MerMay WIP - your thoughts?


  • SVS OG

    After Lee's great critiques for last month's Challenge, I'm feeling rather insecure, realizing all of the stuff I don't "see" or know. With that in mind, does anyone have any thoughts on my MerMay idea before I submit it? Seeing photos of all of the plastic in the oceans sparked my idea. I still have time to go back in and try to redo -- as I have been doing obsessively over the last several days. Thanks! @Maureen-BF
    Mermay-WIP_MaureenBF.jpg



  • I really like your concept, I think you've portrayed the polluted water well and the mermaid's expression is clearly upset. What sticks out to me is that the level of finish and the style on the top half of the mermaid isn't meshing with the rest of the piece. Her face, hair, and torso all have line work but nothing else in the piece does. There's also a bit of disconnect between the realistic shading you have on her face and the super abstract brushes you've used on the sea floor below her. I think you could work on refining the mermaid's tail and blending the style of the character with the style of the background a little more. Nice work, makes me want to go pick up some litter!



  • Hi Maureen,

    I really like the concept too, it's a very powerful image. Such a delicate creature, such a polluted environment she has to live in. Some thoughts sparked by your image: what if you make some of the litter in the background more visible? It's nice that stuff fades out because it gives you a sense of depth, but maybe there could be more gradual layers and levels from 'close' to 'far'.

    Also, I would maybe direct the mermaid's gaze more clearly towards an object, to make her angry expression ever more powerful. Hope it helps!


  • SVS OG

    Thanks, @StudioLooong I will focus on the areas you have pointed out.


  • SVS OG

    Thanks, @Elena-Marengoni Good ideas. More work to do.


  • SVS OG

    I've tried to incorporate the suggestions as I understood them. Did this improve it?
    Thank you.
    Mermay WIP2_MaureenBF.jpg


  • SVS OG

    Hey I like your idea, that poor mermaid 😞 haha so I thought of a way that might help you out. I did a quick draw over to show you how you can construct your character to giver her a little more shape. I might help 🙂1558266496297-mermay-wip2_maureenbf.jpg


  • SVS OG

    Thanks, @Jason-Bowen I really appreciate your ideas. Everyone's thoughts are so different but that's the fun of it all, right? I am going for more of a manatee tail - since it's thought that sailors mistook manatees for mermaids -- and wanted to get away from the "big boobs" characterization-- always so emphasized in fantasy art -- so that's why the long hair. Good considerations, though.


  • Moderator

    @Maureen I am coming into this a bit late, but I think @Jason-Bowen has the right idea with the tail. It may not be the shape that you are looking for, but I think what he is trying to emphasize is that you need to focus more on how you construct your shapes. Manatee tails are thicker than the standard Mermaid tail, but they still have the same flow. Tom Bancroft does some excellent tutorials on Mermay.com and he does some that focus specifically on shape and on facial expression. Give those a watch, hopefully they will help!



  • I'd have another look at the sky maybe, it's very saturated and one block of colour, so it stands out to me quite a lot and draws away from the main subject matter a bit. I'm not sure it's even necessary to include, perhaps if the water reached the top, there'd be more space for the rubbish and turtle and for the bubbles to draw the eye up without being cut by the horizontal line of the sea. Hope that helps!


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