To explore children’s book design, I decided to challenge the traditional folktales. I drew a series of whimsical scenes that give a new meaning to the stories. Over a few weeks, I studied existing folk styles and adapted the visuals to my own interpretation.
Challenge: Exploring traditional tales for children and redrawing the concept in one image. I tried to shift the focus from “bad children” very common in older stories, to understanding children and respecting them.
Outcome: Series of illustrations and new meaning for the stories
Impact: Parents questioning parenting stereotypes.
Deliverables: Social Media Illustrations and Merchandise.
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Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Old House”. It is a story about a boy that becomes a friend of an old lonely man. The man is living in an old house that only the boy sees as beautiful. Once the man dies he builds his own house on that plot and tells his memories to his wife. It is our choice to appreciate the beauty in small things and create beautiful memories. You can watch the full process video here.
“The Red Shoes Balance”
“The Red Shoes” by Hans Christian Andersen. It is about a little girl and her desire for the red shoes. She chooses the shoes over more important things in life like her family. As a punishment, she cannot take them off and she is sentenced to dance forever as a lesson for other children.
It reminded me of myself escaping to my work. I used to make it my priority because it made me feel good and excited. It is good to have a passion in life. It gives us motivation and a purpose. But it should not be a priority. Careers, new iPhones or red shoes are just temporary. We need to find the right balance.
My interpretation of “The Princess and the Pea”. What stood out to me the most is the sensitivity of the princess which was the measurement of her royalty. It made me think that indeed, the things that bother us and we care about often shape who we are.
My pea is inequality in education. I am very sensitive to it because I believe that we cannot expect all children to bring good results while coming from so many different backgrounds. Yes, I know that life is not fair and that we should just work harder to get what we want from life. But how do you tell it to a child from a dysfunctional family? We should at least try to give children the same chance to understand their life, body, and mind.
I fully empathize with the characters from “Hansel and Gretel” who cannot resist entering the witch house. If I am hungry, I eat it. The story makes me understand how fragile and vulnerable children are.
“No Bad Kids”
“The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf” by H.CH. Andersen. Basically a story about a very naughty (like torturing animals bad) girl Inge who is very proud and arrogant. The main scene shows her stomping on the bread, not to get her feet wet. She then gets sucked by earth and falls underground into a creepy brewery. There, an old lady finds her and takes her home to use the pretty girl as a statue. She is standing in the hallway for years, and she cannot eat or say anything. She is surrounded by bugs and flies getting into her eyes.
In the book, Inge asks “why my parents didn’t punish me or teach me a lesson”? Although the girl is really cruel I feel very sorry for her. There is no such thing as bad children. Inge was very little to have much empathy and her parents instead of helping her with her emotions just sent here away for hard work.
The bird view and the stories that they carry. I was trying to examine folktale patterns while being jealous of the birds and the stories that they know.
Exploring folk style and hand lettering.
“Daring Red Head”
The Red Riding Hood daring the wolf. After I decided to join a popular challenge for illustrators (folk tale week 2019), my fear grew as I was starting with the blank canvas. What if they see? What if it looks bad? It was very hard to pull myself back to the present and start drawing. But as I started my research my feelings were stronger and stronger. I was angry. I hated my fear. I decided to face it and I transferred it into my drawing. Here is me, exposed to your judgment and I am not afraid anymore.
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