Fusing charming portraits of wildlife with the severe trappings of historical costume, Bill Mayer creates darkly fantastical worlds in his detailed gouache paintings. A frog poses in royal dress, a pearl-draped mouse looks ready for a ball amongst massive wedges of cheese, and a rhinoceros stands ready to defend his territory in a suit of armor. The accomplished illustrator lives in Decatur, Georgia and has had a long career as a commercial artist. In an interview with WOW X WOW, Mayer reflected on his concept development:
For me, the most important element of the painting is the concept. The medium you use is just a way of furthering that original concept or finding some elements that add an intelligence to the work. Most of the time I start with small thumbnails which help me sort out the basic visual, a starting place. It probably comes from years of commercial work where you have to show your ideas before you start on a piece… Sometimes I will pull a piece of acetate over a painting and try to figure out what was bothering me and try a few things. Sometimes I will scan them in and use Photoshop, try some things, then go back and paint that way.