Tag Archives: Enchantment

Odilon Redon

redon-opheliaOdilon Redon is one of the lesser known french artists who contributed to the nascent years of modernism. Part of the 19th century avant-garde circle – although he never considered himself as part of this modernist group, Redon is an artist with diverse sources of inspiration. From Poetry, to music and the natural world to fantasy, Redon’s work is beautiful and strange, bordering on the bizarre. Monsters inspired by folklore creep into enchanting scenes with angelic figures, showing the discontinuity between light and dark.

Redon’s dark charcoal drawings and lithographs evolved into vibrant pastel and oil paintings in the early 20th century. You may have already noticed from his golden colour hues and flat uses of colour, Redon was an admirer of Gustave Klimt and was also influenced by Japanese print.

 

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Dan-ah Kim

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Dan-ah Kim, a Korean film maker and artist who’s work really captures what illustration is all about. Her work reminds me of eastern folk tale illustration. Her paintings have an emotive presence through composition, colour and narrative appeal. These mysterious, beautiful illustrations often put the viewer in a voyeuristic position as though we are looking in on something that we shouldn’t. Kim often paints on wood panels, beginning with pencil and paint, then layering with other medias such as paper and thread. Check out her website to see more of her work.

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The Frog Prince

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The Frog Prince fable demonstrates how people tend to judge too quickly on what they see – ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ derives from such teachings. Compared to some of the other Grimms teachings this particular saying crops up in everyday situations or rather it should. Unfortunately some people analyse too quickly on what they see which can result in inaccurate perceptions about situations or people. I know I do it and I don’t even realise I’m doing it..it’s like a reflex!

The Frog Prince fable taken on by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm became the first story in their collection. In most versions of this tale the frog prince’s spell is broken by the kiss of the princess/heroine of the story. In the Brothers Grimm version, there is no lovers kiss but a wall slap! Rather comically The Frog Prince asks the princess if he can sleep on her other pillow sharing the bed with her. She doesn’t want him to get the wrong idea and responds by throwing him at the bedroom wall which breaks the spell revealing his original identity, a human prince.

I have deliberately kept the gold ball out of this design (another small part of the Grimm story) because I would like it to be printed in gold foiling if I eventually get it turned into a card. It will be at the top of the fountain. It was an interesting experiment using several different medias to create this illustration. Got me really thinking about what medias can work together well visually and which ones don’t work so well. Notice the heart lily pads? I had fun making those.

You can find a bigger scale of this design in my portfolio by clicking on Fable Designs

Cinderella

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This popular fairy tale has lots of versions and I mean lots – over 700. Cendrillon by Charles Perrault from 1697 being the most well known after Disney transformed it, what we know as the 1950 animation Cinderella. Perrault introduced the pumpkin, the fairy godmother and the glass slipper (gold in the Grimm version), the Grimm’s on the other hand present a much more sinister tale, as when they started publishing they were aiming for adult readers and scholars not children.

If you don’t know the Grimm’s Cinderella version it is certainly worth a read. Unlike Perrault’s, their Cinderella tale is as much a fable as it is a fairy tale. Their version places a strong emphasis on deception and humiliation. Good dramatically triumphs over evil, the evil doers (the step sisters) lose their eyesight so they cannot perceive good or their own wickedness, whilst Cinderella’s purity and kindness does lead her to a happy ever after. Still sounds like the Disney?…Just wait till you get to the body parts being cut off.

In respect to my design I particularly enjoyed creating it as I’m a big shoe lover, I could start a shop myself from my own wardrobe! With this one I combined small elements from the different versions, for example the shop number ’21’ connects to Cinderella’s individual fable number in the Grimms collection whilst the door signage plays to the time stamp of the fairy godmother’s magic.

You can find a bigger scale of this design in my portfolio by clicking on Fable Designs

The Fisherman and His Wife

Fisherman and his wife.png6Wishful thinking and greed – the expression ‘be careful what you wish for’ derives from such stories as this one. The Fisherman and His Wife is a folk fable that was originally a poem that was received and published by the Grimm brothers. This fable warns against overreaching, betrayal and the dark nature of ambition in relationships.

The Fish is bewitched and plays the referee between the Fisherman and his Wife, continuously granting her ever bigger wishes that she forces her husband to ask for on her behalf.  With a lot of the Grimms tales they tend to sound comical in parts because they are scripted like a song or poem – you get to know the chorus’s which adds to their allure that keeps you reading. This is particularly the case with this fable, the reluctant husband is going out to the sea each day summoning this great fish and asking for prosperously big wishes to be granted. Inevitably in the end the husband and wife don’t ‘live happily ever after’ living off her wishes, as after all this is no fairy tale.

You can find a bigger scale of this design in my portfolio by clicking on Fable Designs

Snippets of Inspiration

Fables/Fairy Tales/ Enchanting Stories

These playful yet serious and meaningful tales have been regurgitated into many forms, a lot of which people fail to recognize where they come from. Like with everything, often only the more well known stories stay with us yet there are so many that have been forgotten or missed. From a visual perspective what attracts me to fables are the illustrations, traditional and modern. How these narratives are pictured in a few images and the style of the illustrations themselves is what captures my interest. 

My designs are based on various fables that I feel I can recreate and simplify to relate to current society – as don’t forget when a lot of these stories were first published a very different audience was being read to.  So far I have been focusing on the Brothers Grimm fables just because there is such a huge array tales by them, some very famous one’s and some very unknown. 

When I initially start thinking about design ideas I usually do an inspiration board or mood board to help focus my ideas and really get something on paper as I am the type who gets distracted easily. I particularly find my love for other people’s work gets in the way of me starting my own sketches! Mood boards are super fun and easy way to start the foundation of a design, they project where your coming from at the beginning of a concept, and they help support you at the final stages, I often come back to them when I need to refocus. I like looking at other people’s mood boards as well, they make interesting wall art.

I usually do mood boards on a pin board, finding images and collating them until I have enough. This time I used photoshop, I'm a newbie with it for sure and I want to be able to use it more skillfully, this took a lot longer than usual to do, but was worth it!

I usually do mood boards on a pin board, finding images and collating them until I have enough. This time I used photoshop, I’m a newbie with it for sure and I want to be able to use it more skillfully, this took a lot longer than usual to do, but was worth it!

Sources

I used a couple of images from some artists and crafts people, the toad watercolour is by an artist called Daniel Mackie, you can find his blog here: http://danielmackie.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/the-frog/. I often look at his use of colour to help me think about how I want to do colour splashes in my designs and he also gets me thinking about perspective. Very fond of the Girl with the Frog umbrella print  http://www.thedmcollection.com/product/girl-with-the-frog-umbrella-card

I used the Letter E from this talented artisan who posts her work at http://thesumofallcrafts.blogspot.co.uk/.

In the bottom left corner, the black cat illustration is by Rudyard Kipling for his Just so Stories – one of the many books I grew up with and still treasure.

The central image with the glowing house is by Kay Nielsen – his interpretation of the Brothers Grimm fable Hansel and Gretel. I adore Nielsen’s illustrations! I will definitely do posts that primarily focus on his works as they are so enchanting.