Fairy Tales With a Twist

Hey everybody my name is Vanja Todoric, and I will be your guest bloger for today.

First of all I would like to thank Petar Meseldzija, the man who most certainly was one of my biggest role models while growing up, for giving me a chance to share some of my thoughts with you.

When Petar asked me to be a guest on Muddy Colors, the first idea that came to my mind was to write about the technique, and technical process I go through while doing an illustration. But I realized that it’s kind of absurd to even consider doing that, knowing all the great and much more experienced artists that Muddy Colors have in their ranks.

So, instead I decided to write about the things that motivate me, stuff I love to illustrate and my favorite theme of all – fairy tales.

Serbian Mythology – Rebels, “Witch Flying on a Walnut” 

For the last three years, the theme that was most present in all of my illustrations was either closely or entirely related to fairy tales. Whether I was working on my personal stuff, or the “Serbian Mythology” books, or the project I’m currently working on, I just couldn’t escape from them, and what was even more interesting, I couldn’t get enough of them!

Usually any kind of overusing a certain theme will eventually lead you up to the point where you will get fed up with it, and won’t stand to look, listen, or speak of it any more.

Banished Creatures, “Midwife”, “Nightmare” and “Talason” 

So during these three years I was expecting the same thing would happen to the affection I have for fairy tales. But strangely it didn’t, and I was starting to wonder why.

I’m sure that there are many reasons that can explain this, but here is the one that I think is probably the most accurate one. Fairy tales were, are and always will be popular among us because long time ago we chose to keep that beautiful tradition of reading and telling them to our kids.

Serbian Fairy Tales, “The Groom Snake”, “PepperCorn” and “The Golden Fleece Ram” 

Even today, you can stop a kid on a street, with all the Iphone/pod/pad gadgets dangling of him, and he will still know to tell you about the Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, or Pinocchio. And it does not matter what century we live in, there will always be a new way to tell the old stories we’ve heard so many times before.

That is so awesome because, these days, most of the people in the world will be able to recognize and relate to your reinterpretation of a certain story, because most of us remember how it felt when you were a kid snuggled up in your bed, waiting for your mom or dad to read you about the three little Piglets battling the Big Bad Wolf, or how Peter Pan kicked Captain Hook’s butt over and over again.

 “Lela and the Fox”

One of the things that also drove me to this conclusion was when I remembered the first long animated movie that Walt Disney made in 1937. I really think he had in mind all the things I mentioned before when he choose “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” as the theme for his cartoon. And Nearly 80 years later, in 2012, two movies were made using the same theme, “Mirror Mirror” and “Snow White and the Huntsman”, and as I know each one of them was considered to be a great success.

I think that’s the true example of the beautiful effect that fairy tales have on people, the fact that after all the different versions of fairy tales that were presented to us for years and years, we still get excited when we hear about the new book, movie, animation, or a theatre play that is based on one of them.

That is why I love them so much, and why I will continue to illustrate them for many years to come.

 “Trivun Kalaba riding his Black Steed” 

Here are some of the fairy tales I did, which I’m sure most of you know.

Little Red Riding Hood

In this version there is no hunter who comes and rescues granny and the little girl in the end, … wolf eats them, story over. This is the main reason why the girl has a scull instead of a face ( a “walking dead” metaphor).

This was the first Fairy Tale reinterpretation I did, I know it’s not much different from the original, but I see now that this was just a warm up illustration that pretty much defined the style and mood of the ones that were about to come.

Charles Perrault “Little Red Riding Hood” 2009. 

Goldie Locks And The Three Bears

This is the illustration I did for the CGsociety ”Secret Agent” challenge. The illustration won the “Best Character Award”.

The World famous POTATO PORRIDGE factory gets anonymous tip of a “Mama Bears Home Made Potato Porridge” that tastes so good, the sources say it may endanger the existence of their factory and brand.

After losing trace of six of their finest agents, the board of directors sends agent “G” (AKA Goldie Locks) to try infiltrate and steal the recipe for “MBHMPP”. While The Bears are away, agent “G” sneaks into their home, finds the recipe but the problem suddenly appears … the SECRET INGREDIENT part is missing

In order to find out what the secret ingredient is, she starts tasting the porridges served on the table. They taste so good but she is unable to make out the secret ingredient part. All of a sudden her eyes feel very heavy, she tries to fight it as long as she can, but eventually she drops on the bed near by. In that moment the missing pieces of the puzzle reveal the horror, that is her soon to be future …

The bears are the ones responsible for the anonymous tip, bears are the ones who tricked agent “G” into tasting the porridge with the sleeping potion in it, and the secret ingredient, … well, the secret ingredients are secret agent body parts.

The Grimm Brothers “The Goldie Locks and the Three Bears” 2010.

The Little Match Girl

This is the illustration I did for the CGsociety ”DreamScape” challenge. The illustration won the “Best Character Award”.

I’m sure most of you know the fairy tale ”The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christian Andersen.
Well, my story begins when this one ends.

When the last match is out, and there is nothing else to keep her warm in this cold winter night. When she finally closes her eyes and drifts away into her last ice cold dream …
Here, in this dream, she will take her last stand fighting off cold, but unfortunately we all know how this dream is going to end.

I wanted to show the girl’s struggle in a different way than in the original story, so as a metaphor for cold I used polar animals, and the matches she used to keep her warm became the sword of fire.

Hans Christian Andersen “The Little Match Girl” 2011.