Still not sure where this is going, but maybe if I rub some images together it will produce a mental spark:
Plan 1: Have the fairy tale children in the center, in color, with the witches and wolves and other bad guys around the edge, in black and white. But as I plop them here on plain red, I realize that some framework will help organize things. How about we begin inside a castle, or cathedral - some grand space, like this:
Note: almost none of this building will be visible in the final composition. It just helps with the arrangement. Also, after I’d been working on this for awhile, I noticed the exact same building in a British crime drama! Watching TV and suddenly “I know that building!!”
Back when I was still embedding bits under cloth, I would pin pieces up to my work wall. Often, one project was pinned right over another, which sometimes gave me odd juxtapositions, which could result in new ideas. The same thing happens as I google images - I get dozens of photos, usually what I requested, but often a complete non sequitur jumps in. There was a staircase in among the googled interiors, and I realized how the winding and turning steps could help facilitate the twisting stories. So I collected lots of stairs. Here’s one of my 5 pages of stairs:
And here’s the interior with added stairs. On the side is the first attempt at lettering (below):
After reading all about Mother Goose and her early incarnations, I wanted to have her leading a squadron of flying females:
If I’m very careful, I can have a broom-riding witch shadowing Mother Goose (but I will really need to adjust the color of her clothing):
At this point I realized that the lettering was not working. The circular text should suggest a white picket fence around all the child-like characters, protecting them from the dangers beyond.
YES! Now all the various bits of information and hordes of illustrations are coalescing into a working plan. The warm center will house Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretel, The Beauty (and her Beast), the girl from the Juniper Tree and the Pied Piper(already added right around the word MOTHER), in color.
The cold staircases will be populated with wolves, witches… and women spinning and weaving. These are the women who kept the fairy tales going through so many centuries, telling and retelling them to relieve the tedium of their tasks (and that’s the reason so many stories contain spinning wheels).