This illustration was inspired by a time and place, so long ago, when power cuts lasted ages and mosquitoes bit much harder. As a child, I used to spend my summer holidays in Kerala with my cousins. One of them lived in Chenganassery, in a house atop a hill.
STORY TIME! My cousin sister and I would spend the evenings outside on her porch and while sitting in the darkness we would find fireflies or Minnaminungu. Trying to catch them was our sport and the hours without a tv or fan would pass by unnoticed by us. When the power came back on, the Minnaminungu would disappear of course, and we'd find ourselves waiting for the next night when the power would go out again.
I don't think I have seen one since those nights in Chenganassery. Which is perhaps the reason why preserving this memory in an illustration meant a lot.
This illustration went through a few revisions w.r.t composition. Earlier attempts felt flat and unappealing and the fireflies, which were supposed to be the focus of the artwork, ended up getting lost in unnecessary details.
The rough sketch below finally seemed like the one that worked best. Most of the background was painted dark and unnecessary details like the mountains, sky and stars were removed. This also helped bring the focus back to the main light source - the fireflies, so accents were added only to those things that was nearest to them. Lastly, arranging the fireflies in a swirly pattern did much to bring the magic alive in the scene.