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Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author who wrote prolifically during the 1800’s. He is most famous for his fairy tales. In the Danish language, his stories are known as eventyr, meaning they are meant to “transcend age and nationality.” This has certainly been the case with many of his tales, including The Little Mermaid, published in 1837.
Translated into many languages and included in children’s books for more than a century, The Little Mermaid was immortalized by the 1989 animated Disney film of the same name. The title character, Ariel, is a teenage mermaid princess who dreams of life on land instead of in the sea. Since the Disney release, a number of other mermaid stories and cartoons have featured characters that closely resemble this seafaring lass.
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Would you like to be able to draw Ariel? Now you can, using this easy, step-by-step drawing tutorial, a pencil, and a piece of paper. Simply follow the steps in the drawing guide listed below. Notice that in the illustration accompanying each step, new lines are shown in blue, while lines drawn in previous steps are shown in black.
You may want to have an eraser handy to correct mistakes and erase guide lines – lines placed in earlier steps to help you form the proper shape in later steps. You may also want to use colored pencils, crayons, paints, or markers to shade your finished drawing.
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- Sharpie marker to draw clean, black lines.
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- Bright, easy to blend colored pencils or cheaper oil pastels.
- Pencil set to practice drawing and shading together with a vinyl or kneaded eraser, and a sharpener. If you draw a lot with pencils, you could even get yourself an electric sharpener.
- Faber-Castell’s Amazon store has all the above, plus great art sets for kids.
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Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing Mermaid Ariel
Begin by drawing a small circle. This will outline Ariel’s face.
From the circle, extend a curved line to outline the jaw and chin.
Draw a series of curved lines intersecting the circle. These lines outline the way Ariel’s hair lays across her forehead and ear.
Erase the guide lines from Ariel’s head.
Extend two curved lines downward from the head to form Ariel’s neck and shoulders.
Enclose the shape of Ariel’s upper body by drawing a nearly circular curved line from shoulder to shoulder.
Enclose a roughly rectangular shape below the upper body using curved lines. This forms Ariel’s torso, or stomach.
Extend two long, curved lines from the stomach. Allow the lines to meet in a sharp point, enclosing Ariel’s tail.
From the tail, extend two sets of curved lines. Each set will meet in a point, outlining Ariel’s fins.
Draw a curved line above the point where Ariel’s tail and stomach meet. This adds detail to the tail.
Add more detail to Ariel. Draw a short, curved line below the neck to indicate the collar bone. Draw an apostrophe shape – a dot with a short, curved line – on the stomach to form the belly button, and draw curved lines across the ridge above the tail. Finally, draw long, curved lines down the length of each fin.
Extend a set of curved lines from each shoulder to outline the arms.
Add another set of curved lines to each arm, placing them at an angle to indicate the bend of the elbow.
Draw Ariel’s hands using a series of connected, curved lines. Each finger may by drawn using an elongated, “U” shaped line. Draw a curve across the palm of her hand to add detail.
Draw Ariel’s seashell garment by enclosing a series of overlapping teardrop shapes in two sets across her upper body. Use two short, curved lines to draw the strap.
Erase the guide lines from the upper body.
Draw Ariel’s hair using long and short curved lines. Around her face, allow the lines to overlap. Towards the end of her hair, allow the lines to meet in points.
Enclose Ariel’s eyes using curved lines. Draw her nose and eyebrows using curved lines. Extend short curved lines from above the eyes to indicate eyelashes.
Enclose the mouth and lips using four curved lines. Draw two curved lines within each eye to form the pupil and iris. Draw a small circle within the pupil, and shade the pupil.
Color Ariel. Traditionally, she is depicted with red hair and a green tail.
Printable PDF of the Drawing Guide
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