Over the last two months I completed 20 commissioned illustrations. It was a lot of work, and by the end I was craving the chance to draw some personal work. But I didn't know what I wanted to draw.
For moments like these I visit my Inspiration Pinterest board, where I collect any image online that makes me think, "ooh, I want to draw that!" I found this stock image from Deviantart. I didn't particularly like the model's pose or costume, but I loved the atmosphere of the forest setting. Ever since moving to the Pacific NW I've been thinking about forests a lot.
So what should I draw in the forest? I don't know, how about a deer? I love deer. Oooh, how about a mystical albino deer?
Mystical albino deer for the win! I started laying in some flat colors underneath the sketch.
But I started to feel dissatisfied with the illustration. Something was missing. Something was boring. I considered abandoning the whole thing, but I've been doing that with too many personal pieces lately, and I was determined to work through this one. Then I tried drawing a little girl with white hair and a white dress on the white deer, and I loved it.
Weirdly enough I considered calling the thing finished at this stage. "It's stylized," I told myself. "It's painterly." But a small voice in my head, the voice I have learned to recognize as artistic intuition, told me to take a break and come back later with a fresh perspective.
While traveling over Christmas, I left my computer and this digital painting behind. When I got back, refreshed by a week of turkey dinners and holiday cookies, I saw that this painting wasn't "stylized" or "painterly," it was just a sloppy mess. It was time to tighten things up.
I tried to keep a bit of painterliness in the background trees.
Here's a closeup of the main characters:
But wait, there's more! I tried my hand at making a very subtle little animated version. What do you think?