This illustration is actually the work of several years.
I made the original sketch a few years ago. I don’t know how long exactly, because it was before I started recording dates on my work. I think that at the time I thought it gave them a 'timeless’ quality?
Anyway, I scanned it into the computer, enlarged it, lightened the lines, and printed it to 'clean up’ the lace pattern in ink. At some point after this, I coloured the ball gown and the lady wearing it, and then left the picture in a drawer and forgot about it until I found it a couple of months ago.
When I found it, I realized her legs were out of proportion for a standing figure, so I put her in a chair. Then I decided she should be reaching for something, since she wasn’t curtsying, and added the side table and book.
That made the other side of the picture look empty, so I sketched the fireplace and the joint of the wall and floor - and then decided to go whole-hog and put a bookshelf recessed into the wall behind her, framed in wrought iron.
I’m pleased with the overall look, particularly with how the books, marble bookends, and geodes turned out. I think that not inking the books’ outlines helps them recede into the background, in contrast to the chair, the table and book on it, the brickwork inlaid in front of the fireplace, and the fire grille.
Colours are a combination of pencil crayon, brush pen, and coloured pen. The princess was inked in a standard blue ballpoint pen; if I were to ink this image again, I would probably keep that for her dress, flower, and jewellery, but change pens for outlining her skin and hair. On the other hand, it does make her the unquestionable focus point of the image.
Here is the original sketch, for comparison:
(This post has been cross-posted [link] on my tumblr account.)