An original wedding present
One day Jan, a beautiful Australian lady, contacted me by email. She had seen my illustrations in Mimpi the Balinese Cat (Mimpi is my Balinese cat) series, Delicious Story recipe book series and What to do in Ubud * illustrated Ubud Map, and wanted to ask me to draw something for her. She was going to get married very soon and wanted me to design a gift for her future husband and their family.
She asked me to create a fairytale wedding book about how they met and their adventures around the world. I was already picturing this gorgeous woman as a queen, with a beautiful dress that would match her stunning green eyes, but she told me “We love dragons. We named our house as the Dragon villa. Our engagement rings’ designs are dragons. So I want our fairytale as the story of two dragons.” This is how I started to write the tale of Dragon Jan and Dragon Mike.
How I started the fairytale wedding book
First Jan told me about her life, between Australia and Bali. She told me some funny stories about them as a couple and her family, as well as how she met her future husband. I listened to her tale carefully, noting all sorts of details to create the illustrations of how she met Mike on Christmas Island, what he looks like and what she loves about him. She said they were passionate about wine, Shiraz more precisely, and champagne. She described to me the house she used to live in while in Australia, whether in Perth, Inglewood or Nannup. Then she showed me some pictures of her family, and described each member’s personality. We had a nice little conversation about her life over a cup of coffee, and after one hour, I was ready to make up a fairytale for her.
Original illustrations for the fairytale
She ordered ten illustrations from me, including the cover. The fairytale was to be divided in 9 sections, each one containing a few sentences Jan had written by herself.
The first thing I did was to design the two main characters, but the truth is, I had never drawn a single dragon in my life! So I looked for some inspiration on the internet, and found out about the DreamWorks animation movie “How to train your dragon”. I bought this movie and watched it over and over again, especially the end role which featured some beautiful dragon illustrations. At that time, I was also reading Bilbo the Hobbit, and I tried to picture what Smaug the dragon would have looked like if it was a nice dragon. I tried to find some inspiration for the general atmosphere of Jan’s fairytale, and somehow started to wonder what I would look like as a dragon.
I also wanted to include her family members all along throughout the story. So I pictured her children and grandchildren as dragons, and the fairytale looked like a kind of dragon family tree.
I did all my illustrations with colour pencils and nail polish, and the background was generally made with magazine collages or some pieces of fabric. After a week of hard work I could finally finish the book. Once all the illustrations were done, I sent the file to Jan for her to approve it before printing.I left some blank pages at the end of the book so her guests could write a little comment about the wedding. Finally, the books were ready, and it was delivered to Australia where she was preparing for her wedding.
My customer’ s feedback
I was so happy about the final result, and so thankful to Jan for asking me to create her fairytale wedding book. I learnt so much doing this work, about life, traveling, family. Here is the lovely comment she said about the final result:
I am sitting in the airport and I am completely blown away with your fabulous, fantastic, fascinating, beautifully detailed, intricate, wonderful drawings in my fairytale wedding book.
You have taken my story and made it beautiful and I cannot thank you enough. I love ALL parts of it and would not change anything. I can see you have listened very closely to all my rambling talk (sorry about that!).
I think I will keep the last two pages empty and ask the wedding guests to write a message in one copy to keep as a momento of our wedding.
I love it, love it, love it!
I feel so happy and proud to have this book to give to Mike and to my family.
Order your own Fairytale Wedding Book
If like Jan, you want a very personal illustrated book as a gift, you can order me your own fairytale too, whether as a wedding gift or wedding anniversary, or any special occasion. Tell me your story, and I’ll turn it into a fairytale book!Contact Kukukita