This is the second illustration for my design subject wherein we had to illustrate a character from a classic children's tale, in this case the Brothers Grimm, Rapunzel. In the space below the illustration is where the following text will be placed:
Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided tresses, wound them round one of the hooks of the window above, and then her hair fell twenty ells down, and the enchantress climbed up by it.
In this illustration I really wanted to capture the sense of longing that the teenage Rapunzel must have felt being locked in the tower. The character’s stance and the way in which she has been digitally painted has been largely inspired by pre-raphaelite artists such as Waterhouse. I wanted Rapunzel to appear elegant and wistful in her loneliness. The moon has been included as the moon is often associated with femininity in particular during adolescence.
I made a concerted effort to avoid any semblance to Disney’s Tangled, which is why I adopted a more painterly approach to this illustration and a focus on details that help ‘tell the story.’ It appears as though every strand of her ‘golden’ hair has been drawn and up to 5 different colours have been used to give the hair a sense of density. Entwined in her hair are rampion flowers / herbs that are intrinsically connected to the Brothers Grimm tale of Rapunzel. Both styles of flowers in her hair are rampions and the largest blue flower is a Rampion called Rapunzel. Another direct connection to the Brothers Grimm text is the inclusion of the hook that Rapunzel uses to lift the enchantress into the tower. In this illustration I have included two single strands of hair and a broken rampion flower that seem to have been caught in the hook. This detail allows a connection between the hook and the character and furthermore adds to a sense of movement in the atmosphere perhaps eluding to the height of the tower.
The clothing the character is wearing is again a reference to the pre-raphaelite artists, with detailed wing sleeves and gold thread brocade similar to that of a noblewoman of the Middle Ages. Given that the story is European in origin it was important that her clothing emulated a period in European history often associated with fairy tales such as Rapunzel. The gold thread brocade also helps to connect the illustration through colour theme. Her skirt was heavily influenced by the stained glass windows of European cathedrals. I felt that this inclusion aided in giving the scene a more grounded sensibility, moving it away from the whimsical pink drenched cartoon version of the tale. I wanted this piece to be connected to the idea of an illuminated manuscript helping to convey the seriousness of the tale given the violent and somewhat morbid second half of the narrative. For this reason I felt that this Brothers Grimm version of the story would be aimed at young adults aged 15- 18.
Done in photoshop on wacom.