Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Wild Swans - touchdown

For my thesis, one of the stories I am illustrating is Hans Christian Andersen's The Wild Swans. This has always been one of my favorite fairy tales, but few people know about it because Disney has never done their own version. And to most people, Disney is the beginning and end of all fairy tales.

Anyway, in this story, a princess's eleven brothers are put under an spell where during the day, they're swans. At night, they turn back into humans. The princess's brothers want to take her across the sea to their kingdom, so they weave a basket for her to ride in while they carry her over the sea. But the sun begins to set and there is no land in sight. At the last minute they find a tiny rock to land on before the swans turn back into princes.

Here are a few of the thumbnails I did for this illustration. But the one that my feedback group chose was this one:

So I started adding some color digitally, and began to add shading and details.

But something was off about the princess's pose. So I threw on a "costume," placed a dining room chair on our coffee table and asked my ever-patient husband to take a photo.


Using this reference photo greatly improved the drawing. I don't know why I keep thinking I'll be fine without reference photos. They make everything so much easier.

I used a rain brush from amorphisss' deviantart page, and it made creating the rain effect super easy and fast.

I'm really happy with how this turned out. All semester long, my professor has been pushing me for "more drama!!!" and I think I finally achieved that here.


  1. Really glad to have found your work! It's awesome to see your process pics - your thumbnails are much prettier than mine ever are. Love this piece, and all your other fairytale illustrations!

    1. Thanks, Wylie! I just found your work today too and I look forward to seeing more of your stuff!

  2. I used this picture on my review of Hans Christian Anderson's Wild Swans. I hope you don't mind, but if you do just leave me a comment or email on my blog and I will have it taken down. I have credit given back to you.


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