How to Draw Mermaids in Procreate | Lara Militaru | Skillshare

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How to Draw Mermaids in Procreate

teacher avatar Lara Militaru, Digital Illustrator & Coach

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Lineart and Grayscale


    • 3.

      Base Colors


    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.



    • 7.

      Underwater Background


    • 8.



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About This Class

If you enjoy the fantasy culture, I am sure that mermaids are on top of your list, because they are cute, flowy, dynamic and can have tons of personality! This is a call out to all the Little Mermaid fans who want to learn how to draw their own mermaid!

There's also a special event every year, MerMay (so it's every year during May), when you can showcase your mermaid on social media and network with other artists who are doing the same!

In this class, you will be able to either draw your own mermaid or color the free coloring page from the resources section, in case you simply want to practice your colors!

Meet Your Teacher

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Lara Militaru

Digital Illustrator & Coach


Hey guys! I am glad you landed on my Skillshare profile and I hope you are interested in the classes that I teach! I would love to get to see your work in the assignments sections of my classes! I will give you feedback on your work, whether it's final or in progress.

Also, help me help you by telling me what you struggle with the most, then I will be able to make classes that will answer your questions!

I put up content on all my social media weekly! Daily art (posts or reels) on Instagram and daily TikToks about my Etsy shop! I would love to connect with you on Social Media as well!

