A lot has happened since my last newsletter. I’ve spoken to local printer today to discuss paper samples and prices. Read all about it and see progress photos here: https://mailchi.mp/dd4e3584b196/de1mrxu5jt-3389725
Click the Image to Read
A lot of new process work and a dummy book. View the video by clicking the image below!
I went to the printers yesterday! Well worth the drive too. I wanted to pick out some paper choices and make sure that the print is as accurate to the original as possible. I'm going with a square format. Between 8"x8" and 12"x12". Still deciding which is the best choice. These will be limited edition signed and numbered giclee archival prints. Fancy prints. I'll start building my Kickstarter campaign today. Do sign up for the Newsletter if you want a print. Or you can keep track with the Facebook Event Page.
I will be having 2 Kickstarters. The 1st will be a limited edition signed and numbered giclee print on run of a select illustration from the book. The Kickstarter will run from June 1st-30th, 2018. I'll have more annoucements about this as the date gets closer. I'm hoping this Kickstarter will help grow anticipation for Part 2: Little Mermaid Illustrated Book, give me experience running a Kickstarter, and help me purchase props and pay models for the references photos I'll need to take to complete the illustrations for Part 2: Little Mermaid Illustrated Book. Keep up to date with this project by checking out the Kickstarter Home Page and/ or signup for the quarterly Newsletter.
Want to know what I've been up to with the Kickstarter?
You can read all about here in the Newsletter 01.
Things are starting to get goin' for this Kickstarter! I've updated the Home Page to include the latest information. I'll be having 2 Kickstarters. June 2018 will be a limited edition giclee print run to promote the book project. June 2019 will be the official launch date for the illustrated book.
Get updates by following my social media, RSS to My Blog or signing up for the Newsletter. Next newsletter goes out in May. Or pledging $2 a month on my Patreon to keep up with everything week by week.
How to Work with Models
I share my reference photos, process, and plans on a recent post on my Patreon. Open to any patron who pledges $2 a month.
Check it out here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/17972247
I'll continue to share process work on my Patreon. It's going to be a good few months working through these concepts to completeing final illustrations for the book.
I've officially started doing concept art for my Little Mermaid illustrated book that I'll take to Kickstarter in 2019. You can learn more about it AshlyLovett.com/kickstarter. At the moment I'm doing concept pieces to figure out my character. I've been pulling a lot of inspiration from around the internet.
I know I want her to glow. I imagine such a deep sea creature would have luminescent skin and hair, gills, and deep sea eyes. I was thinking something close to a ghost shark. This piece is the first in a several where I'll explore my character and her domain. In fact, this is just a cropped image of the piece for the moment. I'll keep working on this concept and share full version when it's completed.
Illustrators credits Eric Fortune, Travis Louie, Howard Pyle, and others.
If you'd like to see the full version and more of my process work, I suggest pledging $2 to my Patreon. All patrons get to see process work for this project. You can also see live demos for $6. Check it out and join me on the project that pushes me out of my comfort zone and challenges me.
This piece was created for Graphite Magazine's July 2018 issue. I did a tutorial on how to use chalk pastels. It was an interesting process scanning my piece in stages and thinking about what is most important to say. I've done plenty of live demos, but it's different when you have to break it down on paper. Plus, my technique involved reworking my subject several times over. I believe that the history left or the "ghost image" helps me define my best version of the illustration.
I wanted to use this piece as a chance to explore with my Kickstarter. I initially wanted a "darker" color palette similiar to what I want for my Kickstarter, but decided to go more whymiscal. And I wanted to explore what I could do with hair underwater. There is going to be A LOT of underwater hair action for the KS illustrated book and I don't want to do any typical shapes. Nope, I want to work with movement and really hone in on that light as a feather look. I feel I did accomplish that with this tutorial piece. I'm very happy! I even did some studies, which I'll show here as a little sneak peek for the tutorial. Some small gouache studies.
My next experiment will be a piece playing around with the color and tone. I think something more in the greenish-blue hue. I want it to feel "darker." I also need to figure out what our little mermaid is going to look like. I imagine white, nearly transparent skin and silver hair. I wonder if I should do a sculpt to keep me on track throughout the story illustrations? I'm hoping I can play this into a Month of Love piece too. I am taking baby steps. This project is dear to my heart and I want to make sure everything is done well and with a purpose.
To learn more about my Kickstarter and read more posts about it, click here.
Here is a small sample of inspirational imagery I've been collecting.
Work by Forest Rogers, Mira Nedyalkova, and Rebecca Guay.
I have a lot of questions to answer before I decided my launch date for The Little Mermaid Kickstarter. What dimension will the book be? How many pages? How many illustrations? Color or black and white or both? What time of year do I want to launch? What will my offers and goals be? And then there is all the fun logistic once I do decide on the look and size of the book.
I have decided that I want a long vertical book. Not a picture book, but an illustrated book. I'm pretty sure I want text on 2 pages and then full page spreads following. I think that would be fun. I could do a lot with that. I'll also have a few black and white spots.
I'm giving myself till Feb 1st to finalize the style and schedule for the book. I know I initially said Summer of 2018. I could either hold a limited edition print run of an illustration from the book in June. Basically a Phase 1 for the final book. And launch the book in 2019. That would give me a year or so to illustrate what I want with me doing 2 illustrations a month. That's in addition to other stuff I have going on. OR I could have the book 50% done and launch in July/Aug 2018. I'm not sure. So, my deadline to decide is Feb 1st.
I'll also be doing a tutorial for Graphite Magazine. That's due Jan 6th. I'll use that to decide on the style of the book. It'll be a portrait of our little mermaid.
To see more behind the scene sketches and get more involved in the making of this project, join my Patreon for $2 a month. You get to see all my thoughts and sketches while supporting my creation.
In 2014 I was building a portfolio geared towards children's books. I found the 1830s original version of The Little Mermaid and wanted to adapt it myself to practices more narrative pieces and add work to my portfolio. I ended up dropping the project since it was so dark. Now, 3 years later I'm pulling that old folder from my external hard drive. The tone of the story is perfect for the work I love doing now. I thought it would be a perfect story for my Kickstarter. I gave a lot of thought about my work and my self this past week at Illuxcon. And I know that this is the right project because it's something I'd want to do regardless of making money.
Part of my push to do this story was also attributed to when I explored full figure narrative pieces with chalk pastel and chalk pastel pencils during May 2017 for #MerMay. I was trying to work with this media at no larger than 9"x12". I think there was some success here. However, I feel I'll likely work larger for the book. It's more obvious what media I'm using with these pieces due to the small size. I think there is more of a mystery to the process when I work at a more comfortable size and I like that. That may mean some reeeeally big chalk pastel pieces, which is fine by me.
Below is my old process work from 2013 as a student. You can tell I was a bit wet behind the ears still (pun intended, hahahaha.) I did have a successful piece, which is the first image. It was a combination of a scanned drawing, a scanned chalk pastel texture, and a lot of digital work in Photoshop. I played with this technique for a while, but decided I hated grueling away at a computer screen. I eventually exclusively worked with chalk pastels soon after and you can learn more about that in an interview I did in 2016.
I'm officially announcing that I will be doing a Kickstarter and I'm giving out postcards at the Illuxcon Convention next week. I'm really looking forward to this challenge. It began with #Mermay and my love of this dark tale of The Little Mermaid.
I'll be starting my sketches and thumbnails in Nov. I'll post periodically on my social media, but it's my Patreon where you can truly follow this project as it unfolds for $2 a month. I also encourage you to sign-up for the official Newsletter to get updates on the project as it gets closer.
I look forward to sharing this journey!