So I'll post some of my process on this mermaid.
My inspiration is the lion fish, even though it's considered the bane of the sea since it's an invasive species. What better for a mermaid warrior/scout? So the above doodle is based off of an earlier sketch I had done in my book a few weeks ago as part of an idea for the chair I am going to be painting.
Once I had that done I kinda just let it be for a while. Today I actually decided to pick back up on it. I wasn't feeling too confidant about rendering this in since I don't feel I am adequate at digital rendering, though this is turning out a bit better (especially since I can hide my sketch layer and the image still holds up!). I'm working in Photoshop CS4 from start to finish. I'm using layers set to normal at a range between 50%-75% opacity, standard round brush at full flow and opacity. On occasion I lower the opacity for blending.
Right now I am adding in the fins and will move onto the spear. I haven't really planned this out and don't have any intentions for the background right now as I want to just focus on the mermaid concept. Once I am done with the 'sculpt' I will add in the markings and maybe a few other embellishments to the mermaid. Right now this is an exercise in rendering for me, more than anything so I am trying to keep it simple.
A quick update. I added in the stripe pattern using multiply at around 50% with a sampled reddish-brown color. When I was happy with that, I switched to difference and played with the color and saturation as well as the lightness to get the effect seen above. I'm still not done, but I thought it was time for another post!