A Choice: Cartoony Versus Realism

One of the things that I’ve most enjoyed about adapting the Oscar Wilde fairy tales is the chance it gives me to play with a drawing style that hovers between a ‘realistic’ approach to drawing and one that draws on a more ‘cartoony’ style such as that which is employed in animated films.

The heroes (sometimes tragically so) of The Young King, The Nightingale and the Rose, and The Happy Prince are all based on real if somewhat idealized people. A more realistic approach seemed best suited to the nature of their roles.

The heroes of The Selfish Giant, The Devoted Friend, and The Birthday of the Infanta relied more on a stylized cartoony or animated feel.

The stories themselves may have been ultimately tragic but their heroes were not idealized beings and so needn’t be welded to the ‘real’. These are the ones most fun to draw and are worked out entirely in my sketchbooks sometimes filling many pages before any drawing is committed to the actual page.

The Happy Prince seemed best suited to an idealized romantic depiction but only because he was a statue. All the rest of his world, the villagers in particular, worked better as broad caricatures. I like that visual tension between those two types playing together on the same page.

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