Photo of a sketchbook, showing a watercolor painting of a woman in a dark pink dress. She is holding a potion up to a window showing the full moon outside. Rays of moonlight emanate from the potion. Next to the sketchbook are two paintbrushes and a watercolor tin. On top of the opposite page of the painting is a plastic palette filled with various colors of watercolor paints. Text overlaying the image states: Creating fantasy inspiration boards
Inspiration,  Traditional Painting

Creating Fantasy Inspiration Boards

This post comes from working through a short Skillshare class by Gabrielle Bricky called “Create Inspiration Boards & Streamline Your Artistic Process” The whole course was only 10 minutes, but I found it very inspiring! I liked Gabrielle’s approach on organizing Pinterest boards — so much so that I finally kicked myself in gear and organized my entire Pinterest account, ha. Which was amazing to finally clean up. I made most of my many boards private, but then opened up the four that I made for this class on my public Pinterest Profile.

So even though the class is short, I’d say it’s very worthwhile for motivation alone! ^_^

(Side note, while trying to grab a sharable link to the course, I stumbled on Skillshare wanting me to use a referral link, but I’d rather just link the the course normally rather than deal with referral/affiliate type linking…so no, this isn’t a sponsored/affiliate thing. Just a course that I happen to like.)

The four fantasy inspiration boards I created were:

I didn’t end up using the cottages one for the piece, but I had a lot of fun making it. ^_^

Below is my list of prompts more generally – what I’d like to draw more of in 2024 – but made pretty with a collage. I aimed for being relaxed and chill while making the list – making it a little sketchbook piece of art in its own right, but with no pressure or judgement of what I “should” draw in 2024 or anything. If anything it was a good excuse to use gold star stickers. ^_^

Then I narrowed down making a piece inspired by three specific prompts: alchemist magician, dreamy watercolor, and value (as in having a range of values/contrasting values in the actual artwork).

A sketchbook page showing a collage of floral papers, an orange butterfly, and star stickers. Text on the collage lists various ideas: sorceresses, alchemists, magicians, libraries, spaceships, forest groves, cottages, elves, queens, airships, fountains, and wells. In the lower right it says Project Theme: Alchemist Magician, Style: Dreamy watercolor, Element: value. Notes on the left margin of the page state the idea is from a Skillshare course project by Gabrielle Brickey.
Collage of drawing prompts, and then the selected prompts for the Skillshare course: Alchemist Magician, Dreamy Watercolor, Value.

And here’s the watercolor painting I made based on that prompt & the inspiration/reference boards:

A watercolor painting of a woman in a pink dress. Her back is to the viewer, her hair in an updo with braids. She is raising a potion bottle to a decorative arched window. The window has a triple moon stain glass design on top. Behind is the night sky and a full moon. Moonbeams emanate from the potion bottle.
Title: Imbued with Moonbeams
Date: November 28th, 2023
Medium: Watercolors
Supply list: 6×8 inches Fluid Cold Press Watercolor Paper, HB pencil for initial sketch, Pigma Micron fineliners (mostly size 01, a little 05 and 08), a variety of watercolor paint from M. Graham, Winsor & Newton, and Schmincke, Brushes: Princeton Neptune Round 2, Raphael Imitation Kolinsky Flat 8, Uni-ball Signo white gel pen

No specific reference photo was directly copied, but a mish-mash of various inspirations. I’m very happy with how the painting turned out, but I also see areas I want to improve. Mostly having a strong under sketch, so that structurally the perspective is better. Like, that window is so wobbly T_T.

This piece made me want to study more of Arthur Rackham’s work: I love the pen and ink textures and values achieved in his work. I used a Christmas gift card (from my brother and sister-in-law) to buy the hard cover book Arthur Rackham: A Life with Illustration, so here’s to studying it soon!

I also finished testing out all the default Procreate brushes tonight, and I am so happy ;___;. That took longer than I expected. I’m planning a post to show my test swatches & also the favorites I picked out. I ended up organizing my favorites into the categories of sketching, inking, painting, texture, and smudging. It was a mini project that made me feel so much more comfortable with my iPad & Procreate! Now to narrow down which third party brush sets I want to buy :3

In non-drawing ramblings: I’m up to Day 3 of the Datura January Dreams Challenge. Belly dancing is my happy workout place. I’m feeling better from the cold/flu, but work was a lot of frustration today, with a build process that would not work right to create the development environment I needed. I wanted to bang my head on my keyboard several times. The Protomen (Act I) album I stumbled upon last Friday really helped motivate me, LOL. Here’s hoping that I get the thing working tomorrow morning and figure out why it’s not working the way I expect. For now, it’s getting ready for bed and washing dishes, hooray…

‘Til next time.

Listening to: The Fight, The Protomen
Current mood: accomplished

I'm an illustrator and web developer honing my skills and learning all I can about drawing, painting, and storytelling through visual art.