Where Have the Merfolk Gone?

Hello, finny friends! The merfolk, Sami, and I have been exploring the deeps of a new kind of ocean: the Sea of Improved Eyesight. I won’t go into the details here; if you’re curious, you can read a couple of my blog posts here and here about it. Suffice it to say, hard on the heels of recovering from the month of bronchitis (and missing several conventions), I had cataract surgery/corrective implant in one eye, a month of very wonky eyesight, and finally the second one a couple of weeks ago.

I’m now learning how to draw again, with the aid of drugstore reading glasses; it will be six weeks before I can get prescription ones to truly even up my eyes. (I feel like I’ve passed another official milestone into senior-hood — got the discounts, got the cane, got the reading glasses, sheesh!).

I do have a small stack of Mermaid Music pages in pencil stage lolling about the studio, but as I’m trying to catch up with deadlines for two book projects (one of them another sea book!) right now, they are languishing in the queue. At this point, I’m projecting mid-to-late September to get the story going again. I find myself just wishing I were writing a novel — each page takes so long!

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Mermaid Music pages, stuck in the plankton stage! 

The Zooly Art Challenge (rhymes with July) has been helpful in keeping me at the drawing board; I’ve had to resort to big loose paintings, not at all like my comics with the nice inked outlines and all. You can see the development in the posts I’ve been doing here, here, here, and here. If you’d like to get involved, we’ve decided to keep going beyond the month of July, and form a Facebook group with weekly instead of daily challenges. You’ll be able to find that through the main Zooly Facebook page for information on how to join. There are people of all levels there, from beginners to pros, so it will be a great place to hang out, wherever you’re at in your creative practice.

So thanks for being patient with my fits and starts — Mermaid Music will return after the summer. *cue music* See you… in September!

PS: I know a lot of you are receiving this by email, but if you’d like to get a heads-up on all the things I’m doing, and some cool digital goodies, I now have an email newsletter you can subscribe to:

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Chapter Three: Dreaming

Page 84-85 — After an eventful first day at sea, Sami dreams…

Greetings, Sea-folk! As promised In my last missive, I will be posting pages as I get them done. You may remember that this was due to a crazy-busy convention season; well, a funny thing happened on the way to the second and third cons: I caught the nastiest “cold” (that word seems like the understatement of the century) I’ve had in many a year and had to cancel my whole trip, which disappointed me deeply.

I was too sick even to draw comics (which I had planned to do on my trip), so I’ve only started back to work, slowly, over the last week. I decided to take my time on this double-page spread and really enjoy it as therapy, which I did. It’s a good way to work, slowly and carefully and thoughtfully; I often don’t have time to do that with deadlines looming.

So I hope you enjoy this page, and this mysterious dream that Sami is having! I’ll continue posting pages as I get them done, as I am still recovering and need to take things lightly for a bit.

Chapter Three — Interlude

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Page 80 — The farmer’s return to the sea

And we’re off again on our main story! I really enjoyed finally getting to draw the back of Root’s houseboat, and the scene across the dock from her. It was hard getting it to look like dawn, though, as she is docked facing northwest; I settled for some early risers having the lights on, and the sun just starting to light up the hilltop. Notice the name of the houseboat — in light of the short story just before this, guess what she used to pay for her boat! I guess that will be the sequel…

I’ve added some new items to the menu: The Mermaid Blog is all the posts that are not comics; they also appear on the home page underneath the current comic page. In case you missed it, I just posted a week’s worth of tiny downloadable mermaid paintings on the blog.

I also created a comics archive, as there isn’t a native one built into this theme (the archives widget in the sidebar goes to the blog posts — go figure! this is a comics theme!). So I built one as a page and stuck it in the menu. You can link to any past comics page from there, and there are little hints (but not spoilers, I hope) to guide you to the page you are looking for.

I have also been working on some background writing, which I hope to be adding to the menu soon. I hope you enjoyed the Root Redwing story as much as I enjoyed having a bit of time to catch up on some of the background work.

PS — for those who are interested in such stuff, I tried out a new watercolour paint for this page. It’s made by Daniel Smith company, and it’s called Lunar Blue. I used it for the rocks in the background, and for mixing with other colours in the two rooftops. It does that neat granulated textural thing all by itself!

Undersea Partners

Here’s the seventh and final in the week-long series of A Mermaid a Day sketch cards for you to download! This one celebrates the close friendship between Fins and Hands. Please see the permissions blurb below:

mermaid-sketch-card-7

It’s fun to think up different ways my merfolk might be patterned for camouflage!

You have my permission to use, for personal use only, any of these to make home-printed stickers, postcards, iron-on patches, place cards for a mermaid party — if your home printer can do it, have at it! You can even use them for your avatar on social media, if you credit me. Just don’t sell them or print them commercially or remove my teeny imprint, please.  The originals of these are tiny, 2.5 x 3.5 inches, so don’t expect them to print large; I’ve uploaded them at full resolution, though, so they should be suitable for small uses as mentioned above.

A Fishy Conversation

Here’s the sixth in the week-long series of A Mermaid a Day sketch cards for you to download! This mermaid seems to be having an earnest conversation with a fish friend. Wonder what they are talking about? Please see the permissions blurb below:

mermaid sketch card 6.jpg

You have my permission to use, for personal use only, any of these to make home-printed stickers, postcards, iron-on patches, place cards for a mermaid party — if your home printer can do it, have at it! You can even use them for your avatar on social media, if you credit me. Just don’t sell them or print them commercially or remove my teeny imprint, please.  The originals of these are tiny, 2.5 x 3.5 inches, so don’t expect them to print large; I’ve uploaded them at full resolution, though, so they should be suitable for small uses as mentioned above.

Merbaby and Friend

Here’s the fifth in the week-long series of A Mermaid a Day sketch cards for you to download! Hope this chubby little mer-tot tickles your fancy! Please see the permissions blurb below:

mermaid sketch card 5.jpg

 

You have my permission to use, for personal use only, any of these to make home-printed stickers, postcards, iron-on patches, place cards for a mermaid party — if your home printer can do it, have at it! You can even use them for your avatar on social media, if you credit me. Just don’t sell them or print them commercially or remove my teeny imprint, please.  The originals of these are tiny, 2.5 x 3.5 inches, so don’t expect them to print large; I’ve uploaded them at full resolution, though, so they should be suitable for small uses as mentioned above.

Heart of the Sea

Here’s the fourth in the week-long series of A Mermaid a Day sketch cards for you to download! A cockle shell is shaped like a heart if you look at it sideways, so what better gift for a mer-sweetie?

The standard permission blurb applies (see below):

mermaid sketch card 4.jpg

You have my permission to use, for personal use only, any of these to make home-printed stickers, postcards, iron-on patches, place cards for a mermaid party — if your home printer can do it, have at it! You can even use them for your avatar on social media, if you credit me. Just don’t sell them or print them commercially or remove my teeny imprint, please.  The originals of these are tiny, 2.5 x 3.5 inches, so don’t expect them to print large; I’ve uploaded them at full resolution, though, so they should be suitable for small uses as mentioned above.