I will proudly admit that my new favorite fragrance is the DefineMe Ariel Disney Princess Perfume! It’s fresh, sweet, and woodsy, infused with Disney magic in every spritz!
DefineMe Fragrances has answered every Disney fan prayers by creating a beautiful fragrance that embodies Disney’s most iconic princess: Ariel!
Ariel’s adventurous spirit and yearning to explore the world above is captured in this fragrance perfectly!
The best way to describe the DefineMe Ariel Disney Princess Perfume is the ocean waves crashing against a rocky shoreline on a warm summer’s day. It’s top is a sweet citrus neroli and bergamot. The center notes are jasmine and lilac. While the bottom notes are tonka bean, coconut, and driftwood.
The combination of the woodsy, floral, and citrous isn’t a combination you see everyday in fragrances. And for that reason, the Ariel Disney Princess Perfume evokes the sense of the ocean (woodsy notes), curiosity (floral notes), and adventure (citrus notes). Just like Ariel!
Every fragrance by DefineMe Fragrances is unisex, gluten-free, vegan, cruelty-free, and Made in the USA.
With every purchase from DefineMe Fragrances, they will donate $1 to empower and educate women in developing countries.
Every time I wear my Ariel Disney Princess Perfume, I feel like a Disney Princess!
It’s a must-have fragrance for fans Princess Ariel!
Swell Obsessed Swimwear (SOS) is a unique swimwear line that offers an array of styles and colors that are anything but basic. SOS is best known for their seamless and versatile designs, that are made in the USA.
These swimsuits are comfortable, yet sexy.
SOS was designed for every woman who feels a calling to the sea and a love for adventure.
To understand Swell Obsessed Swimwear more, I asked it’s designer and owner Maria a few questions about her line of unique, versatile, and sustainable swimsuits.
What inspired you to create SOS?
The very first aha moment was in Costa Rica on a surf trip- realizing I had quite specific taste for small details subtleties in other suits and being suggested I should just make my own ones.
No brainer- I had studied design and had worked in fashion for years before that “aha”
Moment. (I had the tools in my belt to start experimenting/trying things out)
How would you describe SOS?
A whimsical, premium swimwear brand based on simplicity, versatility, and sustainability.
What’s it’s connection in design or concept with mermaids?
1. The brand aesthetic- Caribbean life growing in PR with many historical influences of colonization and legends of sirens/pirates. I’m fascinated with the idea of balancing Male/Female. To me make is represented by the concept of a Pirate/surfer/waterman. And female is respresented by Mermaids/Sirens/Fairies.
Overall I love History and Fairytales. I’m also a space cadet and daydreamer so when I’d surf I’d just get mesmerized staring at swells come in- that’s how the name came- my friends would say I’m “Swell Obsessed”
I’d do super long road trips all around California and PR just chasing the swell..
2. The daydreamer in me- lost in time, time travel, escapist, believing in things I’ve never seen
3. The Siren- Ultimate symbol of femininity goes in hand with my design aesthetic. I’ve been told my designs are very “pretty, feminine, and clean” this matches my interpretation of the mainstream depiction of a “mermaid/siren”
4. The power of narrative, dynamics on voice losing it etc, righting some wrongs her story etc. There’s quite a lot of fluff and negative connotations (in my opinion) about what a mermaid is and what she symbolizes /represents. Legends say the siren song would bring forth storms, death for sailors. The siren song could capture the hearts of those who hear it and swallow you into the sea. The story of the little mermaid- well, she has to give up her voice to fulfill her wishes.
I started Siren Voices to help redefine/reposition the concept of voice with Sirens to connect it with a more empowering, uplifting, and overall positive tone.
Check out Siren Voices series on SOS IGTV#sirenofsos
5. My lifestyle growing up raised the water baby of the family. Water sports, (scuba, sailing, sup, swim team, surfing)
cancer is my astrological sign- I’ve always been the water baby in my family
The letters in my name: Mariamer (Maria Mercedes)
Mar: ocean in Spanish
Mer: ocean in french
Mer: beginning of mermaid, etc…
To check out Swell Obsessed Swimwear’s amazing line of swimsuits, check out their website!
Cape Cali is a Southern California based company that specializes in a 4-way stretch scuba knit fabric that is soft like butter and feels great on the skin. Every tail by Cape Cali doesn’t have a casing, which makes the swim tails, lightweight and durable.
