Process 1 - The Thumbnails
This is where I work out my ideas (plus an anatomy study) . There are a few elements of the story that I considered addressing including the number of oysters attached to her tail (there were 8). I mainly focused on her admiring the statue of the prince in her garden and considered various poses.
Process 2 - Experiment
Here I experimented a little with colour, wash and masking.
Process 3 - Refinement of Ideas
this is where I started coming closer to my final design - this time including a friend. And here's my reference for the whale.
Process 4 - Rough
Again here I had 2 final book cover concepts to choose from. I was going to go with the left thumbnail and started creating a sculpture I could work from for light and shadow reference, however the clay I ordered was delayed and I was about to start house-sitting so I chose the one on the right and used this image for referencing the face of the Little Mermaid. I was also influenced by this artists' underwater photography - the next best thing to seeing a real mermaid!
Process 5 - Cover Rough
This is where I worked out the basic layout of the cover with title placement (again I deviated slightly from this as I felt the whale was too obscured by the text).
Process 6 - Detailed Pencil Drawing
Here is where I was finally able to let loose on the picture, putting all the necessary elements into it - bubbles, coral, fish, whale, beautiful girl. And in case you were wondering about the flowery garland on her head it is in reference to Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid;
At last she reached her fifteenth year. "Well, now, you are grown up," said the old dowager, her grandmother; "so you must let me adorn you like your other sisters; "and she placed a wreath of white lilies in her hair, and every flower leaf was half a pearl. Then the old lady ordered eight great oysters to attach themselves to the tail of the princess to show her high rank. "But they hurt me so," said the little mermaid. "Pride must suffer pain," replied the old lady. Oh, how gladly she would have shaken off all this grandeur, and laid aside the heavy wreath! The red flowers in her own garden would have suited her much better, but she could not help herself: so she said, "Farewell," and rose as lightly as a bubble to the surface of the water.
Process 7 - The Finished PaintingWhen I got to this point I was so glad to have it finished I forgot that I didn't have a scanner on hand as I was house-sitting at the time and with not having a car I caught a bus and a train to get to the most convenient office supply store to get it scanned.
And this is how the picture looked once I had placed in the appropriate setting for the "Book Cover" theme as part of the Artorder's Nymph Challenge. (On reflection I wish I had submitted the simple white border version without the title treatment as most people only submitted their pictures that way. However the competition was so talented I don't think it would have made much of a difference if any).
Since this competition I opened an Etsy store and received my first contact from a customer wishing to buy the original. At this point I realised I had best make my painting more presentable and set about cleaning up the border and adding the gold frame as I intended. I also added some iridescent paint to add another dimension to the painting.
I am currently in the process of getting the painting properly scanned so that after it's sold I will have a decent copy of the original. I will be offering prints of this painting once I receive the file and confirmation of print costs, so keep an eye out for that. If you have any questions feel free to contact me on facebook.
NEXT TIME.... THE WATER THIEF!