If you have an Instagram account, you might have noticed a rising tide of mermaids in your feed lately... Well, it's May, and the annual Mer-May Challenge is here, so like other predominant artists online, I decided to dip my feet in the water (warning: more puns ahead :).
The idea is to draw mermaids and upload them using the hashtags #mermay or #mermay2018. Some artists make as many as one mermaid illustration a day for the duration of the month, and others try to do their best with one original concept in hope to brake the internet.
Though there are pages and pages of spectacular renditions of mermaids, there is one kind that I haven't seen pop to the surface - The deep ocean dwelling luminescent invertebrates. As I gathered some images to reference colors and textures, I found so many amazing creatures, that it was hard to decide which elements to include in my sketch and which to omit. Some had rainbow-like illumination, others had vibrant organs that are visible through the sleek translucent membrane, some had fins and others have long tentacles... possibilities, endless!
Fun fact: The chemicals that cause these creatures to glow are known as luciferin and luciferase . These two chemicals, when mixed in the presence of oxygen, produce light. This helps the creatures to deter other predators, to attract mates and to communicate among each others.
I made a few sketches of the king of character that I had in mind... I only made a few because I already had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted to draw, but I didn't want to blank out on some unforeseen detail... Initially I had a more monster, Zoidberg-like idea, but I decided to leave it for another time.
Here comes the process: From a light sketch on a dark background, to building details, layer by layer, until I was happy with the results. I got to admit that I was a bit unsure about the shape of the maid's hands, so I decided to leave them outside the cropping area. The part I enjoyed most was to come up with colorful organs inside the translucent body of the mermaid.
After the illustration was complete, its was time for some finalizing effects: I blurred some of the details to create a sense of depth and focus, and then applied some color filters to unify the image.
The final rendition is a result of a warmer color overlay and a slight dulling of the colors.
Thank you reader for diving into this little art exploration, I hope that artists leave my post inspired to make their own renditions mermaids. May is still here, and the Mer-May challenge continues, so may your creativity glow like the Comb Jellyfish!