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So far Corwin Levi has created 13 blog entries.

Book from the Ground

Book from the Ground by Xu Bing

In the 1920s, a group of scholars in Vienna tried to devise a universal picture language called isotype. Today, Shigetaka Kurita has achieved that vision with emojis. And Xu Bing is the first to write a book from emojis and other contemporary symbols. Book from the Ground portrays a very relatable and surprisingly readable day in the life of an office worker. The protagonist’s struggles with his alarm, deadlines, and online dating are made all the more real through their portrayal in universal pictures. Bing seamlessly moves between events, thoughts, and even dream sequences—and each feels fresher than the last.

Support Uzzlepye Press by buying the book through this link on Amazon.

By |2018-11-21T01:45:37+00:00November 21st, 2018|Artist Books, Artists, Book reviews, Books, Picture books|

Sorted Books

Sorted Books by Nina Katchadourian

For Sorted Books, Nina Katchadourian goes to institutional (like the Akron Art Museum) and private (like two real estate agents on their second marriage) libraries and arranges “portraits” and “clusters” from book spines and covers into witty and meaningful amalgamations. “Conversations with Artists” paired with “When Two or More are Gathered Together” and “Dreams and Schemes” becomes something that quite transcends the simple elegance of the three spines. Katchadourian oscillates between art world pithiness and universal truths, and displays a surprising ability to alternate between hilarious, witty, and profound combinations. This book rewards repeated readings.

Support Uzzlepye Press by buying the book through this link on Amazon.

By |2018-11-09T16:14:20+00:00November 6th, 2018|Artist Books, Book reviews, Books About Books|


Flotsam by David Wiesner

Flotsam is an silent picture book where a boy finds a camera on the beach. As he develops the fantastical underwater photos, he stops at one of another child holding a photo on another beach. The photo in the photo is of a child holding a photo of another child and so on through a lovely Droste effect until we arrive at a scene reminiscent of San Francisco’s Cliff House in its heyday. The boy then takes a selfie holding this recursive image and hurls the camera into the ocean. Full of color, sans words, this is Wiesner’s Caldecott-winning best.

Support Uzzlepye Press by buying the book through this link on Amazon.

By |2018-11-06T21:56:33+00:00November 6th, 2018|Book reviews, Children's Books, Picture books, Wordless Books|

The Devil’s Sooty Brother

“But one thing I must tell you: you must not wash, comb, or trim yourself, or cut your hair or nails, or wipe the water from your eyes for seven years.”

Devil's Sooty Brother Collage

I recently had the pleasure to collage a selection of images from the Grimms’ Tale “The Devil’s Sooty Brother” for Robert Bly’s new book More Than True: The Wisdom of Fairy Tales. This is a less-frequently pictured story, so I had to do a good bit of investigating to find source material for my repiction. I ended up finding images from Otto Ubbelohde (including the flames above), powerful pictures from Albert Weisgerber, Philipp Grot Johann, Franz Stassen, and, maybe most dynamically, from Gustaf Tenggren.

Devil's Sooty Brother by Alfred Tenggren

Gustaf Tenggren made this beautiful illustration for the tale in his 1922 Swedish collection of the Grimms’ Tales, which went on to be published in German the following year. Notably, Tenggren later immigrated to America and went to work for Walt Disney, where he was a chief illustrator for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You can compare his work for the 1922 illustrated collection with the 1937 movie in the two images below. In the third image, published in the 1955 Little Golden Book Snow White and Rose Red, you can see Tenggren developed his style even further.

Snow White by Gustaf Tenggren

Disney's Snow White by Gustaf Tenggren

Tenggren's Snow White and Rose Red

With that, I turn to “The Devil’s Sooty Brother,” as collected and retold by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. In this story, a soldier journeys to the underworld where he earns a living and learns to make music. And, as Robert Bly notes, “When we learn how to play the musical instrument of our body . . . [is] when the man who left the tears in his eyes so he would remember his own grief, the underworld worker, the citizen who now has to forge his own life, gains the entire kingdom.”

The Devil’s Sooty Brother

A disbanded soldier had nothing to live on, and did not know how to get on. So he went out into the forest, and when he had walked for a short time, he met a little man. The little man, who was actually the devil, said to him, “What ails you? You seem so very sad.”

The soldier replied, “I am hungry, but have no money.”

The devil said, “If you will hire yourself to me, and be my servant, you shall have enough for all your life. You shall serve me for seven years, and after that you will again be free. But one thing I must tell you: you must not wash, comb, or trim yourself, or cut your hair or nails, or wipe the water from your eyes that whole time.”

The soldier said, “All right, if there is no helping it.” He went off with the little man, who straightaway led him down into hell. The devil told the soldier what he had to do: he was to poke the fire under the kettles where the hell-broth was stewing, keep the house clean, drive all the sweepings behind the doors, and see that everything was in order. If he even once peeped into the kettles, however, it would go badly for him. The soldier said, “Good, I will take care.”

The old devil went out again on his wanderings, and the soldier entered upon his new duties, made the fire, and swept the dirt well behind the doors, just as he had been bidden. When the devil came back again, he looked to see if all had been done, appeared satisfied, and went forth a second time. The soldier now took a good look on every side. The kettles were standing all around hell with a mighty fire below them, and inside they were boiling and sputtering. He would have given anything to look inside them, if the devil had not so particularly forbidden him. At last, he could no longer restrain himself. He raised the lid of the first kettle slightly, peeped in, and there he saw his former corporal.

“Aha, old bird!” he said, “I meet you here? You once had me in your power, but now I have you,” and he quickly let the lid fall, poked the fire, and added a fresh log. After that, he went to the second kettle, raised its lid a little, and peeped in: his former ensign was in that one. “Aha, old bird, so I find you here! You once had me in your power, now I have you.” He closed the lid, and fetched another log to make it especially hot. Then he wanted to see who might be sitting up in the third kettle and it was actually his general. “Aha, old bird, I meet you here? Once you had me in your power, but now I have you.” And he fetched the bellows and made hell-fire blaze away under him.

So he did his work seven years in hell, and did not wash, comb, or trim himself, or cut his hair or nails, or wash the water out of his eyes. The seven years seemed so short to him that he thought he had only been half a year. Now when the time had fully gone by, the devil came and said, “Well Hans, what have you done?” “I poked the fire under the kettles, and I have swept all the dirt well behind the doors.”

“But you have peeped into the kettles as well. It is lucky for you that you added fresh logs to them, or else your life would have been forfeited. Now that your time is up, will you go home again?”

