Fantasy Fairy Drawing in 4 Steps With Photoshop

Wouldn't you like to complete a fantasy fairy drawing seeing as fairy illustrations are always cool to view? We will be breaking down the process of creating fairy drawings using common drawing tools combined with layering techniques.

Drawing fairies can be simple as long as you break down each simple element. Aside from the basic drawing brushes, you will learn about layer grouping to keep things organized as well as learning about layer effects to get the transparent wings.

To start things off, fairies are typically depicted with floral backgrounds. This means that this drawing of a fairy will benefit you as it gives you a few tips for drawing flora.

There are a lot of techniques involved here. But if you stay focused and think through each of these techniques, you will increase your skill set by leaps and bounds as you work on fairy drawings and other illustrations.

Sketching a fantasy fairy drawing

On a new layer, being a few gesture lines to start your drawing of a fairy. You gesture lines will include how the subject is posing as well as the type of background she is in.

For example, try drawing your fairy sitting in a flower. It is nothing more than a quick sketch to tie in proportions and flow of the composition.

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If you are still having troubles with proportions and the human form, take a step back and review a bit more about the human body or use a reference for help.

Choose what type of wings your fairy may have. The common type is the butterfly wings. Otherwise, try a leaf-shaped wing. Once you are done creating the type of composition, the next step is to fill in the details.

Organizing the fantasy fairy drawing

While the gesture sketch gives you an idea of the composition, you will need to think about your drawing of a fairy in layers and how to organize these layers. Created individual layers for the front flower petals, the fairy, the fairy's outer wing, the fairy's inner wing, the background petals, and the background itself.

In each of the layers, work on the details based on the gesture sketch (again, the gesture sketch is on its own layer). Then, turn it into a solid object.

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A solid shape is done with creating a new layer underneath the sketch, filling it with 100% color in the shape of what I want (a wing, for example), and merging it with the sketch.

Each of the different solid object should be on a different layer in the composition. This is to keep everything separated so it can be painted on later. The solid layers will make sure that none of the background will show through the fairy or the flower and to give some freedom for making mistakes.

Detailing the fantasy fairy drawing

With the solid objects in place, the next phase is to preserve the transparency of each individual object layer. That means you can paint on that particular object without fear of going out of its boundaries.

Paint in the little details of the fairy using a chalk brush. Start with large shadows and gently work in the details by painting light on her. Smudge in any details that are too sharp or out of place. For the wings, start painting in a leaf patter (or butterfly pattern) and then gently smudge it into place. Switch to a smaller brush and create the veins of the wings.

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For the flower, just gently glaze over the leaves with a large chalk brush to create depth. Switch back and forth between a dark tone and a light tone. Lighter tones will indicate areas that are pushed outwards towards the viewer while darker tones represent indentation in the object.

Once you are satisfied with the results, carefully erase or repaint areas that you feel could be improved. After that, it is time to work on creating lighting effects to finish off your drawing of a fairy. If you have kept all your layers separate, especially the wings, creating lighting and shadows will be a piece of cake.

Shading the fantasy fairy drawing

If you are using Photoshop, you can create a clipping mask for the shading. A clipping mask is a layer allows you to paint shadows and lighting without destroying the details you worked on hard on since it is on a top layer that conforms to the shape layer.

Otherwise, preserve the transparency and continue to paint on the layer if your software does not have this feature. Start working on the light and shadow of your fairy and the flowers based on the light source.

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For the wings, make it transparent by changing the entire layer from 'normal' to 'overlay/soft light.' You can also adjust the opacity of the layer as an alternative.

To spice things up and to add even more depth, add blades of grass at the foreground, on a separate layer, and blurred it into place.

Near the end, add little sparks of light (using the splatter option) to further increase that mystical feel. Additional value corrections can be done using contrasting and brightness options or the dodge and burn tools to enhance its contrast.

While that is a lot of work for completing a fantasy fairy drawing, the end results should be stunning; not to mention figuring out a whole bunch of new applications of new and existing tools.