Working on a set of illustrations for a national summer reading program...this was one of the rejected character designs. *I* thought it was an awesome idea, and they agreed that yes, it was cool and yes, the kids in the target age-range would probably love it...but dead mermaids were maybe a little too weird for some of the more conservative adults that would be controlling the purchasing.
Sadly, they're probably right. Even if most of the librarians reading the blog are pure awesomeness, there's always somebody who balks at weirdness.
In a lot of projects like this, you end up sending in a couple of ideas, usually with a sketch or two and a sort of rough verbal outline of how you see it working out. Inevitably, the client picks the one you are least pleased with. This is a law of the universe, and in no way reflects on either artist or client. It's just the way the world works.
(We did finally agree on a theme and character design and I think it's gonna be pretty cool, and hopefully pretty entertaining...more info not forthcoming for quite awhile, though...)
As so often happens, the original sketch had more life than the cleaned up version. I do like the little characters, though, and I think I might keep playing with it...y'know...someday, when I have time...2010-ish...