How to Draw a Mermaid based on a Specific Fish | Lisa Marie SketchingScarlet | Skillshare

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How to Draw a Mermaid based on a Specific Fish

teacher avatar Lisa Marie SketchingScarlet, Artist and Illustrator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (12m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Design Phase

    • 3. Thumbnail Phase

    • 4. Finished Illustration Phase

    • 5. Outro

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About This Class

This class is all about the design process behind drawing a mermaid!

I will explain how I use the reference of a fish to make my mermaids look interesting and special!

Meet Your Teacher

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Lisa Marie SketchingScarlet

Artist and Illustrator


Hello, I'm Lisa Marie! You may know me as SketchingScarlet from my Instagram or Youtube channel! :)

I am a freelance and social media artist working in watercolor, gouache and whatever falls into my hands and gets me creative :)

I post videos with tips and tricks as well as insights on my creative process on my youtube channel but I am using Skillshare for more in depth and carefully made classes since it allows me to invest more time into each class and really give you my all!

Please enjoy

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1. Introduction: Hey there. Welcome to the sculpture costs. My name is Lisa Marie and I'm a part time freelance illustrator. I have a user general and on Instagram, where post my illustrations regularly, as well as make videos with tips and tricks and just talking about my creative process in the Scotia class. I want teach you about my design process behind drawing my raise and enable used to design your own. For that, we're gonna be using a photo reference of a specific fish to make it look more interesting , visually appealing and realistic. 2. Design Phase: So for the first part, the design part, I'm going to use my reference photo, my sketchbook, a ballpoint pen and the water brush pen filled with gray English. I'm using those supplies because it allows me to sketch quickly and give some value to my illustrations. Or, like my little design sketches really quickly, without focusing on color. Yet the first step of designing a character based on something else is usually to draw that something else as it is. So I'm taking my reference photo and try to sketch the fish that I have as accurate as possible without wasting too much time on it. I'm using the larger general shapes to replicate the shape of the fish and gradually building them up, using more and more detail. Why I'm doing this is while looking at my reference photo helps with the design process, copying the reference photo by sketching it actually makes me understand the shapes more, and it makes me look at the tiniest details because I really want to replicate it. So I see much more than I have seen before and understand the subject matter much better. And by sketching it, I might realize a few little details that I haven't seen before that I really want and conclude in my designing process. After sketching the reference photo, I'm going to use that sketch as a reference to continue with. I'm not looking at all the parts that I thought were interesting in the fish and think about how I can translate them into my mermaid design at first. Of course, I want to focus on the tail because a tale is pretty important for Mermaid. This fish has very interesting long and flats and very almost like rectangular or very fled oval kind of tale, and I definitely want to get back to that later. So I just did a little sketch of its individually on the side. I also really like the shape and the size of the I, which I think is really interesting and very special for this fish. So I sketched next to it almost like a visual note telling me that I want to get back to this one later. After that, I'm drawing a general head shape from the side because I want to think about how I want to design the ear, the face silhouettes and the here. Fish usually have very long and funny I'm looking mouths. And I wanted to include that into this design. Also, I gave the mermaid a very flat nose because I don't think they're going to use their nose much underwater. The ears very rounded, very simplified, because once again, I don't think they're going to be using it much underwater. And for here, I'm actually giving this. Mom reads kind of Ah Finn punk here, spy hole it like not using here, but instead using the fins off the fish to sort of replicate a human hair style. Then I'm continuing to try and draw the tail of the mermaid, where once again, I'm getting back to this shape that I sketched down before and thinking about where I want to tale to set in. Usually I like to let the tale set in around the crotch area. But since this fish is very short, it looked kind of funny. So I decided to maybe let it sit in on the waist area, and I like that idea much better. And then I started drawing the mermaid from side to think about possible back details. In the end I'm thinking about what I could do with the eye for design. And I decided to go with a tunnel hearing because it kind of looks alike. And I wanted my memory to have some jewelry. And here I'm just sketching the pattern off the fish onto the head because I think it makes you look more interesting. And also because I kind of wanted to hint the mermaid having an eyebrow even though she was not supposed to have actual body here. So I used the pattern off the fish too kind of imply in eyebrow. I was also thinking of implying, Ah, necklace with a pattern because it had that stripe on the tail. But I was not so sure about it, so I actually didn't do it in the final design, which is perfectly OK, You don't have to stick to things that you're coming up with 3. Thumbnail Phase: Okay, so we have now arrived at the thumb nailing phase of drawing a mermaid, which can be separated into two sub categories. First thumb nailing for actually deciding on a post and deciding on how the finished registration is supposed to look. And secondly, thumb nailing little color studies. So first things first. I am here drawing a little frame of Highland illustration to look, I wanted to be a portrait former, so I'm just doing a little rectangle that is upright and just drawing member rate