SFM Cloth Dolls with Attitude! NZ

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Merman v Mere man!

Hmm! Mereman - or Merman? Someone challenged me to make a merman to go with my mermaid. I was not thinking of the mermaid, (which is rather conventional), when I made himself!

My first thought was to make this doll with coloured dreadlocks, and that was my inspiration.  When I had made sufficient, I began with the trunk of the body of course - to see if I could make some muscles, because mermen can be half naked and no-one thinks anything of it!

Now the next obstacle - how to display him, with only a fin, and he can’t lean on anything.  Deciding it would be very manly to insert a wire hanger into his back muscles, (to show his strength and courage of course), high enough to be hidden beneath his cropped, shoulder cover thingy! That worked! 
I tucked his body into a tail - armatured with my favourite skinny coat hangers, so I could shape it later and to give it some 'body'!

Next, suitable arms, and I had to think what he might be doing, so one straight and one half bent. Ideal for tattoos, and to hold something.

Then the head. Had to be manly, so this head has a bit of shape. (I never know how they will turn out when I start.) Thinking of a good jawline when drawing it out, I feel I am slowly getting there with that one. I am pleased with the mouth shape, which is incorporated in the initial pattern drawing.

The next part of the process is how to present him. I thought of Steampunk, and went with that idea for a while, as I have seen a few trendy looking steam punkers, and so I added a few such embellishments, but in the end, I settled on something that reveals his alternative, feminine, creative, and caring side.  With the sea themed tattoos, (done by his local swordfish), the Paua Shell embellishments and neck bling, and his artistically arranged dreadlocks (styled by his local octopus, who is renowned for her creative agility to twist things around – tentacle-y speaking!)

With a critical eye, I noticed there was an imbalance between the body and the tail, so I connected them with the strap of a man bag, anchored to his belt!  I made the trident, but did not want him to be holding it – unwieldy for packing and sending anywhere – so made a strap that could sling it across his shoulders and be a prop.

The dreadlocks draw the eye down and connect the head with the tail, and I addressed the imbalance of the length of tail with the pet fish, hanging from his hand on a harness, to bring the eye right down.

 I could do more with the tail if I wanted to, but I liked the simplicity of his message:  Here is a mereman, not afraid to show himself as he is, usually found in deep water, vulnerable to predatory fish and the elements, but with the strength and resilience to deal with whatever life brings him. Happy with who he is, willing to intelligently stand for right, and with a care for the wellbeing of his fellow creatures!  Yes, there are Mermen like this!


Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Very interesting and creative. I love all the manly touches you gave him. Must admit I never saw a merman before. But there MUST be mermen or we would not continue to have mermaids. Perhaps they just hide better.
xx, Carol

Mary Ann Tate said...

Very cool Sharon. The poor Mermen have been neglected in the doll making world. I love his face as it's very masculine.

h said...

I adore your merman here, and was wondering what shape/head pattern you started out with? Is there any chance of you producing a pattern for him? Do you have any tips for designing guys? It sure seems like there just aren't that many good tutorials or patterns out there for male figures.

SFM Cloth dolls With Attitude! said...

Hi h, I designed the head for this one, keeping in mind how I wanted it to look. Yes, I am making a pattern for this. When designing guy faces, I look at male faces on Images, or Pinterest adn use a good picture to use as a guide for what I am trying to portray. I also look at illustrations of male faces and I notice eye shapes are different to female. I also notice lip shape is different to female. The chin and cheekbones are different, so getting stuffing in the right places is important. Fabric colour is important too.

Hope this is helpful and that you will observe these things when doing faces.