Friday, November 16, 2012

Fairy Tale Illustration - Prince, Family, Underground Witch

I haven't been posting as regularly because I've been working on a few projects that are more time-intensive. Here is one of them! This watercolor piece was done in 3 sections, with the top and bottom section done on 24"x18" watercolor paper, and some of the rocks in the middle done separately and then all composited on the computer.

It's inspired by some of the Italian folktales collected by Italo Calvino. There are a few in which a prince is injured or taken sick, and the solution is hidden in a compartment under his bedroom. I love how random this is - in the Canary Prince, the prince is injured while in the form of a canary and then falls from a tower in human form, but somehow a witch, who the princess happens to overhear, happens to know that there is a magic vial of healing potion in a trapdoor under his bed. You'll have to read the rest of the Canary Prince to find out what happens, but I just find these fairy tale coincidences delightful. Here, a witch is more directly causing injury to some prince, by having a secret workshop with noxious fumes directly under his bedroom.

It was so much fun researching costumes, hunting dogs, and items for the witch's workshop! (And of course, the prince has Gothic-inspired furniture and groin vaulting in his room.) Details and pencil drawings are below. You can see in the pencil drawings I originally scanned, I accidentally had the head of the man on the left in the upper section (I imagine him as a king or other important royal family member) disproportionately large. It's quite a challenge constructing such a complex composition!

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