Categories
Hans Christian Andersen Myths and Legends Pop Culture

Interview with Ashly Lovett

Book cover of Ashly Lovett’s colored adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy of The Little Mermaid

Ashly Lovett is a very talented American artist, whose art and style is gaining a lot of attention. We asked Ashly a few questions about her art, career, and upcoming projects. 

How long have you been a professional artist?

 I graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design with a Bachelor’s degree in Illustration in 2010. Since then, I’ve been taking illustration jobs, but I didn’t start doing full-time freelancing until 2015.

What medium do you use for your art?

 In 2015 I started working exclusively with soft chalk pastels on paper. And more recently, I’ve been taking those pastel pieces and coloring them digitally in Photoshop.

How would you describe your artistic style?

 At the beginning of my career, I was never good at describing my style. It’s hard to step back and look at yourself from an outsider’s perspective. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve had others calling my work dark, ethereal, luminous, or haunting. My good friend Cory Godbey gave the best description with his Forward in The Little Mermaid. It was a feeling I always had about my artwork since I was a child. It is an almost therapeutic feeling that made me want to draw in the first place. I’ve never been able to put it into words. It was a warming surprise knowing others interpret my artwork the same way I always have deep down. Cory’s words were a gift. Here is a small excerpt of the Forward:

 “Ashly’s work is transportive. With ease, she guides the viewer from the familiar world to one dappled in a strange light. That world is steeped in a kind of bewitched nostalgia. There’s nothing mawkish or wistful there, rather, Ashly’s haunting portraits feel like a pang of remembrance, the shudder which comes from recalling a forgotten memory at long last.” 

Excerpt from Ashly Lovett’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid

What inspired you to illustrate Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid?

 It took me a while to find a story intriguing enough to dedicate two years to its creation. What I loved about the story was the tenacity of the main character, the little mermaid. Although naïve, she pursued her deepest desire to know the lives of humans and have her own soul. In the original story, mermaids live for 300 years, but they become seafoam when they die. They don’t have a soul that lives on even after your body dies. But if a mermaid were to join in a union (marriage) with a human, they would become one sharing the soul. 

Also, I knew the imagery would be right up my alley. I love drawing the flowing organic shapes of the mermaids and their long hair. The story is rather dark with a bittersweet ending, which appeals to my style. These are all visual narratives that played to my strengths. I went a step further and added my own elements. For example, I gave the mermaids bioluminescent hair to play up the luminosity. I gave the little mermaid a skull collection of creatures from the world above to make it more haunting.

Who is your favorite character in The Little Mermaid? And why?

 The protagonist, the little mermaid, is my favorite character. She’s never apologetic about what she wants and remains kind. At the beginning of the story, I do think she may have been impulsive to give up so much in hopes of finding love and an eternal soul. And although the ending is sad, her journey only made her stronger. I admire the emotional and physical strength it took, and in the end, she sacrifices herself for someone she loves. She never became bitter when she had every right to be. 

Illustration from Ashly Lovett’s colored adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid 

What scene was your favorite to illustrate in your book? And why?

 That’s difficult to say since each illustration presented its own challenges and enjoyment. But if I have to pick one, it would be the moment when the little mermaid rescues the prince from the shipwreck. I’ve always had the illustration in my mind. It was also a type of scene I’ve never tried to illustrate before. It was a sea landscape with a burning ship during a severe storm. I drew a lot of inspiration from Howard Pyle, an American illustrator from the 1900s responsible for the classic illustrations of Treasure Island

What lessons do you think people can learn from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid?

 The biggest takeaway from the story for me was to go big or go home. The Little Mermaid made some overwhelming choices and sacrifices, but she was bold and stayed true to herself. She grew from her pain and became something more remarkable in the end. 

Illustration for Ashly Lovett’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale of The Little Mermaid

How did you find out about your publisher, Eye of Newt Books? And what’s been your experience working with them?

 I met them at a convention through a mutual friend. Eye of Newt Books has been very agreeable to work with and believed in my project. They’ve been very respectful of the book and my creative choices. Their enthusiasm was just what I had hoped for when imagining the future for The Little Mermaid.

What was the biggest difference between having a book published through Kickstarter vs having a book published traditionally?

 With a Kickstarter, you have to do everything. Not only do you have to have a finished high-quality product, but every Kickstarter campaign begins with budgeting. You have to find a manufacturer, choose materials (paper type, bookbinding, cover style, etc.), then work out the logistics of shipping, shipping materials, extra rewards, and then figure in how those rewards will affect said shipping and budget. Then you have to make a realistic funding goal.

On top of that, you have to create graphics, text describing your project, advertise for it, and there’s a considerable amount of customer service involved. Then there is shipping fulfillment and all your deadlines. I could go even further, but I think you get the idea. If you’re up for the challenge, it can be gratifying in the end. A funded campaign is always a source of pride and future income with the final product. 

The steps with my publisher were much shorter. They purchased exclusive rights to publish the book after a detailed contract was drawn up and reviewed by my lawyer. Afterward, I provided the InDesign files, and they took care of the rest. They took care of the logistics of choosing materials, manufacturing, advertising, etc.

