Opal is a Mermaid!

A mermaid paper doll coloring page with many different fun mix and match pieces.
A mermaid paper doll to print with two tails and several other pieces of clothing.

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Whenever I draw mermaids, I end up thinking of Liana of Liana’s Paper Dolls. This sadly defunct site is an amazing ode to all the things you can do with mermaids and paper dolls. (Seriously, if you haven’t ever spent anytime in her archives, it is well worth a gander.) I don’t think my mermaids even get close to hers. Liana had a fascinating entire world around her mermaids and I just don’t think that way. Creating stories around my paper dolls is not my natural tendency, though I am in awe of folks who can do that.

Today’s mermaid set is part of a larger mermaid project. The set got created, because I was somehow inspired to draw mermaids. My long term plan is that collection of drawings will become into something for Etsy. In the meantime, I’m sharing some parts of the set here as smaller creations.

When I design mermaids, I like it when the tails go up over the doll’s bust, so it feels more like an entire outfit, because I can not figure-out why mermaids would wear clothing (seems totally impractical in you’re underwater). Also, I don’t know if they would need to nurse young. Are mermaids mammals? Fish certainly aren’t.

Generally, I don’t base my mermaids on actual fish (questions about mermaid’s mammal status aside). However, clownfish inspired the tail on the left.

Fun Fact: Mermaid tails are one of the only things that usually get a full sized first draft. I need to make sure the curve of the tail makes sense. The tail usually ends up taking several tries on separate paper before I transfer them into my sketchbook for final penciling and inking. This maybe why I don’t do mermaids that often. Years ago, Julie Matthews did a centaur paper doll and I am still in awe over it. I can not even imagine trying to draw that.

Unrelated, Julie’s Nora and Nellie paper dolls from Paper Doll Review are not mermaids, but are delightful.

Any how, if you want some more mermaid tails for Opal here, there’s been other mermaid paper dolls. Might I direct you to this one with Amethyst and this patron only one with Citrine. Stay tuned, because someday I will get that Etsy set done and there are some really neat mermaid tails in there that I am very proud of. I’ll let you all know when that happens, promise.

3 thoughts on “Opal is a Mermaid!”

  1. We love this doll, We where wondering if you could make more mermaids. Your art is fantastic and we would love to see more!
    Thank you
    Jamie and kids

    • I am currently working on finishing up a big mermaid set that will be added to Etsy in the next few weeks. Super psyched to share it. – Rachel

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