Cape Cali’s GalleryTail is their luxury swim tails that were inspired by art and fantasy. The GalleryTail was designed to fit the Mahina MerFin as well as the Linden monofin.
And the best part, is that the GalleryTail is easy to clean and maintain. Hand wash, lay flat or hang to dry (just like you would for your swimsuits).
What is even more impressive about Cape Cali is that their swimtail’s, have the highest ratings by scuba divers and oceanographers for safety and durability.
When I used the Cape Cali GalleryTail, I was impressed with the elasticity of the waist (which made it easy to put on and off) and the invisible zipper at the fluke of the tail.
The vibrancy and exquisite detail of each GalleryTail is incredible in person.
The entire time I wore the GalleryTail, I was comfortable and was living my childhood mermaid dreams. Flipping my tail and embracing my inner mermaid.
What is even more astonishing, is that Every tail is made to order in the USA and takes about4 weeks for production. Which is faster then other tail makers such as FinFolk and MerTailor, which take longer then 2 months.
And don’t forget, when using GalleryTail, never swim alone.
You can purchase your own GalleryTail by Cape Cali here:
Ashly Lovett is a very talented American artist, whose art and style is gaining a lot of attention. We asked Ashly a few questions about her art, career, and upcoming projects.
How long have you been a professional artist?
I graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design with a Bachelor’s degree in Illustration in 2010. Since then, I’ve been taking illustration jobs, but I didn’t start doing full-time freelancing until 2015.
What medium do you use for your art?
In 2015 I started working exclusively with soft chalk pastels on paper. And more recently, I’ve been taking those pastel pieces and coloring them digitally in Photoshop.
How would you describe your artistic style?
At the beginning of my career, I was never good at describing my style. It’s hard to step back and look at yourself from an outsider’s perspective. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve had others calling my work dark, ethereal, luminous, or haunting. My good friend Cory Godbey gave the best description with his Forward in The Little Mermaid. It was a feeling I always had about my artwork since I was a child. It is an almost therapeutic feeling that made me want to draw in the first place. I’ve never been able to put it into words. It was a warming surprise knowing others interpret my artwork the same way I always have deep down. Cory’s words were a gift. Here is a small excerpt of the Forward:
“Ashly’s work is transportive. With ease, she guides the viewer from the familiar world to one dappled in a strange light. That world is steeped in a kind of bewitched nostalgia. There’s nothing mawkish or wistful there, rather, Ashly’s haunting portraits feel like a pang of remembrance, the shudder which comes from recalling a forgotten memory at long last.”
What inspired you to illustrate Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid?
It took me a while to find a story intriguing enough to dedicate two years to its creation. What I loved about the story was the tenacity of the main character, the little mermaid. Although naïve, she pursued her deepest desire to know the lives of humans and have her own soul. In the original story, mermaids live for 300 years, but they become seafoam when they die. They don’t have a soul that lives on even after your body dies. But if a mermaid were to join in a union (marriage) with a human, they would become one sharing the soul.
Also, I knew the imagery would be right up my alley. I love drawing the flowing organic shapes of the mermaids and their long hair. The story is rather dark with a bittersweet ending, which appeals to my style. These are all visual narratives that played to my strengths. I went a step further and added my own elements. For example, I gave the mermaids bioluminescent hair to play up the luminosity. I gave the little mermaid a skull collection of creatures from the world above to make it more haunting.
Who is your favorite character in The Little Mermaid? And why?
The protagonist, the little mermaid, is my favorite character. She’s never apologetic about what she wants and remains kind. At the beginning of the story, I do think she may have been impulsive to give up so much in hopes of finding love and an eternal soul. And although the ending is sad, her journey only made her stronger. I admire the emotional and physical strength it took, and in the end, she sacrifices herself for someone she loves. She never became bitter when she had every right to be.
What scene was your favorite to illustrate in your book? And why?
That’s difficult to say since each illustration presented its own challenges and enjoyment. But if I have to pick one, it would be the moment when the little mermaid rescues the prince from the shipwreck. I’ve always had the illustration in my mind. It was also a type of scene I’ve never tried to illustrate before. It was a sea landscape with a burning ship during a severe storm. I drew a lot of inspiration from Howard Pyle, an American illustrator from the 1900s responsible for the classic illustrations of Treasure Island.
