Pick up a pencil and follow Larry MacDougall's concept creation process in this first of a three-part series.
Step 01: There are an endless number of ways to draw faeries, so I decide to jump in with the first page and just see what happens with some random doodles. I am thinking about poses and costumes and what kind of personality the faerie might have. Is she good or bad, sneaky or shy? I have to find out through drawing. I like what is happening and I decide to keep going and push onto another page.
Step 02: I am starting to feel warmed up and I keep drawing. Faeries are closely tied to the natural world and so I draw a wren in the lower right corner. Maybe it will spark an idea. It could be something I want to come back to later. I kind of like the faerie in the upper left corner with the bee. This idea has potential. Let’s keep going and see what happens.
Step 03: The faerie with the bee from the previous page has inspired me to try again, so I draw the central figure on this page and play up what I am calling the “ragamuffin” character I felt she had from the first drawing. I like this idea but I push on and try a few other things. I give the one on the left a kind of Brian Froud-inspired hat and cover it with vines and wild flowers.
Step 04: I still like the ragamuffin idea and have advanced to calling it the Ragamuffin Ballet. I want to see what else I can come up with. One has a rain drop and I come in a bit closer and do a sort of portrait on another one. I want to see if I can start to pin down what she might look like. It’s still too soon for anything definite but I would like to have something in the bank if further explorations do not pan out
Step 07: Here I am now thinking about ghosts, spirit faeries and mysterious beings half glimpsed at twilight. The central figure still has a wasp-like costume but the emphasis is now on spooky and dangerous shadow faeries. I want to keep the drawings vague and misty so that you’re not quite sure what you’re looking at. This will help to strengthen the supernatural idea.
Step 08: I keep drawing, but the shadow faeries are less spooky and I start coming back to the lighter side of the unseen realm. The Ragamuffin Ballet is still in the back of my mind, although I am still drawing in a ghostly and blurred way with lost edges and non-contrasting tones. While drawing the figure on the right, some random lines begin to indicate a muscular arm, and so I go with it even though it seems completely inappropriate for that kind of character. I can’t stop myself.