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1. Intro: Hey guys and welcome to my class on how to draw mermaids. I'm so excited to teach you guys how to draw mermaids. It's a really awesome subject and quite popular one to murder me just ended a few days ago, but I'm sure that you guys would love to tell them at different times of the year because they are just simply fun to draw. So in this class, I will show you from sketch to finish how to create this beautiful illustration. Well, beauty is subjective, but you know what I mean? You can adapt it to your own style or draw along with me on that note, let me tell you what your free gifts are for this class. As my student, you'll be able to download my essentials brush pack and you can use my most favorite brush, the liner brush. Also for the first time, I will be giving you for free the line arc of this drawing in a PNG format so that you don't have to spend time doing it yourself. And you can just focus on learning how to color from my class. Find this freebies in the resources section down below. Now let's see what you will learn from this class. I will start by explaining what grayscale is and how to do it. How to add the base colors without getting a Monte aspect. And then how to do the first layer of lighting. How to add contrast, how to create an underwater background and make your character look like it belongs to its surroundings. And finally, the finishing touches. It's a lot of ground to cover. So get your iPad charged, make a coffee or a fee, and we can get started. I will be using Procreate for this class, but it's not necessary to do that. If you have it, it will be easier for you to follow what I'm doing. Obviously, you will also need to do the assignment because how else will you grow? Draw your own mermaid or color along with me and upload your art in the project section. I can also give you some personalized tips if you do that, let's also connect on social media, you can find me on TikTok, which is slowly becoming my main platform seeing is how you are over there enjoying bite-sized content. But you will still find me posting on Instagram to and engaging with you all on stories and VMs. Finally, you will of course, find me on Skillshare where the Character Design Crash Course is still going strong with one new class being released every single month. Alright, so that being said, let's get started, guys. 2. Lineart and Grayscale: Welcome to the first part of the class where we will go over a few line art pointers where I will let you know what brush I use and how you can use it as well. Also, we will go over the basics of using the gray scale method and why it helps you with your art. Alright, so as you can see, I already have my sketch finished and I didn't want to take time from the class with the sketching phase. But if you do want to see that there are a lot of classes of mine where you can see me sketching. I especially recommend the first-class of my character design crash course where I show you my process of sketching the character from a fairy tale based on its written description only. Now back to the current class. I think it was mentioned in the intro, but this artwork is, is barred by Carolyn Piotroski's draw this in your style challenge on Instagram. And I really needed that extra push to get into mermaid this year until this challenge showed up on my feet. I wasn't sure whether I should do Mermaid this ear, but not having to think about the new design which I wasn't in the mood for, really got me going. So you can see that I use the reference option in Procreate and book Caroline's or regional art work on the side. As a constant reminder of the Mermaid that I have to draw now in Norfolk to have a nice clean line art. I like to use a brush that has a good pressure sensitivity. And the good stabilization. Stabilization basically means that you feel like aligns cursive and it flows on the canvas. So to say. You can always modify that from the brush settings. If you don't have too much experience with using brush settings, you will find a brush that I use for line art in the essentials brush back that I'm giving away for free in this class. You can find it in the resources section of the class. So I already started the line art in the video, but you can see that by lowered the opacity of the sketch and on a separate layer that comes above the sketch, I start tracing the sketch with a nice clean line. Now let's address whether you need to have a line art or not. The short answer is no, you don't. The long answer is that it's a choice and it depends on the style that you are aiming for. Generally people who don't use a line art and the only rely on the sketch which they are later erased Anyway, those artists tend to go for a more realistic approach. I'm not personally into that style for myself. Yes, I appreciate the stylized realism, but I don't find any pleasure in doing it myself. So my art style is fully stylized and it takes a lot of inspiration from animate. Therefore, not having a line art that goes against what has always inspired me to draw. But everyone is different, so don't be fixated on having clean lines. If you feel like you don't need them. I will let you watch the rest of the line process and then we'll check back in again on the gray-scale bark. Okay guys, so we finished the line art. Now it's time to grab our Lasso tool, have the color fill option activated, and start selecting our character. Now you can do it in one go instead of taking it piece by piece like I'm doing. But while I was filming, I was in a cafe and quite an uncomfortable position with my hand. And they kept closing the selection by mistake locks. So I decided I should take smaller chunks to fill in with color. After we've finished selecting the whole character and filling it with a light gray, we will make a separate layer above this one, set it to multiply and start putting down some ambient occlusion. Ambient occlusion is the general soft shades that the character would have. And I'm deepening get a bit depending on where my light source is coming from. The jellyfish to be a light source. So the shadow will be mostly on the right side. This light shading, I'm using a hard round brush with a slightly lower opacity. In certain places, iPhone smudge the shading a bit. It doesn't matter if it turns out soft in some places because we will link there in force our shading anyway. Alright, so one last thing to do before moving on is we group the layers together. We flatten them into one layer. And then using the curves menu, we will adjust the layer to give it a pinkish tone. Something between pink and orange is my preferred shape because it helps a lot with the base colors later on. It's like having a glaze underneath your painting, like the old masters did, or like the blog under our skin. It gives off of vitality and the voids, the muddy effect that you would normally get if you use the grayscale as a base. Okay, so that's it for this lesson. I will see you guys in the next one where we will lay our base colors. 