My Aunt suggested I paint a wedding card for my brother Hugh and his new wife Alice, which I thought it was a lovely idea, and would be a special keepsake.
My first thought for the design was a Quentin Blake style couple, caricatures of Hugh and Alice, dancing up the aisle. I wanted to create a feeling of joy, laughter, and movement. I thought loose pen and wash would work well, with lots of white space. Here’s the idea sketch.
I hadn’t done caricatures before, so spent some time working on them, and made several sketches of each of the faces. Working at this small scale, the slightest difference to the line of the eyes or the mouth made them look like different people. I was happy with an early caricature of the bride, but the groom wouldn’t come right, and after many sketches ended more like a portrait than a caricature.
I had fun doodling some different possible flower designs to go round the couple's feet.
I then developed the design as a pencil drawing. The happy couple dancing towards us, with the lettering creating a church-door-like shape. The confetti and flowers are to give colour and prettiness, which I think is nice in a wedding card.
I emphasised the heart shapes of the rose petal confetti. By having them falling down around the couple, not yet having reached the floor, some closer, some further away, I felt added movement and a sense of capturing a moment in time.
I traced in the faces, from the caricatures that I was most happy with. This wasn't completely successful, so I decided to draw their faces again on the final design.
The design had become more intricate and pretty, and less loose than I first envisaged, and I thought that pen might look heavy. This image came up on my instagram account, from Diana Lyvue, which inspired me to try using watercolour for the drawing, as well as to fill the image.
This change to watercolour outline had quite an impact on the style of the faces, and made them even more like miniature portraits than caricatures.
I ended up doing quite a lot of the painting using a freestanding magnifying glass to help me see the detail, and my size 1 series 7 brush.
I found that the pencil design couldn't be erased from under where I had used iridescent medium on the bride's veil, so used white acrylic, in tiny dots like pearls, to cover that up. I also painted the groom's corsage and other small light details in acrylic, rather than trying to mask them. The details were too small to use masking fluid.
Originally we were thinking that this would be the card my Aunt and Uncle would give to the couple, and I was intending to get the card printed. But I hadn't got it finished in time, so I used the original image to make a big card, which everybody at the wedding signed. I am so pleased it worked out this way, as I think that made it even more special for the bride and groom.
I was very happy with the effect of the confetti, and the connection between the bride and groom.
If I were starting this project again I would either stay with pen and wash and caricatures, or watercolour and portraits, as I feel the bride’s face here falls in between the two. I would also add more flowers.
The bride and groom were delighted with the card. I am so pleased to have been part of bringing them a bit of extra happiness on the day, and helping them to treasure their memories. I will too! It was one of my favourite weekends ever.