Swimming Pool Mermaids- A Watercolor Process

In hopes of finding more work as a children's book illustrator and kid friendly comic artist, I joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators in 2016.   

The Midsouth chapter has their conference in September, which includes contests for both writers and illustrators.   I decided to throw my hat into the ring, but as a comic artist (not an official option) rather than as an illustrator, since comics are my passion and the area I'd like to find paying work within. 

We were given a prompt to work from, something along the lines of Corky closed his eyes, and when he opened them, he was surprised by what he saw (I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist), and after brainstorming, I decided to spin the prompt as a Mermaid in a Swimming Pool story.

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Since this was my first SCBWI, and my debut into the Nashville kidlit illustration scene, I really wanted to give it my best shot.

For me, this of course means doing an underwater scene (which I've never really done before) with bright, fun, saturated colors that hinged around Mijello's Marine Blue (a color I'd never used before), with floating effects that really captured the feeling of plunging underwater.

Materials Used:
Canson Moulin du Roy 140lb cottonrag watercolor paper
Mijello and Winsor and Newton watercolor paints

Roughs for Swimming Pool Mermaids 

Pencils for Swimming Pool Mermaids 

Stretching the Spread 

Creating An Underwater Mood

Main color used:
Mijello Mission Gold Marine Blue 

Step 1:  Apply all over wash of Marine Blue to relevant panels
Step 2:  After wash dries, begin building up layers of under painting in same color.

Begin developing background color and 'wave' effect (more successful on pool bottom)

Developing local color:

Once undertone has been established, its time to begin filling in local color.

Begin Rendering Skintones: 

Building Up Details

Finishing Touches: 

By applying Marine Blue as a toning wash, I was able to achieve an under-water pool effect without running too high a risk.  Had I applied the Marine Blue as a glaze after the initial local colors were applied, I ran the risk of a muddy painting- the underglaze helped preserve the brilliance of the colors used.

Unfortunately, my piece did not place, but it was fun to paint, and I am still proud of how it turned out.  I learned so much while completing this piece, I'm happy I took the time to design and paint it.

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