What lessons do you think people can learn from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid?
The biggest takeaway from the story for me was to go big or go home. The Little Mermaid made some overwhelming choices and sacrifices, but she was bold and stayed true to herself. She grew from her pain and became something more remarkable in the end.
How did you find out about your publisher, Eye of Newt Books? And what’s been your experience working with them?
I met them at a convention through a mutual friend. Eye of Newt Books has been very agreeable to work with and believed in my project. They’ve been very respectful of the book and my creative choices. Their enthusiasm was just what I had hoped for when imagining the future for The Little Mermaid.
What was the biggest difference between having a book published through Kickstarter vs having a book published traditionally?
With a Kickstarter, you have to do everything. Not only do you have to have a finished high-quality product, but every Kickstarter campaign begins with budgeting. You have to find a manufacturer, choose materials (paper type, bookbinding, cover style, etc.), then work out the logistics of shipping, shipping materials, extra rewards, and then figure in how those rewards will affect said shipping and budget. Then you have to make a realistic funding goal.
On top of that, you have to create graphics, text describing your project, advertise for it, and there’s a considerable amount of customer service involved. Then there is shipping fulfillment and all your deadlines. I could go even further, but I think you get the idea. If you’re up for the challenge, it can be gratifying in the end. A funded campaign is always a source of pride and future income with the final product.
The steps with my publisher were much shorter. They purchased exclusive rights to publish the book after a detailed contract was drawn up and reviewed by my lawyer. Afterward, I provided the InDesign files, and they took care of the rest. They took care of the logistics of choosing materials, manufacturing, advertising, etc.
What advice do you have for fellow artists and illustrators who want their work to be published either through Kickstarter or with a traditional publisher?
Suppose you’re not someone who likes doing Excel sheets to work out a budget, logistics, schedules, customer service, shipping, etc., I would not suggest doing a largescale Kickstarter. It takes a lot of organizing and good budgeting skills to make sure you can have a profit at the end of it all. The most common mistake with a Kickstarter is underestimating the costs. I have a detailed article on MuddyColors.com titled “Check List for a Successful Kickstarter.” It goes over how to best prepare for a Kickstarter project.
Going with a publisher is undoubtedly easier, but it’s not always a straight path to getting your foot in the door. I was fortunate to ask the right questions and be introduced to an art director in person. This goes back to the advice I give to all emerging illustrators. It is all about networking and getting to know others in the industry. I highly suggest attending conventions and workshops when possible. Some of my favorite smaller, more intimate conventions are Spectrum Fantasy Art in Kansas City, MO, Lightbox in Pasadena, CA, and Illuxcon in Reading, PA. The bigger conventions aren’t bad either. These would be the comicons in Chicago, New York, Seattle, etc. Always have plenty of business cards with samples of your work on the back. I love Moo.com for my business cards.
Do you plan on illustrating more fairy tales in the near future?
I do. The one I’m currently working on is called The Book of Fairy Tales. It is a collection of fairy tale stories featuring famous and infamous fairies. There will be some well-known fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast and other lesser-known stories like The Water of Life. You can learn more about it at AshlyLovett.com/kickstarter. It’s been slow progress in finding stories I want to illustrate. I prefer illustrating tales with profound lessons and admirable characters. That can be difficult with older public domain stories.
My long-term goal is to create a collection of books centered around the theme of fantasy. The first has been The Little Mermaid. The second will be The Book of Fairy Tales. And the third will likely be about mythology. I like having long-term personal projects that I can really dive into and create something different with my own voice while also having others interested in my passion projects too.
Hans Christian Andersen captured the world’s attention, with his fairy tale of The Little Mermaid in 1837.
But who is Hans Christian Andersen?
Hans was born on April 2nd, 1805 in Odense, Denmark and was the only child. At an early age, Hans father exposed to literature as a child, most notably Arabian Nights. Which had a lifelong impact on him, considering Hans father had an elementary school education, while his mother was illiterate washerwoman.
His father passed away in 1816, when he was 11 years old. His mother, remarried in 1818 and sent Hans to the local elementary school, so he could receive a basic education and have a career.
