weekend near Temecula, CA. As is my tradition, I illustrated a custom poem as her wedding gift. The first step is writing an appropriate poem. I went through several versions until I finally got it right.

Next, I started sketching out thumbnails for the illustration. I had great difficulty in deciding on a pose for the couple. A lot of the imagery that was coming to me was that of just my friend, which would make a great image, however, this illustration and poem is about the couple. So I kept researching and thumbnailing. It took awhile, but I finally found a pose that was perfect for the illustration:

Now that I had the poses down, I need to illustrate my friend Amanda and her husband-to-be, Patrick:

After the sketches were complete, I scanned them and began to digitally ink them in Illustrator:

After I finished inking and adding flat color for Amanda, I examined Patrick's some more and tried digitally inking him in, but the pose was just not quite right (as you can see below). So I had to go back and do a fresh sketch of Patrick in a slightly different pose.

Also, I noticeda few areas that would need to be cleaned up once I took the image into Photoshop:

I decided to make Patrick's post a bit more formal since he used to be in the Air Force, I figured a more "rigid" pose for him would make sense and also be a contrast to Amanda's more carefree pose. I inserted Patrick and the new pose was working now. I got him digitally inked. And then it hit me: in the poem, I made reference to Princess Luna's "silver wings". There were no wings in the illustration! So it was back to the research and sketchbook for me:

And now that we had Princess Luna's wings, I inked them and the illustration was ready. Well, almost…looks like Patrick is hiding, so I had to make a few adjustments before I took the file into Photoshop.

Once I got the flat color version into Photoshop, I added textures and lighting and arrvied at the final image:

I experimented with a new format for my illustrated poems this time around. I set the text in Illustrator and the brough it into Photoshop, where I applied the wing texture as a background to tie the two images together. I added a slight moon-like silver glow to the text in keeping with the "Princess Luna" imagery.

One of the things that has always bothered me about my illustrated poems is how the poem takes up space on the illustation itself. The new format allows the image to stand on its own, with the poem complementing it. With the new format, I'm mounting the illustration and poem to specialty papers that complement the color palate of the image. I received the wedding invitation just as I was searching for paper, and I was able to incoropate the colors from the invitation (or as close as I could get) into the background.

I'm really pleased with the new format that I've developed for my illustrated poems, I think it makes a nice presentation. Here is how the final 11x14 image looks framed:

To Amanda and Patrick, may your new life together be filled with happiness and love!

All sketches and illustrations, as well as the poem you see here are all copyright© 2008 Nicholas J. Nawroth, All Rights Reserved.

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