Hey guys! How is it going? During the last two months I was working on a special artwork for a new Global Sect Music release. This time it’s Merr0w’s second album in 10 years! When Alex from Global Sect asked me if I want to create an artwork for Merr0w I was like “What? Really? Merr0w?” I’ve been listening to his only album “Born Underwater” for the last 8 or 9 years and I was really happy I could work on the cover art for his new creation that he was developing for so many years.
You might have seen my Electric Cthulhu I’ve made few months ago. So since there was a mermaid on the first Merr0w’s album and the musician wanted to have a mermaid on the new cover art as well so we decided to continue this marine theme I’ve started with Cthulhu. The technique I was using was a mixture of raster and vector art. Below are the steps of the creative process. They are relatively common for all my projects so you can get an idea of how I’m working on illustrations in the technical aspect. But and it’s a big “but” it was a project with an art-director involved which means he was making the critical decisions which way to go that resulted in few unexpected situations for me :)
I’ve started with 3 concept sketches. As you can see they are very quick and rough but the customer can get the idea of the composition and pick the direction. Alex from Global Sect was an art-director for this project so there was less freedom for me but it was definitely very beneficial for the final result :) Two people combined can sure achieve more than when working separately.
Refined Sketch and Black&White Version
So Merr0w has picked the concept #2 and I’ve made a more refined version.
After I did a black&white version. When I’m working on digital paintings I prefer to start without coloring so it is easier to see the tonal difference of the objects. You can always color your art later in Photoshop simply using Color blending mode in a separate layer.
Coloring and Working on the Main Character
The first iteration of coloring does not take much time so I have quickly set the overall mood of the image. The mermaid’s face was pretty scary at first so we’ve gone through few different versions of it. Two of them were referring to the mermaid from the Merr0w’s first album but eventually there was a need for a more sinister looking lady rather than a kawaii one :)
After we were happy with the girl it was the time to texture the scene. Since I’m a vector art expert I love working in Illustrator and I know how to create interesting stuff with it. Below are few versions of the backgrounds for this illustration.
When I’m working on a project I prefer to stick to the chosen concept sketch and make the best out of it but this time I was working with an art-director and at some point he said I should try putting the mermaid in a cave instead of the open space. So I’ve quickly painted a cave and added some tentacles coming from all the directions towards her. Below is the almost non-textured version.
And this is the refined cave with textures.
Then we have adjusted the scale of the illustration a bit, I’ve added the octopus and colored the mermaid in so more human-skin tones.
After we decided to go with a darker background so the mermaid will pop out. And on top of that some details such as jellyfish and plants were added.
Plot Twist #2
And then when I was almost sure we are close to the completion stage my dear art-director said we need a more aggressive pose for the mermaid. Like the one on concept sketch #1 Man… you can imagine how frustrating this sounds… But I took myself together and decided I should trust Alex cause he is a great producer and together we will create something awesome.
So here is the painted version of the new mermaid.
And this is the textured one.
Lastly we decided to let go of the cave and have more open space around our characters. Now we have a conflict between the Octopus and the Mermaid and it’s better to remove some noise so the viewer can easily see what’s going on.
So here is the mockup of the future physical release in a DVD-pack. You can preorder this album will start next week at Global Sect Music.
If you like this artwork
Buy a UV-reactive print with it in my Psychedelic Art Shop :) It comes in different sizes and the prices start at only $39,99 including free international shipping!