This week I finished a beautiful soft sleeping baby mermaid drawing in graphite, using mechanical pencils, as a custom commission for a lovely Mum of her gorgeous baby daughter. I’d previously drawn a portrait of my own daughter as a mermaid, which inspired this commission.
To begin I was supplied with several photographs of the baby girl asleep. Due to the position of the sleeping child it was necessary to combine several elements from each photograph into one drawing and I had to “imagine to life” the body shape and posture. To help with this aspect I took extra photographs of my own daughter lying in the same position, which I re-scaled to fit a younger child in the drawing. Once I had the general body shape and position I was able to work on the shape of the mermaid tail.
I aimed to make the swirls and the trailing length of the mermaid tail a nice counter-balance and a flowing visual contrast to the horizontal length of the sleeping baby. Once the outline was sketched out, I traced it onto the final piece of paper, which also allowed me to tweak the layout of the mermaid to be more centered on the page.
Using the photographs as a reference I began to sketch the details of her face and work on shading the mermaid scales. I find if I can capture the likeness in the face to begin with, then the rest of the drawing comes together more easily.
The most time consuming aspect of this drawing was the tail and the scales which were all hand shaded with edge highlights. I added darker shading afterwards to show shadows and to bring out the roundness of the tail. I like to use an eraser to cut back into the pencil shading and create highlights on the skin and scales. I also cut back into the pencil shading on the tail to create the fins and tail flutes, so they appear to be translucent.
This was a challenging but beautiful custom commission and I am really happy with how soft and sweet this one turned out to be! All in all it took about 2 and a half weeks to complete this detailed 8×10 inch portrait.
If you would like your child to be transformed into a sleeping mermaid, please send me an email:
Commission information can be found here in my Etsy Shop:
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