Creating Fairy Tale-like Illustration from scratch!




A fairy tale is a kind of story that typically features fantastic characters from folklore, such as dragons, elves, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, griffins, nuchas, talking animals, trolls, unicorns, or witches. Illustrations like Fairy Tale need to awaken or instigate our imagination and make it seem that something magical is happening in that world, breaking the disbelief. So from this premise, we are going to make an illustration from scratch, from the brief, going through Moodboard of references, sketches with several versions, linework, base colors and polishing. Follow me on this little journey! Do not hesitate to leave your comment and like this post.



The Briefing is a summary of what the finished illustration should look like. Here we have the theme of the month (#FairytaleIllustrations), so we can leave the briefing wide open as the theme proposes. From the briefing you can brainstorm ideas and throw them on a board to direct you when collecting references, in fact it is our next step.


Moodboard is a great tool/resource when you are about to start an illustration, it is nothing more than a board where you gather illustration references that will guide you throughout the process, whether by style, colors, lines used there. So use it sparingly. In my moodboard for this illustration I gathered references from artists but also some references from the real world (fairy wings for example), this will be very useful.

As you can see CLIP STUDIO PAINT has a wonderful resource for references which is the Sub View tool. You can access it through the top menu Window>Sub view.
Within the Sub view window, go to the bottom option (Import) and add as many references as you want.
You can position the floating Sub view window wherever you want on your screen, and its references will be right there, ready to help you.


The next step is to sketch some drafts to generate multiple ideas, remember to gather your ideas from the moodboard and briefing when designing your ideas. 4 to 8 ideas is a reasonable number to extract something cool. At this stage we are not very concerned with anatomy, perspective, structure of the drawing. Here we want to pass on an idea, a narrative with some storytelling.

Listening to the opinion of some art mates, I chose option "B".
But that doesn't necessarily mean it would be the best, but we thought it was the most "direct" when passing on an idea.


One method that has helped me a lot is tracing the line over the sketch. A simple process but of great help.
First we import the sketch, following the steps File>Import>
So we left its opacity low (something around 15%) or whatever works best for you and left the layer mode on Multiply.

After this step, we add the perspective rules with their respective vanishing points. Here I chose to have 3 vanishing points to try to make the scene a little dynamic.
You can separate the lines from the respective vanishing points by color, changing the layer's color to make it easier to see when tracing the scene's perspective lines.

Our next step is to transform this sketch into a clean line, with the correct perspective applied to the scene. Do you realize that I separated the draw lines by color also?
The reason is because I want to keep the planes separate throughout the process. So what's in the foreground has a different color than the midground and in turn different from the background.
Done, now we have the line ready to colors step!!


You remember I mentioned that we would need the separate lines at some point in the process, well, here we are! Let's add colors in separate groups, just like we did with the LINEWORK step. We start with the foreground , mid and finally background. This process is simple, I advise you to just leave the opacity of the line relatively low so you can be sure that you covered the entire selected area, avoiding those (ugly) empty spaces in the following steps.

Blocking colors

So the opening scene can seem scary, after all we have a line waiting for the colors, where and how to start must be the question echoing in our heads:
Create a group for the foreground with the line and block layers.
What is blocking?
Start by selecting the entire area that comprises the line (LINE LAYER) of the foreground with the magic wand, invert the selection and create a new layer below the line layer, now fill everything with any color, you just need it filled.

Create a new layer between the line layer and the blocking layer. After that, clip to layer below (Block color layer). Now just use the magic wand again, select on the line layer the part we want to fill with color and add the color on the new layer. In this case, I chose the leaf on your shoulder, but you can start wherever you want.

Continue this process until everything is colored!
Create as many layers as necessary, but you can have a layer with several parts of the scenery on it, handle it the way that works best for you.

**A valuable tip is: Start with the biggest parts!


It would take a long time to talk properly about lighting and shading in a painting and there are many skilled artists with vast material to talk about. In this illustration I basically used two layer modes, Multiply for shadows in general and Overlay for lighting. Well, what we need to do to light correctly is to define a light source, that is, where the main ambient lighting comes from. In this case I decided that it would come from the top, front and left and warm color. What we must do from now on is to lighten and apply the shadows according to this light source. I created a new layer in multiply mode above the flat color layers and below the line layer for each group (Foreground, midground and background). I used a slightly saturated tone, because later on I might need to change the temperature of the shadow and that will be necessary. And I applied the shadow according to the basics of lighting and shading on simple objects.

But what are the basic fundamentals for lighting objects? Let's take a quick look at the image below.

Using these fundamentals I applied shadow and lighting throughout the illustration.
If this helped you understand better I'm happy.


It is in this step that we define the kind of materials (metal, wood, etc), add high lights, etc and make the plane transitions less or more abrupt!

Here we have a reasonably cool illustration, but we can improve it with some finishing touches. That's what we'll see next.


In this final tweak we will try to highlight what matters in the illustration, separate planes to give depth and add a frame to it all!

To separate the planes I'm going to select midground and background and apply a gaussian blur effect. It's a simple trick but it satisfactorily fools any apprentice mage lol. That's because when blurring the background planes, you take the focus away from there, because the information on what is illustrated there becomes "confused", making the viewer turn their eyes to the foreground. You know.

Noise Filter

As we to take the focus away from the midground and background, how about now we draw attention to the foreground?
Noise is an extremely cool and important resource when we want to add information to the painting.

What we need here is to select the foreground and create an overlay layer above the foreground and fill it with gray 50% .

Next, we go to Filter>Blender> Perlin Noise and apply the adjustments as shown in the image below.
Ready!!! The magic is there! Micro dots filled in your image, attracting the attention of those looking at it, because there is "information" there!


Now with a simple layer in multiply mode and 70% gray we will use a round soft brush to create a frame around our illustration and that will make us look more towards the center of the image!


It's always interesting to create an illustration from scratch where you need to imagine something that doesn't exist and still convince everyone! We can say that the task was successful as we explored the process well in all its stages and the CSP allows and provides us with tools to do so.
A delicious journey with something captivating at the end!



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