“Yes,” said the soldier, “I should very much like to see what my father is doing at home.”

The devil said, “In order that you may receive the wages you have earned, go and fill your knapsack full of the sweepings, and take it home with you. You must also go unwashed and uncombed, with long hair on your head and beard, and with uncut nails and dim eyes, and when you are asked from where you come, you must say, ‘From hell,’ and when you are asked who you are, you are to say, ‘The devil’s sooty brother, and my king as well.'”

The soldier held his peace, and did as the devil bade him, but he was not at all satisfied with his wages. Then as soon as he was up in the forest again, he took his knapsack from his back to empty it. On opening it, however, he found the sweepings had become pure gold. “I should never have expected that,” he said, and was well pleased. He entered the town where the landlord was standing in front of the inn. When the landlord saw the soldier approaching, he was terrified, because Hans looked so horrible, worse than a scarecrow. He called to him and asked, “Where are you from?”

“From hell.”

“Who art you?”

“The devil’s sooty brother, and my king as well.”

Then the host would not let him enter, but when Hans showed him the gold, he unlatched the door himself. Hans then ordered the best room and attendance, and ate and drank his fill, but neither washed nor combed himself as the devil had bidden him, and at last lay down to sleep. But the knapsack full of gold remained before the eyes of the landlord, and left him no peace, and during the night he crept in and stole it away.

The next morning, however, when Hans got up and wanted to pay the landlord and travel further, he beheld his knapsack was gone! But he soon composed himself and thought, “You have been unfortunate from no fault of your own,” and straightway went back again to hell, complained of his misfortune to the old devil, and begged for his help.

The devil said, “Seat yourself, I will wash, comb, and trim you, cut your hair and nails, and wash your eyes for you.” When he had done so, the devil gave him the knapsack back again full of sweepings, and said, “Go and tell the landlord that he must return you your money, or else I will come and fetch him, and he shall poke the fire in your place.”

Hans went up and said to the landlord and said, “You have stolen my money. If you do not return it, you shall go down to hell in my place, and will look as horrible as I did.” Then the landlord gave him the money, and more besides, only begging him to keep it secret, and Hans was now a rich man.

He set out on his way home to his father, bought himself a shabby smock-frock to wear, and strolled about making music, for he had learned to do that while he was with the devil in hell. There was, as it turns out, an old king in that country before whom he had to play, and the king was so delighted with his playing that he promised him his eldest daughter in marriage. But when she heard that she was to be married to a common fellow in a smock-frock, she said, “Rather than do that, I would go into the deepest water.”

Then the king gave him the youngest, who was quite willing to do it to please her father, and thus the devil’s sooty brother got the king’s daughter, and when the aged king died, the whole kingdom likewise.

Books related to this post

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Art and Creation of Walt Disney's Classic Animated Film

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Art and Creation of Walt Disney’s Classic Animated Film

They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney's Golden Age

They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Golden Age

More Than True: The Wisdom of Fairy Tales by Robert Bly

More Than True: The Wisdom of Fairy Tales by Robert Bly


If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to Mirror Mirrored so we can bring you more like it.

Interested in having your art featured in a Wednesday Wonder Tale post?

Please see submission information here.

By |2018-01-25T18:39:04+00:00January 24th, 2018|Illustrations, Wonder Tale Wednesdays, Wonder Tales|

The Golden Key

The Golden Key

A collage built around an illustration of “The Golden Key” by Otto Ubbelohde. Prints available here.

In the winter time, when snow lay deep on the ground, a poor boy was forced to go out with a sled to fetch wood. When he had gathered the wood together and packed it, he wished, as he was so frozen with cold, not to go home at once, but to light a fire and warm himself a little. So he scraped away the snow, and as he was clearing the ground, he found a tiny, golden key. He thought that where the key was, the lock must also be, and dug in the ground and found an iron chest. “If the key does but fit!” he thought. “No doubt there are precious things in this little box.” He searched, but there was no keyhole. At last he discovered one, but it was so small that it was hardly visible. He tried the key, and it fit exactly. He turned it round once, and now we must wait until he has unlocked it and opened the lid, and then we shall learn what wonderful things were lying in that box.

“The Golden Key” is the last story in the Grimms’ collection. Art historian Carol Mavor, with a nod to Roland Barthes, explains in her book Aurelia that this “unfinished gesture” turns the reader into a writer because it “demands the reader to write, to imagine, their own words that will fill the ‘little iron casket’ with their desires.” She then continues with the idea that withholding the “wonderful things” in the box has a touch of sadism because we “desire to know.” I personally tend to very much enjoy the possibility of what is in the box and think that, maybe, knowing specifically what was inside would never be quite as satisfying as leaving it to our imaginations. Did the box contain the original Grimms’ Tales? Borges’ “Library of Babel”? Something not yet discovered? But, as far as endings go, Peter Straub has offered a very satisfying conclusion. As fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar points out in The Annotated Brothers Grimm, Straub continues “The Golden Key” in his novel Shadowland. He writes that “[e]very story in the world, every story ever told, blew up out of the box. Princes and princesses, wizards, foxes and trolls and witches and wolves and woodsmen and kinds and elves and dwarves and a beautiful girl in a red cape, and for a second the boy saw them all perfectly, spinning silently in the air. Then the wind caught them and sent them blowing away, some this way and some that.”

Sarah Fagan Painting

Undone by Sarah Fagan

Sarah Fagan color pencil

Portable Miracle Filling, et al. by Sarah Fagan

When Sarah Fagan decided to reimagine this story for Mirror Mirrored, she took two very different approaches before settling on a final piece. First, she painted a white paper box, unfolded against a white background. She explained that, like the Tao Te Ching which states, “It is the empty space that makes the bowl useful,” she saw utility in emptiness. In a paper box’s unconstructed state, it is potential and has no material function. When it interacts with a human hand, however, it can become a repository for anything. It is both a blueprint for something and a thing itself.

Second, the piece that she ultimately decided to include in Mirror Mirrored was the traced outlines and creases of several unfolded boxes laid on top of each other, each layer of stacked boxes colored in with four different color pencils. In this piece, she both obliterates existing forms (the now abstract boxes) and creates a new one. She sees it as a way to free each box from the singular purpose it was created for and throw it into a perpetual self-examination of its nature: the forms organize and reorganize, attempting to make sense of themselves as we try to make sense of them. Maybe, she continues, these transformed boxes are not so unlike us: constantly structuring, compartmentalizing, and trying to understand our own lives. Thus, Fagan has decided to interpret “The Golden Key” not as a story looking outward, where the viewer imagines some far away magical story, but instead focuses inward, to see what the results of our imagination say about ourselves.

