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Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Once Upon A Time

Exercise 2 - Produce a series of black and white illustrations in response to a popular fairy story or folk tale of your choice.

In this exercise, I decided to work with the classic story, The Three Little Pigs by Joseph Jacobs.

I'm not entirely sure why I keep gravitating towards animals, especially wolf/dog like animals as previously I have mentioned my struggles of drawing dogs, yet without thinking of the drawing process here, I opted for a story that heavily involves a wolf. Though I had spent enough time doing the digging around and seeing illustrators who had created artwork originally so it felt time consuming to start again with a different story, just to go through the whole process again.

I had found many illustrations for The Three Little Pigs, some classic, some modern. It felt necessary to research the evolution of how the story had been illustrated in time. How had the styles changed and perhaps to ask the question, which style do I want to work with?

I discovered illustrator L. Leslie Brooke during my very early research on stories for this exercise, which is what inspired me to work on the Three Little Pigs.

I absolutely adored the clean line work in Brooke's illustrations. There is certainly a sense of Anthropomorphism in his characters which I love how he balances the realism with an element of cartoon through gesture and also by giving them human homes.

Another artist I found from a similar period was Milo Winter, who's illustrations for Three Little Pigs had caught my eye during the hunt on Pinterest. I later dug a little deeper to find more about him and came across a number of "vintage" Three Little Pigs books being sold on eBay. One account had photographed each page, which felt perfect for getting a closer look at the entire work to see how the illustrations worked with the text.

I attempted to jot down ideas for my black and white drawings. Quite soon into the practice my frustration for drawings wolves hit big. I decided to tackle this by doing some observational drawings of wolves from photos found online. I thought that perhaps my problem is that I don't know or understand the form of the wolves anatomy and that drawing from reference would help improve this.

after drawing these I still didn't have the confidence in drawing them "cartoon" style. The efforts I made felt unnatural to draw, the mouth still causing me the most stress. I thought about making it realistic in the style instead, but giving human characteristics like Leslie Brooke and Milo Winter.

I went on to make a 4 panel comic strip breaking down one scene from the story.

So for frame one I was hoping to make a sinister looking wolf that is up to no good. He's leaning towards the door with a confident stretch to reach the door where he knocks. I had the vision of this gesture being a little bit evil to suggest his intentions. I also imagine the continuous knocking whilst he speaks to the pig in its straw house, giving creepy feels that would scare the pig.

Frame two is a view from inside the house where the pig also feels confident and assertive as it tells the wolf no within the protection of its home! I liked that these two frames felt like a standoff with just a door between them. Wolf on the left and pig on the right, the composition and positioning of each suggesting that they are actually talking to each other (which they are!).

Frame three is the wolf getting inpatient and angry with the rejection from the pig. I want the gesture to wind back as if inhaling lots of air in preparation to blowing down the house. It felt weak in the thumbnail, it needed some work, perhaps a different view to make the panels feel more interesting on the page. Perhaps a close up could work for the page.

Frame four is the mighty action of the wolf blowing down the straw house. I liked the way the pig was mixed within the straw in a cartoony fashion with limbs hanging out of a cloud mixed with its straw house in pieces. I didn't like the position of the wolf. I was aiming for a bit of a frame position here, creating direction of where the viewer should move the eyes but feel it didn't go as I had imagined. This definitely needed attention.

I suddenly had the thought of beast from Beauty and the Beast, and remembering some the animation frames by Glen Keane. Not only could this help with drawing the wolf standing on its back legs almost human like, but it could also help with gesture. One scene in particular matched my vision for frame three where the wolf reacts badly to being rejected.

I like how these illustration came out, however I think I made the straw house a tad too dark in contrast to the characters. I had to give the wolf a halo around him just so he didn't get lost in there. I think if I was to take these into a second stage of defining, I would certainly improve the background... for once I actually like the two characters!



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