Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy

For Colour Collective's 'Gold' prompt I thought I really needed to do something Christmassy. To have 'Gold' so close to Christmas (even if it is still November)... I just couldn't pass that up. There's been lots of advertising for The Nutcracker around, so I used that as my inspiration. I've never actually seen The Nutcracker, but I didn't let that stop me!

The Sugarplum Fairy is generally (as far as I've seen) shown dressed in mostly white, a very pale and etherial being, but I wanted to change things around a bit. As she lives in 'The Land of Sweets', I was thinking it would be nice to have lots of chocolate and caramel colours (classier than candy cane red and white), and a generous helping of icing-sugar sparkles. There are various conflicting stories on what 'sugar plums' actually are: I grew up with my mother telling me they were actually prunes, and the internet gives me options ranging from sugared almonds to truffles of dried fruit rolled in brown sugar, to purple sugar-coated sweets to preserved plums. So lots of room for interpretation there! (that, or no one knows what they're talking about at all, in which case I can't get it wrong!) 


I chose to have a dark fairy for a number of reasons - dark skin looks so lovely against dull golds, it adds to the 'chocolate' theme, and sparkles show up beautifully, so she could have a proper dusting of icing sugar and look fabulous while rocking it. 

I took screenshots of Nina Kaptsova dancing so I could get a pose from the actual choreography. Here's the screenshot I used:

And here are a couple of progress shots:

As you can see, I flirted with the idea of an icy blue night-time background for a while, but in the end I decided to use as much gold as possible. I kept the background fairly muted to help her stand out.

I'm really pleased with how her tutu and wings came out - They were mainly created with Kyle Webster's 'Gouache Bonus Gritty' brush, on multiple layers with opacity lowered. Very easy, and I think very effective!

4-5 hours in Adobe Photoshop CC 2016 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. I hear a new Wacom mobile tablet is coming out, and I'll be interested to see if they've fixed the myriad problems I've got with mine. A charging pin that works would be an excellent start....

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