Now that it’s May, I figured it would be a great time to finish a MerMay drawing that I started last year. I love working on kanzashi, but I must admit that being able to take a break and work on something not involving pinching tiny squares of silk with tweezers is a big relief.

Illustration is my first love; as is art nouveau style. So when I want to work on something loose to relax, art nouveau marker illustration is the perfect mix.

I started by piecing together the filigree shell and my original sketch. The filigree shell in the background was actually drawn on a separate piece of paper, and pieced together with the mermaid in photoshop.

I printed a very light blue line version of the mermaid and filigree shell on a piece of regular printer paper and drew over it to produce the clean sketch you see to the left. I use mechanical pencil, probably to the disappointment of half my art teachers growing up, but I really like the sharp clean lines they give.

I don’t consider myself much of a colorist – especially when it comes to digital art – but I’m not too bad with markers and watercolor.

There was a long time when I wanted, desperately, to be good at digital art, because that’s where the world of comics and illustration is going. And rightly so; if you’re going to study art, I highly recommend focusing on digital skill.  Do I think I could become better with practice? Yes. I’m sure I could be better than I am now. Practice truly is the soul of art.

But, I don’t think I’ll ever be great at it. There’s nothing wrong with just being competent, as opposed to excellent. You don’t need to be amazing at every aspect of comics or illustration to produce an entertaining image or story. In my case, I don’t have a lot of time for drawing so when I work on one I usually fall back to materials I am accustomed to and enjoy working with – in this case I went to my old faithful copic markers.

I feel a little bad for my markers. So many have dried up from lack of use, and need to have their nibs replaced. I still get the urge to buy random new colors when I see them, but I try to resist since I know I probably don’t need them (yet).

I really like how this mermaid turned out. The color scheme is very different from what I’d originally intended, but still feels satisfying. I probably could have spent a little more time on it, but overall it makes me happy to look at. Sometimes that is enough. Finished – not perfect.

I also like it in just plain black and white. I think this piece will fit in quite nicely for a saddle-stitch zine-style black and white collection of my illustrations that I want to do for conventions later this year. Wish me luck with it! I only have a handful of illustrations done for it so far, haha.

Speaking of black and white, if you like this mermaid you can download a free 8.5 x 11″ printable lineart file for it here. Feel free to print and color to your heart’s content, but please don’t sell, display without credit, or remove my watermark from the drawing. It is still copyrighted to me. 😉

Anyhoo, that is all I’ve got for you lovely readers for this week. I hope you check back again next week for more art, crafts or cookery!