3. Base Colors: Welcome back guys. Towards the end of the last lesson, you saw me testing a small portion of skin color and I liked this month, so I will go with it. To recap a little. We have our gray scale layer turned pink, and I explained why in the previous lesson. Now, we will make multiple layers that will be set to multiply. Then we will this help colors that we want to use in every area. King Herod fail and so on. If we want to lighter colors, you can either case you're multiply layer and change the mode of the fill layer above to overlay, then decrease the opacity until you obtain the desired color. So you will have a multiply layer below. And the same layer which was duplicated that is coming above. But you are turning it to overlay and you are decreasing the opacity. Or if it's a really light color, what you want, you can make the layer into overlay from the very beginning. I usually do this when I need almost white, like for the whites of the eyes or different accessories. Enlarger to move fast with filling in the colors. I used the Lasso tool with the color fill option and select each area over different color, also, each different color, we'll usually stay on a different layer. In the next lesson, we will talk about shading, so I will let you guys finish saying this process before jumping in on the next lesson. 4. Shading: Welcome back guys. In this lesson, we will cover a lot of the artworks progress, including a simplified explanation of how to shade curly hair. If you want to see a detailed version, check out this older class of mine that was quite popular. But I will try to cover a few basics here as well. Part of the reason that I wanted to jump in on this challenge was exactly because I miss drawing curly hair. So let's jump right in. Most of the shading will be done on separate multiply layers that will be clipped to the base colors layer. Occasionally, I create some areas, Normal Layers. I will start with the shading the hair and cover most of the hair with the hard round brush. Then in order to obtain some texture, I use the damp brush from the painting presets of Procreate as a smudge brush and just smudge around. Before moving further, we detailing the hair. I will also clean up this Kim. Now that I cleaned up, it's time to grab my line art brush and on a different Multiply layer, start creating curlies, creeks of hair all over the place. After I finished drawing them, I will blend them in with the painterly brush from last draws, essentials, brush back. Now to take a break from the hair and reset my eyes, I will start shading the tail and the body. Nothing fancy here. I will still use the hard round brush and the damp brush to smudge and get some pictures. Now I'm adding some shading to the jellyfish. And I also hold my reference from Pinterest. As you can see, most of its effect will come from the lighting and I will add those cool yellow accents. Time to add some fence to the fish. We'll pretend that I did not forget about the fence in the first place because I didn't. Okay. Maybe I did, but it doesn't matter because we can add them now and copy paste them to each. That's the beauty of digital art. No one will know. Well, you know, now, but only because I lead to moving on to the accessories, we will add some nice dark accents to the earrings and smudge with cross, cross painterly brush. Now let's do the flower and then we will move on to the next step. I will admit that I hate drawing flowers. I love having flowers on my desk. I love seeing flowers, but I think drawing them, which means that I need to exercise them more. Maybe I will make up class about that too, quite figure it out. We finished putting down our main shading. So this is the perfect moment to color our lines and make them more subtle. Line art layers to Alpha Lock and pick up the closest color to the line, or a slightly darker one and colors over your lines. That's it for now, but make no mistake. This is not the final shading that comes later. After we give our drawing some contrast and create the underwater background. But be patient, we will get there in the next few lessons. Okay, so I will see you in the lighting lesson. 5. Lighting: Welcome back guys. This is where a lot of the illustration comes to life and we will later perfected in the contrast listen. So I want to start by trying a gradient layer and see if I can already get a nice thin of color. You do this by getting your coloring so far in the line art on a single layer and then duplicate the layer. Go to the Adjustments menu and choose Gradient Map. Tried to go to the selection of gradients that Procreate has to offer and choose the one that you like the most. I tried the purple gradient and reduce the opacity but did not like the results. So I eventually the liquid, the gradient layer. Now it's time to actually get into lighting. I pulled up my reference of the jellyfish and on an overlay layer, I start creating the light yellow accents, which I will afterwards blend with the painterly brush. Then I will grab an airbrush and give a nice yellow gradient to the lower side of the jellyfish and in the middle of its body, giving translucent effect. And because the reference also has some things beneath the yellow highlight, we will add the two Using the same thing. I will give a similar thing to the hair that is closest to the jellyfish. And because the jellyfish is also very close to the mermaid tail, we will proceed into adding the yellow soft light to the tail as well. In order to relieve volume. We won't only put the light to the exterior of the tail close to the line art, but we will also do that towards the middle of the tail. Leave a darker shadow in-between the two lights. Now let's keep up first flighting to the accessories as well. Nothing complicated for now. We will then move to the tail and clean up. Afterwards. We can now do the lighting for the fish using the nice turquoise blue fish. And the same meal was before for the Golden Fish. Adding some soft light, the flower in the Harris. Well, once again, I'm reminded how much I dislike drawing flowers, but oh, well, now we will use a new layer set to color dodge and use the hard round brush with a lower opacity and create some harder lighting. It's good to alternate between soft and hard shadows in order to avoid the airbrush look at the end, which is often associated with beginners. One thing that I like to do to give even harder edges to my lights is to erase part of the lighting and create a really hard edge on the face. I also like creating the small triangle lighting, which I also obtained by using the eraser for crisp lines. You will now see me selecting various places with the Lasso tool and create a nice light gradient. Now with an orange color, I will give some lighting to the hair. Now because the hair is currently it won't have too many hard lighting areas because the fuzzy hair diffuses the light. Unless there are some really defined hair strands like around the face, there shouldn't be any eye grabbing light in their care. So we will start by giving a gradient to the edges. Now let's add more life to the accessories, like the earrings and the bandana. You can see that on the bandanna, I like to create fast shapes with the lasso tool and then come with a brush and softly create a light. I don't use the color in this case because the light would look almost white. This is a more subtle approach. Now I want to give some nice highlights to the fish. It's the small details like this that are really cute. The park where I'm liking the eyes and the face. I liked putting some nice white highlights on the lower lip. Then separate the chin from the neck with the highlight and adding some cute triangles of life on the nose. As I mentioned before, wherever there will be highlighted on the curly hair, we will later diffuse it with a smudge brush. So basically, we are giving the illusion of highlighted clumps of hair. We will add a few more highlights to the body and the fish. And that's pretty much it for now. They illustration is, however, not yet finished because after adding shadows and highlights, the next thing to do is repeat. That's where the contrast will come in. I will see you in the next lesson for that. 6. Contrast: Okay guys, let's go over what we have so