How to Draw a Mermaid

In celebration of The Little Mermaid’s 25th anniversary we, at IMPACT, decided to show a step-by-step of these sea-dwelling fantasy creatures. So while you try your hand at drawing a mermaid, listen to Carly Rae Jepsen’s new version of Part of Your World.


A mermaid’s upper body closely resembles that of human’s, while their lower halves are more fishlike. And, of course, they have the ability to breathe underwater. This is just our version of a mermaid, but feel free to tweek characteristics of your mermaid to make it more your own.


Step One: Place shapes to indicate the head, chest and hips. Draw an extended line of motion so that you’ll have a guide to follow for your mermaid’s tail.



Step Two: Sketch out the general positioning for the arms. A simple line and ball joint arm is enough. If you decide that you’re unhappy with the way the arms are positioned, simply erase them.



Step Three: Fill out the torso. Using the line of motion as a guide, draw a flowing tail that is the same width as her hips near the top. Taper it to a point towards the end.



Step Four: Define the hands and arms. Wherever an arm has a sharp bend in it, there will be overlap. If the arm is coming towards you, the lower arm will overlap the upper.



Step Five: Lay down the bare bones of a face within the head shape. Keep in mind the proportions.



Step Six: You can simply put a fin (see DragonArt: Fantasy Characters for more fin examples) at the end of the tail and call it done, or, you can go a little crazy. Perhaps a fin running down her back would be neat? How about a pair of frills running down either side of her tail? Fins on the shoulder blades?



Step Seven: Since this mermaid is underwater, her hair will be a riot of weightless motion. A series of twisting lines will help give you this look. Each chunk of hair can follow these guides.



Step Eight: Add detail to refine your piece, such as strands of hair and ripples in the fin. Adorn her hair and body with pearls and seashells.



Step Nine: Throw in more areas of interest that place her in a specific environment. When you’re happy with your drawing, erase any stray construction lines.



Step Ten: Mermaids, like fish, come in a variety of colors. Perhaps you’d like to model your mermaid’s coloring after a specific fish, like a clownfish, orca or lionfish. Maybe your mermaid is one solid color. Think about if you’d like the human half to be a different color than the fish half.



Discover more amazing fantasy creatures with DragonArt: Fantasy Characters by J “NeonDragon” Peffer.




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