As seen in the previous post, I've completed the color comp, meaning it's time to transfer the drawing and start painting! Below is the drawing transferred to the illustration board, with a few last things fixed:
When adding the shadows, I try to think about what colors will work best when the main color layer is applied. I never shade with gray or black, and always use a color or combination of colors for my shadows. Since this is a night scene, I try to use a lot of blue and violet-dominated shadows.
The shadows on the barn owl's clothing are a mixture of dioxazine violet and van dyk brown, which makes it a warm, yet dark shadow, which will work well with the red of her cloak. The wings of the barred owl have a layer of ultramarine violet, indigo, and just a touch of sepia - I used this very neutral color as her wings are much more of a grayish brown than the more intense brown of the great horned owl's wings.
As feathers are translucent, the 'light gaps' are where the light of the fire will illuminate the feathers. Where the feathers overlap, not as much light gets through. This is a hard concept at first to wrap your mind around when drawing birds' wings, but inclusion of this with back-lit wings results in a much more believable wing.
A note - the pink you see on the moon is not paint, but rather masking fluid. I used masking fluid so I could apply washes freely to the sky without worrying about going over the perfect white and circle of the moon. Once I am ready to paint the branches, I will remove it.