The art community has several challenges throughout the year, in which you may or may not (pun intended) participate, and of which Inktober is probably the best-known of the bunch. If you’ve explored the world wild web (yes, I do know it’s supposed to be world wide web) available art community territory a bit, you’ve probably come across this challenge that asks you to finish one painting per day done in any kind of, but only, ink. Mermay is probably the most famous right after Inktober, and if you participate, you’ll draw (or sketch) one mermaid per day, every day of the month. (There are official prompt lists for both, but you can do your own, if you prefer.) Of course, they don’t all have to be finished drawings, and you don’t have to do one every single day. You could do one every other day – or less, if you prefer.
It’s really mostly to get and keep you drawing and sketching, to challenge yourself, to have fun, and to learn new things in the process. Though I rarely ever do so, I actually love drawing mermaids. Why? Mostly because they’re so versatile. Traditionally, they have a glamorous fishtail, but you can really do whatever you like. You’ll see in a minute.
1. So first, draw the upper body. I don’t go into detail here since we’ve just gone through the portrait tutorials (you will find all three of them on my ‘profile’, two are in Luxembourgish, one in English, but the images provided should really mostly be enough to understand what’s going on, in case either language isn’t your strongest). For the body… Maybe we should cover that sometime soon. You can always keep it fairly simple by going primarily with a basic silhouette and then cover up different body parts with hair and/or scales, or even her tail.
My mermaid will be combing through her hair with both her hands, which is why you can’t see them.
3. Next up – the hair. The only advice I’d give on this one: make it floaty. The mermaid lives underwater and is thus not bound to all of the laws of gravity that we know on land. Make it fabulous!
4. Fourth, is the first part of the tail. Basically, you draw the same thing you’d do with a human figure – upper legs starting under the bum, down to the knees. Only difference: you ‘melt’ both the legs together.
5. Repeat this for the lower part, joining both pieces by the ending and starting point respectively. The second half goes in a pointy end. In fish this tends to look round-ish, which you can also do. Or you can do a less defined, smoother transition… Whatever floats your boat, really.
6. And finally – the tail!
I’m really sorry that mine got cut off. I didn’t quite get the measurements and sizes of my page right, I guess… But you get the idea. Fishtail!
And this is where to get creative! Rather than with the ‘traditional’ tail, why not do an eel?
Or do you maybe fancy an uh… Octomaid?😀
For me, it’s going to be a shrimp. A Scampimaid. So, I colored in mine in the probably best-known color for shrimps – orange.
I tried to stay within that color family, meaning only using red-ish and yellow tones – which I do regret a little, yes, but hey. It’s all about the learning, right? If you want to do a shrimp and go a little more colorful, you can always go either straight into fantasy and go nuts (a mermaid is a creature of legend after all) or look up the mantis shrimps for inspiration. Very flashy little dudes.
And that’s basically it. Are you participating in Mermay? Will you for the rest of the month? Or are you more like me, (could-be) professional and (fictive) award-winning procrastinator, telling yourself you will each and every year, again and again, but never do? Either way, if you do at least one, that might be an accomplishment (it certainly is for me), so don’t be too hard on yourself. Have fun with it!😀
Merry Mermay everyone and stay happy and creative!
Hi, my name is Stéphanie. I'm Luxembourgish, in my late twenties, and a passionate artist. I paint and draw since what feels like forever. Though I do occasionally crack open a tube of acrylic paint, my favourite traditional mediums are a watercolour and alcohol markers. I also do lots of digital pieces. My motifs include all possible things, such as food, plants, characters, and animals, whereas my art style depends much on the subject and reaches from cartoony to semi-realism.