What advice do you have for fellow artists and illustrators who want their work to be published either through Kickstarter or with a traditional publisher?

 Suppose you’re not someone who likes doing Excel sheets to work out a budget, logistics, schedules, customer service, shipping, etc., I would not suggest doing a largescale Kickstarter. It takes a lot of organizing and good budgeting skills to make sure you can have a profit at the end of it all. The most common mistake with a Kickstarter is underestimating the costs. I have a detailed article on MuddyColors.com titled “Check List for a Successful Kickstarter.” It goes over how to best prepare for a Kickstarter project. 

Going with a publisher is undoubtedly easier, but it’s not always a straight path to getting your foot in the door. I was fortunate to ask the right questions and be introduced to an art director in person. This goes back to the advice I give to all emerging illustrators. It is all about networking and getting to know others in the industry. I highly suggest attending conventions and workshops when possible. Some of my favorite smaller, more intimate conventions are Spectrum Fantasy Art in Kansas City, MO, Lightbox in Pasadena, CA, and Illuxcon in Reading, PA. The bigger conventions aren’t bad either. These would be the comicons in Chicago, New York, Seattle, etc. Always have plenty of business cards with samples of your work on the back. I love Moo.com for my business cards.

Do you plan on illustrating more fairy tales in the near future?

 I do. The one I’m currently working on is called The Book of Fairy Tales. It is a collection of fairy tale stories featuring famous and infamous fairies. There will be some well-known fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast and other lesser-known stories like The Water of Life. You can learn more about it at AshlyLovett.com/kickstarter. It’s been slow progress in finding stories I want to illustrate. I prefer illustrating tales with profound lessons and admirable characters. That can be difficult with older public domain stories.  

My long-term goal is to create a collection of books centered around the theme of fantasy. The first has been The Little Mermaid. The second will be The Book of Fairy Tales. And the third will likely be about mythology. I like having long-term personal projects that I can really dive into and create something different with my own voice while also having others interested in my passion projects too.

 

 

 

 

You can purchase Ashly Lovett’s book here: https://store.eyeofnewtpress.com/collections/frontpage/products/the-little-mermaid

Ashly Lovett’s Official website: https://ashlylovett.com

 

Categories
Myths and Legends Pop Culture

Yasu Matsuoka

Serenity by Yasu Matsuoka

Yasu Matsuoka is a self-taught Japanese artist, who creates beautiful mermaid and mythology-themed art. He creates art for a variety of spaces varying from private collectors to art galleries to interior design installations.

Honored by Yasu Matsuoka

Yasu Matsuoka’s digital illustrations are so unique, because they tell a story of his own imagination. His passion for fantasy worlds, mermaids, and stories is apparent in his work.

You’re instantly drawn to the world he’s created with its vivid colors and exquisite details. The juxtaposition of his pieces are reminiscent of classical paintings.

Mermaid Transformation by Yasu Matsuoka

Yasu Matsouka also known as Yasu Art Studio on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter has gained a large following for his awe-inspiring fantasy art.

I highly recommend that you follow him. You won’t shell-gretic it!

Categories
Myths and Legends Pop Culture

Kaysha Siemens: Fine Artist and Illustrator

WaveWatcher painting by Kaysha Siemens

Kaysha Siemens was born and raised in Canada, and currently resides in the state of North Carolina, USA. She is a very talented artist and illustrator, whose main mediums are graphite and oil.

Her style is unique and full of exquisite detail. Kaysha’s figures are flowing and fluid, while her backgrounds are linear and structured. This style gives Kaysha’s art balance and pulls you into her work!

Kaysha’s main source of inspiration is Greek Mythology. Her MNEMOSYNE collection is a compilation of all of her works inspired by the Greek Mythologies. MNEMOSYNE is the Greek Goddess of memory and the Mother of the Greek Muses. The Greek Muses were connected to the arts and to knowledge. 

Kaysha’s art and illustrations showcases an array of monsters, gods, goddess, NEREIDS (mermaids), and TRITONS (mermen).

According to Greek Mythology, the water nymphs were subcategorized into three kinds of species. The OCEANIDS resided in the sea, NEREIDS lived in freshwater and seawater, and the NAIADS lived in springs, lakes, and rivers.

Commissioned Mermaid Illustration by Kaysha Siemens

Kaysha’s mermaids are straight out of a fairy tale. In fact, none of   her mermaids are identical. They’re unique and have their own personality in their own little under the sea havens. Each mermaid is full of elaborate details, such as their hair and intricate tails. Her work is as compelling as a mermaid luring a sailor out at sea, singing her euphoric song!

Kaysha Siemens is definitely an artist to follow and she’s currently open for commissions!

Categories
Disney's The Little Mermaid Pop Culture

Celine Lecomte Illustrations

Chibi Ariel and Eric illustration by Celine Lecomte

Celine Lecomte is a self-taught French illustrator, who has been drawing Disney characters, since she was a little girl. Her digital illustrations are fashioned in the wildly popular chibi style. A key feature in the chibi style of illustration is that the characters are short, chubby, and adorable!