Selected books from this post

Mythologies by Roland Barthes

Mythologies by Roland Barthes

The Annotated Grimm by Maria Tatar

The Annotated Grimm by Maria Tatar

Aurelia by Carol Mavor

Aurelia by Carol Mavor

Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges

Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges


If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to Mirror Mirrored so we can bring you more like it.

Interested in having your art featured in a Wednesday Wonder Tale post?

Please see submission information here.

By |2018-02-04T20:30:26+00:00January 16th, 2018|Artists, Creative, Wonder Tale Wednesdays, Wonder Tales|

The Star Coins

“When she woke up early the next morning, to her great surprise one of the little stars was making itself into a pancake for her breakfast!”

Star Coins Collage

It is not unusual to read different versions of the same wonder tale. Indeed, the Brothers Grimm were master amalgamators and combined the best bits of different versions of stories into a final version for publication. One of their stories, “Die Sternthaler” (“The Star Coins”), though, was “written down from a somewhat hazy recollection,” trusting that someone “will complete and correct it.” While the Grimms’ version is included in Mirror Mirrored, I recently ran across another telling in The Disobedient Kids and Other Czecho-Slovak Fairy Tales by Božena Němcová, as interpreted by William H. Tolman and V. Smetánka, and illustrated by Artuš Scheiner. (I opened this book thinking it would have some wonderful tales about mischievous children but the “disobedient kids” turned out to be young goats.) I have edited their take on the story and included it below. It varies slightly from the Grimms’ tale in that the young girl is not totally alone in the world and is instead traveling to her aunt, and that the stars take a turn as breakfast before later turning to gold. I hope you enjoy this story, and the collage above from various renditions of it including artists such as Victor Paul Mohn, Hermann Vogel, Arthur Rackham, Ella Dolbear Lee, Robert Leinweber, Heinrich Vogeler, and Otto Ubbelohde.

The Star Coins

Once upon a time, there was a six-year-old girl named Bozena. She had nothing in the world but the clothes on her back and a piece of bread, which her poor godfather had given her when he sent her off to her aunt.

She set out for the village where her aunt lived in a little hut, and it seemed very far away to this little girl. She was timid and afraid as she trudged along, and oh so lonely. At a turn in the road, she came upon a poor beggar who said, “Little girl, will you give me something to eat? I am very hungry.” She gave him her whole piece of bread without hesitation and said, “God bless it to you.”

By this time it was quite dark. As she continued into the wood, Bozena met another little girl who was shivering with the cold. The girl had no shirt and seemed to be in great distress. Bozena thought, “I can spare my shawl and will give it to her.” She parted ways with her shawl and continued on.

After a little while, she met another little girl who was so poor that she had no skirt. It was already nearing the end of autumn and winter was coming soon, so Bozena took off her own skirt and gave it to the poor little girl. The cold did not trouble Bozena very much because she had done a good deed and her little heart grew warm at the thought of it.

All at once, deep in the wood, Bozena saw little stars falling in her path way. She went closer to see what they looked like. They were yellow and shone brightly. She started to gather them in her hands, tossing them up and down. “Oh, if I only had an apron,” she thought. Suddenly, an apron appeared! She collected the little yellow stars in her apron and, growing very tired, fell asleep.

When she woke up early the next morning, to her great surprise one of the little stars was making itself into a pancake for her breakfast! She ate all she could and still had some left.

She set off and, after walking a great distance, reached her aunt’s hut that evening. She kissed her aunt and said, “Oh, auntie, see what I have in my apron.”

When she started to show her aunt, instead of the little stars that she expected to see, a stream of gold pieces poured out of her apron and rolled all over the room.

Imagine her poor old aunt’s joy and surprise. Now she could not only take care of Bozena, but could do much good for others all the rest of her life.

Star Coins by Artuš Scheiner

Illustration by Artuš Scheiner


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By |2018-03-08T02:07:28+00:00January 10th, 2018|Illustrations, Wonder Tale Wednesdays, Wonder Tales|

White Bear King Valemon

“Once when she was in the wood, she set her eyes upon a white bear, who had the very golden wreath she had dreamt of between his paws.”

White Bear King Valemon

In the nineteenth century, after the Brothers Grimm had published their first collection of stories, Asbjørnsen, a teacher, and Moe, a minister, decided to wander around the Norwegian countryside and collect their own set of wonder tales. Indeed, they corresponded with the Grimms, each approving of the other’s work. Both sets of stories have been illustrated by fantastic artists over the years, including the Norwegian artist Theodor Kittlesen and the Danish artist Kay Nielsen (who later worked on Walt Disney’s Fantastia) who have created some especially beautiful pictures for these stories. Indeed, one of these Norwegian tales, “White Bear King Valemon”—as imagined by Kittelsen—adorns the logo of the Norwegian folklore society.

I first encountered this collection of stories when I learned that the American poet Robert Bly was writing a book examining six fairy tales of special importance to him, including “King Valemon.” I was also lucky enough to be asked to remix some old illustrations for this new book. I have included, above, a draft image for publication combining pictures by Kittelsen and Moyr Smith (though the final version differed significantly). As you read the tale of “King Valemon,” as translated by Sir George Webbe Dasent and edited by me, I have also woven in several other illustrations of this tale, though it is somewhat less frequently pictured than it’s Aarne–Thompson-Uther type 425A sibling, “East of the Sun and West of the Moon.”

I hope you enjoy the story of the white bear, the young princess, and the troll enchantress.

Norsk folkeminnelag logo

White Bear King Valemon

Illustration by Moyr Smith, 1908

Illustration by Moyr Smith, 1908

Once upon a time there was a king with two daughters who were ugly and evil, but a third who was as fair and soft as the bright day. One night, his third daughter dreamt of a golden wreath so lovely that she couldn’t live without it. She grew sullen and wouldn’t so much as talk due to her grief at not having the wreathe, so the king sent out a pattern based on her dream to goldsmiths far and wide to see if they make the wreath. The goldsmiths worked night and day, but the princess tossed all their wreathes away.

But once when she was in the wood, she set her eyes upon a white bear, who had the very wreath she had dreamt of between his paws and was playing with it. The princess wanted to buy it, but the bear said she could only have it if he could have her. Because she thought life was not worth living without the wreathe, she agreed to be fetched in three days, on Thursday.

