What do you need to illustrate a fairy tale?
- A personal connection to the story
- Inspiring and relevant research materials
- Willing models that won't get a restraining order against you when you try to put them in a costume
- A special calendar for timing your fairy tale dummy submission
- A wonder-full heart
Dutch Renaissance painting copying, researching period costumes, collecting images that fit the desired mood and time period are how Paul started getting ready to paint the scenes of HANSEL AND GRETEL. That and studying witchcraft at the Karl Jung Museum in New York (a hot tip from Leonard Marcus!)
After these preliminary measures, Paul enlists volunteers to model the poses he needs for the illustrations. He dresses, poses them, and does sketches and photographs of the models (his editor posed as the witch! As pose only, not in demeanor!)
His next fairy tale, RUMPELSTILTSKIN, he built similarly, but Paul wanted it to look like a different and later European art style.
WORDS TO LIVE BY FROM PAUL O. ZELINSKY:
"When in trouble, go to a librarian."
It's hard to find straw in New York, though Paul found a few photos to help. But how to draw straw, how to paint straw, that was a conundrum for Paul. So he played around, painting with tons of different techniques until he found the one he liked: it's the top left and he used a toothpick.
Some final Paul Pearl's:
"If you want to illustrate a fairy tale, the first thing to do is consult The Calendar. It's a cycle. It's related to sun spot activity, so every seventeen years or so is when the fairytale market is up."
"Fairy tales are literally wonderful stories, stories filled with wonder, if you come at them with your heart, if you believe in them, then you can do them."