One of the things that I’ve most enjoyed about adapting the Oscar Wilde fairy tales is the chance it gives me to play with a drawing style that hovers between a ‘realistic’ approach to drawing and one that draws on a more ‘cartoony’ style such as that which is employed in animated films.
The heroes (sometimes tragically so) of The Young King, The Nightingale and the Rose, and The Happy Prince are all based on real if somewhat idealized people. A more realistic approach seemed best suited to the nature of their roles.
The heroes of The Selfish Giant, The Devoted Friend, and The Birthday of the Infanta relied more on a stylized cartoony or animated feel.
The stories themselves may have been ultimately tragic but their heroes were not idealized beings and so needn’t be welded to the ‘real’. These are the ones most fun to draw and are worked out entirely in my sketchbooks sometimes filling many pages before any drawing is committed to the actual page.
The Happy Prince seemed best suited to an idealized romantic depiction but only because he was a statue. All the rest of his world, the villagers in particular, worked better as broad caricatures. I like that visual tension between those two types playing together on the same page.
Sometimes there’s a very long gestation period on a project.
My project of adapting all nine of the Oscar Wilde fairy tales began in 1991-92.
Some of the stories I’ve adapted were done all in one stroke, meaning I scripted and laid out the story then immediately went onto produce the finished artwork. Others were scripted and laid out and then had to wait for me to finish other more immediately pressing projects.
The Happy Prince was scripted and laid out and has waited, sometimes accusingly it seems, at the side of my drawing board or tucked away in my filing drawer for eight years until sometime last winter I suddenly picked it up and started working on it. This time I didn’t put it down until I finished it.
That leaves The Fisherman and his Soul which has waited it’s turn in my file drawer a whopping seventeen years and counting.
A belated welcome to Craig Russell to our blog! We’ve got a series of fascinating videos/interviews of him working specifically on his next Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, the 5th volume with the Happy Prince, coming out in April and to be premiered at MoCCA in NY end of April. We’ll post one a week of those and also have him comment in regular blog entries on his work.
The book is being solicited for now at comics stores.
We’re also busy at the office working on putting together the book to go out to the printer tomorrow. The artwork is stunning and Lovern Kindzierski’s colors just beautiful! Lovin’ every minute.