The characters in her illustrations are colorful, playful , and lighthearted. One feature that stands out for Celine’s work are that the character’s in her illustrations are very expressive, most notably with their large eyes.

Ariel and Moana illustration by Celine Lecomte

Celine’s love of Disney and cartoons is apparent in her illustrations. She has drawn various Disney characters as mer-people (whether they are one or not)! Her love for all things Disney and mermaids are what makes her art fun!

One thing that makes Celine’s work so distinct and unique, is that it’s made for everyone!

Chibi Ariel pin Celine Lecomte

Celine’s illustrations are so popular, that she has an Etsy shop, where she sells a variety of her mermaid art (prints), pins, and keychains. Her store is defiantly worth checking out! You never know, what kind of mermazing treasures you’ll find!

 

Categories
Disney's The Little Mermaid Pop Culture

Jorje Croft

Ariel ascending from the water by Jorje Croft

Jorje Croft is an artist on Instagram, whose gained a large following for his detailed drawings of all things, Disney. Especially of Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

His artistic style is very fluid, imaginative, and free-spirited. Every line has a rhythm and it flows like a symphony.

Jorje’s style is very distinctive and has a traditional animation quality to it. His free flowing lines and vibrant colors, are just a few things, that make Jorje’s work stand out.

Jorje Croft drawing of Ariel

Jorje’s drawings depict an array of scenes from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, even turning the most tragic moments into the most beautiful ones.

Jorje Croft drawing of Ariel rescuing Eric

If you haven’t checked out, Jorje Croft’s Instagram, I suggest you check it out. His little mermaid drawings are truly one of a kind and you’ll fall in love with his work, the same way, Ariel fell in love with Prince Eric!

Categories
Hans Christian Andersen Myths and Legends

Tiffany Turrill


Mermaid illustration by Tiffany Turrill

Tiffany Turrill is an extremely talented illustrator, comic book cover artist, and concept artist. Her illustrations of mermaid’s are creepy, yet alluring. She captures the inner darkness of mermaid’s of the past.

Tiffany’s illustrations are unique, beautiful, and hauntingly sad. There’s no doubt, that Tiffany has excelled at depicting a darker, more vulnerable mermaid.

“The Witch’s Knife” by Tiffany Turrill

‘The Witch’s Knife’ is an illustration, that’s clearly inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid. The scene which the little mermaid’s sister’s sell their hair to the witch, in exchange for a knife, so the little mermaid can kill the prince and become a mermaid again.

Tiffany’s illustration of this poignant scene captures a range of mixed emotions from sadness, despair, desperation, hope, and unrequited love.

“Amphitrite” by Tiffany Turrill

The movement and coloring in Tiffany’s waves, pulls you into her illustrations. Her attention to detail is exquisite.

Tiffany is a very talented artist. Definitely one that everyone should follow.

Categories
Disney's The Little Mermaid Myths and Legends

Dimitris Karakousis

Dimitris Karakousis is a very talented digital artist and illustrator, from Greece. His illustrations of mermaid’s are vibrant, hypnotizing, and beautiful.  


“Part of Your World” by Dimitris Karakousis

Dimitris would describe his illustrations as magical realism. And it is! 

His use of light and dark, bring his illustrations to life. 

Dimitris has gained a large following of devoted fans on social media, primarily Instagram. On Instagram, Dimitris is known as DimDraws, where he posts his original sketches and completed illustrations. 

"The World Above" by Dimitris Karakousis
“The World Above” by Dimitris Karakousis

"Halle Bailey as Ariel" by Dimitris Karakousis
“Halle Bailey as Ariel” by Dimitris Karakousis

"King Triton" by Dimitris Karakousis
“King Triton” by Dimitris Karakousis

"Purple Mermaid" by Dimitris Karakousis
“Purple Mermaid” by Dimitris Karakousis

"Pink Mermaid" by Dimitris Karakousis
“Pink Mermaid” by Dimitris Karakousis


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His illustrations in mermaid’s vary from “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” to that of his own creation. It’s apparent, that Dimitris is passionate about mermaid’s and will continue to draw them, for many years to come. 

Categories
Hans Christian Andersen Pop Culture

Ashly Lovett


“Rescue” by Ashly Lovett

Ashly Lovett is an American artist, whose primary medium is chalk pastel. Her drawings are raw, dark, yet innocent.

In 2019, she launched a Kickstarter campaign, to produce her own version of Andersen’s classic tale of The Little Mermaid. Ashly’s twist on the project, was using her own sketches to depict the powerful and poignant scenes of the classic children’s fairy tale.


“New Legs” by Ashly Lovett

Ashly’s Kickstarter campaign was so well-received by the public, that it surpassed it’s goal, and earned $25k to fund her book.

"Ambition" by Ashly Lovett
“Ambition” by Ashly Lovett

Ashly released her book on her website and garnered immense success! Her book is definitely worth adding to your mermaid collection!