The Little Mermaid: 30-day Book Illustration Challenge Day 23

The Little Mermaid: 30-day Book Illustration Challenge Day 23

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen

So who noticed there was no post yesterday?

The moral of this story is that sometimes life stands in the way of our commitments, but, I don’t think that’s really the problem.  The problem is how that gets handled.  Now, firstly I want to point out that I am not taking this lightly.  I’m derailing from a promise I made to you, and I have suffered some mental anguish about that the past couple of days.  But I made a decision to skip yesterday because I didn’t feel I could give you what I wanted to give you.  That decision is based on a lesson I learned a long time ago from my friend, Cassandra, and I want to share that with you.

I’m the type of person that used to have mini-melt-down whenever I show up 2 minutes late for something.  Truth be told, sometimes I still do.  If I’m late, I’m late, and I can never be on time – it’s too late for that. When I’m not time, things are already wrong and not the way they were meant to be.  I used to approach things with a rigidity that I mistook for reliability and steadfastness.  It was easy to be late, that’s what hippies and people from the Bahamas do.  Being on time takes work – right? I never took the time to explore the potential of the situation, my “commitment” to the person I was meeting, or who’s class I was attending, was all I could see.  One path to being considerate to them.

One night I was walking down the street with my friend Cassandra, on our way to meet her new girlfriend. She really liked her and strove to impress, but we were off to a bad start – we were about 10 minutes away and already late.  It wasn’t my romantic interest we were making our way to, but I was the one freaking out inside. At least I was trying to keep my cool, when Cassandra turned on her heels and strode… into a corner shop.  “What are you doing?” I asked in complete awe.

“If you’re going to be late, be late with flowers.” She said brightly and picked out the liveliest of the half wilted corner shop bouquets.

It was one of those things you remember for the rest of your life, a thread that gets woven into the fabric of your philosophy.

I would never be late again, I would always be late with flowers.

If I oversleep for work, my first stop is Dunkin Donuts and the only complaint I hear from my boss is “why aren’t you late more often?”  When I’m late to a birthday, I show up with two wine bottles.  You get the idea.  And the best part isn’t just forgiveness. Think about it.  Everyone else just showed up on time.  You were confident enough to follow your own agenda, and not too cool to be generous.  That’s a sexy balance.

I hope that’s what I’m delivering to you today.  I went ahead and upgraded my entire mac interface so that I could install and old friend of mine.  It used to be called Alias Sketchbook Pro but now goes by Autodesk  Sketchbook and has many of the same features.  It’s basically a computer version of playing around in your sketchbook, except with way cooler features and the potential for painterly digital masterpieces.  Something about it has always surpassed Photoshop and other complex graphics programs where drawing capability was really an afterthought.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, though it may be the simple lack of tools and features I don’t need to just…draw.

Well I did all this because I thought it could help me accomplish something more than the rough, underwhelming sketches I’ve been churning out for you lately.  I think I’m heading in the right direction though far from my destination.  It’s been a while since I’ve used Sketchbook and it is NOT like riding a bike. In fact, even if it was, working in it was never a zip-along kind of process.  It’s all about creating an almost sculptural collection of lights darks, layers and negative space to form the image.

And in the end, I did bring it into Photoshop to add an extra layer. 😛  Apparently (and I think it’s just goes for the free version) Sketchbook only allows for 4 layers.

Anyway, I hope with all my blabbering you guys can still enjoy the Little Mermaid.

Little Mermaid_rendered1




  1. This one!

  2. Not quite a happy mermaid but the expression on her face is really striking.. It stayes with me while browsing the other illustrations so I had to go Back.. i like this one the best.

    I loved your story about being late especially the balance between being confident and being generous.

    • I’m so grateful you noticed all that. I love your reasons for voting. Thank you!

  3. Love this one. The soulful, haunting expression is great.
    The opportunity to see your journey from the first drawings to now has been a treat. You’ve inspired me!
    Time to do art

  4. This is my favorite!


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