Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Little Red Riding Hood

I knew for sure when I first started planning "Grimm and Other Folk Tales" that I'd be revisiting Little Red Riding Hood.

This is a small, old watercolor from about seven years ago.

I love stories where heroic innocence beats something really bad. In the ones I really love there's no real danger. Nothing is going to hurt them. Max? He's the King of All Wild Things and though "they roar their terrible roars" they can't touch him.

That's not to say nothing happens, or there's nothing bad, dangerous, or perilous; whatever you'd like to call it but even in the scariest, worst place you know that something good will happen, not because you hope it will, but because it has too. The woodchopper is coming.

Whether it's Max in Where the Wild Things Are, or Little Red, there's something about the naïveite of the hero that resonates with me. Good will work out simply because it's good.

Even more than the innocence of the hero (or heroine) , I love the woodchopper; whatever form he takes.

It touches on the theme we talked about a couple posts back with Snow White, J. R. R. Tolkien's concept of "eucatastrophe" -- a good catastrophe, a sudden turn of events in which the outcome is joy, not sorrow.

"Far more powerful and poignant is the effect [of joy] in a serious tale of Faerie. In such stories, when the sudden turn comes, we get a piercing glimpse of joy, and heart's desire, that for a moment passes outside the frame, rends indeed the very web of story, and lets a gleam come through." -- Tolkien

I might be stretching it a little far maybe, with Little Red Riding Hood, tying it to Tolkien's quote, considering the origins of the tale and ways one might interpret it, but still I believe good will work out simply because it's good.

I'd love to know what you think.

* * *

Well, enough of that, on to the work.

Something like 7 or 8 years ago I did a painting of Little Red Riding Hood. Behold.

I ended up giving the painting to Justin who liked it a great deal and still talks about it.

I always liked it too, in the back of my head, but never felt it the drawing was all that good. I liked the idea though. So, much like I did with this drawing below which I took and reinterpreted into the cover for Ticket,


(which, Ticket, incidentally is very nearly sold out. There are literally only 2 left.)

I took the idea of the old Little Red painting and applied what (hopefully) I've learned in the intervening years and made a stronger piece.

the rough, the color comp.

the drawing.


One thing I do like about the old one that's missing from the color comp. is the lightness of the trees and gradation of darkness from the top to the bottom behind them. I'll have to apply some of that logic when the time comes to finish this.

* * *

Little Red Riding Hood
from Little Red Riding Hood

* * *

Overall update on Grimm and Other Folk Tales : Things are going very well. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the traditional work, I've gotten all the drawings and half of the paintings done. My goal is to be done with the watercolor and have it all scanned this weekend and begin final work early next week. We are right on track. April 3rd opening date here we come. Well! With that, I leave you with the subject of the next post :

Next post : Hansel and Gretel, or a lot of a lot of trees and two little kids.

* * *


Anonymous said...

add one word to your composition & i'll have nightmares:
"the village."
well, i suppose that's 2.

it's splendidly done, sir.
i also love the color comp: recent & 7 years ago. (which is a lil' less frightening, thank God.)

& i love the one justin stole.
i would have if he didn't.

Loren Eaton said...

Love the one you gave to Justin. It hits all the right spooky notes.

Unknown said...

This is SWEET! Awesome. Can't wait to see the final product.

Liz Jones said...

LOVE it!!

Josh Fink said...

I also love stories that require Good win in the end. It's a shame that they are often compared to "the real world" where "the good guys don't always win."

I think that Good does always win in the end, just sometimes the wolf has to swallow grandma before the woodsman can come. o felix culpa!

The other problem with the comparison is that we always view ourselves as Little Red. The protagonist. In the "real world" I am all too often the wolf.

Kristi Valiant said...

Beautiful job reworking the size of the wolf compared to Little Red; it greatly increases the sense of danger. I love your color choices in all your paintings. I look forward to seeing the final of this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cory,
In the new color comp, I like the way the wolf is almost shrouded in fog. It makes it so much more mysterious. Almost as though little red doesn't really see him, but in the back of her mind she suspects something could go wrong...
Anyway, I really like it.

Jared said...

hmmm, i love all your work anyway, but i prefer the older comp for red. Red herself seems more lively and innocent, with more bounce in her step, and i like how the wolf--still a good deal larger then her--is more hidden in the trees, and that the trees are thicker. that heightens the sense of danger for me more so than a bigger wolf.

having said that, i like the new one too.

Su said...

Really love this one...it's like life itself...

I've seen it searching for Little Red Riding Hood images on the net, and I wanted to know who had drawn this beautiful one just for greeting about :)

Cheers from Spain

Unknown said...

I love your work and your blog, thank you! Ciao!

Mildred Largaespada said...

Hi, I wrote a post and posted a picture to you. Beautiful. Here it is: http://milyuntropicos.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/cuentos-de-hadas/

Anonymous said...


Have you published Little Red Riding Hood using these paintings? If so please send me the link so I can buy it. asha@casketsdirect.com.au

LOVE your work, simply lovely. :)

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You won't believe this Asbestos Lawyer Pearland said...

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