A professor asked me to do a painting demo at school, so he could learn about my techniques. So I thought, "gee, I'd better do something good" so I defaulted to a reliable subject: pretty girl in front of a flat background. And also a bird, because it seems like birds are becoming my specialty lately.
I started with this stock photo from Deviantart, and made a pencil sketch from it. I went with a horizontal format because I wanted to try drawing something that looked like a MTG card.
I usually try to bring my own creativity to a photo reference rather than copying it faithfully, so I tried to think up some sort of back story for this girl. My idea is that she uses this figure of a bird to summon it from skeleton bones. She's kind of a social outcast because she's always hanging out with these half-zombie-like creatures.
I tried to get several different textures in this illustration, so there's fur, feathers, silk, stone, pearls and of course lots of hair. It was a lot of fun to draw, and I like the idea of doing more with this character.