I bet, in reality, that mermaids/men are really kind of gnarly-looking. Big gnashing shark-like teeth, slimy scales, giant unblinking googly eyes that are placed as far away from each other as it can possibly go. Mer-people are first and foremost scavengers of the sea and survival is top priority. When you spend all your time dodging dangerous creatures and trying to eat and not get eaten, you need to look as menacing as possible. Our storybook mermaids have been sanitized for our protection, and so I feel I must do the same here with this set.

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After four tries in getting the fish tail to look exactly right, I found the answer at the bottom of my cosmetics bag: Body glitter! (The big one has a ring I desperately want—a pink octopus!)

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It’s been a while since I painted some fish so of course I had to have a go at it with this set.

I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way about mermaids. My mother once brought me these comic books from Japan which depicted the life of mermaids. It was quite possibly the most violent and bloodiest thing I have ever read in my life (“Mermaid’s Tears,” I believe it’s called)—and I’ve read “American Psycho.” Twice.

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