Apologies to the incomparable and classic Schoolhouse Rock for the title to this article!
So, a friend recently asked me to draw a picture for her. I asked if there was anything specific Holly had in mind, and her only request was that I somehow involve blue butterflies. I thought about it for a couple of days, then inspiration struck, and I decided to have a go at the Blue Fairy. Fairies appear in a lot of childhood stories, and the Blue Fairy is perhaps most famous from Disney’s version of Pinocchio.
Drawing real people is tricky, especially if it is someone you know and don’t want to disappoint. I really wasn’t overly worried about anything else except how Holly would react to seeing my version of her on the page. Of course my stock in trade leans towards cartoon, without exaggeration, so I strive for imagery that resembles the actual person but is not an exact replication. That leaves me some room for error and embellishment!
I actually drew just her face first… checking flesh tones and getting that down… and she was okay with that, so I then worked on and off for another week at random times filling in the details and flourishes until I finished it earlier this week and showed her the final design…
I was pleased with how this one turned out all around. It doesn’t look exactly like Holly, I took some liberties in the design and of course she isn’t actually a fairy in real life (as far as I know), but she does really have that butterfly tattoo on her foot :). I’m happiest with how the flying butterflies look as well as the larger version of those same butterfly wings for Holly as the Blue Fairy.
FYI, it was an eleventh hour decision to encase her in the semi-transparent bubble. I kept thinking the picture looked empty, but didn’t really want to add a busy background that might distract from the butterflies… and inspiration struck again as I thought of encasing them all inside that bubble. It was never in the plan until it was the plan, and I think it kind of makes the whole thing work.
I already know what Holly thinks… but everyone else, please, chime in and let me know what you think of this one. Also, remember, if you’d like an original commission by me or would like to hire me as an Illustrator, please use the Contact page and let me know as much as you can about your request.
Creating a daily strip is a lot different than reading one. Each day I post a new part of an ongoing story, and you see it for the first time. Generally speaking, each story takes place now as of the time of posting whether it reflects a current event, the current season, or just seems to be an event that takes place in non-specific time.
That’s how you see them… but it’s not how I create them.
Many of the stories you see are created out of order. Sometimes even the parts of a story were created out of order or as segments intended for an entirely different plot. I never know when an idea will hit me or what time of year that idea might best take place, so I take notes and make scribbles and build story arcs as they come to me. You don’t want to lose a good idea just because it comes to you at the wrong time of year!
So… I’m building stories out of order, constantly reshuffling the publishing hierarchy, and creating story arcs several months in advance. That takes me to the subject of this post, Halloween in July. As I looked over my completed stories today I realized the timeline of currently complete stories takes me into October. It made me realize that I need to start planning now for holiday-themed posts before I write myself into a corner.
Why is that, you ask?
Well, I’m not going to stop writing today (I hope)… and I know that over the next couple of months I will come up with new ideas that will push other ideas to a different publishing schedule. If I don’t pay attention to the future, I could find myself a few months from now in the middle of an uninterruptible story arc that doesn’t allow a timely Halloween-themed story to be published.
That means today, on the last day of July, I found myself drawing a jack o’lantern and candy canes and holly. You will see none of this for several months, and when you do it will seem timely and appropriate… but maybe you’ll also remember that for me Halloween started in July this year.