Jennifer Hancock, a freelance fashion and beauty illustrator— and the artist behind The Illustrated Bride —walks you through her process of creating lace illustration. Follow along and try it out!
In my illustration business I offer custom keepsake bridal illustrations to be given as gifts for weddings and anniversaries. I was honored to be featured in an artist interview on the Copic Marker blog this past May, and I am excited to be back. Most of my custom commissions are bridal in nature, and that means I get to draw a lot of lace! I use many Copic products to achieve the textured look I want my lace to have. Below I outline my general illustration process—as well as what I do to make the lace in my illustrations pop from the page!
I begin all of my illustrations with a detailed pencil draft. If I am illustrating a custom piece for an actual bride, here is where I decide what pose suits her personality and gown silhouette best.
If I am doing a freestyle illustration, I usually start with the gown in mind. Then I decide on pose, hairstyle, facial expression, and accessories that should be included to really compliment the gown I envision.
For this illustration, I deviated from bridal just a touch, and envisioned this woman attending an evening gala or awards ceremony.
Once I get the illustration foundation just right, I go over it with a fine black line and erase the pencil drawn foundation. This leaves me a clean outline that is ready for color and detail.
If the dress is not solid lace, I will often outline a section in pencil to be filled with a lace pattern. When deciding how to create a lace pattern, I find it is best not to get too intricate with detail, because the dress can become dark and heavy looking, especially if you are trying to keep the dress bridal-white.
I added quite a bit of detail in this illustration, as I plan for the dress to be a warm silver-gray. I imagined an Alencon lace design, which is characterized by large florals and can be somewhat chunky in texture.
When creating the inked illustration foundation, I was sure to make the outline of the dress bumpy to add to the lace texture. I filled the empty space between the florals with non-specific squiggles to give the impression of leaves or vines, without becoming too heavy and dark with detail.
When adding color, I often like to color the skin first. I find it helps me see the subject coming to life.
Next I lay the color foundation of the gown. In this case its is the lightest gray in a series of gray shades I will be using.
To begin adding depth to the lace, I go over each lace section dotting in a darker shade of the base color around the larger floral doodles, to give them a raised effect.
Next, I begin adding dimension to the gown by shading the fabric folds and where the gown would hug the body. I go back over the new darker areas with an even darker shade and continue to add it around the florals to keep them raised even in shadow. Additional Materials
I complete the illustration by adding white colored pencil to highlight the raised parts of lace even further, and white paint marker to give the impression of bead or crystal embroidered in the lace.
I use colored pencil to add texture and depth to makeup, hair, and skin. I often add metallic paint to highlight jewelry as I did with silver in this illustration. I hope you enjoyed this lace illustration tutorial, and found my process useful in adding drama and romance to your illustrations!