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HeatherHitchman

Terratoff.com
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Year of the Unicorn Event Calendar 2020 with Heath

My first book is coming! To celebrate my Unicorns of Terratoff book I'm celebrating all year long with #YearOfTheUnicorn ! To find out more about the events and how you can take part in legendary unicorn magic, visit the pinned post on my Patreon https://www.patreon.com/posts/36562725


Next is #Junicorn with my own flair, #JunicornInTerratoff

Check out the prompts below, and use the hashtags to get me to see your unicorn art!

Junicorn In Terratoff Prompt List 2020 by Heather
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7 min read


Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

Greetings deviants!

As #Mermay draws to a close, let us reflect back and honor that which is most sacred during this time of year... THE MER-TAIL!

It is the tail that sets the mermaid apart from her leggy cousins up on the surface, and connects her to the waters in which she dwells. A legend in fantasy lore, the mermaid and her tail have been inspiring artists of all disciplines for centuries. And although we have depicted the mermaid and her shimmering scales in hundreds of different ways, the tail still presents a unique challenge that each artist must tackle in their own way. Questions arise such as, "How should the tail connect to the human torso?" "What shapes should I use?" "What colors?" "How many scales?!" One can easily drown in all the choices to make!

I hope in this tutorial, I can offer some tips to help you navigate the sometimes murky waters of drawing mer-tails!


Mermay Mermaid Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchm

CONNECTING TO THE TORSO


Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

My approach is pretty much the same with every mer-creature I create. I connect the tail at the hip and taper the connection with scales that fade into the torso. I feel this sort of placement works for a variety of poses and situations, allowing the mermaid to explore a range of movement and body expression with ease!

Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

TIP! Consider scattering scales elsewhere on the body such as the arms, neck, even the face! Scattering scales helps to connect the mammal top half to the aquatic bottom half of the character. This can also be a useful tool to re-iterate that the creature belongs in the sea if the tail is partially cropped as it is below.

Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

FIN AND SCALE STYLES


Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

Fins and scales come in all shapes, sizes, and arrangements. Though my mer-creatures are all fantastical in nature, I do reference real life fish to inspire me on what sort of scale and fin arrangement would work best. For the Capricorn above, I chose to add a belly fin to mimic the fantastic chin beard this fellow is sporting!

Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

I wanted this "Sea Bull" to appear large and powerful! So I took inspiration from whales when creating this tail. The shape of the tail fin and the girth of the overall shape reminds the viewer of great and majestic whales, reinforcing the character's strong and authoritative personality.

Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

Sometimes I am inspired by more transparent fins, I frequently pair these with a softer treatment on my more innocent characters. Here the transparent fins emphasize the pure and vulnerable nature of childhood.

Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

On the opposite end of the spectrum, torn and tattered fins can communicate age and a sense of foreboding. This mermaid has seen some rough days, the somber pose paired with the helmet and weathered fins hint at a story of much woe here.

Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

Pairing rounded fins with a rounded figure is a great method for crafting a "cute" character with endearing appeal. All the round shapes in the silhouette scream "PET ME I'M ADORABLE!" and sends a clear message of this creature's temperament and personality to the viewer.

Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

When it comes to scales, the main factors to consider are size, shape, and depth. Generally, scales are pretty round so that's one decision down! But what about size and depth? You might notice when observing fish photography that sometimes the scales are very pronounced, large, and easy to see. Other times the scales are quite small, or they blend together so tightly that the shapes are barely visible.


For this spooky "Black Phillip" inspired Capricorn, I went with small tightly bound scales to make the tail appear smooth to the touch. I wanted the tail to mimic the "sly" feeling we get from such a trickster character. The small scales also make the character itself appear bigger by the differentiation of proportion.

Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

Other times, larger or more defined scales can add texture to an otherwise sleek character, adding some opportunity for visual interest! For this baby mermacorn, I used large chunkier scales with some fun slight variations in the shapes. The large scales also proportionally make the character seem smaller by comparison. Since this character's torso is less busy than the previous Capricorn example, adding some more complex and defined scales offset the open space at the top, and creates a nice balance of detail overall.


COLORS


Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

One of the great things about aquatic life is that it comes in literally EVERY color you can imagine! Explore some tropical fish photography and you'll see what I mean! Your mermaid can convincingly be whatever color you like! I do however, find that using references helps me with choosing which colors fit together best, and shading the figure.


