Glitter War: Studies

My Brother asked me to paint a picture for his daughter like the illustrations I did recently. I’m pretty intimidated to paint something for him to be honest, because he is such a talented and accomplished artist. (Did I mention he’s the lead VFX artist for Epic’s Fortnite?) Anyway, I took him up on it because I really like my niece, and because I think he can help me improve a lot through the process.

The painting is going to be large format, which is nice because I’ll have room for a lot of little details. But it also will take a while to paint. So, before investing time in getting right to it, I started by sketching some drafts of the components that need to go into the painting.

He said he wants a painting of dueling princess castles in a glitter war, with flying unicorns and rainbows – just totally over-the-top princess girlie stuff. So, here are some of my initial sketches:

First sketch of the distant castle. I need to play with styling the trees some more. And the flags are too noisy. I like the shingles, but I worry they’ll make it look too close.
Another idea for the distant castle. The perspective is wrong on the towers. By having them curve down it puts the point of view above the towers, making them look squat. Curve up instead to put the point of view beneath them and make the castle feel more grand.
Testing line work and an appropriate level of detail. These lines are much too heavy, and the details are out of scale which makes it feel very small.
Some ideas for added details on the towers.
Tried simplifying it a lot, but it feels bare. And the wall in the distance I colored much too dark, so I abandoned it. Good to know – distant objects can be merged into one wash, but it can’t be too dark.
Continued testing lines and washes – the lines are all much too bold. I’m trying to use my new markers, but they are all too fat.
This is the look I settled on for the distant castle.
Testing out some flying unicorns, er… pegacorns.
The Pegacorns will be dumping baskets of glitter – the handle on the basket will be a rainbow.
Hey wait… how’d that get in here?
These are ideas for the glitter war princess warriors. There will be a lot of them, and they’ll be pretty small, so they need to be simple, but still have personality.
Left: bracing against a glitter bomb. Right: CHARGE!
The other castle will be more squared-off to distinguish it from the distant castle. I need to play with this one more.
Very quick sketch of the composition, just to test how the elements will all fit.
Tested the composition in paint quickly. Too quickly. I like the distant castle, but the mountains are confused, and I wasn’t careful enough with the pegacorns. I’ll need to mask some things for the initial background washes. I also played with some Daniel Smith Irridescent Blue and Irridescent Topaz, I think they’ll work well for this.

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