The Firebird being a ballet that I have been familiar with since childhood, I looked to ballet photos for reference, and as with a fair number of my drawings, used elements from multiple photos to come up with a composite image to my liking. While Misty Copeland's version of the firebird forms the core of the image, I wanted something a little less streamlined, since the Russian illustrations of the firebird are a bit more flamboyant, and the more swirling elements in the costume help to emphasize both fire and movement. Plus, I wanted the dancer to have a bigger headdress, something more like that used in the Ballet Philippines' run of The Firebird this past summer, with long horn-like feathers and wild ginger petals.
I also went for a slightly more forward-facing version of the dancer in this pose, which I'll admit creates less of a "flying" effect and more of a "floating" effect. Exaggerating the skirt a bit was more appealing to my aesthetic sense than the more athletic emphasis in the American Ballet Theatre's costuming, but it wound up mirroring a visual theme that tends to repeat in my work - the extended fins of a beta fish or lion fish. In that sense, this drawing has missed the mark of being mostly air and fire-oriented, but given the Moon in Gemini square Neptune in Pisces, there is something appropriate about the air in this feeling thick, like the dancer is suspended in gelatin.