The Little Mermaid's Halloween illustration by Kiri Østergaard Leonard, 2013

Personal Work: The Little Mermaid’s Halloween

Happy Halloween!

The Little Mermaid was always one of my favourite H. C. Andersen tales, it’s a tragic story but also beautiful story. The Little mermaid plays into feelings most women can relate to, wanting your body to be something else than it is and not being able to appreciate what you already are. With this illustration I took the idea of the ‘Little’ mermaid quite literally. It’s playing a little of the fairy tale with the mermaid wanting legs, but it quickly grew into its own story. I have plans to make some illustrations that are truthful to the original story in the future.

 

The process

For this illustration I decided to change my process around. I began by rendering the whole illustration in gray scale before moving to color. Usually I work in colors straight away, but I wanted to see if the gray scaling would improve my values, as it’s one of my weak points. It was a struggle to work in this manner, but I have to experiment further with it. As difficult as it was to switch my process around it looks like it paid of.

I’m also trying to improve my sketching process, but I failed at it with this piece. I didn’t have a clear idea of what exactly I wanted in the illustration when I began and a lot of it just developed as I worked on it. When I began I knew I wanted a mermaid in a mason jar with an apron that had legs painted on it. Then a little later I realized so many of my illustrations only have single characters, so I should put more in: enter the squirrels! From there a story began to take shape. Then I noticed I had too many boringly even shapes so I began to mess them up and make them uneven, this is about the point where the gif animations begins with the 1st and 2nd step.

The Illustration Process
The Illustration Process
Kiri Østergaard Leonard
kiri@kirileonard.com

Award winning Illustrator, Artist and Creator Kiri Østergaard Leonard happily shares her experiences making a living as an artist and pursuing a creative life. She grew up in a tiny village in Denmark, left her country behind to pursue art in the bustle of New York City and now resides in the delightful weirdness of Austin, Texas surrounded by sunshine and felines.

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