Last Sketch Diary, I talked about the research and design process. Now, I’m diving into all the lovely details that make up the character and the mythos around her.
Before I could move on with this piece, I had to make a decision about the pose. I ended up choosing pose 3 because I like the playfulness of it. The other poses were too assertive or too tragic looking when February is meant to be more welcoming and playful. The subtle smile really sold me on this pose too.
With the pose figured out, my next big decisions involved sorting out the character and her setting. From the start, I knew I wanted to have clootie (hanging prayer cloths), a sacred well, and the beeswax candles, all which harken back to some of the most provocative imagery of February, mainly with saint and goddess Brigid and sacraments of purification involving the beeswax candles. February also clutches an arrow representative of Cupid’s Arrow and the season of love.
I had already established a common element of corset, head garland, and dress with the past Ladies. The corset, especially, is a nice area to include the birthflower element or other symbolic element. I’ve also included a candle crown much like Lady of December‘s, but February’s candles have burned down to represent the end of Winter. Her crown is also flowering, representing the presence of Spring. With all of this in mind, I did some sketching in my croquis sketchbook first:
With these basic costumes in mind, I blocked them in quickly in Photoshop and also explored more wardrobe combinations by cutting elements from each outfit and combining them.
Next, I block in the shape of the flowers at the bottom to make sure they work with the elements of the composition. This also helps me make a final decision about which outfit to go with, since I can see how all the elements work together to fill up the space. I don’t want it to be too busy, which is very easy to do in such a narrow space.
The arrangement on the right is my winner because it allows for some of the background elements (ie. the well, more of the candles) to be shown more clearly. With my major design decisions settled, it’s time to move on to refinement!
Next: Reference gathering, detail refinement, and color testing!