#MerMay is an Instagram Design Challenge created by former Disney Animator Tom Bancroft.
It's been my second year fully participating in MerMay! I enjoyed last years mermaid month so much and had to do another one! However this year was crazy hard for me to finish a painting every day. I started working full-time freelance since April and I literally had no time for any other personal work. Well, I had to free up some time, so I chose to use the 1 hour per day I spend in the train. Luckily there was the iPad Pro and Procreate, which made it possible to work out of the office!
FINDING AN UNIQUE TOPIC FOR MERMAY
At first my original idea was to do a prompt-list of 31 Mermaids around the World- which basically means, drawing a mermaid from a different culture/country every day. However I wanted to do lots of research about each country and that wouldn't have worked out with my time management, as I had just 1 hour per day to draw my mermaids!
30 SHADES OF MERMAY PROMPT LIST
I had to think of something different... more simple! So I came up with the idea of using a different color shade every day during May. My paintings should be monochrome in terms of color palettes. So I decided to name this years MerMay Prompt-list "30 Shades of MerMay". It's only 30 shades, since the Number 31 was supposed to be the cover for my MerMay 2019 Art Book. Number 31 turned out to be a Rainbow hair mermaid (see cover of this Blog Post).
PAINTING WITH MONOCHROME COLOR PALETTES
MerMay is a really crazy challenge! It always puts me to a limit where I think about quitting and just giving up. But honestly, the fact that I wanted to do that Art Book made me push through MerMay again! The first two weeks have been super exhausting and I really had to get used to draw in a monochromatic color schemes. It's so different! I figured out that you need to have a great contrast in values to achieve a great look when you're using just one color! Similar values will make your artwork look flat and shapes get lost in the background. You can probably see an improvement from my first to last painting. I tried to use higher contrast, so I either had very bright or dark values for skin tones, hair or tail, to make the silhouette more visible.
HOW I BECAME FASTER OVER TIME
As I mentioned earlier, the first two weeks I really struggled with time management! However I noticed I became faster over the weeks as I got used to painting in monochrome color palettes and to the brushes I used (I decided to test different brushes and go for a more sketchy style). The challenge always reminds me that constant practice makes you better and faster. So we will all see results when putting the time and effort into it. Mermaids are also a great way to practice posing and the line of action. I noticed that it was much easier to draw different types of poses after MerMay.
LIMITED TIME HELPS TO NOT OVERTHINK YOUR ARTWORKS
If I have too much time for a painting I kind of think too much about posing, colours, facial expressions etc.
MerMay is always a great way to just start without having any idea in mind, and sometimes great things can come out because I don't focus to hard on that one facial expression the character is supposed to have! I'm more flexible and spontaneous and I draw more loosely than I normally do.
THE MERMAY ART CONTEST BY WACOM
Wacom and MerMay offered a Mermaid Contest on Instagram by looking through all MerMay Hashtags (and believe me, many people participated!) I was one of the lucky winners of a WACOM Intuos Pro! There were so many amazing entries this year! So go and check out the hashtags #mermay and #mermay2019
NEXT MERMAY IN 2020...
I'm currently thinking about participating in MerMay 2020 or not. As much as I love the challenge, my time is very limited and work keeps getting into the way! However, I'm already thinking about doing a mermaid story & children's book. So why not mixing MerMay with a story book?
IMPRESSUM Artworks by Meike Schneider MerMay Challenge by Tom Bancroft www.mermay.com