far. Starting from the base colors, we added the shading, which defined our illustration a lot. Then we added our first lighting. Now, it looks nice and we could stop here. But we want the difference between beginner artists and let's say intermediate dark. This is that the first category may want to continue, but if don't know how does resulting in quite a difference between the final result of the two different categories of artists. Contrast is really what beginner artists tend to not For it into their art. Contrast is essentially making your darks darker and the lights lighter. I like to start by making the hair around the place darker with a large brush on a layer set to multiply. This already gives a different vibe and you can feel the depth even better. Now, moving on, we will do the same for the tail and add some darker orange here. Now I want to clean up the face of bit before moving on. After cleaning up, I want to make the darker shadows first like around the Niklaus. And because I'm trying to be careful with not adding to my shading. I jump around to different places. Now I want to add some depth to the eyes. And this looks amazing. Be careful not to darken your illustration too much. And if you ever have doubts, step back from your drawing and take a look again the next day. I think you'll get the idea, so I will let you watch the shading process for the lightened phase. We will talk in the next lesson, Where are we will also discuss about the underwater background. See you soon. 7. Underwater Background: Hello guys and welcome to the final part of this class, probably the one that some of you expecting the most. It's quite tricky to incorporate the character into the background and avoid the feeling that the character was copy-pasted on background, but doesn't really belong there. So let's see what we can do to avoid that and create harmony. First thing that I do is create a multiply layer above the character and with a large brush, create the vignette. That basically means we will create shadows in the exterior of the illustration, which will bring attention to the center point of the illustration. In this case, the center point is the jellyfish, which shines on the mermaid. So her face will be where our eyes will next be led to. This might be a good time to explain a bit the composition that was fought out for this illustration. The eyes of the viewer are supposed to start from the jellyfish, go towards her face than on her right to the free page, down to her visible hand, up her arm, and from the shoulder back to her face. Basically like a spiral. But it all begins from the jellyfish. So we need to make it catches on a separate layer set to overlay using a bright coral pink, we will create an aura around the jellyfish as a tip for when you are using Overlay Color Dodge to create flows like this. The darker the background, the brighter your glue will be. If you have a light background with the overlay or color dodge layer won't show much. Okay, so in the video, I already started preparing the next step, which is the bubbles. I want to add bubbles for a nice touch of magic. So I will show you how I'm drawing them on a separate layer set to add. Using a hard round brush, I start creating circles every hearing there's a faster process. You can copy some of them circles already made and place them wherever you want to place your bubbles. Now create a new layer and with the lasso tool creates a semicircle thing in the lower each circle that you previously made. I will choose the mold of the layer later on and you'll see me do a combination between lightened layer and an added layer. I want to diffuse the upper part of this blobs. So I choose the painterly brush and blur out this line. It's not mandatory, but I think it looks better. Now on top of this blogs, we will make a smaller lies on a separate layer. Remember what I mentioned earlier, that if you want dislike and be visible, the background needs to be darker. That's why it's necessary to have the first blob colors. I chose pink because it's supposed to reflect the jelly fishes being polite. But depending on the context, you can do blue, purple, or whatever you want. Now, on a new layer, we will create an upper highlight and we want it to be blue. Notice for all the bubbles. I now want to add some extra detail to each bubble. So I will create a new line using a fine liner brush, and I want to give it a blue stem. Thanks. Finally, I will add some magical sparkles because I liked where something a little bit glowy like this. Now I want to create some depth so I will keep all the layers resized to duplicate it bubbles and arrange them on the canvas. I will also add some motion blur to this bubble to make them look like they are way in the back. We are done in the biggest part of the background. Now we will start making small adjustments here and there, but these adjustments as a whole will make the difference. So let's start by diffusing sunlight on the hair and the fish. Now we will add lights, super eyes. I really loved this part. It's where I draw this nice circle around for a few pills as if she was facing a ring-like. We will also add some extra small highlights around the eyes. Then we will enforce the edges of some of the existing highlights on the face. I also want the fish to be a bit more visible, so I create a subtle glow for them. Now let's group all the layers and see what we have so far. We will also need to bring up the solid blue background from the envelope in the group before we merge all these layers together. Now, all that's left to do is to be patient and try final adjustments. Starting with a gradient maps. Play around with the options, set the gradient players to multiply, overlay or just lower the opacity and see what you like most. Thanks. I will also create some small details with the liner brush, such as strands of hair or accents on the jewelry. Let's also not forget to add the details on a starfish from her chest. All we need to do in the end is to add a bit of noise to create them. To our illustration. I also decided last minute to add some chromatic aberration on some parts of the illustration. And that's pretty much it. Now let's see you guys on the project list. 8. Project: Congratulations for finishing this class, guys. I'm so proud of you. It really shows that you are making an effort into growing as an artist and that you want to learn new things all the time. We went through a lot of information and a lot of different stages of this illustration. Remember to trust the process even when you're drawing isn't exactly moments. Because I sure have a lot of moments when I'm seeing my drawings this ugly, but I keep telling myself to keep going. The process is strong. It's tested so many times and as long as you are happy about your sketch, which is basically the foundation of your illustration, the process should offer you a satisfactory result. And don't forget to download your freebies if you haven't already. As a reminder, you can get my essentials brush pack and the coloring page. Also don't forget to work on your art though the assignment and submit it in the project section. If you post it on social media, don't forget to tag me any shares and recommendations to your friends. Especially appreciated. Whenever you have doubts or questions, feel free to message me on Instagram. A lot of you did this before and I love to offer more insights into the drawing process. Now I'm off to prepare the next class for the Character Design Crash Course. While we wait for that one to come out, feel free to check the first three classes of that series on Skillshare. Stay safe and keep creating. See you guys.