KEY POINTS

  • A consistent light source bathes the top side of the tail in light while the lower half remains in shadow, giving the overall shape a realistic form.


  • Slightly varying the colors of each scale adds some visual interest and breaks up the purple so it doesn't become too overpowering. Real life fish scales often vary slightly in color.


  • Adding highlights to the scales is important too! But I wouldn't highlight all of them, that would look over- rendered and unrealistic. I chose to add a speckle of highlight to a selection of prominent scales where the light source hits strongest. This placement also helps guide the eye along the curve of the figure, which makes the viewer's eyeballs happy.

I GOTTA DRAW HOW MANY SCALES????


Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

Ok, I know technically this is not a mermaid but "The Leviathan" is by far the most scaly thing I have ever drawn. AND I had to draw them multiple times for the drawing and the painting.

Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

The prospect of drawing so many scales may send some artists sailing for safer shores out of pure terror! But I say "Fear yee not the scale!! For the delicious texture and depth it bestows to thine work is beyond compare! Do not forget them, prey, learn to LOVE THEM! I tell thee, I have the secret to making hundreds and hundreds of scales easy and dare I say... FUN! I shall reveal the super secret method below... but beware... this knowledge comes with a price!!"

THE SECRET


Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

VOILA! The secret formula to perfect scales. With practice, drawing scales will eventually become easy for you, even - dare I say - a therapeutic exercise! Some tips to remember...


  • Practice drawing these FAST, don't worry too much if each scale is identical. I find getting caught up in perfection with scales really slows me down. So long as they read as uniform as a whole, it's smooth sailing!


  • Practice practice practice. (Like seriously this is going to take up several pages in your sketchbook - just for scales. I promise it will be worth it!)


  • Once you've got the pattern down, practice changing the direction of the scales, tails are twisty turn-y things and the texture follows along with the form. It may seem tricky at first, but with practice you can find the flow.

Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

Aye, so the secret is hard work, diligence, and determination. All it will cost to unlock this precious skill... is your time


Mermay Tail Tutorial with Heather R Hitchman of Te

And that, deviants, is my collection of tips and tricks about mer-tails! I hope for your next mermaid you will take the plunge and try some new art tricks in your own work!


If you'd like to follow along with my work and see more tutorials and content from my paranormal fairytale world of Terratoff, you can follow me here DeviantArt, on Instagram for daily updates, or join us in the realm in Patreon for exclusive sneak peeks and benefits I only share there! Until next time!

https://www.deviantart.com/heatherhitchman

https://www.instagram.com/heatherhitchman/

https://www.patreon.com/terratoff

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1 min read
Year of the Unicorn Event Calendar 2020 with Heath

My first book is coming! To celebrate my Unicorns of Terratoff book I'm celebrating all year long with #YearOfTheUnicorn ! To find out more about the events and how you can take part in legendary unicorn magic, visit the pinned post on my Patreon https://www.patreon.com/posts/36562725


Next is #Junicorn with my own flair, #JunicornInTerratoff

Check out the prompts below, and use the hashtags to get me to see your unicorn art!

Junicorn In Terratoff Prompt List 2020 by Heather
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4 min read



Website: HeatherHitchman.com
Email: Artist@HeatherHitchman.com
Fastest form of contact: Email me to discuss client & commission work.






92053140 10158320288596085 7879026640183885824 N by HeatherHitchman

Join myself and the rest of the Changelings of the "Changeling Artist Collective" for our very first online convention!

The Changelings invite you this Friday the 17th - Sunday 19th for...

-Panels!
-Demos!
-Artist Alley!
-Art Auction!
- AND a Giveaway!!!


Join us in the "Faery Friends of CAC" group to attend this completely online event, and enjoy a weekend of magic and art!

PLUS
My Panel "How Patreon Changed My Life" begins at 6pm EST on my Twitch channel! See you there!

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4 min read



Website: HeatherHitchman.com
Email: Artist@HeatherHitchman.com
Fastest form of contact: Email me to discuss client & commission work.






2019-01-02 15.50.22 by HeatherHitchman

Love Deer? 

I've made a Facebook group to share deer photos, videos AND ART!

Come join us in "I See A Deer" and become one of "Heather's Herd"!  [link]

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