MerMay 2017


MythoJuly2017 print book cover art.

This 80 page, 2nd Edition book is a combination of an inspirational book and an artist’s sketchbook. It also includes a brief story about each mermaid or merman. Find out more on Amazon.

eBooks available on Amazon

Cover for the Kindle Edition of MerMay2017 Sketchbook featuring Mili Fay as an aqua mermaid.Cover for the Kindle Edition of MerMay2017 Sketchbook featuring Mili Fay as an aqua mermaid.

31 Days of Traditional Ink and Marker Sketches! The Artist’s Edition includes The Process and over $300 worth of Downloadable Art Prints — Print Size: 8 x 10 up to 16 x 20. Click on the images for more information.


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Art Prints and Original Sketches are available for sale. If interested, please contact Mili Fay Art.

For MerMay 2017 I’ve decided to hold a contest on Instagram. I posted a sketch completed with Pilot G-TEC-C4 black pen, Pantone TRIA Markers (which are apparently extinct), and a white gel pen of myself as a mermaid for May 1st 2017. The first person who commented, sharing their favourite sea creature, won: an Original Character (OC) design of themselves as a mermaid or merman as that sea creature; a 600ppi full-resolution image for their personal use (PDF and JPEG formats); a 950 px wide image for sharing online; a Mili Fay Art Copyright License; and a Kindle Sketchbook of all the art.

I posted the winner’s sketch the next day, and so the contest continued.

It truly was a challenge. Because it was a daily contest, I did not have much time to experiment with character designs. I would think about possible characters, before I went to sleep, then the next day, I would do some research, before drawing. Every image started out as a tiny thumbnail sketch (maybe 1″ or 2″ in size) that helped me figure out the composition.

MerMay Day 30 Thumbnail Sketches.

Then, I sketched a bigger version of the pose using a col-erase blue pencil.

MerMay 2017 Day 30 rough sketch.

Sometimes I did not like the sketch, so a drew another one. I made sure the winner’s features were visible. I love drawing real people!

MerMay 2017 Day 30 a reimagined sketch.

The next step was to clean up the sketch with the pen.

MerMay 2017 Day 30 Sketch cleaned up with pen.

After waiting half an hour or more for the pen to dry, I carefully erased the col-erase pencil lines. Sometimes, I was not careful enough and there were some ink smudges, but that is the beauty of traditional art — perfect in its imperfections.

MerMay2017 Day 30 cleaned up sketch with erased pencil marks.

Finally, I used my old Pantone TRIA Markers to add colour and tone to the image.

MerMay 2017 Day 30 photograph of the final artwork before digital editing you see in the gallery.

Most winners’ sketches took between 3h – 5h. The downside of all the drawing is that my tendons started acting up again. I highly recommend using the brace shown in the following image if you know you’ll be working a lot. It really helped — that, and my sister’s advice on doing some wrist exercises. (She’s a physio.)

Mili Fay using a wrist brace while sketching to prevent injury.

What I loved best about Tom Bancroft’s MerMay Challenge and my contest was: meeting new people, discovering new creatures, and traditionally creating something beautiful every single day.

I’ve enjoyed the contest so much that I decided to create a similar one in July 2017. Currently, my followers are suggesting possible themes. I’m leaning towards fairies, but top three choices will be put to the vote mid June.

The MerMay 2017 Images will be available for sale soon. To receive a $5 discount, join Mili Fay Art Fan Club, and keep you eye out for a future email.


Mili Fay

May 21, 2018