Among other things, I am working on a series of illustrations for a few fairy tales, one of them being The Little Mermaid. This story was always one of my very favorite (the original version), partly because the narrative is quite unique, as far as typical fairy tales go. For instance, it features no villains or foes, only unfortunate circumstances and consequences: The witch figure's only crime is giving the little mermaid what she wants, the mermaid's biggest fault is being naive and gambling everything for love and the prince means no harm by falling in love with someone other than the protagonist... It's not black and white. But I digress.
I want the visuals to be more asian-inspired than the european look more common to such tales. Here's a quick test for the mermaid herself and general feel:
The underwater castle still needs experimenting. The prince's palace will be similar to a Chinese temple, but I want something different for the sea palace. I'm trying not to fall into the giant conch pattern. I was inspired by the pattern of a shell made by amoebas, which looks a bit like a filigree egg (a spherical structure would also make a lot of sense under water):
The style on there is all wrong, but I think I'm on to something with the castle design. Needs more work...