When the princess arrived home with the wreathe, everyone was overjoyed that she was happy again. The king thought that it should not be so hard to stop a white bear from taking his daughter, so three days later put his whole army around the castle to turn away the bear. But when the white bear came, no weapon could scratch his hide and he hurled the soldiers left and right so that they lay in piles. Upon seeing this, the kind send out his eldest daughter instead of his youngest, and the white bear took her upon his back and went off. When they had gone quite far, and farther than far, the white bear asked her,

Have you ever sat softer, and have you ever seen clearer?”

“On my mother’s lap I sat softer, and in my father’s hall I saw clearer,” she answered.

“Oh!” said the white bear, “Then you are not the right one,” and he chased her home.

The next Thursday the bear came again, and it went just the same. The army went out, but neither iron nor steel scratched hide, and he mowed them down like grass until the king begged him to stop. The king sent out his next oldest daughter, and the white bear took her on his back and went off. When they had traveled far and farther than far, the white bear asked,

“Have you ever seen clearer, and have you ever sat softer?”

“Yes,” she answered. “In my father’s hall I saw clearer, and on my mother’s lap I sat softer.”

“Oh! Then you are not the right one,” said the white bear, and he chased her home.

On the third Thursday the bear came again, and he attacked the king’s men harder than before. As the king could not let his whole army be slain, he gave the bear his youngest daughter. The bear took her on his back and went far away and farther than far. When they had gone deep, deep, into the woods, he asked her as he had asked the others, whether she had ever sat softer or seen clearer.

Illustration by Theodor Kittelsen, c. 1912

One of several versions of Valemon by Theodor Kittelsen, c. 1912

“No, never!” she said.

“Ah!” he said. “You are the right one.”

They came to a castle so grand that her father’s looked like the poorest place in the world by comparison. The princess was to live there with no responsibility other than seeing that the fire never went out. The bear was away by day, but with her at night in the form of a man. All went well for three years, but every year she had a baby and the bear carried each off as soon as they came into the world. The princess grew bored, and begged to go home to visit her parents. There was no stopping her, but the bear made her give her word that she would listen to her father and not do what her mother wished. So she went home, and when she was alone with her parents and told them how she was treated, her mother wanted to give her a light to take back that she might see what kind of man she was with.

Her father, however, said, “You must not do that, for it will lead to harm and not to gain.”

But however it happened, so it happened, the princess took a bit of a candle-end back with her. The first thing she did on her return, when her bear-by-day was sound asleep, was to light it and illuminate him. He was so lovely that she thought she could never gaze at him enough, but as she held the candle over him a hot drop of tallow dropped on his forehead and he woke up.

“What is this you’ve done?” he said. “Now you have made us both unlucky. There was no more than a month left, and had you lasted it out, I should have been saved and my curse broken. A hag of the trolls has bewitched me to be a white bear by day, but now that you have broken your word I must go marry her.”

King Valemon sleeping

Illustration by Theodor Kittelsen, c. 1902

She wept and lamented, but he had to go. She asked if she could go with him, and he replied, “No, there is no way to do that.” Still, when he set off in his bear-shape, she took hold of his shaggy hide, threw herself upon his back, and held on fast.

Away they went over crags and hills, through brakes and briars, till her clothes were torn off her back. Finally, she was so tired, that she lost her wits and let go. When she came to, she was in a great forest. She set off again, but could not tell where she was going. After a long, long, time she came to a hut with an old woman and a pretty little girl. The princess asked them whether they had seen anything of King Valemon the white bear.

“He passed by here this morning early,” they said. “But he was going so fast that you’ll never be able to catch up.”

The little girl there ran about, playing and clipping the air with a pair of golden scissors. As she clipped, silk and satin flew all about. Where the scissors went, there was never any want of clothes.

“This woman,” she said, “who has to go so far on such difficult paths, may well suffer much. She will need these scissors more than I do to cut out clothes.”

The child begged the older woman to let her hand over the scissors, until at last she agreed.

Away the princess traveled through woods that seemed endless, both day and night, until she came to another hut the next morning. In it there was also an elder woman and a young girl.

“Good day,” said the princess. “Have you seen anything of King Valemon the white bear?”

“Was it you, maybe, who was to have him?” said the old woman.

“Yes, it was!”

“Well, he passed by yesterday, but he went so quickly that you’ll never be able to catch up.”

This little girl played on the floor with a flask that poured out any drink one wished to have.

“This poor woman,” said the girl, “who has to go so far on such difficult paths, may well be thirsty and suffer much. She will need this flask more than I do.”

She asked the old woman if she could give the princess the flask, and the old woman have her permission to do so.

The princess took the flask, thanked them, and set off again through the woods. After travelling all day and through the next night, she came to a third hut with an old woman and a little girl.

“Good day,” said the princess.

“Good day to you,” said the old woman.

“Have you seen anything of King Valemon, the white bear?” asked the princess.

“Maybe it was you who was to have him?” said the old woman.

“Yes, it was!”

“Well, he passed by here the day before yesterday, but he was going so fast that you’ll never be able to catch up.”

This little girl played with a napkin on the floor. When anyone said to it, “Napkin, spread yourself out and be covered with dainty dishes,” it did just that, so where it went there was never any want of a good dinner.

“This poor woman,” said the little girl, “who has to go so far on such difficult paths, may well starve and suffer other ills. She has far more need of this napkin than I do.” She asked if she could give the princess the napkin, and did so.

The princess took the napkin, thanked them, and set off again. She went far and farther than far through the woods and travelled all day and night. The next morning she came to a mountain as steep as a wall, so high and wide that she could see no end to it. At the base of the mountain there was a hut, and as soon as she set foot inside it, she said, “Good day. Do you know if King Valemon the white bear passed this way?”

“Good day to you,” replied the old woman in the hut. “It was you, maybe, who was to have him?”

“Yes, it was!”

“Well, he passed by and went up the mountain three days ago, but nothing else without wings can climb it.”

The hut was full of small children who hung around their mother’s skirts and bawled for food as she put a pot on the fire full of small, round pebbles. The princess asked why the old woman did that, and she explained that they were so poor that they had neither food nor clothing, but when she put the pot on the fire and said, “The apples will be ready soon,” the words dulled the children’s hunger so they were patient a while.

The children crying for food went to the princess’s heart and she brought out the napkin and the flask. After the children were full and happy, she cut them clothes with her golden scissors.

