One goal for 2012 that I succeeded in fulfilling was monthly participation in Illustration Friday. (Yeah!) And it's my firm intention to continue doing so this year. Thinking of all the ways a topic can be interpreted and then trying to get an idea, a vision that's interesting and not clichéd as well as interesting to execute really revs up the ole creative apparatus.
Fortunately, there aren't any topic police (and some submissions to IF have a very tenuous connection to the topic), because, as you can see, the "wings" in my illustration here are more or less gratuitous. Or perhaps merely decorative would be a kinder way to put it. I labored on a totally different concept for more than a day, finally concluding that it wasn't working and I didn't like it. This one sort of evolved, starting with the young woman who came out of a vintage photograph from The Graphics Fairy, the best site I've found for vintage graphics and illustrations. After making a composite of several layers of her, with different filters and blend modes, I started searching Lost and Taken for a textured background. At this point I was simply involved in the image that was evolving, no longer focusing on "wings," although there were a couple of random butterflies left over from my previous abandoned attempt. Then the next day I thought of adding a landscape to the background, and after much experimentation with effects, I was pleased with the result.
I couldn't let all that time and effort go to waste, could I? So I threw in a few more butterflies, with drop shadows, of course. (When in doubt, add drop shadows.) And, voilà, Wings!