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Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge Day Twenty Four – The Steadfast Tin Soldier

For Day 24 of My April Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge I drew The Steadfast Tin SoldierToday’s fairy tale Hans Christian Andersen’s Steadfast Tin Soldier, (it’s usually called the Brave Tin Soldier but frankly I like steadfast better) was another one that I really didn’t want to do. Regrettably, that’s the whole point of this exercise. I need a better excuse than “I don’t like this story” isn’t a good enough excuse. It has to be something like “I can’t find an English-language version of this”, as in getting The Grimm Brothers’ the Raven yesterday, or when I was doing my Nursery Rhyme challenge last year, “This is a saying about predicting whether from the colors of the sky. There’s nothing I can do with it in this monochrome medium”. So, Yeah… I had to draw The Steadfast Tin Soldier.

Because I didn’t like the story, I never did more than scan the original and only knew the cliff notes version of it. In fact, most of what I knew about it came from the Fantasia version of it (which I also considered one of the weakest of the entire collection.) So I admit I didn’t know the fine points. For example, for some reason, I had it in my head that the climactic scene of the story, which I’m using for this sketch, was a house fire. After quickly reading it I found it was some kids throwing the toys in the stove.

Finally, this was a strain to my 40ish aesthetic. Most of the toy soldiers boys would be playing with at the time would still look like soldiers from the Napoleonic war. So this scene would be deliberately anachronistic. Even more frustrating when I did a quick Pinterest search for pictures of toy soldiers, all I got were detailed models soldiers from world war one and two made by and for history buffs and wargamers, and illustrations of this story. (and I couldn’t look at those because that would be cheating.)

All in all, I guess it came out okay… I think I botched the ballerina. Though I can use the excuse that she’s a paper doll and I can claim she was badly drawn.

Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge Day 23 – The Frog Prince

For Day 23 of My April Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge I drew the frog prince.Well, For today’s sketch the magic Tupperware told me to draw… The Raven! But since it was one I never heard of and I couldn’t find an English version of it, leaving me wondering why I put it on the list in the first place, I drew again. So today I’m drawing one of the best-known ones, the Frog Prince.

This one was a bit of a challenge. Mostly in how I could stick to my nineteen forties theme and have something that said princess. Other that that it was choosing which of the two scenes to go with, and since I wasn’t crazy about showing cruelty to frogs, I went with the Frog retrieving the princess’s golden ball. (honestly, I don’t know where the whole kissing thing came from.)

Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge Day 22 – The Little Match Girl

For Day 22 of My April Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge I drew the Little Match GirlOkay, For today’s sketch challenge the magic Tupper ware told me to draw Hans Christian Andersen’s most depressing story ever, The Little Match Girl. A story about an ignored little girl who holds onto hope as she slowly dies of exposure. (But don’t worry she goes to heaven in the end… apparently)

I was mostly happy with the basic idea I had for this, but I’m afraid that I mostly botched the execution.

Fairy Tale Sketch Channel Day Twenty One – The Goose Girl

For Day Twenty One of my April Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge I drew The Goose GirlThe Goose Girl is another one of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales I somehow missed during my childhood only reading it later on when I had access to the adult unabridged version I was reading as a folklore reference. Growing up the storybook version I was familiar was a similar Zulu story called Little Hen Eagle I later saw another version of it in a series of shorts on PBS, retelling them in historical (mostly Appalachian) settings.

Of course, I can understand why it’s one of the stories that doesn’t make it in most of the picture books since it’s a story about identity theft which begins with the princess being mugged and having her loyal animal friend getting murdered.

Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge Day Twenty – The Traveling Companion

For Day 20 of my April Fairy Tale sketch Challenge I drew the Traveling CompanionTwo-thirds into this and I’m back with Hans Christian Andersen with one of the best examples of the grateful dead motif (no, not that Grateful dead) The Traveling Companion.

The Traveling Companion is one of my favorite Andersen stories but it’s also one of the more frustrating ones since once again there’s not much about it that really stands out. Sure, there’s some really cool scene’s in it, my favorite being the one where he chases the witch in flight using borrowed wings, but there really any images that I could show you and you would say, “Hey. That’s from the Traveling Companion, isn’t it?”

So pretty much that leaves me with our hero, John, meeting the traveling companion. Not much about it to write home about, but it brings the general theme across. I think it’s important to capture the look of the companion. I always see him as tall and dignified, sort of a cross between Max Von Sydow and Ian McKellen.

Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge Day Nineteen – The Story of a Boy Who Went Forth to Learn Fear

For Day 19 of my April Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge I drew The Story of a Boy Who Who Went Forth to Learn FearWhen I first pulled today’s story out of the magic Tupperware I was almost tempted to cheat and pick another one. It’s not that I don’t like the story, no, The Story of a Boy Who Went Forth to Learn Fear is one of the Grimm Brothers’ fun ones with a whole lot of fun stuff going on… And there’s the problem. There’s a LOT of stuff, so much that not one image really says the story to us when we look at it.

I ended up taking serious liberties and going with a general scene that I thought presented the general idea of the story. Fool goes to a haunted house to learn how to be scared, but because he doesn’t know how he is oblivious to all of the scary stuff around him… or he’s aware but doesn’t know they’re scary.

Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge Day Eighteen – The Robber Bridegroom

For Day Eighteen of My April Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge I Drew The Robber BridegroomWell, it looks like I’m hitting the deep end of the pool of the truly macabre, with The Grimms’ version of the Bluebeard story, The Robber Bridegroom. It’s easy to choose the scene in the story that tells us everything we need to know about the story. Unfortunately, that scene is essentially torture porn. I tried to have it as off camera as much as possible, and focus on the heroine’s reaction.

Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge Day Seventeen – Godfather Death

For Day Seventeen of my April Fairy Tale Challenge I drew Godfather DeathWell, I drew another fun one with Godfather Death. I always find it a bit of a catch twenty-two on just how to do a lot of these illustrations, especially when it involves stock characters like Death. At one level there’s no reason to do him as the skeleton with the scythe. After all, in the story, all we’re given as a description are withered legs and cold hands. I could at least give him flesh like in Seventh Seal or do something completely different like Neil Gaiman’s goth cutie… And if I were working on a longer project I’d be more than happy to. But for something quick like this you need to do broad strokes that appeal to the viewer’s cultural vocabulary… so walking skeleton it is (scythe optional) I went with something a little more affluent with a dark coat with a fur lining rather than the usual which I am positive were originally monk’s robes.

As for the rest of picture the lighting was the trickiest bit. At first, I figured I’d do a couple of candles in the dark cave and braced myself for a lot of crosshatching… then I realized just how many candles that would be. I may have botched the shadowing on the figures. I’m mostly happy with this though I still think it’s a little too close to Maurice Sendak’s version. In hindsight, I think having the candles in the foreground might have looked better.

Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge Day Sixteen – The Fisherman and His Wife

For Day Sixteen of My April Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge I Drew The Fisherman and His Wife.So today when I shook the tupperware before picking a name this one fell out… Literally. So obviously that meant I had to draw this one. The Fisherman and His Wife, one of the classic examples of be careful what you wish for, is another one where it’s hard to choose the image. I ended up with going with a collage of the Fisherman making his wish and the final result when his wife wants too much.

Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge – The Wolf and The Seven Young Kids

For Day Fifteen of My Fairy Tale Sketch Challenge I drew The Wolf and The Seven Young Kids" Today’s sketch, The Wolf and The Seven Young Kids, is one of the stories that is somewhere in the middle of the of obscurity list. It’s usually in most of the collections, I know I read it while growing up, but it’s usually supplanted by the similar story of the three little pigs.