The story I chose is “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” from a book by the same title.
I have been drawn to this story since I first read it, partly because of Kay Nielson’s gorgeous illustrations, but also because of the role reversal of genders in which the female protagonist is the adventurer. For this project, I’m choosing to ignore the sexist undertones that still exist within the story, and take it as the fantastical fairy tale that it is. It has many similarities with the story of Cupid and Psyche: Girl marries invisible person. Girls family convinces her to look at him while he sleeps. Girl discovers that her husband is gorgeous, and while senselessly gawking she accidentally spills candle wax on him. Husband was cursed by a witch. Girl has to go through trials to get her guy back.
The three scenes I am illustrating:
The beginning. The father gives his daughter to a polar bearing exchange for riches. While she goes of her own volition, it is because her father convinces her. the polar bear is in it’s very basic form.
three is an important number in this—and most—fairy tales. The girl goes to look for her guy after he and his castle disappear. She meets three women who each giver her an item to aid her in her quest.
The girl is dwarfed by the north wind as she rides it to the castle. The stones show through the clouds int he distance, and the castle walls are monolithic and imposing.
I had the intention create a sort of shadowbox with the 3 scenes, but time constraints plus unexpected travel led me to create blended 3D/2D imagery. I Created objects and models out of armature wire, paper clay, cellu-clay, paper-clay, and paper tape. I then set these objects on a fabric backdrop that mimics the vertical linework of Neilson’s original illustrations. I then used Photoshop to draw over the images to add details.