Before he became an author, he was an weaver’s apprentice, and even became a tailor.
When Hans was fourteen years old, he moved to Copenhagen to become an actor. He was enrolled in the Royal Danish Theatre as a soprano, but had to stop, because his voice changed. A colleague at the theatre had advised Hans to become a poet. Hans took this advice seriously and started to write.
A director at the Royal Danish Theatre had sent Hans to a grammar school in Slagelse, and had persuaded King Frederick VI, to fund part of Hans education.
In 1822, Hans had published his first story titled The Ghost at Palnatoke’s Grave.
In 1829, he would publish his first successful short story, A Journey on Foot from Holmen’s Canal to the East Point of Amager. From there, Hans Christian Andersen, began to write for the local theatre and wrote, Love on St. Nicholas Church Tower.
Hans later went on to receive a small travel grant from the King in 1833. This allowed Hans to travel through Europe and meet some very prosperous and influential people of his day.
Between 1835-1837, Hans Christian Andersen had written his collection of fairy tales, titled Fairy Tales told for Children, that were published in three installments. The first installment that was released in May 1835 contained these stories: The Tinderbox, The Princess and the Pea, Little Claus and Big Claus, and Little Ida’s Flowers. Ida Thiele, was who Hans had created these stories for, she was the daughter of an early benefactor. Her father, folklorist Just Mathias Thiele, had paid Andersen thirty rixdollars for the manuscript, and the booklet was priced at twenty-three shillings.
His second installment, that was released in December 1835, contained the following fairy tales: Thumbelina, The Traveling Companion, and The Naughty Boy.Thumbelina was based off the story of Tom Thumb about miniature people.
The third and final booklet, which was released on April 7th, 1837, contained The Little Mermaid and The Emperor’s New Clothes. It would be The Little Mermaid that would propel Hans to stardom, cementing his career as a writer.
The Little Mermaid was written for his homosexual lover, Edvard Collin, who was the son of his benefactor and official guardian Jonas Collin. Hans was known to flirt with both males and females, and was known to fall in love quickly. He and Edvard had formed a fast friendship and Hans was smitten.
Unfortunately, Edvard didn’t feel the same romantic sentiments as Hans. When Edvard announced he was marrying a woman, Hans was devastated and felt utterly betrayed. So, he poured his heart into his work and wrote The Little Mermaid as a love letter for unrequited love for Edvard.
It is also known, that Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid was loosely based and inspired by De la Motte Fouqué‘s novella Undine that was released in 1811. Undine and The Little Mermaid have very similar themes. Most notably, a mermaid who must marry a human prince (knight) to retain a human soul.
The Little Mermaid wouldn’t be the only story, that Hans would write for an unrequited love. In 1843, he wrote The Nightingale for Jenny Lind, a famous singer, who was nicknamed ‘Swedish Nightingale’ to express his love for her.
In 1845, his folklores and fairy tales, were translated in English and his audience grew worldwide.
An interesting fact about Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, is that they were originally published without any illustrations. That is until 1849, when Thomas Vilhelm Pedersen, a Danish artist became the first artist to illustrate the fairy tales.
In 1872, Hans Christian Andersen, would pass away, a lifelong bachelor, who yearned for nothing more in life than to be love and to be loved in return. In his lifetime, he had written over 100 children’s stories.
Over a century has passed, since the death of Hans Christian Andersen, and his life and his beloved fairy tales are immortalized in our culture. His classic children’s fairy tales have been adapted to films, ballets, operas, tv series, songs, etc.
His stories have withstood the test of time and will for centuries to come. We shall always remember the man who captured our hearts with The Little Mermaid.
“But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.” – Hans Christian Andersen
Fernl2606 is a very popular digital artist on Instagram, whose is best known for his digital illustrations of all things Disney. Most notably, The Little Mermaid.
His passion for Disney, mermaids, and digital art is prevalent in his work.
Fernl2606 describes himself as an amateur artist, but you would never know it, by looking at his work. His work is the epitome of professional and captures your heart and imagination instantaneously.
Fernl2606 use of color, contrast, saturation, and lighting brings his drawings to life. What is most impressive about his work, is without a doubt, his details. Fernl2606 use of details is exquisite, making sure that no detail is too small.
I highly recommend, that if you aren’t following Fernl2606 on Instagram or Facebook, that you should.
