How to paint a Grimm fairy tale
Min Yum says planning ahead, keeping things simple and having fun are all key to creating a compelling Brothers Grimm fairy tale illustration
Min Yum says planning ahead, keeping things simple and having fun are the keys to creating a compelling Brothers Grimm-style fairy tale illustration.
Creating a picture isn’t easy. There are so many things to consider: ideas, composition, storytelling, mood, colour and rendering, to name but a few. It can easily become overwhelming.
At least in this case I have the Brothers Grimm stories to take inspiration from. The editor asks me to paint a scene from a fairy tale, and I choose The Six Swans, in which six brothers have to be released from their avian curse by their sister. I don’t have a set painting process, but I do follow a few guidelines. First, I plan ahead, and that means lots of research. Often there are going to be elements I’m not familiar with, and that means lots of sketching. I’d rather solve any problems at the start than leave them for the final stages. Furthermore, if it doesn’t work as a sketch then it’s not going to work as a detailed colour work.
Second, keeping it simple: design, colour, story… nice and simple! I often have to remind myself of this because it’s probably the hardest one to stick to.
Finally, the great thing about digital media is how it’s so forgiving of mistakes. So take advantage of it. When I get stuck I’ll just go back and take a different route.
Oh, and have fun! For this workshop it’s an opportunity to show a different side of fairy tales. There’s something very dry, melancholy yet romantic about them. And it’s these qualities that make them such an enjoyable subject to paint.