For my FMP i would like to create/ illustrate a children’s book, and i have been inspired over the years by paper cutting art and this would be an excellent chance to try my hand at such a beautiful technique. I am also interested in the prospects of creating/ adapting a children’s story to give a more feminist outlook, this is because of my current dissatisfaction in the way children’s stories are segregated by gender and how the majority of stories featuring fairy tales and princesses are looked down upon for being told/ illustrated in a manner that demeans women and their roles. I am personally a great lover of classic fairy tale books, and would like the chance particularly to adapt one that would still allow for the magic that children love, but in a manner that gives female characters equal power and wit to the male characters.
One story that has stuck in my mind and has been a personal favorite since i was a child is the “12 Dancing Princesses” because i think it has alot of potential for modernization particularly in terms of how gender is portrayed. I always loved that it had a few feminist ideals in the original, in the sense that the princesses disobey their father to go dancing every night and have a good time, not necessarily the part where they meet princes in the magical land they go, but the idea is very modern. Also how the princesses initially deal with the men who have been sent to discover their secret, knocking them out with a sleeping drink and sneaking out regardless which shows them to be cunning and powerful which is what i would like to emanate within an adaptation. To adapt the ending ( well change it entirely) because i feel that is what lets it down and allows the book to become another conformist happily every after story, because one of the princesses marries the prince that discovers their secret, If i were to choose to adapt this story i would definitely veto the ending for something more exciting and less traditional if this were allowed.
I have been inspired to create a feminist viewed children’s story by the books i discovered whilst researching my essay, and particularly i liked the immensely popular “Paper bag princess” because it changes the role of the term “princess” entirely, in which she don’s a paper bag when her castle is burnt down by a dragon, and then goes off it in to slay the dragon and rescue the prince. The prince in question she actually doesn’t want to marry in the end because the journey she undertook proved she was worth more than the life of a stuck up princes wife.
“The Paper Bag Princess is a children’s book written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko. It was first published on 1 May 1980 by Annick Press. The story reverses the princess and dragon stereotype. As a result, it has won critical acclaim from feminists, including an endorsement from the National Organization for Women, which sells the book on its website.”
The illustrations themselves, are however not the route i would like to go in. As i have said before i have been inspired by paper cutting artists particularly, but i am open to many new ideas and inspiration for the illustrations of my idea. I would however like the illustrations to be as fantastical and detailed as the story of the 12 dancing princesses deserves, because it is a wonderfully descriptive book, whilst also injecting humor. I do not necessarily know what age group this would be aimed it, it could even be teenagers or older children because i am unsure of how far i would like to go in the adapting of the story and how gruesome it could end up ( i have been inspired in the past by the feminist fairy tale writer Angela Carter who takes a rather more horrifying stance). Below are a selection of images from various artists that i have found inspiring, i think its good to look at a variety of work from various disciplines, and i find the most inspirational work is that which i would like to be able to create myself so it gives me goals and ideals to strive for.
Initial ideas + aims:
- create a book or a set of illustrations for a book
- could be 3D or 2D or even be a sculptural piece
- inspired by challenging gender roles and this is something i am passionate about
- intricate work is my favorite kind, but are there other styles i should be exploring?
- could animation play a role in this once i have created my illustrations? could they become an animated feature as well as a book to ensure i am keeping up with today’s technological advances?
- create something i am proud to call my own work, this is most important for me 🙂