pen and watercolour (with some soft pastel and white gel pen)
This picture was painted for the December 2017 monthly challenge on Projekt ilustrace website (if you like it, you can vote for it there during January ). The topic "Message in a Bottle" – that really called for drawing a mermaid, didn't it?
And when drawing a mermaid, that's also a good excuse to do something inspired by Art Nouveau, especially Alphonse Mucha. So what do you think, did I capture that style in this painting? (Though I didn't intend this to be an outright imitation, I wanted to fully use some typical elements of Mucha's art)
I really enjoyed drawing the flowing shapes of the hair, though in the process I realized it is by no means easy or arbitrary and certain rules for the shapes of the hair locks need to be followed for them to look good – or right (I found out it looks best when it is close to the golden spiral). Also I had fun devising the shape of her tail. There are so many beautiful examples, but in the end I chose one that was easier to draw and at the same time emphasized the overall flowiness of the shapes.
The same applies to the border shapes. I originally didn't want to include any border and just paint the mermaid on the blue background, but when I finished drawing the lineart of her, I realized it just calls for some kind of circular element in Mucha style. On the other hand, I didn't have much space left for any intricate border decoration and also I thought it would draw the attention too much from the background. So I decided for a compromise: Just white circle and lines partially corresponding to the shapes of the hair.
And I have to mention the background too. That is the part where my picture perhaps departs from the Mucha style, but I had clear idea what I wanted to achieve (and what I certainly didn't achieve very well). The view of wavy water surface from below, with sun rays shining through. I found many reference pictures for that, but I can tell you, that is really difficult to paint. I already want to try that again in some other picture.
But overall I am quite happy with the way it turned out. What do you think about it?
I was drawn to this beautiful illustration because I love mermaids and hope to draw more soon! In fact this image will help me because this mermaid is particularly beautiful! Her beautiful long red hair is simply mesmerizing to look at! And well illustrated too with how it floats in the ocean Her fish tail is also pretty! And I love this picture’s theme of a message in a bottle! Maybe someone is stranded on an island and this mermaid might help them be rescued? It could be key to her discovery of the world above
I also like how you did the ripples of water skin! This well illustrates how she is underwater. And the light filtering down through this water is a lovely touch too! A bit of seaweed near the bottom adds a nice aquatic touch! And the stain glass pattern simply makes this picture a lot more elegant for a beautiful mermaid like her!
Now as for her hair, I know I said it was lovely, and her curls certainly show her hair floats in the sea. But it appears a bit lacking in bulk in some areas. The part of her hair especially that trails off to the right of the picture feels wider at the end than the spot it all connects to (just underneath her raised arm). It’s hard to explain, but if you thickened that spot under her arm it would help
And one last small thing that’s just my own preference is that she would look more elegant if her fishy part was a tad narrower (and more in the shape of her hips) where it connects to her human body. But that’s just me
But nevertheless this picture speaks of enchanting tales! Tales of how a beautiful mermaid’s curiosity of the world above the ocean leads her to investigate a message in a bottle. That reminds me so much of Disney’s The Little Mermaid Well done
You're right about the hair. Though I wanted it to be stylized, now when I look at it I see it would surely help if it was thicker at the spot you mentioned.
And making that part of her thinner might have helped to make her more elegant. I had a bit of a hard time choosing the exact curve to draw her and I am certainly not sure this is the best shape. But from what I have found out when looking for reference, apparently personal tastes for the shape, size and length of mermaid tails wildly differ.
To start with, let me say that this piece is absolutely gorgeous! the way her hair is spread out is artfully done and the colors are extremely well put together.
The shading and texture on her scales look amazing! I also like your anatomy, especially how you show some stomach creases. The lighting on top is
just beautiful as well! One thing that bothers me though, is that the lines make the piece look slightly more one dimensional. A way to fix this would be to
add some more depth to the lines (heavier lines on the shaded part, thinner on the lighter). Her hairline also seems like it should be just a smidge more
forward, to make it look more like it's connected to her head.. The anatomy is quite good, except for her right shoulder which looks like it should be just a
bit smaller? Her right hand also looks like the fingers are kind of glues together. My suggestion would be to make her middle finger disappear a little more
behind her index.
This is actually one of the pieces I like a lot out of everything I've critiqued on. The watercolor is masterfully applied, and the lighting is extremely good as
well (Do you have a trick for that, or do you use a scanner?) Keep up the good work!
I agree with you about the line-width. In this particular piece, I tried to go sort of half-way towards the style of Alphonse Mucha with extremely heavy lines on the outer edge of the figure and lighter lines on various inner divides, but in general I am not used to different-weight lines and I know it can be helpful for the shading, so thank you for reminding me. As for the anatomy, I know I have to practice it more, so I thank you for the little concrete advices, what could be done better.
Yes, I use a scanner, although even so it is sometimes difficult to capture the colours of the painting.
Really appreciate the border!
There are no differences between tastes. This drawing is absolutely perfect
You can see the titanic effort that you have applied, from the anatomy to the applied colors, passing the great amount of legendary details and how neat and pure the image itself is.
It does not look like a drawing in itself, it seems to be made of glass and then applied in one of the windows that are placed in the churches. But I love the analogy of the image itself and I mean that the bottle in the water seems to contain a wish or a request and that the siren was the one that received that bottle.
It's how I interpret it, eye, because I think that throwing a bottle in the water with a message is the same as asking prayers to God, but from another point of view, of course. I do not know how the others interpret it, but equally: Your image is extraordinary. There are no defects clearly and it shows, once again, your effort and passion for art <)
The analogy with a stained-glass window never occurred to me when I was painting it, but it has been already mentioned by several people and I am pleased by that, because I wanted the picture to be full of light, as shining through the clear water.
As for your interpretation, it is quite beautiful, and though I didn't have much of a story for it, this was one of the thing I had in my mind when painting it (or what I myself found in it after I panted it).