Mermaid Tutorial

Although I have written this tutorial for Paint Shop Pro, any program that support layers, like Adobe Photoshop, Serif Photoplus, Corel Photopaint or Ulead PhotoImpact, can be used. It does assume that you are familiar with whichever graphic program you are using.

1. Open the base you are going to use. I usually give mine a white background to work. Becuase of the mermaids tail, you will need quite a bit of space to work with, so go to Image/Canvas Size and increase the size to about 200 x 200. 2. I have created several colour palettes that you can use, but you are free to use your own colours! I have labelled the colours on the palettes to make them a bit easier to pick. 3. Create a new layer named Tail. Select palette colout number 1 and draw the outline of the mermaid tail.
This is the trickiest part and it may take a few attempts before you are happy with it. You'll probably find it helps to Zoom in on the image while you do this. Do not draw the fins at this point.

before                            after
4. Choose the Eraser tool and set the size to 1. Zoom in on your image and erase any extra pixels - you want the tail to be 1 pixel think at all points. Fill in any gaps with the Paintbrush with the Size set to 1 5. Select the number 2 colour from your palette and Flood Fill the interior of your tail. 6. Go to the layer that holds your doll. Use the Freehand Selection tool (lasso) and draw a selection around her legs. Press the Delete button on your keyboard. Her legs should now be erased.
Note: if you base is not on a transparent layer, rather on, say, a white background, you will need to colour her legs in white instead.
7. Click on the Magic Wand tool. Click on the area outside of the tail. When this is selected, go to Selections/Save to Alpha Channel.
Click on OK and on the New Channel screen, type in Tail Outline and OK
This is will save the selection and we won't have to keep selecting it again.
8. Press CTRL+D to drop the selection. Create a new layer named Tail Shading.
Select the Airbrush tool and enter the above settings.
9. Select palette colour number 1 and draw along the edges of the tail. Don't try to be neat, it needs to go over the edges.
10. Select palette colour number 2 and draw along the inside of the dark shading. Repeat this with colour 3. 11. Select the Retouch tool and enter the above settings. 12. Use the retouch tool to shape the shading inline with the tail, as shown above.. It does not need to be perfect.
13. Go to Effects/Blur/Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to about 2.5 and apply. 14. Go to Selections/Load from Alpha Channel. Load the selection Tail Outline. Press Delete on your keyboard to delete the unwanted blur. Press CTRL+D to drop the selection. 15. This step is optional
To add a little texture to your tail, go to Effects/Noise/Add. Set Noise to about 20 and the noise type to Uniform and apply.
16. Create a new layer named Highight. Select palette colour 5 and use the Airbrush with a size of about 3 to draw in some highlight on the tail. 17. Use the Retouch tool again with the same settings to shape the highlight a little. 18. Go to Effects/Blur/Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to about 2.5 and apply.
19. Create a new layer named Fin. Select palette colour 2 and draw the outline of fins. 20. As in step 4, clean up the fin outline. 21. Using the same colour, draw in the veins on the fins.
22. Line each vein in palette colour 4 and Flood Fill the rest of the white areas in palette colour 3. 23. Drop the Opacity on this layer to about 60%. Your doll should be looking something like this. 24. Create a new layer name Frill. Set your foreground colour to palette colour 2. Draw a mantle on the top of the tail, as shown above.
25. Colour the frill in palette colour 4 and drop the opacity to about 80% 26. Create a new layer named Shells. Using palette colour 1 and the Paintbrush tool, draw in shells. 27. Using palette colours 2, 3 and 4, colour in the shells.
28. This step is optional
If you want, you can add some green seaweed as straps.
29. Your doll should now look like this.
You now need to add hair. You can, of course, add any hair you like, the next step is just a quick an simple way of making mermaid hair.
30. Create a new layer called Hair. Using palette colour 1, draw in wavy strands of hair, as shown above.
31. Continue in this way with each of the palette colours. 32. Try to keep the darker colours below and the lighter above. Trace the shape of the darker waves with the lighter colours. Colour in any gaps. 33. Add a face. I'll leave this bit up to you. If you get stuck, take a peak at my Tutorial Listing for face tutorials.
Your mermaid is complete!
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