In this month’s The Illustrator Corner (TIC), our special feature goes to Jasmine Mercer, the talented illustrator behind Tree Frog Illustration.
Jasmine has been illustrating for twelve years. She got her start in the BA Hons Illustration Course at the University of Brighton, England. At the university’s graduation preview, Mercer presented her art portfolio to a picture book publisher, which led her to “jumping feet first into educational friezes for primary schools.”
Her strong love for storytelling, drawing, and illustration translated into a fruitful career. Now a successful illustrator, Mercer creates under the name of Tree Frog Illustration.
As an artist, Mercer takes in everything she sees and uses it as inspiration. From a one-man show to a wonderful movie, it can all be used as inspiration. She says that the second a project is discussed, images come to mind, and the direction of the project begins to form.
There are many illustrators that Mercer admires. Joe Sorren, Lane Smith, Sean Tann, Brad Holland, Sara Fanelli, and Ian Pollock are some of her favorites.
Despite her admiration, her own work is very different from theirs because she uses them as inspiration, not as an artistic crutch. Along with these illustrators, Mercer also has a passion for symbolism and German expressionism, which is akin to exaggerated expressionism.
Once she has the project in hand, Mercer begins by drawing and sketching. In her drawings, her main goal is to portray the unique personalities of each character. She accomplishes this by envisioning their emotions, actions, and interactions with other characters.
She usually starts this process with regular pen, ink, and line drawings. From there, she will move on to the thumbnails of each scene. After scanning and enlarging these thumbnails, Mercer goes in with a fine-toothed comb and creates the details that give an illustration that zing.
This career path has created many great memories for Mercer. One of her favorite memories is of her illustration entitled “Street Theatre.”
It was originally featured after she found a post on the National Art Council (NAC) website. The NAC was seeking a unique image for the Poole Family Arts Festival poster, and she was sure she had the perfect one. Her illustration included a character holding an umbrella over a four-legged best friend, meant to symbolize protection. The umbrella turned into a sun parasol, and the raindrops turned into flowers and musical instruments. Soon, the main character grew a theatre in her tummy.
This unique image went on to be featured in Images, the Association of Illustrators’ annual book of exceptional and award-winning illustrations.
TIC with Tree Frog Illustration- Jasmine’s Step-by-Step
Along with these gorgeous illustrations, Jasmine shares detailed descriptions and an inside look on her own personal process. Here is Jasmine’s creative process in her own words (Thanks, Jasmine!):
1. First, I do Loose Painting sketches from reference.
2. Next, I get a feel for the characters.
3. Third, I develop the personalities.
4. Then, I add expressionful extracts from the book.
5. I then play with scenes from the book text.
6. Here is a developed illustration:
7. And finally, a finished illustration:
Illustrations by Jasmine Mercer
In love with what you see? If you’d like to see more of Jasmine’s work or find her contact information, check out her website. And don’t forget to check TIC with Tree Frog Illustration walkthrough on our Instagram stories and highlights.
To see other talented illustrators and their creative process, check out The Illustrator Corner behind-the-scenes. See you next month!