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Disney Un-Disneyed: The Little Mermaid (Update)

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By kuabci   |   
Published:
© 2014 - 2020 kuabci
Pen
August 2014

I must admit this is one I've been looking forward to most in my Disney source material read-through/character redesign (review of the book/story here).  I also must admit it was very hard to separate the character from the so very iconic one by Disney that has been ingrained on my brain for most of my recollection.  Still, I think I did all right at bringing a new look to the character/mermaid design, and I actually really like how this one turned out.  Look at those li'l feet, ha ha.  I even tried for a little historical/setting accuracy with the costume, so there you go.

Incidentally, I tried to picture coloring, since Ariel's is so trademark (which is why I didn't picture it as red), and I ended up not with the sort of cliché blonde or the more dramatic dark, but more like a sort of light sandy brown.

EDIT: I decided to add pearls to her accessories, because dur, she lives underwater, what precious stones would a mermaid princess wear??

Snow White here.
Pinocchio here.
Denizens of Sleepy Hollow here.
Cinderella here.
Alice In Wonderland here.
Peter Pan here.
Sleeping Beauty here.
The Wart here.
Mowgli here.
Robin Hood here
Taran here.
Basil of Baker Street here.
Oliver here.
Image size
1142x1499px 1.05 MB
IMAGE DETAILS
Make
EPSON
Model
Epson Stylus NX420
Software
Adobe Photoshop CS6 (Macintosh)
Comments46
anonymous's avatar
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Quander's avatar
I could see TLM taking place in the Mediterranean; have the prince be Italian (especially the Kingdom of Sardinia or Naples) or Greek. Rename the mermaids with those of the Sirens; replace Ariel with Parthenope (meaning "Maiden-voiced").
WCLyon's avatar
WCLyonHobbyist Photographer
I would reset the story in the Caribbean Islands, and have the characters all black.
Quander's avatar
Cool, sounds like the musical Once on This Island, which is set in the French Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea.
WCLyon's avatar
WCLyonHobbyist Photographer
A much better retelling of the Anderson story than the whitewashed Disney movie
kuabci's avatar
kuabciProfessional General Artist
Oh yeah, I can definitely see that.  I like the name choice.
Quander's avatar
Have her six sisters be named Thelxiepeia, Himerope, Aglaopheme, Peisinoë, Leucosia, and Raidne.

Prince Eric always reminded me of a young John Stamos; I could see the prince character as an amalgamation of him and Italian actor 
Fabio Testi. Being renamed something like Umberto or Alfonso.

The sea witch could be replaced with Circe from Greek mythology.
kuabci's avatar
kuabciProfessional General Artist
Good concepts.  It could be an interesting adaptation.
izclark's avatar
stunning! much as i love TLM the disney vision of an underwater civilisation was so boring! mermaids strike me as ethereally beautiful yet quite fierce and wild so this is really great :)
kuabci's avatar
kuabciProfessional General Artist
Yeah, it's interesting to see the different ways they're portrayed in different media.  I feel like HCA's is a little more civilized than the fierce interpretations some have offered, but I like the wild idea.
izclark's avatar
yeah this is still soft and sweet but she has a strength and a wildness to her which i love!
darkshadow278's avatar
I once vision a extended part of the original story's ending were the little mermaid as she became sea foam she laid two eggs, and 200 years later the eggs hatch revealing two baby girls born half human half mermaid. Plus your design of the little mermaid almost resembles Marina from the Toei anime adaptation of the Little Mermaid.
kuabci's avatar
kuabciProfessional General Artist
Well... that sounds interesting.
joanstar's avatar
joanstarStudent
actually in the original story it is mentioned by the author that she's a blonde.
kuabci's avatar
kuabciProfessional General Artist
Actually in the original story it makes no mention of her actual hair color.  Some retellings/movies have decided she was blonde, but (as far as I can discover), HCA didn't.
joanstar's avatar
joanstarStudent
i'm not  really sure about her hair color since the story has been reimagined over the years,but ariel's desingers said they were about to make her a blonde so she could fit the description of the original story but disney had already two blonde princesses and by the time the movie was made everybody was crazy about red hair.
kuabci's avatar
kuabciProfessional General Artist
I remember hearing the filmmakers talk about that, but it wasn't because of her hair in the original story, I think it was just because they thought that a blonde mermaid was a sort of classic, expected image (but it was too similar to Daryl Hannah's mermaid character in Splash, which came out just a year or two before), and also thought that red was striking against the blues and greens of the underwater scenes.  And yes, they had had many blonde heroines up until that time.
Quander's avatar
Right, Disney execs almost nixed the idea of the Little Mermaid film because of Splash. Disney was working on the sequel, "Splash, Too" and was worried about doing multiple mermaid projects. Jeffrey Katzenberg read Ron Clements' treatment for the film and changed his mind. TLM team decided to differentiate their mermaid film from "Splash" as possible, i.e. giving Ariel red hair and each of the merpeople different colored tails.   
kuabci's avatar
kuabciProfessional General Artist
I had heard that.  Interesting how these decisions are sometimes made (and sometimes unmade).
PPG2009's avatar
PPG2009Student Artist
Can you do Disney Un-Disneyed The princess and the Frog for me, please?
kuabci's avatar
kuabciProfessional General Artist
As I have said (many times now), I will do them when I do them.  And now, I have done this one.
PPG2009's avatar
PPG2009Student Artist
I'll wait for Mary poppins next year or not 
kuabci's avatar
kuabciProfessional General Artist
I'm not doing that with this series because it's not part of the animated canon.  But I actually have already done drawings of Mary Poppins and a couple of the Banks children, which you can find in my gallery.
PPG2009's avatar
PPG2009Student Artist
Can you do Johnny Appleseed for me, please?
kuabci's avatar
kuabciProfessional General Artist
I thought about doing that one when I reached the movie that features him, but since that segment is based on a folk tale/legend, and not an actual piece of literature I decided against it.
anonymous's avatar
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