“Well!” said the old woman. “Because you have been so kind and good towards me and my children, it would be a shame if I didn’t try to help you up the mountain. My husband is one of the best smiths in the world. Just lie down and rest till he comes home, and I’ll get him to forge claws for your hands and feet to climb the mountain.”

When the smith came home, he set to work on the claws at once, and the next morning they were ready. The princess had no time to stay, but said, “Thank you,” and left. She clung close to the rock and crept and crawled with the steel claws all that day and through the night. Just as she felt so tired that she could scarcely lift hand or foot and was about to fall down, she arrived at the top. There she found a huge plain, full of tilled fields and meadows. It was bigger and broader, and wider and flatter, than she thought was possible. There was also a castle full of workmen of all kinds, swarming about like ants.

Illustration by Moyr Smith

Illustration by Moyr Smith, 1908

“What is going on here?” wondered the princess.

As it turns out, the old troll hag who had bewitched King Valemon lived there, and in three days she was going to hold her wedding feast with him. The princess asked around whether she could speak with the hag.

Everyone said, “No, that is quite impossible.”

So she sat down under a castle window and began to clip in the air with her golden scissors, till the silks and satins flew about as thick as a snow drift.

When the old hag saw that, she had to buy the golden scissors. “Our tailors can do no good at all,” she said. “We have too many to clothe.”

The princess said, “I will not sell the scissors for any amount of gold, but you can have them if you let me spend the night with King Valemon.”

“Yes!” said the old hag. “But I must see him to sleep and wake him in the morning.”

When he went to bed, the hag gave King Valemon a sleeping draught so that he would not open his eyes no matter how much the princess cried and wept.

The next day the princess went back under the window again, and began pouring from her flask. It frothed like a brook with ale and wine, and it was never empty. When the old hag saw that, she had to have it. “For all our brewing and stilling, we still have too many to find drinks for.”

The princess said, “It is not for sale, but if you let me sleep with King Valemon that night, then you can have it.”

“Well!” said the old hag. “You may well do that, but I must see him to sleep and wake him in the morning.”

So when the king went to bed, the hag gave him another sleeping draught. It went no better for the princess that the first night. He was not able to open his eyes no matter how much the princess bawled and wept.

But a workmen, who worked in a room next to theirs, heard the weeping. The next day he told the king that the princess who could set him free would come at night.

Outside the castle, it went just the same as it had with the napkin as it had with the scissors and flask. When it was dinnertime, the princess took out the napkin and said, “Napkin, spread yourself out and be covered with dainty dishes.” There was suddenly meat enough, and even to spare, for hundreds of men, but the princess sat down to eat by herself.

When the old hag set her eyes on the napkin, she wanted to buy it. “For all the roasting and boiling, it is worth nothing because we have too many mouths to feed.”

But the princess said, “I will not sell it for money, but if you let me sleep with King Valemon this night, you can have it.”

“Well!” said the old hag. “You may well do that, but I must see him to sleep and wake him in the morning.”

Valemon Trapdoor

Illustration by Theodor Kittelsen

As King Valemon was going to bed, she came with the sleeping draught, but this time he did not drink it and only pretended to sleep. The old hag did not trust him, however, and stuck a pin into his arm to see if he was truly asleep. For all his pain, he did not stir a bit, and so the princess was permitted to see him.

Everything was soon set right between them, and if they could get rid of the old hag he would be free. King Valemon had the carpenters make a trapdoor on the bridge over which the bridal train had to pass, and it was custom for the bride and her friends to be at the head of the train.

As they were crossing the bridge, the trapdoor tipped up with the bride and all the other old hags who were her bridesmaids. But King Valemon and the princess, and all the rest of the train, turned back to the castle and took as much gold and as many possessions as they could carry, and set off for his land to hold their real wedding.

On the way, King Valemon picked up the three little girls from the three huts and took them with them, and the princess understood why it was he had taken her babes away: so they might help her find him. And so they drank their bridal ale both stiff and strong.

The collection of Norwegian Tales East of the Sun from Taschen, edited by Noel Daniel, adapts an earlier version of the same book, illustrated by Kay Nielsen, with newly sharp versions of and details from the original watercolors. It is quite beautiful (though it lacks Valemon’s tale), as are all the books in that series. Purchases through the links on the pictures below directly support Mirror Mirrored.

Hans Christian Andersen by Taschen

East Of The Sun by Taschen

Fairy Tales By the Brothers Grimm by Taschen

If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to Mirror Mirrored so we can bring you more like it.

By |2018-01-16T15:33:51+00:00January 3rd, 2018|Creative, Design, Illustrations, Wonder Tale Wednesdays, Wonder Tales|

Wonder Tale Travel

As I was wandering along the streets of Austin, Texas, one not-quite-wintry December evening, I ducked into a used bookstore down the way. On a bottom shelf near the back, a large, horizontal book quite falling to pieces caught my eye.

Tales From the Four Winds, art by Otto Nielsen

Tales From the Four Winds, art by Otto Nielsen

As I opened the book, Tales From the Four Winds began:

From the dawn of time, man has watched birds in flight and dreamed of winging his way through space as easily and speedily as they. Not only has he dreamed of it, he has talked of it and woven the theme into the tales he told. The story-teller, far distant forerunner of modern television, knew that he could fascinate his audience and hold it spell-bound whenever in his repertoire he introduced fables about humans that flew. . . . When it was decided that the central theme of the [Scandanavian Airlines System] Calendar for 1959 was to be tales from all corners of the earth, it was only natural that the selected stories should deal with people who flew. . . . In presenting this little anthology we in no [way] claim to have made a truly representative booklet. Our main aim has been to amuse the reader with stories from twelve of the 43 nations served by SAS. We ask you to accept this little booklet in the same spirit and, when you read the stories, to remember that SAS, among many others, has helped make the yearnings of early man come true. Today you, too, may fly. Not only in fancy, but also in fact.

As I continued reading, I was delighted to find stories familiar and new, and amazed by the beautiful artwork accompanying them from the Dutch artist Otto Nielsen (who very much loved to travel). I would like to share illustrations from a few of the stories here.