January 27th is the feast day of Saint Li Ban Muirgen of Ireland. She is a lesser-known mermaid Saint of Ireland and her story is miraculous and mystifying.
Saint Li Ban Muirgen’s story dates back to the 6th century and passed down generation to generation with the oral tradition of scéalaíocht or storytelling. It was also was preserved in the medieval manuscript of Annals of the Four Masters, which isa compilation of medieval Irish legends written by Irish monks in the 17th century.
So, who was this mermaid Saint?
Our story begins in the year 558. Li Ban (meaning beautiful woman in old Irish) was the daughter of Eochaidh, King of Ulster. When her father’s kingdom flooded, drowning all its inhabitants except for Li Ban and her dog, forming the Lough Neagh Lake.
Li Ban spent the next year, living under the lough with her dog. She would pray to the goddess Danu, asking to be turned into a salmon, so she could swim with the fish for company. Danu, did grant Li Ban’s wish, but only half of it. Li Ban’s dog became an otter and she was transformed into a mermaid.
Li Ban swam out of the lough and out into the sea. She lived in an underwater cave and like most mermaids, had the most beautiful singing voice. Li Ban drifted for three-hundred years, fulfilling a prophecy:
Liban will swim eastwards, westwards, hither, thither, over each sea.
300 years had passed, when Comgall had founded the monastery in Bangor, that is known as the Bangor Mor. The Bangor Mor was revered throughout all of Ireland and became a place, where many young men came to study.
One day, Comgall sent Beoan and the monks to Rome with a message for Pope Gregory. While they were out at sea, Beoan caught Li Ban in his fishing net and she promised to return to them in a year.
A year had passed, Li Ban came ashore as promised, and Comgall baptized her with the name Muirgen. Li Ban passed away not long after her baptism. Comgall had promised Li Ban a heavenly reward and she became known as the Mermaid Saint.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Saint Li Ban Muirgen’s story is that there are remnants of it today. If you journey to Bangor, there is an abbey that remembers Comgall and the mermaid with a quilt, hanging on the transept wall, depicting the story of the mermaid.
Yasu Matsuoka is a self-taught Japanese artist, who creates beautiful mermaid and mythology-themed art. He creates art for a variety of spaces varying from private collectors to art galleries to interior design installations.
Yasu Matsuoka’s digital illustrations are so unique, because they tell a story of his own imagination. His passion for fantasy worlds, mermaids, and stories is apparent in his work.
You’re instantly drawn to the world he’s created with its vivid colors and exquisite details. The juxtaposition of his pieces are reminiscent of classical paintings.
Yasu Matsouka also known as Yasu Art Studio on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter has gained a large following for his awe-inspiring fantasy art.
I highly recommend that you follow him. You won’t shell-gretic it!
Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the world, and it’s synonymous for it’s addicting coffee and siren logo.
It’s not a coincidence that since Starbucks was founded in a port city, that it’s logo and name would be inspired by the sea.
Starbucks got it’s name from Starbuck, a character in Herman Melville Moby Dick. The company’s founders added the “s” at the end, so the name could be more conversational and easier to remember.
Starbucks sultry, bare breasted, two-tailed logo was risqué when it opened it’s doors in Seattle, Washington in 1971. It’s founder’s found a Nordic 15th century woodcut of a bare breasted, twin-tailed siren and they thought she was perfect! The mermaid exemplified the seductive and alluring nature of the sea.
It has also been speculated that Starbucks Siren could’ve also been inspired by a very famous medieval two-tailed mermaid…Melusine.
The medieval siren, holding up her twin-tails revealing her genitalia signifies the power of femininity and fertility.
As the years progressed, the Starbucks logo became less risqué and more refined. Overtime, the designers decided to cover the siren’s bare breasts with her long, luscious hair, another notable feature of a siren. Sirens were known to comb their luscious locks of hair to lure sailors to their untimely death.
Alexander Pushkin was a famous Russian poet and is the considered the founder of modern Russian literature. He lived from 1799-1837.
In lakeside leafy groves, a friar
Escaped all worries; there he passed
His summer days in constant prayer,
Deep studies and eternal fast.
Already with a humble shovel
The elder dug himself a grave –
As, calling saints to bless his hovel,
Death – nothing other – did he crave.
