Today I'd like to share a new illustration and a bit of my creative process. The illustration is for the story "Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs" and was created as an assignment for the Illustrator's Intensive at the SCBWI Winter Conference that happened this past February in NYC (blog post about that to come soon).
Here are a few of my preliminary sketches, I started with character designs of Snow White and the dwarfs. At first, I was unsure of how to depict the dwarfs, my research uncovered many different interpretations in myths and folklore. From Tolkien to Norse mythology, I found the common threads were that dwarfs were short, homely, little men, who were exceptionally skilled at smithing. My jumping off point was a bucket of reference photos of miners, lumber jacks, and hipsters that I didn't use for another project, and that got me really stoked up to design their outfits.
Researching dwarfs also got me thinking about how sexist the story of "Snow White" is, all the females are either evil or helpless. So my solution was to make the dwarfs women and to show Snow White's mad carpentry skills. Ok, so maybe the Snow White in my illustration needs some practice with home repair, but my logic was that she had built some bird houses before and was slowly honing her craft. In any case, my intent was to show that she's not entirely helpless, and she's doing the dwarfs a favor by staying, not just mooching off them because she's a spoiled princess.
After I had my characters, scenic elements, and composition, I started refining my sketches. This was the final line drawing on watercolor paper before I started painting.
Then I did a small color study to determine my palette.
Here's the final illustration and close-up detail images. The medium is acrylics on watercolor paper.
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