We head under the sea for the month of May!
It’s May and in the UK summer feels like it’s just around the corner! Inspired by the “MerMayDay” hashtag on Instagram we thought we’d have a little look at the mermaid images we have drawn, and maybe inspire you to draw them yourself!
What is a Mermaid?
Once upon a time it was very dangerous to travel by sea. These days we have lovely coffee lounges, restaurants, shops and even swimming pools on our boats! Even working boats, like the ones fisher-people use to catch fish, or the ones lifeguards use, are made to be as safe as possible. But it used to be the case that going out to sea could be your final journey. Food became hard to come by, and usually a diet of ship’s biscuits, gruel and some water were all you could look forward to after a hard day’s sailing. Storms and bad weather could really knock even big ships about, so naturally sailors became very superstitious. They weren’t very keen on having females on board as they were seen to be bad luck. Can you believe that?! Mermaids were actually associated with bad luck and storms at sea, and sailors often called then “Sirens”; ladies who could sing your boats onto the rocks the mermaid were singing from. These “sirens” go right back to Greek mythology.
Mermaids were usually depicted as beautiful women who had lovely, long flowing hair and yet had no legs; they had fish tails! One of the most famous mermaids is The Little Mermaid. She was created by Hans Christian Anderson. The story follows a young mermaid who sacrifices her fish tail in order to live as a human and marry the man she falls in love with. You may know the Disney film, where Ariel, the redheaded young mermaid, falls in love with Eric, a swashbuckling prince. A few evil sea creatures try to stop them falling in love, but Ariel becomes human, captivates the young prince and (spoiler alert!) they live happily ever after. But have you ever read the original story? The story is a little darker, and has a very different ending! It’s a very interesting fairy tale, and has been examined many times over the years. A statue of The Little Mermaid is in Copenhagen, where the story was written.
Mermaids have long captured the imaginations of young children, and being able to draw them in picture books is a particular joy. Of course, mermen also exist, and there have been many mermen drawn and written about over the years. But the enduring image of mermaids and sirens singing from rocks to wreck ships remains a constant source of intrigue for humans, and is a fascinating story for children. So whilst we pop a few images on our Instagram, twitter and Facebook pages, perhaps you’ll be inspired to write your own mermaid story, make your own mermaid tail or create your own underwater world!