Astride A Cannonball, Germany

Astride A Cannonball, Germany

The Wild Geese, Sweden

The Wild Geese, Sweden

The Moon Princess, Japan

The Moon Princess, Japan

The Flying Trunk, Denmark

The Flying Trunk, Denmark

Lue and the Elephant Hunters, Kenya

Lue and the Elephant Hunters, Kenya

The Magic Carpet, Arabia

The Magic Carpet, Arabia

Gulliver's Escape, Great Britain

Gulliver’s Escape, Great Britain

A Visit from St. Nicholas, USA

A Visit from St. Nicholas, USA

The book, after traveling from Kenya to Brazil, across Europe and Japan, finally arrived at the United States of America, where it closed, seasonably, with “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”

But as I put down this beautiful collection, I couldn’t help but think the editors only got it half right. Man has dreamed not just of flying, but of traveling to new places, unseen and only imagined. The Wright Brothers flew in 1903; J.M. Barrie’s first stage production of Peter Pan was in 1904. As much as we have delighted in being able to fly around our own world, and even just beyond it (as in these amazing NASA travel posters), we continue to be thrilled by the prospect of going to places yet unseen.

To that end, I have scoured the internet for travel posters of imaginary lands, both old and new. Middle Earth is a favorite subject of illustrators far and wide, but Harry Potter’s world, Game of Thrones’ Westeros, Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, and, indeed, Peter Pan’s NeverLand, all capture our imagination as faraway destinations. Please enjoy the works of the fantastic designers below and investigate more of what they do through the links to their sites. And, finally, very happy holidays wherever your own travels take you this season.

Jazzberry Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Jazzberry Blue, Alice in Wonderland

Seventh Art Shop, Star Wars

Seventh Art Shop, Star Wars

Mr. Bluebird, The NeverEnding Story

Mr. Bluebird, The NeverEnding Story

Cantabrigia, Alice in Wonderland

Cantabrigia, Alice in Wonderland

Studio Moriarty, Rapunzel's Tower

Studio Moriarty, Rapunzel’s Tower

Steve Thomas, H. P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth

Steve Thomas, H. P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth

Steve Thomas, The Lord of the Rings

Steve Thomas, The Lord of the Rings

Ursulav, H. P. Lovecraft's The Cats of Ulthar

Ursulav, H. P. Lovecraft’s The Cats of Ulthar

Martin Montgomery, The Legend of Zelda

Martin Montgomery, The Legend of Zelda

Steve Thomas, Star Wars

Steve Thomas, Star Wars

Seventh Art Shop, Game of Thrones

Seventh Art Shop, Game of Thrones

Steve Thomas, Star Wars

Steve Thomas, Star Wars

Mr. Bluebird, NeverLand

Mr. Bluebird, NeverLand

Steve Thomas, NeverLand

Steve Thomas, NeverLand

Seventh Art Shop, Chronicles of Narnia

Seventh Art Shop, Chronicles of Narnia

Seventh Art Shop, Lord of the Rings

Seventh Art Shop, Lord of the Rings

Henry Conrad Taylor - Avatar the Last Airbender

Henry Conrad Taylor, Avatar the Last Airbender

Studio Moriarty, Harry Potter

Studio Moriarty, Harry Potter

Dream Machine Prints - Lord of the Rings

Dream Machine Prints, Lord of the Rings

Studio Moriarty, Harry Potter

Studio Moriarty, Harry Potter

Claire Malboeuf, Futurama

Claire Malboeuf, Futurama

Seventh Art Shop, Game of Thrones

Seventh Art Shop, Game of Thrones

Dream Machine Prints - Lord of the Rings

Dream Machine Prints, Lord of the Rings

Caroline Hadilaksano, Harry Potter

Caroline Hadilaksano, Harry Potter

If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to Mirror Mirrored so we can bring you more like it.

By |2018-08-12T16:28:35+00:00December 16th, 2017|Books, Design, Illustrations|

Joseph Keckler, Interdimensional Traveler

Two Roads

I have a copy of a brand new book, Dragon at the Edge of a Flat World, sitting on the edge of my desk. Inside it is inscribed: “Hope we stay in the same reality. Love, Joseph.” At the time, I did not fully appreciate the extent to which Joseph Keckler, the author, is a dimension-travelling wizard. But I already had inklings.

A Singular Meeting

Joseph Keckler Dragon At the Edge of A Flat World

Published by Turtle Point Press

Three days earlier, late one evening in Austin, Texas, I received a text message: “Hi, This is Joseph.” Joseph and I had never met, but he is the friend of a good friend and created a beautiful piece for Mirror Mirrored. Also, a year and a half earlier, I had arranged a performance for him at a DC gallery on the only night I can remember the entire city’s metro system shutting down (the small group that managed to make it to the event was treated to a very intimate showing).

As it turns out, Joseph was in Austin for his book tour and thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to get to know each other. I agreed, and because he was staying on the other side of the river suggested we meet downtown—halfway for both of us. He happened to know a chef, however, about a thirty minute walk from my apartment, which suited me just fine. He took a ride share.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, I did not see Joseph—who my friend had described as looking like a more talented and refined Johnny Depp. On that particular dark evening, I was very much wondering exactly what talent looked like. The answer was a thin figure in a leather jacket casually wandering about the street at the edge of the park. I waved and we went in together.

As the only patrons in the dining room, we were seated at a small table in the middle of the room. Well, there was a wild party that was technically in the same room, but a series of large white sheets had been draped across the space such that all we could see were shadowy ghosts cavorting about sounding rather like a group of Florida retirees. We turned to the wine menu.

After our server recommended an Italian red that neither of us could pronounce, a woman brought out a bottle. She poured two glasses, said “May you chase the devil off the mountain,” and left. After confirming with each other the reality of what had just happened, we proceeded to drink several glasses of wine over several plates of pasta. When we each ordered a second glass, we took the opportunity to inquire with this beverage bearer if she had indeed encouraged us to shoo Satan away. She said yes, as that was the literal translation of the Italian wine we were drinking. She then pulled out her glasses, examined the label of wine as if to confirm herself, and without saying anything further danced away.

Devil On The Mountain

The devil on the mountain

We turned to other topics. We agreed, as an initial matter, that we wanted to be neither cannibals nor cannibalized, nor did we want to take a one-way trip to Mars. Apparently feeling this established a reasonable common ground, Joseph dispensed with trivialities. He leaned in and asked, “Do you remember a series of children’s books with bears from when you were a child?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Paddington.”

“Not that one, the other one.”

“The Berenstein Bears?”

“Except there were no Berenstein Bears.”

I was intrigued. Joseph then explained to me that there was a children’s book series called the “Berenstain Bears,” but that the “-stein” bears were merely markers of an alternate reality that a large portion of us had experienced which how somehow been convoluted with the one we live in now. (For a fuller explanation of this phenomena, known as the Mandela effect, please see here.)

