I had a very productive MerMay in 2021 and felt like I’d finally recovered some of my creative groove. I used the monthly challenge to play a lot with line and color, and while there were some experiments that didn’t quite shine, I was quite proud of a few of these merfolk and felt like I’d learned and evolved a bit as an artist (which is always the hoped-for result of a challenge like this, in my opinion). This is quite a motley assortment of mers — a Lizzo-inspired mer pops up not once but twice (with a Chris Evans-ish merman, because they were flirting on Twitter the day I drew this), there is an exploration of the two different types of sirens, and even an undersea creature inspired by No-Face from Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away. This was the first MerMay that I improvised — usually I plan them out so there is a good balance of genders and animal sidekicks. This was definitely an educational May!
As a warmup to the official MerMay challenge, I drew this warrior queen mermaid as a way of experimenting with linework and color and shaking off some of the lingering creative slump from 2020. I enjoyed playing with this fierce beauty! An Instagram poll for fave colors resulted in… no clear winner! People really loved the version they loved, it proved quite interesting. I’m glad I did this — I was in much better shape to start the actual challenge once May 1st rolled around.