Foxes for the Holidays

Every year I make a Holiday card to send out to clients that I have worked with in the past year. It's a great excuse for me to do something whimsical and fun as a "thank you" to the nice folks I have had the pleasure to work with. The longer I have done these, the further away I seem to get from actual "Christmas" themes. Now, it seems, as long as I hint at a possibility of snow, the card feels appropriate. ^^

This particular image was an old, dusty sketch from the long, long ago of 2008. I was rummaging through my old digital files, trying to get an idea of what I wanted to do for my card this year, when I came across this gem...

It's a little embarrassing that I could scrawl something so poorly drawn, but it does contain some of my favorite things to draw: pretty girls with pointy ears, cute animals, lanterns and japanese themed clothing. So I blew this up and printed out some reference photos for a shamisen, geisha kimonos and tatami mats to redraw the sketch.

The final ink was done with my favorite chinese painting brush (the "happy dot" brush ^^) and winsor newton watercolor brushes on Canson Pro Marker layout paper.

I did quite a bit of refining as I inked. Sometimes it is easier for me to draw with a brush as I'm finishing. (Read this blog post to see why I am inking in 2 colors.)

Lately I have been coloring a lot of my line work and also using color holds to make a good chunk of that line work blend in with the other flats. While this does diminish my line a little, I think it lends itself to stronger finished pieces. In any case, despite the extra time I have to spend on the finals (and the extra work that goes into prepping the layers so they render neatly), I am really liking the results.

A bunch of folks have asked me about layers and textures and what I use to do my finals. When it comes to stuff like that, I feel like you really need to work out your own style of coloring and do what you feel works best for you. I am including this screenshot of the shadow and texture layers as they render, so you can see the difference between the flats and the finished color.

And here's the final image! Cheers, and happy holidays :)

You can by the print of this piece through my deviant art account. Just in time for the holidays :D


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