As if checking my reality credentials, he continued: “And do you remember what the evil queen asked the mirror in Walt Disney’s Snow White?”

Full of certainty, and additionally armed with having just looked at the original German, I replied, “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall…”

Joseph excitedly cut me off, “But actually it was ‘Magic Mirror on the Wall!'” He explained that these moments where the alternate realities break through give themselves away by being twice too witty about seeping through “stains” and “mirrors.” We solidified a potential friendship by establishing that we were from the same corrupted timeline.

Magic Mirror

Magic Mirror

We then decided to make sure we finished chasing the devil off the mountain. After accomplishing that task, we switched to coffee. We talked for a while longer—about growing up, reclaiming stolen time, and where art comes from. Then, as the very lively ghost party across the room wound down, it was time to go.

Leaving the restaurant, Joseph joined me on the walk back toward my apartment and then decided that, as the night was still night, he would meander three hours back across the river to where he was staying. We said farewell for the moment, and I told him I was looking forward to seeing him again at his reading.

Joseph in Amazing Technicolor

Three days passed. I arrived a little too early at the art gallery, so I took the opportunity to enjoy a local beer and hide in the corner of the room where I could comfortably watch Joseph. I had heard that nothing can quite prepare you for a Joseph Keckler performance, so I was at least prepared in my unpreparedness. The crowd, however, had not been so similarly warned.

As Co-Lab Projects introduced the plain-spoken Midwesterner, the crowd was happily engaged and quietly humming in the way that happens when several groups of people are having soft conversations with each other all at once. Joseph started reading, and Joseph is quite a good reader.

Joseph Keckler Reading

Co-Lab Projects

Then, Joseph started singing. The humming vanished.

It is beyond my writing capabilities to describe the power or emotional weight of a Joseph Keckler performance. If the weird, kind of dorky but probably actually cooler-than-you kid from high school also turned out to be quite handsome, the most talented singer you’d ever heard with a voice whose “range shatters the conventional boundaries of classical singing” according to the New York Times, but is still kind of dorky, then maybe you get the idea. (The videos Shroom Aria and Strangers from the Internet below, though singularly special in a different way, do not quite do his live performance justice.) As he read from his book, performed, sang a heartbreaking aria about his lover’s GPS, and closed with David Bowie from atop a stool, I wish I had been sitting down so that I could stand up to clap. Luckily, most of the audience who had been sitting felt the same way. After the show, I bought his book, Joseph signed it to assure me we were at that particular moment in the same reality, and he was whisked away to another city and a larger venue.

The Edge of the Flat World, from the Safety of an Armchair

Some time later, taking sufficient time to delight in the anticipation of reading the book, I sat down in a comfortable (if rather hideously patterned) recliner, turned on my studio lamp, and jumped into Joseph’s book. You might say, much like Alice, I rather fell into his universe. After my trip, I am no longer assured we have always been in the same timeline.

In Joseph’s world, importantly, a dragon at the edge of a flat world resides at the “outskirts of possibility”—not safely walled away inside impossibility. At this edge, conveniently accessible by Brooklyn mass transit, there is also a McDonald’s. In this reality, ghosts (real ones), Sjögren’s syndrome sufferers, Fiji mermaids, diplomats, vodka-spitting bartenders, and artists who burn down other artists’ work in fancy museums, fluidly weave in and our of our lives.


The fire

As he starts the book, a collection of twenty interconnected moments from his own life, we find a three-year old Joseph watching his house burn down in the middle of a Michigan winter as he and his family lose their possessions in the flames (he, as a three-year old, has somewhat less to lose than his mother, father, or brother, though there is mention of a special Gooney Bird). As we conclude the novella, he is back in the Michigan winter, years later, bearing witness as the “chief mourner” to passengers on a train losing their Happy New Year as the train hurtles across time zones without ever hitting midnight.

Between these two events, there is much joy, a good bit of loss, several cats, and a lot of New York City. Joseph takes us on a wide-ranging journey through our world. He is constantly referencing exterior markers, such as Zorro’s alter ego Don Diego, the widow Mrs. Gummidge from David Copperfield, Dr. Moreau, and Cleopatra—these in the space of two paragraphs—almost as if he is desperate to confirm that the world he has experienced is actually the one he is in. (I briefly considered stopping at each work Joseph referenced, watching it or viewing it in its entirety to fully appreciate the point, then resuming his book, but decided I would have to similarly consume each work referenced in the references and might also have to learn a few new languages to complete this process, so threw in the towel.)

Joseph’s art, it would appear, is inspired by events outside himself. He replaced prime-time television with personalities in his daily life and thus takes unusual jobs such as working for a blind gallerist, he wanders the streets at night until he passes out, defeated at last, and he embraces cross-dimensional traveling via magical realism (where, possibly, everyone sings beautifully rather than talking and is where Joseph honed his craft).

In the course of those experiences, he welcomes us with spectacle, wizardry, and wit, then gently directs us to deeper, quieter places, best suited for you to experience yourself rather than read about in a book review. As Joseph attempts to discover himself, by changing modes of sexuality and switching from vampire t-shirts to baggy “in” clothes to tribal necklaces, satanic rings, rotary telephone cords, and tiger stripes on jeans drawn with a Sharpie, we learn something about both ourselves and each other in the process. The book is a wonderful read and I suggest it to you without hesitation. You can find it here on Amazon.

Oh, and if you ever find yourself up by Plainwell, Michigan, there is a yard where a dog poops rainbows right down the way. Rainbows that, in their afterlife, have become nuggets of radiant filth, fallen from the sky. And though I have never been there, if you find the particular rabbit hole that shows you the way, please drop me a line.


A rainbow’s end

All photographs except the cover of Dragon at the Edge of a Flat World are by Corwin Levi. The book cover’s photograph is by M. Sharkey and defaced by Joseph Keckler.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to Mirror Mirrored so we can bring you more like it.

By |2018-08-12T16:28:39+00:00December 10th, 2017|Artists, Books, Creative, Shows|

Little Red Riding Hood Meets Minimalism

I have always found elegance in directness. When I was a five-year-old in kindergarten, I loved going to the National Gallery and looking at the giant Motherwell. I was amazed at how powerful and moving a rather spare artwork could be. When I was a twenty-one-year-old in grad school, I loved Whistler’s Nocturnes, and how much force he could achieve with two days of painting.

