Most likely, neither of us know each other, but I have every intention to change this.
Since I am currently not in a position to pry into your personal life, I will instead tell you a bit about myself. Born on a potentially snowy, likely cold December opposite-of-night back in 1993, I am an artist and illustrator from Germany dabbling in the field of (admittedly, mostly creepy) fantasy art. Or so I thought. How could I expect my childhood fancy and lifelong obsession with mermaids to suddenly turn into something very real?
How could I expect to be contacted by a real mermaid scientist, a syrenilogist, just shortly after wrapping up my illustration studies? Alas, it happened! Dr Cecilia Lillefisk, who is totally and most definitely a real person and not made up (She just happens to not show up on Google. Can you believe it?!), approached me with a fateful opportunity: Illustrating her findings. No less than 100 mermaid species were in need of a picture, since they were pretty hard to catch on photograph.
Thus, the 100 Mermaid Project began. In early 2016 I started drawing one mermaid every week, guided only by Dr Lillefisk's ominous descriptions. You can find the first 50 mermaids all over my social media or in a neat PDF I have prepared for those of you eager to join our ambitious undertaking.
Throughout last year curious people have been asking whether there would be a book after completion of the project. Now, I love books. I love reading them, touching them, smelling them, drowning them in bathtubs and especially making them. That's why I've self published an ABC of Magical Creatures, a Haunted ABC (with Jorge Mascarenhas) and an illustrated version of the Seven Ravens. They're simple little books, though.
'I can bring those mermaids together in another simple collection', I thought.
And yet ... things rarely stay simple when you are driven by passion. I had started asking Dr Lillefisk questions not covered by my assignment. She couldn't just tell me there were mermaids and then neglect to teach me everything about her discoveries: About mermaid history, their behaviour, their reproductive cycles. What do they eat? How do they sleep? Can they talk? I needed to know!
Turns out diving deep into a topic takes a lot of time. Turns out it's a lot of work. Turns out I love it. Turns out I want you all to know what I've learned! It is inevitable for our book to become a little more complex than anticipated. I'll have to draw and sketch a great many things,
We tried to secure government funding for this effort in the name of science and the greater good, but turns out they have to subsidize war robots and were not very eager to help.
So here we are, turning to you, citizens of the internet. Are you willing to follow us on our journey into the depths of the oceans? Will you support our effort of shining some light onto this yet undiscovered world of wonder and amazement? This world of carnivorous mermaids leading sailors astray and obscure creatures of seemingly fantastical origins? There is so much to discover and we want to share it all with you. Do you want to see it?
I like whimsical stories a lot, but Dr Lillefisk says some people like facts, otherwise her book Scales Or Nails - A Short History Of Aquatic Pedicure’ wouldn't have become an international bestseller.
So, yeah, here's a plain-ish version of what this is about:
I draw one mermaid a week until I have reached at least a hundred. They look like this:
Somewhere between humanity believing in unicorns and denying the existence of narwhals, this shy creature has been roaming the depths of the Arctic Sea for centuries, unnoticed and undisturbed.
This is what I share publicly on the web no matter what, since it doesn't contain any sensitive information.
Every mermaid will be accompanied by a write up of my process, my thoughts and the clues and information Dr Lillefisk left me to create the picture. (If you don't believe I'm telling the truth here, you might want to call it 'inspiration').
These write ups also include top secret background information on most mermaids, explaining details about their existence we are not yet ready to share with the public.
In a loose format these write ups already exist for nearly all mermaids discovered so far in a newsletter titled Mermaid Mail. You can still find them in my newsletter archive.
To gain more insight into the mermaid world there is also be an Ask A Mermaid Scientist section, in which Dr Lillefisk will answer all your questions regarding the mermaid lifestyle.
Ask A Mermaid Scientist can be found on my Tumblr. You can read all Q&As here.
After bringing the 100 Mermaid Project to a conclusion I will self publish a book containing all mermaids with thorough descriptions and background information. It will include
As I will soon be done with 100 mermaids and dive into the book work I have decided to close the prior reward tiers in favour of a pay what you want tip jar, since I'm not going to produce any regular content for a while.
Additionally I'll work myself slowly through my older posts making them public, one by one. So if you're new here or have been subscribing to a lower tier you have a bit of a backlog to dig into while I play hermit and work away in secret.
I think this is it.
Let me know if there are any questions that need answering.
Love and happy mermaid
You can find my portfolio here.
You can find prints and other goodies of my non-mermaid work on Society6 and my shop.
You can also find me on Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter.
For any sorts of inquiries please contact my via [email protected].