Saturday, 16 July 2011


I don't know if it's because I'm using an aging Emac since my own laptop died, because my scanner is getting on, or because my work is difficult to photograph/scan (the latter is definitely a factor) but these images a re extremely not good. At least they give the general idea.

Anyway. As I already mentioned, striking the right balance in telling Beauty And The Beast to young children is a challenge. With Beauty, you want to make her look young so a young readership has sympathy with her, but at the same time you don't want to depict someone who looks like a pre-teen falling in love with a big, bestial male.

My thoughts, as usual, gravitated towards 20s/30s design - in this case the boyish, shapeless cuts of the dresses. Putting Beauty in a shapeless, dropped-waist shift means she still looks cute but her age is ambiguous. I also gave her beauty of the soft-20s-prettiness variety which again makes her look ambiguously youthful I hope. Her hair is in loose pigtails rather than being down or formally dressed.

I also think it makes sense to dress Beauty in practical, slightly boyish clothes (I imagine this is some sort of riding outfit) rather than the beautiful gowns she is normally shown in, and to put her hair in a careless, scruffy style, because it throws any prettiness I've managed to depict in her face into sharp relief.

The lines might be very 20s but I again tried to inject a certain amount of vagueness about time and geographical setting by the patterns I chose. I gave Beauty a white palette since she's the traditional fairy tale innocent. It also makes her black hair look more striking.

I'm well into using colour as a signifier... in this case I like how she and the Beast are at opposite ends of the greyscale so they're related in colour as well as contrasting. Her white is punctuated with earthy colours, green and brown (probably not clear in the scan), because she's your humble, friend-to-all-living-creatures type. Beast has bright red and blue in his clothes because he is removed from down-to-earth living as a prince and a Beast. The palace is dominated by my favourite colour, green, which can be used to create an unworldly, unnatural atmosphere as I've attempted in the dining-hall illustration. Alphonso Cuaron uses green an awful lot to create various atmospheres. Look at his 'A Little Princess' - it's the greenest film you'll ever see.

If I was working on the actual picture book, some sort of colour/lighting map is one of the first plans I'd make.

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