Robert Motherwell's Reconciliation Elegy, 1978

Robert Motherwell’s Reconciliation Elegy, 1978

Indeed, in the feud between John Ruskin and Whistler, when their disagreements reached the courtroom opposing counsel asked Whistler how he could ask 200 guineas for a two-day painting. Whistler replied, “I ask it for the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime.” He won the trial (but was awarded damages of just one farthing).

As a grad student, when people asked me why I made such slow, intricately detailed work, I related Whistler’s tale and explained that I lacked the knowledge of a lifetime. Older now, I have no such excuse and have embraced the maximalism of horror vaccui as a personal pathology. You can see it at work, for example, in these three Red Cap collages I made for Mirror Mirrored.

Whistler's Nocturne in Black and Gold

Whistler’s Nocturne in Black and Gold, 1875

Little Red Riding Hood Maximalism

Still, I have an immense respect and appreciation for people who can do more with less, which is one reason I find wonder tales so powerful. I especially enjoy fairy tale work by artists whose aesthetic matches this impulse, so here are some minimalist Little Red Riding Hood images that I’ve found floating around the internet.

Little Red Riding Hood by Christian Jackson

Christian Jackson

Little Red Riding Hood by Pablo Gauthier

Pablo Gauthier

Little Red Riding Hood by Pinto Sketches

Pinto Sketches

Little Red Riding Hood by Dina Waluyo

Dina Waluyo

Little Red Riding Hood by Noma Bar

Noma Bar

Little Red Riding Hood and Moby Dick by Lowe/SSP3

Lowe/SSP3 (mashing up Red Cap and Moby Dick)

Little Red Riding Hood by Indre Bankauskaite

Indre Bankauskaite

There is also the wonderful retelling Little Red by Bethan Woollvin which, though not quite minimalist, does have one scene in particular that does very much with fairly little. (In this retelling, Little Red is quite the competent ax wielder and thus saves herself from an unfortunate fate rather than waiting on a wandering huntsman. You can buy the book here if you would like to read more, or check out her retelling of “Rapunzel” where the heroine is equally capable of taking care of herself.)


The Wolf made a plan.

The Wolf made a plan.

Finally, I would like to share a moment from Picture This: How Pictures Work by Molly Bang. In this classic text, recently revised for a 25th anniversary edition, the author shares her journey from not understanding picture structure at all to studying art and the psychology of art to writing this masterpiece of visual thinking, which Brian Selznick calls “The Strunk and White of Visual Literacy.” The book covers shape, color, direction, number, scale, and so much more, while adeptly describing how each affects the emotion and psychology of the viewer. I advise it to every 101 student I teach. And, as it happens, Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf play a part in the book’s narrative. To conclude this post, I will share a few passages below, but urge you to acquire this phenomenal book for yourself. (You can buy it at Amazon here.)

After discussing and showing us various ways to draw Little Red Riding Hood, her mother, and the forest, Bang goes on to describe how she draws the wolf. I have excerpted, below, what she writes about drawing the wolf’s eye.

When we want a picture to feel scary, it is more effective to graphically exaggerate the scary aspects of the threat and of its environment than to represent them as close to photographic reality as possible, because

this is the way we feel things look.

What else does the wolf need in order to look more wolfish?

WolfsEye01 by Molly Bang

It needs an eye.

I cut the eye out of the purple paper, since there are three colors available in addition to the white, and the new color attracts our attention. Also, I wanted to use all three colors plus white in every picture.

I made the eye a long diamond or lozenge shape, emphasizing the pointiness of a real wolf’s eye but getting rid of the curves.

WolfsEye02 by Molly Bang

But even though wolves’ eyes are often pale blue, it didn’t look right.

Why is this eye so much scarier?

WolfsEye03 by Molly Bang

The obvious answer is that it is red, but why should a red eye be so much scarier than a pale-purple eye?

Purple is a milder, less aggressive color than red, but why? Part of the reason may be purely psychological: somehow red excites us. Psychologists have found that people tend to get into more fights in bright-red and hot-pink rooms and tend to eat more in rooms with red walls than they do in rooms with paler colors. Part of the reason may be that we associate red with blood and fire, so this is a bloody, fiery eye rather than an eye associated with flowers or with the evening sky. Maybe it’s because we’ve seen drunken, bloodshot eyes, or eyes reflected in a campfire, and those were red. In some fairy tales, the eyes of witches are described as being red. Red eyes are unnatural, and unnatural things make us wary. And red is an energetic color, a color with agency, so while all-white eyes are also unnatural, it is red eyes that have the energy to be hostile.

But I notice something else with the replacement of the purple eye with the red, something I wasn’t expecting: I immediately associate Little Red Riding Hood with the wolf’s eye, in a way I didn’t before. They go together. Now the eye is looking at her.

The strong association is almost solely due to the color; when I made the eye round but still red, I associated it with Little Red Riding Hood the same way.

What happens if the eye is made exactly the same color and shape as Little Red Riding Hood?

WolfsEye04 by Molly Bang

The wolf looks stupid now, or surprised, or maybe happy. Its glance is no longer pointed at its prey. Certainly it is not nearly as evil-looking as it was before. The picture feels very different, and yet all that has been changed is the shape of the eye.

A more disconcerting effect to me is that the two red triangles are now so alike, and I associate them so much with each other, that they disassociate from the rest of the picture. They are no longer meaningful elements. I see them not so much as Little Red Riding Hood and a wolf’s eye now, but more as two red triangles that float up and out of the picture.

I return to the wolf with the more pointed red eye.

WolfsEye05 by Molly Bang

And, in case you were curious, this is what the scene looks like when all is said and done. From here, Bang continues by listing and illuminating twelve fantastic visual principles (all wonderfully illustrated).

Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf Final by Molly Bang

And with this beautiful image, I will conclude the post. Thank you so much for reading.

You can find more information about the minimalist illustrators and artists mentioned in this article at these sites: Molly Bang, Indre Bankauskaite, Noma Bar, Pablo Gauthier, Alessandro Gottardo, Christian Jackson and more information on his series by My Modern Met here, Lowe/SSP3 and more information on its series by Chic Type here, Pinto Sketches, Dina Waluyo, and Bethan Woollvin.

Books mentioned in this article:

If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to Mirror Mirrored so we can bring you more like it.


Bethan Woolvin Rapunzel

Molly Bang Picture This

By |2018-08-12T16:28:46+00:00December 9th, 2017|Books, Creative, Design, Illustrations|
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