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Mixed Media Mermaids, Sketchbooks & Vent Art

Earlier this spring I took a mixed media class to let myself loose and make some weird art. Weird by my standards isn't even that weird, but being a primarily digital artist it feels like sometimes you need someone to force you to get your hands dirty.

When I was in school I always had people comment on how different my approach in my sketchbooks was from my finished digital illustrations... and I realize now it was the slightly chaotic approach to mixed media and layering that gave my sketchbooks a really unique quality my final work never managed to hold onto. Lines would wander and swirl with gravity and momentum in and around each other, figures would distort in new and compelling ways. All of the raw edges were front and center.

This painting was an effort to do just that, and spend a few weeks taking a single sketchbook page as far as I could take it. The result is a strange kind of vent art that I didn't really know I knew how to make!

The media involved, if my memory isn't already failing me, included:

  • Chalk pastel

  • Gouache

  • Watercolor

  • Cut paper

  • Cut fabric interfacing

  • ... a lot of Mod Podge.

Looking at it again, this painting is a stark reminder to play more. Draw pretty mermaids all you want, but let your mind wander when you feel the compulsion! This piece is a messy pile of strange ideas done on impulse without second thought, and the final texture speaks for itself.

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