Illustration Process: Mermaid and Diver

What a day. New week, and with that, a new illustration process to show. I attempted to hit two birds with one stone by creating a personal illustration and tailoring it to fit as a submission for this neat-o contest.

The theme was  about the ocean and had to do with the wonders and mysteries of the deep. It also needed to incorporate the color blue.

I haven’t done a mermaid piece before, so that’s what I mainly wanted to try with this project. In the end, both the first and last worked as far as composition and simple read goes, so I went with the first.

Spent a lot of time pulling out reference and layering the values. This detailed sketch sums up where I intend to take the painting.

I worked with oil paint on clayboard. Initially, I acquired the clayboard because the contest deadline was looming and I wanted the paint to dry in time for scanning and sending in. That plan worked a little too well. I spent quite a lot of unnecessary time layering washes which would fade over time, seeping into the depths of the board.

Honestly, I like the detailed sketch better simply because it feels fresher and retains the spontaneity I lost while working and re-working the paint. On the plus side, however, the painting is not a total failure. I did learn to paint thicker. That takes a lot of intentionality, let me tell you. Put it there and leave it there. Leave no room for fear.