MerMay Interview with Artist Adrianna Vanderstelt

During MerMay, artists take special time to celebrate the whimsical underwater worlds of mermaid artwork. But why should the fantasy fun be limited to one month? Some artists are dedicated to the magic all year long.

Artist Adrianna Vanderstelt is known for her dreamy depictions of fantastical characters, including mermaids, dragons, and more. Her paintings and illustrations are filled with floral designs, beautiful colors, and a realm of imagination. Several of her pieces have also been made into fantasy wall art available through Sideshow Art Prints: Winter Stars, Spring Dreams, and Guiding Light. Deluxe editions with a unique, hand-painted glitter embellishment add even more magical dimension to Adrianna’s artwork.

In honor of MerMay and her own mermaid creations, we sat down with Adrianna to ask her a little bit about her creative process, her introduction to artwork, and what type of fantasy creature she’d most like to be!


Meet Adrianna Vanderstelt

SIDESHOW: Hello, Adrianna! Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you were first introduced to the world of art.

ADRIANNA: Hey there! My name is Adrianna Vanderstelt. I’m an artist who loves to create all the magical fairytale things! I create my work both traditionally and digitally. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to create art for a few different licensed properties like Disney, Lucasfilm, and Dreamworks. It’s been a gift growing up to watch my dad (Jerry Vanderstelt) create his art since I was a child. I remember after school there were days where I would sit by him, observing and watching his artist techniques.

S: What was your experience growing up with a father who is also an artist? How, if at all, did that influence your style and interests?

AV: I feel extremely blessed to have a dad who is an artist and supports my dream. We speak the same language when it comes to art. He can say something or make an observation about a painting one of us is working on and it seems we’re already thinking the same thing.

I would say that my dad has had the most influence on me growing up. He also sparked my love for the fantasy arts. Seeing him create beautiful fantasy art only fueled my imagination all the more. I couldn’t wait to get those ideas in my head onto paper!


On Creating Fantasy Scenes

S: What appeals to you most about fantasy designs like mermaids and dragons?

AV: I love the fantasy designs of mermaids and dragons because there is so much playing ground for what you can create. It leaves room for the imagination to create something new and special!

S: What is your favorite part of creating mermaids like the ones featured in Winter Stars and Spring Dreams?

AV: I would say my favorite part is creating the mermaids’ hair. The hair is the mermaid’s crown to me and adding those little hair accessories is the icing on the cake! I think it’s maybe all the soft curvy lines in the hair that are so fun to create too.


Her Artistic Process

S: You utilize a lot of different mediums for your art, including acrylic paints, airbrush, and digital painting. Do you have a favorite to work with?

AV: As much as I love the digital arts, there’s just something extra magical about traditional painting. That’s where my heart is! To create a piece of art with your own two hands and have a tangible piece of artwork to behold after is so rewarding. It’s hard to beat! When I do create my work traditionally I use acrylic paints. I love to work with traditional brushwork as well as some airbrushing. I typically like to add a few touches of colored pencil too.

S: Describe the glitter embellishment process — is this something you do for every art piece you create? How do you decide which elements of the image to highlight?

AV: The glitter embellishing process is something I’ve been doing for the past few years! It was a lot of trial and error to find exactly what I was looking for in order to add that extra magical touch on my art. I was introduced to a beautiful acrylic glitter paint which I use to embellish my art. After playing around, I was able to find the right glitter consistency, adding a subtle magical shimmer.

I find that I mostly glitter embellish my fantasy art. They always seems to have those magical elements that are perfect for adding that sparkly touch! I typically like to add glitter to areas that are either a highlight or would maybe be an accent on the piece. Places like on a mermaid’s tail or in her hair accessories are fun to add glitter. It really makes the piece come to life!


On Inspiration

S: Where or how do you like to find inspiration for your next projects?

AV: It seems I typically find my inspiration in the changing seasons. When spring comes along I find myself creating a lot more mermaids with extra floral accents in pastel spring colors.

S: Would you want to be a mermaid? If not, is there another fantasy creature you’d like to be?

AV: Oh, this is a fun question! As much as I love mermaids I have to go with fairy. Being able to fly is too good to pass up!

S: If you could live in one of your paintings, which would you choose?

AV: I don’t know if I could narrow down one painting to live in. It would have to be one of my pantings that has mountains and waterfalls, though.


Closing Thoughts

S: What do you hope viewers take away from interacting with your art?

AV: I hope viewers get a sense of hope and can revisit that childlike feeling of wonder. I also hope to create many more art pieces that allow the viewer to go on even more magical adventures!


Our sincerest thanks to Adrianna for taking the time for this interview and for sharing her insights into the world of fantasy artwork creation. If you’re looking to follow more of her artistic process, visit her Instagram page @art_by_adrianna or at adriannavanderstelt.com. You can also find her official Sideshow Art Print releases through her Artist Profile page — add Winter Stars, Spring Dreams, and more to your collection today!

How are you celebrating MerMay? Keep the conversation going by visiting our official Let Your Geek Sideshow Facebook group at side.show/geekgroup. Thanks for reading and, as always, don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!