Once. Twice. Three tiiiiiimes a half-lady!
“The Little Mermaid” has always been my favorite Disney movie. It was the one that “started it all” – the very first movie I saw in theaters, and the first Disney film I felt was made for ME.
Before Buffy, Katniss, and Rita from “Edge of Tomorrow” (or “Live, Die, Repeat” or “All You Need is Kill”…or whatever they ended up with) – the heroine I aspired to was Ariel. Plucky, adventurous, blasé-ly defiant, hopelessly romantical, and graced with hair that defied all logical reason and replicability. I spent endless hours in my grandmother’s pool with a diving ring round my ankles to perfect my mermaid swim, practiced my best Jodi Benson ahhh ahhh ahhhhhs, and longed for the moment where I could float to the floor and sob dramatically into my arm “just go away…” when I was too heartbroken for conversation. Like, after my cousin’s Chuck E. Cheese birthday party where she received not one, not two – but THREE Tyco Ariel dolls. I couldn’t fathom why it wouldn’t be completely ideal for me to eliminate some returns and take just one of the extras off her hands.
But that was twenty-five years ago (oiy), and I feel in many ways I’ve progressed and grown a lot. But, when I got my favorite, thrice recursive email from the good people at Herzog & Co. for some “Once Upon A Time” illustrations and the subject was ARIEL…it regressed a little like this. Followed quickly by an Uhyesplease!
For season three of ABC’s “Once Upon A Time,” I got to create two illustrations for the special feature “The Tale of Ariel” – which is an awesome look into the well known character’s interpretation through casting, story and costuming for the show. This is my title card for the feature “A Tale of Ariel”:
My direction for the second illustration was simply: “have Ariel underwater”, so I really got to stretch my fins and do whatever I wanted. This one turned out to be my personal brownie-sundae-with-homemade-fudge-sauce (favorite). It was liberating to get back to this looser, Blair-ish style after spending most of my year doing freelance that was very precise and realistic. It took me a bit to embrace the imperfections that make hand drawn art so endearing and interesting, but I soon surrendered to my 1989 self. Appropriate geeking out for getting to draw mermaids for “work” followed.