Love art challenges and mer-creatures? Then #MerMay is the perfect thing for you.
What is MerMay?
Started by artist Tom Bancroft a couple years ago, MerMay is a lot like Inktober. The challenge is to draw a picture of a mermaid every day for the month of May. You can use any medium and style, so long as it includes an aquatic, tailed humanoid.
Bancroft (an animator of many Disney films, by the way) and other artists, like Art ala Carte’s Valerie, are using the month to tell a mermaid story. Each day sees the next installment or chapter.
While Bancroft says on his blog that the challenge is definitively a drawing per day on Instagram. From what I’ve seen online, though, most artists approach the hashtag challenge as simply drawing mermaids in May. A lot of artists share on twitter or other social media in addition to or instead of Instagram.
Almost all of the people I follow who participate (and myself) just try to do as many mermaids as they can fit into their schedules.
It should be said, too, that some artists prepare ahead of time for 31 MerMay drawings. They may be doing a drawing every day, but prior to the month they do rough sketches, storyboarding, and/or character design.
My First MerMay
Last year (2016) was my first time participating, and I didn’t really know much about the challenge. But as a fantasy fan I wanted to join in.
I used Copic markers and a Micron Brush pen.
Since I was busy studying for and taking final exams, I wasn’t able to finish even one mermaid picture. But that’s okay. The whole concept, in my opinion, of artistic challenges is to go outside of your comfort zone and push your boundaries.
Though a little awkward, the mermaid’s pose was me trying to do something a little dynamic (an idea I was still pretty new to). It was also one of my first times using a brush pen and stippling with Copic markers.
For 2017, I’ll be posting any mermaids I draw on my Instagram. I think I’ve improved in the last year, so it will be neat to compare my new drawings to the one above.
So whether you do one mermaid a day or one for the month, remember that the spirit and goal of these challenges is self-growth: whatever that may mean for you. If you post to social media, make sure to tag it #MerMay so others can see your hard work!