At the difference of a lot of the other projects (so far…), this illustration gave the focus on the decorative elements. There were letter involved, but they had to be tied with a background more illustrative than usual and match its cartoonish atmosphere.
Behind the scene
The illustration started with a really rough thumbnail (unfortunately lost), setting up the scene for a cauldron over the fire where some magic would be brewing, and the layout of the message pretty much where it ended up in the end.
With this general idea in mind, the next part was creating a tidy sketch that could be used as support for the digital rendering. The final details could be adjusted on the computer, but I needed at least the main shapes to be clean. Especially the letters and how they would interact with the illustration: the “make” behing subtly hidden by some fumes and “magic” getting its feet licked by the flames. The type was chosen to be quite cartoonish, to match the overal feel of the illustration.
Once the supporting sketch was ready, it was time to get on the computer for rendering. There were too many parts to ink each bit separately and then reassemble them. And I wanted to keep some kind of wobbliness/handmade feel to the lines, so I set to paint the artwork digitally (rather than make a neat tracing in Illustrator). This would also allow me to give an early go at colors and set the mood of the scene.
After that first rough pass, I could then focus on the details. I brought the fire to life with some texture, added some dimension to the logs with some shadows and make the cauldron and “magic” a bit more… well… magical with a brighter, glowing green. Which led to the illustration as it is now.