So once, upon a falling night, he
Was bowing by his wilted shack
With meekest prayer to the Almighty.
The grove was turning slowly black;
Above the lake a mist was lifting;
Through milky clouds across the sky
The ruddy moon was softly drifting,
When water drew the friar’s eye…
He’s looking puzzled, full of trouble,
Of fear he cannot quite explain,
He sees the waves begin to bubble
And suddenly grow calm again.
Then – white as first snow in the highlands,
Light-footed as nocturnal shade,
There comes ashore, and sits in silence
Upon the bank, a naked maid.
She eyes the monk and brushes gently
Her hair, and water off her arms.
He shakes with fear and looks intently
At her, and at her lovely charms.
With eager hand she waves and beckons,
Nods quickly, smiles as from afar
And shoots, within two flashing seconds,
Into still water like a star.
The glum old man slept not an instant;
All day, not even once he prayed:
Before his eyes still hung and glistened
The wondrous, the relentless shade…
The grove puts on its gown of nightfall;
The moon walks on the cloudy floor;
And there’s the maiden – pale, delightful,
Reclining on the spellbound shore.
She looks at him, her hair she brushes,
Blows airy kisses, gestures wild,
Plays with the waves – caresses, splashes –
Now laughs, now whimpers like a child,
Moans tenderly, calls louder, louder…
‘Come, monk, come, monk! To me, to me!..’
Then – disappears in limpid water,
And all is silent instantly…
On the third day the zealous hermit
Was sitting by the shore, in love,
Awaiting the delightful mermaid,
As shade was covering the grove…
Dark ceded to the sun’s emergence;
Our monk had wholly disappeared –
Before a crowd of local urchins,
While fishing, found his hoary beard.
Alfred Lord Tennyson had written a poem titled The Mermaid that was included in his 1893 novel, The Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson. The poem below:
Who would be
A mermaid fair,
Combing her hair
Under the sea,
In a golden curl
With a comb of pearl,
On a throne?
I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;
And still as I comb’d I would sing and say, Who is it loves me? who loves not me?
I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall
Low adown, low adown,
From under my starry sea-bud crown
Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold
With a shrill inner sound,
Over the throne
In the midst of the hall;
Till that great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps
Would slowly trail himself sevenfold
Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate
With his large calm eyes for the love of me.
And all the mermen under the sea
Would feel their immortality
Die in their hearts for the love of me.
But at night I would wander away, away,
I would fling on each side my low-flowing locks,
And lightly vault from the throne and play
With the mermen in and out of the rocks;
We would run to and fro, and hide and seek,
On the broad sea-wolds in the crimson shells,
Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea.
But if any came near I would call, and shriek,
And adown the steep like a wave I would leap
From the diamond-ledges that jut from the dells;
For I would not be kiss’d by all who would list,
Of the bold merry mermen under the sea;
They would sue me, and woo me, and flatter me,
In the purple twilights under the sea;
But the king of them all would carry me,
Woo me, and win me, and marry me,
In the branching jaspers under the sea;
Then all the dry pied things that be
In the hueless mosses under the sea
Would curl round my silver feet silently,
All looking up for the love of me.
And if I should carol aloud, from aloft
All things that are forked, and horned, and soft
Would lean out from the hollow sphere of the sea,
All looking down for the love of me.
On November 14th, 1989, Disney’s The Little Mermaid premiered and it was the hit that the Walt Disney Studio’s desperately needed.
In the 1980’s the Walt Disney Studios wasn’t what it was today. It was a sinking ship, on the verge of bankruptcy with tanked films such as The Black Cauldron (1985), The Great Mouse Detective (1986), and Oliver and Company (1988).
So, the Walt Disney Studio’s brought in the creative forces of Michael Eisner as the new CEO and Jeffrey Katzenburg in charge of the Animation Division. Their mission was to bring the Walt Disney Studio’s back to life!
The idea to make an animated film of The Little Mermaid was from Ron Clements, who went to a bookstore and read the classic fairy of the same name, written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837. He pitched the idea at Jeffrey Katazeberg’s ‘gong show’ for the screenwriters to share their idea. Initially, The Little Mermaid was rejected for being too similar to Touchstone’s Splash. But that all changed, when Jeffrey read the two page treatment (synopsis) and wanted to expand on the story.
