Saturday, May 2, 2009


So I've been rediscovering charcoal lately and decided to do a few Fairy Tale illustrations in it for something a little different:

I was looking at a lot of Shaun Tan's work for these pieces, trying to channel his atmosphere and sense of whimsy. I really enjoy just pushing the medium around, rubbing and lifting out. Charcoal is like oil in a lot of ways with its fluidity and the way it stays 'live' on the paper indefinitely. It offers a lot of opportunities for those happy accidents, focusing on atmosphere and gesture. I think I will be experimenting a lot more with it this summer.

The story is The Maiden in the Castle of the Rosy Clouds. Though the title is a bit of a mouthful, the story itself is really lovely- sort of Don Quixote/Fisher King-esque with one of those perfect bitterweet endings I love so much. It's from the Swedish Folk Tales book illustrated by John Bauer, and if you don't know HIS work then you're missing out. If you're a fan of Brian Froud's art, you will recognize a LOT of Bauer there:


  1. Very nice, Kristina. Strong compositions too. I especially like the fluid lines of the top one.

  2. I love charcoal, but seem to end up covered in it. I've been using Conte crayon of late (bistre - best color) which seems more managable to me.

    Fun drawings. (Love Bauer. And Tan!)