Mermay mermaid

Photo via lilylilbee/YouTube

Artists are creating gorgeous mermaid art all #MerMay

We've been loving this.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw


Posted on May 13, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 2:33 pm CDT

If you follow any illustrators or visual artists on Twitter, you may have noticed a glut of mermaid art. Traditional Disney-style cartoon mermaids, grotesque monster mermaids, butch warrior mermaids, fanart mermaids, you name it.

The mermaid meme began with Disney animator Tom Bancroft, who suggested the #MerMay hashtag on his blog. Each year, he encourages artists to post mermaid art throughout the month of May. This year he’s actually drawing a serialized children’s story called The Mermaid Who Wanted To Fly, which you can follow on Instagram.

#MerMay really took off this year, with dozens of illustrators and animators taking part. Just in case anyone finds it hard to think of new mermaid ideas for a month, Bancroft posted a list of daily suggestions like Star Wars-themed (May 4, obviously), pirate mermaids, mermaids with shell phones, and so on.

Browsing through the #MerMay hashtag, we’ve collected some beautiful and unique examples, beginning with lilylilbee‘s adorable teacup mermaid seen in the header image.

Lionhead goldfish merman by Rika

Art via Rika/Patreon

Betta fish mermaids, by Lissa Treiman

East African mermaids by Meena

Art via Curlisdrawings/Tumblr

Monster mermaids, by Sadie

Dot the mermaid and her babies, by Ita

Art via it-a/Tumblr

Japanese historical mermaid, by Ida

Art via it-a/Tumblr

Mermaid remixes have been popular for years, experimenting beyond the traditional image of a slim, white, conventionally feminine mermaid. The #MerMay hashtag sent this idea into overdrive, encouraging artists to draw mermaids with more diverse appearances and cultural backgrounds, and take inspiration from underwater creatures.

With two weeks left to go, the hashtag is inspiring more original ideas every day. Well worth checking out on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram.

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*First Published: May 13, 2017, 6:00 am CDT