Fairy Tales, Part 6: with witches and wolves and everything!
This week, we continue casting the characters:
These dwarves have been recruited from several different illustrators. I really like the one above and behind Snow White, popping out of a cathedral arch and holding a lantern.
A ghostly black & white witch, offering a bright red apple. Then I made some real progress with the composition - adding a pumpkin! (below)
That bright orange pumpkin is a perfect center, holding everything together. I also turned the arch from stone into twigs…..and then changed the entire SW cast and most of the costumes:
Still not completely happy, but let’s move along to Cinderella. Many more choices:
Two early illustrations here. The one on the left, with Cinderella watching her fairy godmother scooping out a big pumpkin, is such a down-to-earth variation. No magic wand, just working with what they have.
Modern illustrations tend to have more color, less detail.
Cindy sulking by the fire.
Early versions of the story had the birds as more prominent characters. They helped Cinderella and later pecked out her stepsister’s eyes. So I tried using this image (below):
But no one will recognize her as Cinderella. ..so I used this version, (below) knowing full well that I’m going to waste an awful lot of time trying to improve it.
The last story for today is The Juniper Tree, which is particularly grisly.
Story basics: Man and woman have a son. Wife dies, is buried under the juniper tree. Husband remarries, they have a daughter. New wife hates the son, decapitates him by slamming the lid of a big chest down on him. She ties his head back on, and when it falls off, she tricks her daughter into believing his death is her fault. Stepmother then dismembers and COOKS the son, and serves it to the father. Later, the daughter gathers up his bones and buries them under the same juniper tree. A beautiful bird flies out of the tree, tells the townspeople about the murder, and carries back a millstone, which is dropped on the stepmother’s head, killing her. The bird then transforms back into the son. Father and 2 kids live happily ever after. (really? after how much therapy??)
All of that was further condensed into this tiny scene(below):
Then I went back and added labels:
I also collected photos of vines and leaves and spent time copying & pasting better foliage into the scenes. I redid hairstyles. Improved flesh tones. Added white birds around Cinderella. As I was doing these finishing touches, it was looking pretty good:
The black & white borders (not true B&W, just very low saturation colors) have now been fully populated with wolves, witches and many spinners and weavers. When this is printed and stitched, the last detail will be adding a delicate spider’s web of gold thread, connecting all the various parts with the distaff and spindle that Mother Goose is holding in the center.
But - perhaps you saw this coming? - I decided to make some major changes, which you’ll see next week. Contact me at email@example.com