Victorian Christmas Shoppers

My Christmas illustration season continues with this piece for Metro Creative.

The assignment’s original direction was very loose. I was simply instructed to create some type of Victorian era street scene with a few shoppers that could be used as a decorative holiday image. So I started off by drawing a few quick thumbnails. They looked fine, and any one of the approaches would have fit the bill. But as I worked, I thought that we could take the piece a step further and use this as an opportunity to tell a story. The creative director agreed and this painting of the little boy starring into the toy shop’s window was the result.

I began by sketching various scenes in which a child would be looking with desire into a toy store’s window. A, “Look at all that incredible stuff,” kind of a thing. That was ok, but kind of flat, and it certainly had been done many times before. As I tried various angles and approaches, this story began to emerge and the drawings went in another direction. Now the little boy stares into the shop’s window, but instead of just oogling the various toys, he’s anxiously looking at the place where the toy, the one he has been hoping against hope to receive for Christmas, used to sit. But what’s this? Its spot on the shelf is empty! He can’t believe his eyes. What a let down! Not to worry though, because what he doesn’t see, (and we get to), is the satisfied look on his parent’s faces. It’s a sure bet that on Christmas morning our boy will have a fantastic surprise.