During the January 2022 live monthly felting class, I continued needle felting a picture of a sleeping child, one of the two characters featured on my next book cover. As I usually do, I took pictures throughout the process, which are included on the final lesson page. I also shared progress in real-time on my Instagram page throughout the development of this illustration. Be sure to follow me on Insta! I hope the following images spark a bit of creativity and inspiration.

Composition Thumbnail Sketch

I prepped for this illustration with a thumbnail sketch and completed a great deal of the needle felted wool painting prior to class.

The Sun Fairy Cover Illustration Thumbnail Hillary Dow
The Sun Fairy cover Illustration

Felting A Child’s Bedroom

Over the course of two weeks, I used my 4:00 am quiet time to steadily develop the bedroom with a nightstand scattered with toys, blanket, and pillows all framing the sleeping child. The sunspot sitting bedside has a very special meaning in the story and it is flooding the child’s face with light. Like my other felted artwork, I started with a thick, sturdy wool base that has a wool hanging hook already attached to the back.

Needle Felting bedcovers, pillows, background
Needle Felting bedcovers, pillows

Felting Fairy Wings

With the toys and sunspot situated on the nightstand, the next step was to build the Sun Fairy. When I add fairies to my illustrations I use two methods, 1. I needle felt a 3-dimensional doll that is attached to the base illustration (as I’ve done here), or 2. I felt the figure in 2-dimensions directly onto the base and the figure only slightly pops out of the surface plane of the picture.

Needle Felting a Sun Fairy doll
The Sun Fairy cover Illustration, Needle Felting a Sun Fairy doll
Needle Felting a Sun Fairy doll, attaching the head at the neck
Needle Felting a Sun Fairy doll, forming the wings
Needle Felting a Sun Fairy doll, attaching the wings


As soon as the live January lesson ended I closed out Zoom and stepped away from the illustration. Once I looked at it from a greater distance it occurred to me that the child’s chin was much longer than you would typically see on a six to seven-year-old child (the target age). With a few quick upward motions of my felting needle, the length of the chin shrunk quickly and it now looks much more like a young child.

needle felted child - before - by Hillary Dow
needle felted child - after - by Hillary Dow
The Sun Fairy cover Illustration, Needle Felting a Picture

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