inside of it. It's a pretty straightforward pose just front on, and I find it to be a little bit boring. I wanted to try out something with a little flat tail off the fish and that IHS just checking the size compared to the rest of the body and trying if I maybe should make this part of the mermaid tail longer. So I'm trying this out right here. This kind of finds into the design face still because I'm still playing with a design, but like I said, you're not stuck with anything you decide in the design face. You can still make some changes and adjustments later, so this is me doing that. I realized that I don't necessarily love the look of it. So I want to make it a little longer, but not as extreme resident in this little sketch. So I'm here doing the second thumbnail that I want to do. It's a side on pose because I really like the beck detail that we came up with earlier, and I wanted to show that off. So I'm just doing a very simple side on pose. And I'm staying simple for the sake of this video because I didn't want this to be a class that you would sit through four hours and hours, just me drawing mermaid than different poses, because that would obviously be pretty boring and not really teach you guys a lot. So I decided to go with a second thumbnail I had and whipped up a little sketch. I already did the Leinart and I'm doing some war thumbnails of this exact concept. Now they don't have to be perfect or pretty by any means. They just have to represent the illustration vaguely. So you contest your calls on them and just play around a little, see what you like. You can do as many color thumbnails as you like, but I recommend doing at least two, just so you explore your options a little bit. Now I'm just taking my watercolor palette and playing with some colors that I want to see in this illustration. I'm also using my reference vote again just to check the colors and see how I can translate them into my illustration style. How can use them like they're 12? The fish is mostly white, with some orange patterned, which does look interesting, and I definitely want to include it. But I didn't want the Mermaid to just have boring plain skin with a pattern on it. So I looked a little more closely and found some shimmering reflections off some other colors, mostly pinks and, like greenish bluish tones that we're probably coming from the environment. I thought these were pretty interesting, so I decided to include them in the skin tone. I appeared the orange one with like a very D situated green to contrast it, and I kind of like the look of this, but I feel like it doesn't really work with a shimmering skin that I want to go for about the first attempt that I went with with the very intense green is just a little overbearing to me. So I actually decided to go with a mixture of the two, which I did not do a color thumbnail four. But I'm just imagining it, and I have the colors on the paper and that I want to use. So by doing these color thumbnails that helped me settle on colors without jumping in with no plan whatsoever. As I said, you can do those as detailed as you want to and as many as you want to. I'm just keeping it simple for the sake of this class. 4. Finished Illustration Phase: So here we are at the final stage off drawing a mermaid, and it is actually creating the finished illustration. Once again, feel free to do this in any medium you like. You don't have to use watercolor like me. You can use acrylic oil, digital anything you want, just your preferred medium. This is the stage where everything that we did before comes together to create this finished piece. We have the body of the mermaid. From the designing phase, we have the posed from the thumbnails. We have the color from the color thumbnails. So the objective of this phase is just too. Take all these little steps and combine them into one finished illustration that we enjoy on Just have fun with it. As I said in the color phase, I really wanted to have this green and pink shimmering skin tone that I took from the fish . And so I decided to take the bluish green there, picked to actually do the shadows on the skin. So this is what I'm doing. First, it's not really a common thing in a lot of college. To start with your shadows, usually you would start with your lights to areas and then work down to your doctor areas gradually. But since our mermaid has white skin with only a few college details on patterns, it really doesn't matter in which order I painted. I'm then using the pink color we picked earlier to complement the greenish blue color, and I'm applying it in areas where you would generally have more blush in your skin or just in areas where I do like to put blush, even though it doesn't necessarily make sense. Anatomically, where exactly you put your colors that are not shadows is more upto style than anything else. Now it's time to pay the pattern off the fission. And as you saw in the color thumbnail, I decided to go with the actual orange color that the fish has. I really liked using this pattern, and I almost went a little bit overboard with it. For anyone curious, I'm using similar yea Daniel Smith and shrinker watercolor paints and the DaVinci brush the paper. I'm using this 100% cotton fluid watercolor paper from global arts. In the end, I'm just finishing off this illustration with a few blotches and splatters because I think it just gives it the really loose vibe that I liken illustrations, and it also kind of reminds me off waters. And so it splashes. So I feel like it fits in the mermaid theme. I'm also doing a couple of gold's bladders and a little golden circle in the back because I want to keep it simple. But I do wanna have some background details, So I decided to do that. There's not really much else to say about the painting process because it's very different for everyone. But yeah, like I said, it's just important to have fun with it and just explore what you did in the phases before and try to some slight it into a bigger piece. 5. Outro: So that was it for this class. And I hope you indicted and learned something. Feel free to share your projects, to receive feedback from me and ask any questions that may come up. I really love hearing from you guys. Also, don't forget to follow me here for new classes or on my YouTube channel or instagram for other out related content. I hope to see you around by.