Sunday, 30 October 2011

Little Red Riding Hood

I will definitely include this known tale, it has been adapted constantly and the most recognised version is most probably by German brothers, The Brothers Grimm. They made a collection of fairy tales for children called 'Children's and Household Tales' which is now more commonly known as 'Grimm's fairy tales' - Wikipedia.
In their version, Little red Riding Hood and the grandma get eaten by the wolf and a woodcutter bloke comes and hacks the wolf open (still pretty dark not gonna lie) and saves the day, they all go home happily before the wolf wakes up. In the classic version, the wolf in fact munches down Little Red and granny and lays in the grandmothers bed happily after having his belly filled. Nice. So where is the happily-ever-after here? That's right, there never was one, originally anyway...

Here are some rough ideas for pages and layouts:


Little Red Riding Hood

Friday, 21 October 2011

Exhibition - V and A Museum of Childhood

We went to somewhere or another in London to see two current shows at the museum of childhood which are very beneficial to my project. One was called 'The Stuff of Nightmares' which was about the dark and creepy aspects of fairy tales - it explores this dark side as opposed to the innocent happily-ever-after that people seem to associate with them.
The display was spectacular! Even more so because the majority of it - a forest of evil creatures, strange characters and happenings (the ideal setting for a whimsical trip into a fairy tale), were created by children who worked alongside artists for the project.

I really felt like I had stepped into one of The Brothers Grimm's or Perraults narratives. It was very atmospheric and impressive.
Here is the link for this show:

The camera used was on my effing blackberry so I need to go back at some point with a decent camera and take some decent photographs!

Various other bits and bobs from The Stuff of Nightmares
(Creepy as hell itself)

The other show we saw was 'Magic Worlds', this was a wonderful collection of dreams, fantasy and fairy tales. It took you on a journey of narrative and history surrounding classic fairy tales and literature. It was full of books, illustrations, sculptures, puppets and toys. It had a traditional feel which I loved for it being so nostalgic. 

Photographs from 'Magic Worlds'


Lord of the rings

Alice in Wonderland

Hansel and Gretel

Snow White and The seven Dwarves

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The dark and disturbing world of fairy tales and challenging children's books

New year, new project!

We only really get two projects for the whole year so I spent about a month trying to figure out what I could do, I had so many ideas it was crazy and I had trouble narrowing them down, all I know is my preferred avenue in Illustration lies in children's books, everything from the literature to the illustrations, so it made perfect sense to focus on that as a subject matter.

Something that has always intrigued me is the topic of sensitive, challenging material in kid's books and the censorship issues surrounding them, from the gruesome tales of The Brothers Grimm and Edward Gorey to the wonderful whimsical tales of Harry Potter and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In particular, classic traditional fairytales.

 The reason I wanted to focus on this was for a number of reasons:

1: The fact that most, if not all, fairy tales have been constantly censored and adapted over the years since their first creation, elements have been entirely removed to portray what is known as the typical-fairy-tale-happily-ever-after-nonsense. These stories we used to read used to involve disturbing aspects of death, loss, abandonment,  deceit, treachery, the list goes on. Fairy tales actually began as dark adult stories, it was only when writers and poets began to make them into children's book collections and often slightly changed them that they became targeted towards them.

2: They were often morality stories, teaching the readers about life which I believe would have aided development in the child, particularly emotionally, socially and educationally.

3: To create a book which challenges the censorship system and would result in the likelihood of it being banned if it were to be published.

So, my idea is to create a collection of traditional fairy tales, a book of say 4 of the darkest stories in their most original form. They will not end happily, but tragically, as they originally did. No handsome prince shall come to save the day, but a disturbing tale to show human nature is on the way.