How to Draw Mermaids & Fairies

Written by megan shoop
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How to Draw Mermaids & Fairies
The human figure is the basis for mermaid and fairy figures. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Every fantasy artist should know how to draw mermaids and fairies. Even if it isn't your main artistic focus, drawing these classic creatures will show you how to combine human and non-human features in a realistic way. With practice, you'll be able to draw mermaids with human torsos that flow flawlessly into muscular tails, and fairies with wings stretching gracefully from their bodies. In both cases, the challenge is to draw realistic human figures. Then you can change and stretch the anatomy all you like.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Erasers

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    Human Figure

  1. 1

    Draw a basic human stick figure in any position you like. Draw the head as an oval, not a circle. The hips should be as wide as the shoulders and the arms should be about as long as the legs. The torso should be as long as one of the thighs.

  2. 2

    Draw bent spines, arms and legs as dashes rather than curved or bent lines. This gives your figure fluidity when you flesh it out, later. Draw large circles to denote joints.

  3. 3

    Flesh out your stick figure with cylindrical shapes. Each part of the body should be a tapering cylinder. Start each cylinder at one joint circle and end the cylinder at the next joint circle.

  4. 4

    Draw the figure's waist in two cylinders: one wide cylinder above the waist and one below. The cylinders for a female figure should push inward like an hourglass. Male figures should be boxy with cylinders that hardly taper at all.

  5. 5

    Erase the original skeleton inside your figure, along with your joint circles and lines separating the sections of the limbs. Draw fluid lines connecting these places, making your figure look real.

  6. 6

    Flesh out your figure with hair, facial features, a small dot for the bellybutton and two wide U-shapes for female breasts.

    Mermaid Tails

  1. 1

    Draw the top of a human figure skeleton as normal. When you get to the waist and hips, draw the thighs pushing inward, imagining the kneecaps fused together. Draw a single line denoting one shinbone and two feet to denote fins.

  2. 2

    Draw in the cylinders connecting all the parts of the body to flesh out your mermaid. For the tail, draw two cylinders that flow into one another with hardly any separation at all. The tail should be widest at the maid's hips and taper down towards her single ankle.

  3. 3

    End the tail with long, flowing fins. Imagine long, graceful flower petals as you draw.

  4. 4

    Draw diagonal lines from left to right on the tail, then a second set of lines running right to left, creating diamond shapes. Draw a small U inside each diamond and carefully erase the diamond grid. These are mermaid scales.

    Fairy Wings

  1. 1

    Draw a human figure from behind, or facing to one side. You must be able to see the back of the figure to draw full fairy wings. Flesh out the figure completely before drawing in the fairy wings.

  2. 2

    Draw an X with curved arms if you can see the entire back of your fairy. The top arms of the X should be longer than the bottom arms. Draw a slightly downward-curving line from left to right that bisects the top and bottom of the X.

  3. 3

    Draw a very wide V-shape on the back of a side-facing fairy with the point at her shoulder blades. Draw a slightly upward-curving line bisecting the V.

  4. 4

    Connect the tips of all the lines to create basic fairy wings. Draw elongated tips or waves in your lines for wings with character.

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