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  • Danielle Bennignus

In the Swim


Greetings from the drawing board! I've had my hands full with ongoing commissions, but managed to make time for an addition to the print roster. I've been on a mermaid kick this year, and am continuing in that vein - this time around, we have a fantail goldfish theme. And with fantails come the joys of swirling tails, feathery fins and round bellies - as such, voluptuous mer-gals!

Let's have a good look at these two beauties, and their wriggly pals...

As you can see, I also wanted to include a gorgeous African-American mermaid - she's a wonderful contrast to her blonde companion.

A closer look at the fantails. I kept these fish for years during my time in NY/NJ, after rescuing a group of them from a tough situation. They were in dire need of a home, and I established a beautiful aquarium for them for the purpose. They lived a good, long lives with me, and I miss them terribly. What better way to remember them, than via a group portrait?

I loved them deeply, and enjoyed their bright colors - they were like living jewels.

The illustration is resplendent with mica-based inks, as well as silver leaf detailing for the mermaids' necklaces and surrounding bubbles. This is a throwback to the illuminated texts of the Renaissance, and is a joyful medium to work with. Much like inkwell illustration itself, the practice requires a good deal of concentration and time - as a traditional artisan, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Calico fantails echo the mermaids' koi-like coloration - patches, blazes and spots in all shades of orange, silver, gold and ebony - like tangerine Dalmatians!


What I love best about this illustration is the inherent celebration of womankind - especially regarding body types. Most of my work features wispy people, primarily thanks to the influence of my late muse, Craig Duffy, who was an almost ethereally-slim creature. I knew that it was time to honor women of all sizes, and doing so was a truly enjoyable experience! As I go through life, the importance of self-respect and self-love becomes more and more tangible, and we are all deserving of this gift. "Love Yourself" applies to all of us, especially those who are often made to feel invisible in society's eyes. I'm happy to play a small part in fighting this stigma, and demonstrating their beauty. Love Yourself, and Love Each Other.

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