Oh, I have been neglecting my blog. Yes, I’m doing all my regular features… I post an interview every Friday (even though last Friday was a fictional character, it still counts!) I post a SyFy Question of the Day every Tuesday. On the fiction side, I post a chapter of Synaesthesia every Monday, and I usually do the Write on Edge prompts once or twice a week.
But it’s been a while since I just rambled on about something.
Every once in a while, someone will either deliberately prompt me, or I’ll jokingly take something as a prompt, and I’ll write a quick short story. Daisy Harris was talking about mermaids, someone else mentioned Steampunk, then when I joked about Steampunk Mermaids someone else said something about “Only if you have an emo pirate!” One other person (I wish I remember who… if I paged through facebook and G+ I might find it) said “…and metrosexual naval officers!” So, it turned into a short story called Give Me Your Answer Do, which is currently at 1,500 words, and will probably end up between 5,000 and 10,000 words when its done.
Surprisingly, googling “Steampunk Mermaids” actually returned quite a few responses! I found this great page called Mermaids in Fantasies of Various Artists, and I especially like The Devil’s Mermaid by Kurt Williams. Besides being a gorgeous picture, it has a “look” that I like. I was having a hard time saying that my mermaids would be shapeshifters, but if this is going to be a romance (yeah, that’s kinda what I do) I most certainly am not going to get into fishy sex! So I decided that my merpeople were going to be mutants, which fits into the Steampunk genre much better. They have gills, their skin is not quite as pink as a Caucasian (They have varying shades of blue and green) and they have two legs that fit together more closely than a human’s legs do. They do have some fins and webs, but it is common to slip on a garment like a second skin over their legs that makes it look like they have a tail. This also makes it easier for them to swim faster, like a human diver wearing flippers. In true Steampunk sense, they may also don something more mechanical that makes them look a little bit like Mer-Borgs. Notice the knees in the picture? That’s what Daisy’s legs would look like while wearing her swim tail. The corset was key! In this time period, any fashionable woman would wear one, and although Daisy’s tastes are eclectic, she definitely has an eye for fashion, especially anything that might help show off her natural assets to their best advantage.
My problem is attribution. I don’t want to put any image on the blog without the artist’s permission, but I’m hoping to use this one to illustrate Give Me Your Answer Do. It says right on the image Copyright Kurt Williams, but the site on which I found it has no link to the source. There is a link on the name, however it refuses to load the page when I click.
I’ve used Google image search, and found that this picture is on many sites. Some offer it as wallpaper, most others simply say “Ooh! Look at the purty picture!” I’ve Googled Kurt Williams, but it is not an uncommon name. I’ve sent a message to one Kurt Williams so far, and received a message back saying “Nope. Not me!”
So here it is, in this post. Perhaps the artist occasionally uses Google image search to see if his stuff is being posted where it shouldn’t be. Perhaps he sold or released the rights long ago, and it’s now out there in the realm of free-to-use. I’d like to know. But perhaps if someone reads this post and happens to know how I might find the right Kurt Williams, I can contact him and ask his permission to use this picture with my story.
UPDATE: I shared this on facebook, and David Gardner suggested I use TinEye.com. I clicked through several random sites that had the image, and then lo and behold I found a link that brought me to the artist’s own website! Unfortunately, it says it is currently closed. But there is an e-mail address, so I’ve sent off a message and we’ll see what he says.
And, less than 24 hours after the original blog post went up…
Yes, you have indeed found the artist responsible for “The Devil’s Mermaid”. I’m very flattered that you were inspired by the image and thank you for the praise. In response to your request to use the image on your blog, please feel free (it looks good there already;)). It has been used on a number of web sites and most have not asked permission. If you ever publish a book in print or distribute digitally, we may need another arrangement but as long as it’s not being sold directly by you, I have no problem with it appearing with your story. I wouldn’t be able to grant an exclusive license at this point since Future Publishing and Ballistic Publishing already hold non-exclusive rights to publish it.
To answer your other questions about this image, it was painted in Photoshop so it’s all digital. The original file is at a much higher resolution than the copies on the web so in that way, I always have a “tangible original” to print from that is higher quality. The painting I’ve done is usually just for me. I create abstract thumbnail sketches with colors and shapes in Photoshop by just scribbling. I have no idea what I want to paint so I might create 20 to 100 of these little thumbnail sketches then look at them over and over again until something jumps out. Kind of like an ink blot test only in color. Once inspiration strikes it’s just a matter of painting what I’ve imagined. “The Devil’s Mermaid” grew out of the attached thumbnail.
Looks like you have a great blog and I look forward to reading your story (sounds different, and by different, I mean interesting). Believe it or not I actually read paperbacks constantly. I enjoy putting images to words and find a great deal of inspiration from today’s authors.
Best of Luck,
Fan-freaking-tastic! I’ve heard so many horror stories from writers who contact an artist and either get a stony silence or a rude “How dare you suggest…” when they ask to use something. This is one genuinely nice guy!
Now, to finish the story… anyone want to do my laundry, clean my house, fix dinner (oh, wait, I already did that…) and entertain my kids while I do some writing?
The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/p1qnT4-oP