From Tony Blando:
MerMay has been so much fun, and you can celebrate #MerMay with this free online mermaid comic, Sinker, written by Tony Blando (me!) with art created by Libby Frame (@libbyframeart on Instagram). Libby is a beyond-talented illustrator who cites Hayao Miyazaki as one of her primary influences, and spoiler alert: She does a fantastic job in this book. The link to the comic can also be found right here on my Instagram, @tonybeeswax. Below is the cover, and some history and highlights on MerMay.
I’m sure some of you are asking, “Wait, what is #MerMay?” Allow me to answer that question and consequently make your day — potentially your entire month.
Social media has been exploding with mermaid art this month as a result of the hashtag #MerMay. I was thrilled to find out this hashtag comes from former Disney animator and animation legend Tom Bancroft, whose work spans classics like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Mulan, and more.
Bancroft used this hashtag on Instagram encouraging illustrators to post mermaid creations of their own for every day of the month, and those brave enough to try have shocked us with their creativity and their dedication to making something not only beautiful, but truly unique. Fan of mermaids or not, the biggest mermaid-illustration crossover event in internet history is a must-see. Here are some of the highlights:
(Yes, it’s okay, and encouraged, to pause from reading and breathe this artwork in.)
The incredible creation above is by Sara Sturges (@saramstur.art on Instagram) and touches on one of my favorite aspects of this event that you’ll see carried on in following entries: Inclusiveness. The artists participating in MerMay are giving us a chance to see mermaids of all skin colors and ethnicities; this is something even fantasy spearheads like Disney haven’t shown us yet, making this event even more exciting for fans of features like The Little Mermaid or Peter Pan. It’s a peek into the mermaid world we’re not familiar with, making the contributions feel all the more fresh.
Sara’s choice of colors, use of quartz and crystals, and the confident, queen-like pose of the mermaid are striking and memorable. She had this to say about the quartz mermaid:
“…My mind wandered to an interest of mine which is geology. I always found quartz to be quite stunning in the way it fractures and forms, so I had it become the driving theme. Because some forms of quartz are gems, I made the mermaid appear haughty and vain, as if she were showing off her precious cove of jewels.”
Sara’s work here ignites the imagination, which, to me, is a sign of excellent art. Sara has more MerMay pieces on her Instagram, each more beautiful and colorful than the last.
The piece above is by Dylan Bonner (@dylanbonner90 on Instagram), who, when asked what his favorite part of MerMay has been, answered:
“Probably the motivation. Usually I’ll make two to three pieces a week but now I’m doing one a day. It gets me into a good rhythm in terms of productivity,” Dylan says, “That and seeing everyone else’s work too! So many artists are doing MerMay, it’s awesome.”
I couldn’t agree more; Mermay has artist creating new and exciting work every single day, enticing all of them to take risks and try something different, to stretch their abilities in new directions. Dylan’s piece here is serene and vibrant, his mastery of lighting and color made apparent by the shimmering scales and the shadows added to the corners of the frame. This mermaid creation is glowing, and not just literally; the calm expression and her hand held to her tail leads me to believe she is basking in her own light, she is feeling herself, and her confidence is infectious. Dylan’s Instagram is full of amazing mermaid pieces just like this one.
Brianna Garcia (@briannacherrygarcia on Instagram) created one of the most fun pieces I’ve seen this May with this mer-manatee and her manatee friend. The accessories are charming and pirate-esque, the expressions are bright and uplifting. Again, this drawing is a prime example of the inclusiveness MerMay has been offering; showcasing mermaids of all shapes and body types instead of simply replicating mermaid designs we’ve seen in the past. Brianna made a handful of drawings with this mer-manatee character and you can find them all on her Instagram.
Even comics-superstar Babs Tarr of Batgirl and Motor Crush fame took the MerMay challenge, producing a sports mermaid, complete with racing stripes on her tail.
From crystalline mermaids to mer-whales to mer-manatees, the level of creativity from participants has been astounding, and there seems to be no signs of slowing down. Follow all of these talented artists on Instagram to get started, and check out all of the exciting work being done by searching the hashtag #MerMay on social media. If you’re an artist, Bancroft himself says there are no rules to participating, so it’s not too late to join in.
Don’t forget, Sinker is available to read completely for free at tonybeeswax.com, and it’s a perfect fit with all of the MerMay excitement going on. Fun fact: I had no idea MerMay was going to happen; I wrote this comic months ago! Gotta love serendipity!
Thank you for reading, and Happy MerMay!
Tony Blando writes for Bleeding Cool. Follow him @tonybeeswax on Instagram and Twitter.
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