Friday, June 12, 2015

Sacred Black: An Art Order Challenge Entry

I've been following The Art Order for awhile now and have wanted to participate in the challenges, but hadn't yet... until NOW! This challenge was a cover for F(r)iction #2, an art and literary collection. The guidelines were the color blue, surreal in nature, and inspired by the mysteries within the murky depths of the ocean. It was time to get sketching!

I've been reading Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan, so of course the mysteries of the cosmos was on my mind. I think it's interesting how there are so many unknowns in the vastness of both space and the oceans right here on our blue planet. I started sketching a concept of a woman looking up into the sky which would transition to a strange, deep-sea mermaid within her imagination.

In the book, Sagan mentions the idea of "sacred black" and I was hooked on that phrase. He connects the adventure, awe and draw of the blue skies on our planet to the vast blackness of space. The chapter also goes into the different colors of the skies on various planets and how color works, so of course I was intrigued. I had my title. I still wanted to work in the girl staring at the stars and sky, but was finding it difficult to work as a cover. I was also concerned my concept of the mysteries of space and the ocean being connected might not be read well.

Some mermaid sketches and notes.


I decided to scrap the girl staring at the sky and instead focus on space meshing with sea. I'm also interested in black holes and the many unknowns about that phenomena, so I decided that would be the space connection. This way the illustration would focus on the deep sea mermaid and not be torn between two main characters.

Some final notes and planning.

Then it was drawing time!

Coffee is essential

I wasn't quite sure what pose I wanted the mermaid to be in, so after sketching some small thumbnails of mermaids in movement, I decided to get up and take some poses!

Posing. Posing with my arm. Posing...

Sketching from my references.

Then many coffees later....

The finished drawing!

Once I liked the drawing, it was time to ink.

Finished ink.


I listened to a lot of Coast to Coast AM.

And voila! The finished product!

Dat bioluminescence.

The Art Order challenge is still open for two more days, until June 14th! So if you have the time or a piece ready that fits, submit your work! 

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