Behind the scenes of Unfettered – Part 3


This illustration is a favourite of mine. I love nature in all forms.

So, this is the last of the Unfettered behind the scenes. Most of the other illustrations are created using the same technique.

Digital has become my main tool for creating coloured images. The flexibility it gives me is important. My brain isn’t always fixed on an image, but just an idea and digital caters for that. Building up the image in layers gives me freedom to move, adjust and add elements as I go.

Oils is a medium I wouldn’t mind investigating, but for now digital works for me.


This was titled Huntress when I started but later changed to be not as influential for the writers.

Below is the rough I sent to Tiny Owl Workshop. Enough colour to give the idea form and tone. You can see the pencil in the background which was the rough sketch (which I forgot to screen grab) that I used for the base guideline.

I pulled up a lot of reference for this illustration. Feathers and fur was a main feature and it had to be right.



As you go through the screen grabs you might notice that some other areas have progressed. I tend to skip around the illustration working on different sections in stages, slowly building up the illustration.

For this blog, I’ll be focusing on particular elements of interest.

Base colour is applied first. I’ve put in a dark background for now as the end illustration will be darkish in tone and this will give me an indication of how the colours will sit together.



Then a rough indication of the facial features.



This was then worked on by applying tones and various colours that create the skin colour. Our skin isn’t one colour with just light and dark, but many colours. Blues, purples, reds and greens are all amongst rainbow of colours that create the look.


These were added and slowly blended together. I also slightly changed the shape of the face from the original.



I started to build the animals and birds around our main character.



You can see here the breakdown of the colours as I begin to fill out the wildlife.



The birds were worked around the character. You can see the negative area where she would be placed.



Here’s the swan in progress.



Layers were built so I could switch them on and off to work on certain sections. I could then concentrate on how shadows should interact and also light. You can see that on the characters chest I’ve started to work on the shadow for the hands.



Here is a rabbit fur sample I’ve created for this blog.

Top left is the flat colour.

Top right I’ve applied the base colours.

Bottom left I’ve started to blend the colours together.

Bottom right is nearing the final look.



The pattern in the veil was created in illustrator and then applied to the illustration. This was an addition to the original idea. You can see here the early forms of the veil as I’m thinking about how it should look.



Lots of time was spent on this this illustration with the feathers and overall light and shadow. And same as the other illustrations, colours and contrasts were adjusted for the final image.