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1. Produce initial sketches
I want the queen to appear menacing and evil, yet still retain a sense of beauty and allure. After all, she’s the second fairest in the kingdom. I generate a few drawings to accompany my Snow White sketches. I prefer the second sketch of the queen because she looks the most scheming. However, I like the composition of the third sketch better.
2. Make some alterations
Sometimes sketches don’t work out the first time and there’s nothing wrong with combining ideas. I copy and paste the second sketch of the queen into the background of the third. I change the apple from green to red, which creates more cohesion with Snow White. The overall image becomes darker and more ominous as I heighten the contrast.
3. Develop costume and background
I want the queen to appear extremely vain, and create a lavish gown with an imposing collar. The mirror also enforces her conceit and, because of its importance to the fairy tale, I have it fill most of the background. I paint over these elements with dark blue on a Soft Light layer to make the queen stand out more strongly.
4. Hair texture
To create a soft yet textured look, I begin with a neutral base colour. When it comes to hair, I embrace the random and paint irregular marks with a soft oval brush. I use the streaky brush next to add minor details, but am careful not to overdo it.
I want to match the queen’s jewellery with her make-up so I choose a bright green: a colour associated with envy. First I paint a darker colour, then layer on highlights. Don’t ignore the light source, and remember that shiny objects reflect colour from surfaces around them. I also consider the lighting when texturing the silver. It should be less polished than the jewels, so I paint small imperfections and speckles of colour.
I want this piece to have a similar but darker lighting scheme than Snow White. The light enters from above on the left, so I paint the cast shadows in blue on a Soft Light layer mode. I also add a soft orange light from behind to help separate the queen from the background.
Compared with Snow White, this piece is far more balanced and symmetrical, which reinforces the queen’s command and confidence. I incorporate a variety of dynamic, contrasting shapes by adding circular and geometric elements such as the costume and mirror.