Eileen is a great believer in less is more too. She hates fuss and just gets on with the magical task in hand (usually slaying some foul fiend somewhere). Building up characters I think should be a question of not overdoing it. Writers are better off showing their characters in action (which can include dialogue) so they reveal what they are like in an active, rather than a passive, way.
Fairytales are great for the less is more principle. Generally there is not that much in the way of description. Even with a longer tale such as Hans Christen Andersen's The Snow Queen, he tells you what you need to know but no more. We see enough of the Snow Queen's Palace without knowing every single detail about it. We never find out how the Three Little Pigs came to develop building skills (!), the story hinges around the fact they can build but their choices of materials is open to debate. It is how the big bad wolf is dealt with that is the story.
So the lesson from fairytales then is to work out what the story is and only provide that information which tells that story.