Ron Clements teamed with John Musker to write the script, but they knew they were missing an essential element to any Disney film: Music!
So, Disney recruited Howard Ashman and Alan Menken to write the music for The Little Mermaid. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, both had a musical theatre background. They had written Little Shop of Horrors in 1982, which was a smash success!
Howard Ashman and Alan Menken started writing the music for The Little Mermaid in 1988. They wrote all the iconic music in the soundtrack and gave Disney a revitalized broadway-treatment to it’s music. Howard Ashman incorporated the “want song” for the Disney heroine, that is now a key-part of the Disney musical storytelling, conveying what the female lead wanted most in life and how the audience roots for her to get to happy ending!
The music, wasn’t Howard’s only forte when it came to storytelling. Upon Howard’s arrival to the Walt Disney Studio’s, he had a meeting with the animators about how musical theatre and the Disney film were very much alike. The animators were so energized and revitalized by Howard’s speech that they were ready to prove themselves.
It was Howard Ashman’s idea to change the Sebastian’s ethnicity from British to Pacific Islander. He collaborated with John Musker and Ron Clements on storytelling elements for The Little Mermaid, including the film’s ending.
Jodi Benson had worked with Howard on the Broadway musical, Smile in 1986. He thought that she would be perfect to voice The Little Mermaid‘s headstrong heroine, Ariel. She auditioned and got the iconic role of Ariel, a year later.
Shortly after hearing Jodi Benson sing Part of Your World, Glen Keane, went to the studio and demanded that he draw Ariel. At first, the studio was hesitant to give him the position, but after some pushing, the studio agreed.
During an early screening of The Little Mermaid, a child had spilled their popcorn during Part of Your World. Jeffrey wanted to pull the song, thinking it would be a flop, Howard famously told him, “Over my dead body!” Yet, when Glen spoke to Jeffrey about keeping the song in the film, Jeffrey listened to him and Part of Your World stayed in the film.
The Little Mermaid tells the story of Ariel, a adventurous, strong-headed, fiercely independent mermaid whose fascinated with the human world. Her father, King Triton is the ruler of Atlantica. He has a deep hatred for the human world and is overly protective of his daughter, Ariel.
When Ariel goes to the surface and rescues the handsome Prince Eric from a terrible storm out at sea, she is more determined then ever before to be human, so she could be with him. She visits the conniving and sassy sea-witch Ursula, who makes a lofty deal with her, so she could be human. Ariel has three days on land to be with Prince Eric, but she must give Ursula her voice. The only way for Ariel to remain human and stay on land with Prince Eric is through the “kiss of true love”. Ariel agrees to the deal and becomes human.
Meanwhile, on land, Eric is searching for the girl who rescued him and is disappointed that he hasn’t found her yet. Thankfully, his trusty dog, Max sniffs out Ariel in her human form and leads Eric to her.
Upon meeting Ariel, Eric is certain that’s met her before, but he can’t remember where. So, he invites her to his palace to stay. They have an instant connection and Eric is smitten with Ariel, despite the fact that she can’t speak.
Three days pass, and Ursula comes to land, disguised as Vanessa to collect Ariel and to steal her ever after. Eric is elated to discover that Ariel had rescued him and risks his life to save her. Ariel’s father, King Triton is alerted by Sebastian and Flounder of Ursula’s plan and he confronts her, demanding his daughter back. To save Ariel, King Triton trades his power to rescue his daughter. Ariel, Eric, Sebastian, and Flounder work together to try and defeat Ursula. With Eric’s quick-thinking, he impales Ursula.
Shortly after the battle, King Triton is once again the ruler of the sea and he sees just how much Ariel and Eric love each other. So, he transforms Ariel into a human. Eric is elated that she’s returned him. They happy couple gets married and they lived happily ever after.
The Little Mermaid premiered in 1989 and was an instant success. It grossed $84 million dollars at the box office.The film went on to win two Academy Awards for Original Score and Original Song (Under the Sea) in 1990.
The Little Mermaid revitalized the Walt Disney Studio’s, bringing it back to life, and launching the Disney Renaissance! It’s astonishing to think, that if it wasn’t for The Little Mermaid, we wouldn’t be streaming Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian on Disney+ today!