Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Earthly Music

I have long been meaning to create a simple illustration centering around mermaids - yes, another tribute to my beloved ocean.  In this case, however, things are just a little less salty, and a touch more brackish... I went for a Cajun bent, and created "Zydeco Mermaids".  In a household filled with the presence of accordions, I adore this genre of music - and what better way to celebrate it than via the benevolence of mer-people?  A fiddle, accordion and spoons (played on scales, of course) constitute this aquatic performance - just enough to attain the sound.  I would imagine that there is at least one vocalist... or however mermaids express themselves so.

Any zydeco group worth its salt has an accordion in the mix.  In this case, I had to do some light research (courtesy my husband, Matt Tolentino) in order to understand the appearance and workings of the diatonic "button box" instrument, that creates the characteristic sound of zydeco.  They are smaller accordions, and have a marvelous guttural tone - they also tend to be quite colorful, their casings trimmed in gold.

And where would a Cajun band be without the fiddle?  Our lady seems lost in quite the pleasant reverie, perhaps playing a waltz.  You can see the ridged spines I gave to my mermaids - recalling bayou alligators, truly fascinating primal creatures that grace the region.

Finally, a detail to show the joyous shades and light play of the fins - enhanced with mica ink, of course.  I wanted to capture colors reminiscent of earth, as well as the deeper waters of the sea - terra cotta, celadon, teal and kelp were my goals.  and though the reptilian spines end in a point, the transition from reptile to fish is captured by the grace of the fins.  I live for drawing long, fluid lines, and these fins were downright euphoric to create.

In other news, it's worth mentioning that I now have a Facebook page for the illustration work, as well as an etsy shop.  Both are linked below - join/follow on the former, and watch the latter for additional print runs.  As always, Thank You!

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