A Dragon Tea Party | Custom Art Feature
This custom illustration was created as a unique framed gift for an award-winning author from his loving family.
My client presented me with a heartwarming poem titled, “A Dragon Tea Party”, written by her son-in-law for his daughter. The poem is an imaginative tale about a group of colorful female dragons, dressed to the nines in ill-fitting gowns, who partake in a clumsy afternoon tea party. She hoped that I could take the descriptive words of the poem and translate them into a visual representation that would complement the award-winning text.
As I read the poem, I wrote down descriptive words and phrases I knew I wanted to incorporate into the vignette. For example, “Their snouts steaming hot as can be… Lacking cups they will settle to pour straight from the kettle…” was one of the many lines throughout the poem that sparked my imagination and gave me the inspiration to highlight a specific dragon whose snout was steaming from drinking straight from a boiling hot kettle of tea.
After the detailed pencil line drawing was created, I added color to the rough draft sketch with Prisma color pencils to give the client an idea for what the final illustration could look like in full color.
The rough draft drawing was then transferred to final cold press watercolor paper by utilizing a light tracing table and pencil. The colorful dragons and tea party table on the final painting was created using watercolor pencils and a paint brush. Once the layers of watercolor were dry, I added all the fine detail of the tea cups, scones, and patterned gowns with Micron pens and ink. We worked together to design a custom frame and mat combination that would showcase both the art and the poem within the same frame, as if you were reading the pages of an opened children’s book (words are blurred to protect copy write).
I had an absolute blast creating the unique qualities and personalities for each of these “sophisticated” tea party attendees. In creating any children’s book illustration, a lot of the design is from my imagination which is usually sparked from reading the text itself. However, with a “A Dragon Tea Party”, I found reference material by watching Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” during the Mad Hatter tea party scene. An unlikely resource I used for inspiration were the images I found on real life hats worn by female bystanders at the Kentucky Derby!
I love using watercolor and ink for my illustrations. As the artist, there is a sense of freedom and serendipity in the way the color is applied. With a really wet brush and just a little paint, the colors dance around and mix on the page until they dry into the paper. This gives the illustration a playful feeling. To hone in on the details of the work, I use a black ink outline which creates high contrast to the bright colors of the illustration.
It was truly an honor to make this piece of art for my client. A tall tale, that was originally written as a bedtime story for his daughter, is now a framed piece of illustrative artwork that not only highlights an award-winning poem by a talented author but also the love and encouragement of his family.
“He loved the drawing. Thank you so much!” -Julie
The Tools I Used to Make This Art : Click the photos to purchase!