The Art of Fae Nouveau (Part 2)

This is the second part of an ongoing series of posts detailing a project of mine called Fae Noveau, my own (potentially harmless?) cocktail of three parts Mucha, two parts fairy art and one part fun with friends. In this installment I’ll be going through the process of getting from concept to finished art on several of the images in the series.

© Herb Leonhard

The Queen Bee was modeled by my wife Allyson. We had a very fun photo session in the living room where we tried shooting it from various angles, here are a few examples:

© Herb Leonhard© Herb Leonhard

Once I had some photo reference of the main subject that I was happy with I took those into Photoshop, along with the reference materials for the other, secondary elements, and started playing with the placement of things within a template that I’d made separately. This is the basic template frame:


And this is my working template, a Frankestein-ish hodgepodge of elements culled from the various reference materials collected:

© Herb Leonhard

I then traced that onto the poster board that the final linework was done on. This is how the drawing eventually looked in the coloring book:

© Herb Leonhard

The original full-color painting was initially done only with the intention of being used on the back cover of the Fae Nouveau Coloring Book, so I only painted the few sections of it that were needed for that application.


Some time later, I adapted what I had to create a colored version of the entire image. This was eventually recycled yet again a few years later to become the cover of my book, The Art of Fae Nouveau.

I also did a second photo shoot with Allyson which became the back cover and title page for the second coloring book, Faerie Nouveau.

Faerie-Nouveau-back-cover© Herb Leonhard

Here is one of the photos used for those:

© Herb Leonhard

The entire collection can be seen here

And of course there’s no place like home: