Artist Camilla d’Errico on Mermaids, Imagination, and Pop Manga


Artist’s photo: ©Camilla d’Errico

Camilla d’Errico is a painter and manga artist whose client list includes Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, Tokyopop, Hasbro, Disney, Sanrio, and Neil Gaiman. She is the co-author of Pop Manga and the author of Pop Painting, Pop Manga Coloring Book, and the newly released Pop Manga Mermaids and Other Sea Creatures.

Unbound Worlds: Mermaids have a kind of staying power in popular culture that few mythic creatures do. Do you have any theories as to why we’re so enamored by them? What do they mean to you?

Camilla d’Errico: I fell in love with mermaids when I was a kid and watched the Disney movie “The Little Mermaid”.  I think I loved them because of how magical it was to see a whole new world beneath the waves. The ocean is so mysterious that I think it just fuels our imaginations and mermaids are one of the most beautiful of the mythological creatures. The idea that you “could” see one while swimming is very much a reality for people because, who knows? I, for one, think they are real because I believe that there are many things in the oceans and seas that we haven’t discovered yet. 

UW: Mermaids aren’t the only creatures in your book. Can you tell us about some of the others?

Cd:I love the ocean and all the incredible creatures in it! One of my favourite animals on earth is the octopus! They are so intelligent and adaptable that they hold a special place in my heart. I also drew many mythical creatures like the kelpie and selkie! I even drew some new mermaids that are half shark and half jellyfish. It’s so fun to imagine new and wondrous creatures alongside real fish and animal life. It was fun to blend the real and the imagined in the artworks.

UW: I know how hard it is to nail down what constitutes a style or movements in art, but how would you define Pop Manga? What distinguishes Pop Manga from the regular Manga we know so well?

Cd: To me Pop Manga is a genre that I’ve uniquely tapped into because it combines manga art with pop surrealist styled portraits and concepts. Pop surrealism bends reality and warps the standard concepts of artwork. Combining my big-eyed girls and chibi styled animals with a surrealist twist gave me a lot of freedom and liberty to draw some truly unique art scenes.

UW: While I don’t want you to give away your secrets, can you briefly walk us through how you create one of your pieces?

Cd: It always starts out with a sketch. I have many books filled with concept art and doodles. I pick my favourite then I use my non-repro blue pencil to draw the initial sketch on white paper. Once I have a solid under-drawing in blue, I go over the lines with an ink pen. I essentially trace the contours of my blue pencil drawing with the ink. Then I scan that art and create a digital file that I can then give to the publisher to use for the book. I have a how-to book, Pop Manga, that describes in detail my process. I’m not shy about sharing how I create my art because I hope to help other artists and inspire people through my work.

UW: This is a coloring book that kids and adults can enjoy equally. What were some of your own favorite coloring books? Do you remember any of them?

Cd: I haven’t really read or used many coloring books recently, I’ve been pretty focused on creating my own books, Pop Manga Coloring and Pop Manga Mermaids and Other Sea Creatures. But I have to say that when I was a kid that I LOVED coloring books and remember vividly coloring in them all the time. Those books don’t exist now so I took the memories of those books and used them as inspiration for my own. I think my books have that childlike essence as well as a little bit of the maturity of my adult side in them. 

UW: What are you working on now?

Cd: I am currently wrapping my newest How To Draw book Pop Manga Drawing. This is a follow up to Pop Manga but with this book I teach how to draw using graphite pencils. There is something so raw and beautiful about pencil drawings. I was really excited to write and draw this book and share my own techniques and create brand new art for it. 

I’m also working on a new solo show for Haven Gallery which will debut in May 2019. This show will be a zodiac inspired series of oil paintings. I’m super excited about it, I absolutely love astronomy. 

I’m also working on a series of custom toy art that will debut at Designer Con Booth 2334 in Anaheim. This is my last USA show of the year, and I’m very excited about releasing new art and custom toy artwork!

Finally, I am gearing up to debut a new series of art and merchandise for my annual Black Friday Release online at There are going to be so many amazing goodies for people! I’ll also feature new mini oil paintings of bees and lover’s eyes that I absolutely love creating. I’m really excited about this release in particular since I have a lot of fun surprises for people!