Drawing, Drawing Ideas for Kids, Illustration, Sketching

How to Draw and Paint a Mermaid

May 28, 2014

By Alina Bradford

Mermaids are a popular fantasy subject to draw and paint. There is more to making a realistic mermaid than just attaching a tail to a human form. You have to consider the mermaid‘s surroundings, what type you want, and where it lives. This article contain information on that, and a visual tutorial of how to draw a mermaid from start to finish.



Before starting to draw your mermaid, decide what kind it will be. Will it be a silky, princess-type? Or a rough, street-type mermaid, like the one below? Other types could be urchins, sirens, and banshees. 

The type of mermaid you choose will have a lot to do
with where the mermaid lives. Does she have a castle or does she live alone in a cave? Is she a loaner that roams the ocean or does she live in a modern underwater city? 

You also need to decide what type of top your mermaid will wear. You may decide to go with nothing at all, like the example, or go with a shell
top like in Disney‘s The Little Mermaid movie. You may want to come up with something totally original to put a spin on the old ideas. The example is wearing a blingy necklace, rings, long nails, and bracelets as her clothing, like in the demo to the right. 


The look of your mermaid has a lot to do with the environment it is in. 

For example, if it is under water then you will have to make its clothing and hair float with movement. In the drawing below, the hair is floating in a somewhat halo pattern because the mermaid is completely still. If she were swimming, her hair would be floating behind her. If she had suddenly stopped swimming, her hair would be around her face. 

If she were on the surface, on the other hand, her hair would be hanging limply around her shoulders, dripping water on her shoulders and chest. 

Also, if your character is in muddy water, then it will look different than one in clear water or sea water. As you can see, the mermaid in the
finished painting is in muddy water, so it is painted in somewhat brown hues. The colors are muted due to the color of the water. 

The Tail 

The tail is what makes the drawing and painting. There are several ways to go about it. You can mimic the common choice of fish scales or you can pick a tail of anotherher water creature. Several ideas are to use sea lion, whale, dolphin, or Ganster Mermaidshark‘s tail as inspiration.   Don‘t limit yourself to making the tail green. Any color in the rainbow can be used.  

If you combine several different ideas, you can come up with an interesting mermaid.

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