You'll notice the first poster has very little information. Some clients like to be in on the creative process, so I sent the general idea over (thinking about a clear blue night) and she said it needed more light and that the swirls looked more like water than snow. She was right.
To create snow from water, I changed more of the swirls to white and left some blue as a play on wind and color. I also added the wise men because they are mentioned multiple times in the final piece. The lighting technique was actually created using this tutorial. I'm going to venture off into design jargon for a second here, forgive me... I followed the tutorial in creating the lines and "snow" but instead of creating a color gradient and then black and white gradient mesh, I simply created a colored gradient mesh. Same effect, less time... I love Vectortuts.
You know what else I love that starts with V? Ok, well, my mom's name is Valrie, so I gotta say her of course. There's also the VPA. I love these people. Not only have they accepted me into their choir (chorale), they've given me so many opportunities to beef up my portfolio (including the poster above) and they are a major asset to the culture of Sherwood.
Are you ready for more design jargon? I can't help it. I'm hoping someone out there will appreciate this... I finally found a use for the flare tool in Adobe Illustrator! YAY! I created the star using the flare tool and then clicked Object>Expand Appearance and deleted the weird brown circles but kept the two rings and the star effect. it looks much better than just using the star tool and pressing the up arrow and holding down option while dragging it out.