Shame on me. Back in the Spring of 2006, I was (and still am 6 years later!) totally enamored with Tony DiTerlizzi's newly released "Spiderwick Field Guide" and his phenomenal take on sprites. Amidst all the great artwork of Tony's in that book, I just loved the sprite fold-out the most. So when I went out to Wizards of the Coast to concept design Lorwyn, and one of the races that needed to be visually established were faeries, I knew EXACTLY the kind of look that would fit the slightly skewed semi-playful world. I didn't have Tony's book with me, but from pouring over those pictures so much, I had the gist of what they looked like and how I could kinda skew them slightly to fit into Lorwyn.
Well, I wish I DID have the book with me then - so I could have seen how close I was to totally copying my friend's excellent designs!!!! Ugh. Alright, I didn't rip-off any one of his little sprite folk specifically - but the sensibilities involved with insect physiology mixed with slightly human characteristics to make playful and cool-looking creatures is all Tony.
In the end, Lorwyn faeries were more waspy (like that one malevolent-looking wasp faerie at the top) and less all over the insect spectrum like my other drawings. So my territory invasion on DiTerlizzi sprites didn't go all the way to print. But still, I feel a bit bad for being so blatant without knowing it. It's not my style to borrow so liberally - only to channel whatever it is that is inspiring me. I should blame Tony, actually. His sprites were too fun to draw and I suppose I just couldn't help myself. Yes, I think I'll go with that. The defense rests, your honor.
If you haven't seen or purchased "Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You" by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, I can't recommend it enough.