The Diving Belle and Lophelia's Council Chamber January 31, 2020 23:11

From Jess: 

Oh my cod, how was January SUCH a long month, and yet the 31st snuck up on me like this? I'd intended to publish the January blog way earlier than this, but my husband/co-author Chris has been wrapping up his live-action/CG hybrid debut, "The Call of the Wild," and it's been another weird month. Fortunately, the movie is in the can, and, after the premiere in less than two weeks (!!!), we can both shift our focus from the beautiful but harsh and snowy Yukon to the warm waters and sherbet colors of Miami Beach. Ahhhhhh...

To that end, I wanted to kick off 2020 with some fin-tastic artwork from Nicholas Kennedy. We commissioned Nick back in 2018 to create two layouts for our "Rescue Sirens" pitchbook; because we were pitching the property as an animated series, we were looking for something bold and fairly simple that would feel right at home as a background in a cartoon.

First up: the pool and cozy sheltered courtyard of the Diving Belle, the rundown little motel-turned-condominiums where our Rescue Sirens live while they're topside. Nick did an amazing job capturing the soft colors of a Florida sunrise, and illustrating the twin bell-shaped pool and Art Deco-inspired two-tiered diving platform.

Next is a peek into the secret mermaid community of Lophelia, specifically the grand council chamber/library that is first glimpsed in one of Genevieve Tsai's gorgeous black-and-white illustrations in our novel "Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist." For this illustration, we wanted to pull back a bit to give a wider view and also feature the moody underwater lighting and glowing crystals inside the chamber.

Didn't Nick knock both illustrations out of the park? He's such a pleasure to work with, and fast, too! We really owe one to Gabby Zapata for recommending Nick to us when another artist left us in the lurch right before our pitch.

To see more of Nick's work, check out his Instagram!

I'll be back next month with more goodies (provided I survive this movie premiere, haha). Until then, I hope your 2020 is off to an auspicious start!

Chihiro Howe draws the rest of the Rescue Sirens June 30, 2019 22:00

From Jess: 

Back in March, I shared a sketch of Rescue Siren Maris drawn by artist Chihiro Howe. Chihiro first drew an illustration of Kelby during our Mer-May 2017 fan art contest, and, ever since, Chris and I have really wanted to see her artistic take on the rest of our Miami Beach mermaids. Once Maris was done, we commissioned Chihiro to sketch the other four girls! (We figured we’d get a second Kelby to complete the 2019 set.) Chris and I then digitally colored each sketch.

Without further ado, enjoy the collection!

Once again, for more of Chihiro’s adorable artwork, just follow @chihirohowe on Instagram. For prints and your even your own sketch commission, check out Chihiro’s Etsy shop.

Next up in July: San Diego Comic-Con approaches!

Rescue Siren Maris by Chihiro Howe Takogawa March 31, 2019 17:00

From Jess: 

A couple of years ago, when Chris and I held a "Rescue Sirens" fan art contest with the prize of one of Chris's original inked drawings, Chihiro Howe drew an adorable picture of Kelby (she even included her glasses!!). Can you believe this is all done traditionally? Chihiro's mastery of markers is astonishing.

Rescue Siren Kelby, illustrated by Chihiro Howe

Earlier this year, when Chihiro offered commissions, I snapped one up and asked if she'd draw another of our Rescue Sirens. She chose Maris, and I remain blown away by her confident anatomy and pose as well as her perfect, delicate linework!

Isn't she simply gorgeous? I love how much personality Chihiro's illustrations have!

I even took a whack at coloring the line art, just for fun:

Rescue Siren Maris, illustrated by Chihiro Howe and colored by Jessica Steele-Sanders

To see more of Chihiro's wonderful work, you can follow @chihirohowe on Instagram as well as visit her Etsy shop.

Book reading and signing at Denver's BookBar, Nov. 9th & 10th November 6, 2017 00:00

From Jess: 

Something really cool is coming up later this week! The fine folks at BookBar ("A book shop for wine lovers. A wine bar for book shoppers") invited us to come out and hold not one, but TWO book signings/readings at their establishment in Denver, Colorado. The first event (RSVP on Facebook) is for "Rescue Sirens and the Great Fish Round-Up"; the second event (RSVP on Facebook) is for "Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist." Chris even drew a gorgeous new illustration to shell-ebrate the fun!

On Thursday, November 9th, I'll be reading our water-resistant, fully-illustrated children's storybook, "Rescue Sirens and the Great Fish Round-Up," dressed as Rescue Siren Nim in my beautiful mermaid tail from Merbella Studios. Doors open (with half-price kids' meals and wine!) at 4:00 PM; story time starts at 4:30 PM. This is the perfect opportunity to get your hands on our children's book, since we haven't had the chance to make it available online just yet!

The next night, Friday, November 10th, Chris and I will be reading selections from our novel, "Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist," after which we'll be answering questions about our series and signing copies of the book. That event lasts from 5:00 to 7:00 PM and includes discounts on pizza, beer, and wine, so, really, you can't go wrong.

We hope to see you there!

INKtober 2017 October 23, 2017 06:00

From Jess: 

Now, if you've read our past blogs, you know about Mer-May -- when everyone spends a month drawing mermaids -- but are you familiar with Inktober?

As the name suggests, artists take the month of October to work on inking traditionally: with a brush, pen, or quill; some draw every day and follow prompts (just like the prompt lists you'll find during Mer-May), but other artists just draw what they feel like as often as they can. No matter how you do it, Inktober is a celebration of all things inky! With so many people creating their drawings digitally now, it's awesome to see such a dedicated return to hand-drawing.

My husband and "Rescue Sirens" co-author, Chris Sanders, is a master with a brush and a bottle of ink. While he often colors his drawings digitally in Photoshop, Chris still sketches them on paper with a pencil, then inks them with a Winsor & Newton Series 7 sable brush. It's like magic to watch, and, last Inktober, Chris recorded himself inking a cute witch pin-up for Halloween, which I then edited into a short time-lapse video.

Several months ago, I did the same for an illustration of Rescue Siren Kelby that Chris drew earlier this year as part of the artwork on our booth backdrop at San Diego Comic-Con. I waited until now to upload the video because, hey, Inktober!

Take a look:

Isn't it mesmerizing?

As a bonus, let's revisit the adorable chibi-style drawing of Rescue Siren Nim that Chris offered as a prize in our "Rescue Sirens" fan art contest this past May:

Inking even a relatively simple drawing like Chibi Nim seems like witchcraft (appropriate for this time of year!), at least when it's done by someone as skilled as Chris. I could watch him ink all day long! Between Halloween (my favorite holiday) and Inktober, October is a pretty fin-omenal month.

If you'd like to see more "Rescue Sirens" videos, you can always visit our Videos page or our YouTube channel.