Mermaid Monday #20: Grey-Tailed Mermaid with Red, Blue, Green and White Patterned Skirt

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Now, mermaids love color; it’s a precious thing because their environment itself makes the bright shades they prefer transient. Get even a little ways down, without the benefit of the magic lights many mystics make a living out of producing, and everything is just blue and purple. But because of the intermittent nature of underwater color, the ensembles worn to well-lit mermaid gatherings are wonders to behold, and even just knowing you have shining auburn hair or that the emerald and opal bracelet on your wrist is absolutely fabulous in the sunlight is enough to be happy, most of the time. This is also part of why mermaids value their tail color so highly: feeling like a brilliant blue or gold is an intrinsic part of you gives you a pleasant warm sensation when you’re feeling grumpy or plain.

This means that grey-tailed mermaids, like the one we see today, have an unfortunate tendency to be maladjusted or insecure, more than those with other tail colors do. Even colors like white, black and brown are thought of as preferable. After all, white has a sort of unearthly cachet, while black has a rakish, cool image, and both of them are easy to match with other, brighter colors. Even brown can look good, assuming you can afford the right shades of red, gold and so on. Grey doesn’t seem to match with anything, really: blue and green, maybe, but the combination just seems glum. This mermaid, I wouldn’t precisely say she’s come to peace with her grey tail, but she’s scared of mystics (some of whom might be able to change it for her… for a price), so she overcompensates with long skirts and vivid colors, and she has a habit of tucking her tail close to her body while she works, so only the pale edge of the fin sticks out from under her skirt.

This would, certainly, be hard to swim in, but she works as a scholar in a big city, and so she doesn’t generally have to get around very quickly; in any case, she thinks it would be better to meet her end courtesy of a shark than to live a long life with her tail in full view. It’s a shame to feel that way, but that’s what happens when you feel hideous all your life. Honestly, I think it draws more attention to her than a skirt with a more normal cut, or a sheer skirt, would: no one wears skirts like this underwater, and even the mermaids with big old scars on their tails are often proud enough of them to not much care whether they show or not. So even though this is a mermaid equivalent of wearing a sandwich board that says “I’M INSECURE ABOUT MY TAIL,” it makes her happy. And heck, if I had a rainbow-colored skirt with a coral and fish pattern that cute, I’d probably be happy too.

I was asked to list the colors I use for each drawing, and I’m going to see how it works out to list them…

Colors used: Colorless Blender, French Grey family, Cool Grey family, Black, Sky Blue Light, Greyed Lavender, Violet, Ultramarine, Violet Blue, Spring Green, Dark Green, Yellow Chartreuse, Grass Green, Sunburst Yellow, Crimson Red, Poppy Red, Yellowed Orange, Tuscan Red

Mermaid Monday #13: Green Mermaid Tail with White and Gold Top and Bracelet

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I do believe this is Ivy’s first Mermaid Monday… here’s a nice basic mermaid tail to welcome her into the club. Sometime soon I really should do a tail tutorial… It’s really a lot easier than it looks. I spent more time trying to come up with a top I like, honestly.

The Prismacolor sure is elusive, so OK… I’ll give you a hint. Between today and the 24th, I made extensive use of this color in one of the dresses… and you know it’s not green. Now someone should get it, right?

At this rate, the first week of Halloween will be fairies, but Lord of the Rings – or Ghostbusters, if my husband organizes his forces properly – could make a comeback. So vote in the poll, if you haven’t already!

Mermaid Monday #10: Mermaid Mystic with Purple and Gold Top and Skirt with Orange Tail

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It’s been such a long time since Mermaid Monday, how very cruel of me… in penance, I’ll reveal some more of their world.

I often think about how, in my paperdollverse, the mermaids interact with the humans, but that is because I myself happen to be human and have that particular bias. Frankly, the majority of mermaids don’t give it as much thought as I do. I’ve come to think of mermaid excursions to the human world as something like American college kids studying abroad. Not everyone is going to be interested in the first place, and some might like to but have other priorities under the seas. Of the ones who do, most might spend only a season of their life exploring the new culture, some might enter into it to some extent but always consider themselves mermaids first and foremost, and a minority, like my bitter crimson mermaid, become permanent expats. Generally, mermaids consider themselves slightly superior to humans, and for the most part there aren’t oodles of mermaids longing to escape to land and legs.

My mom wondered how the switch between tails and legs is actually affected. There are mermaid mystics, with varying amounts of experience and power, who can control such things for a price. Surely we’re all now thinking of Ariel sacrificing her voice? It’s not often so serious; curious young mermaids attending their first human balls usually do so on wobbly legs not shaped quite right (which is why most mermaids favor long ballgowns), thanks to a friend’s crazy old grandmother who will perform the necessary magic for a string of pearls. (The accompanying rite of passage is for excitable mermaids to forget how long the magic lasts and transform back right there on the dance floor. If the girl is lucky, her gallant dance partner will help her back into the water; if she’s not so lucky a couple of already overworked servants will do it, talking maliciously about seared mermaid fillets with lemon sauce over a bed of wild rice.) The longer the magic lasts, the more skillfully the legs are formed and the more control the mermaid has over switching back and forth, the more it will cost. At a certain point, a desperate mermaid switches from grandmothers paid off with pearls to dangerous creatures who demand voices, lifespans, firstborn children and so on. Today’s mermaid is one of these mystics, exceptionally long-lived because she’s always happy to trade legs or looks and so on for a portion of the petitioner’s lifespan. (She isn’t at all ashamed about the price she asks: the study of mermaid mysticism is dangerous, and she sees it as a fair deal given the years she’s devoted to her craft and the scarcity of competitors.) In the face of her present problems, your average impetuous young mermaid couldn’t care less about five or ten years that come off the end of her life anyways. Between the sharks, nets and mystics offering one’s heart’s desire with a price to be paid much later, it is only very smart mermaids who live to be old.