Monday, October 3, 2016

"Feather, Paws, Fins, and Claws" Illustrated by Lina Kusaite

Mentioned in our Mother Goose Refigured announcement yesterday, was the book, by the same author, titled Feathers, Paws, Fins, and Claws: Fairy Tale Beasts. We realized we hadn't had the opportunity to post on this book and wanted to share the available artwork (of which the book has much more) by mythic artist Lina Kusaite.
Lina has a wonderful collection of these on her Behance account, showing the process of her illustrations. (And her official website has a number of other amazing looking projects which you can see HERE.) What we really like about seeing these is that her process is a for of story building and informs us about the tale even more. Here's what she has top say about being commissioned for the project:
The Maiden and the Fish
In 2013 I was invited by Jennifer Schacker and Christine A. Jones to join their project, the collection of the world fairy-tales. The collection contains of 10 different fairy tales form England, Portugal, India, North America, France, Norway, Hungary and Italy. Some of the tales are dated to 16 century. 
Once we started to chat about drawing styles, we all agreed, that it would be very interesting to create illustrations that are inspired by the country the tales are originated form and the time of its writing. Such idea required research time on cultural styles and different visual materials. This process allowed me to familiarize with some cultural aspects, that later on was used to create illustrations. All illustration where inspired, created and improvised by its countries cultural and visual styles and through my own creative processes. It was very interesting and challenging task to change the styles after every illustration.Some fairy tales were more challenging then others, like “The Rat's Wedding” - Indian tale. In the beginning I wanted to follow traditional Indian drawings, but it was so far from my own style, that I had to scale down and was following more on some details and colour combinations.
Here's the write up:

“Ballad of the Bird-Bride”
A wide variety of creatures walk, fly, leap, slither, and swim through fairy-tale history. Some marvelous animal characters are deeply inscribed in current popular culture—the beast redeemed by beauty, the wolf in pursuit of little girls and little pigs, the frog prince released from enchantment by a young princess. But like the adventures of many fairy-tale heroes, a curious reader’s exploration in the genre can yield surprises, challenges, and unexpected rewards.Feathers, Paws, Fins, and Claws: Fairy-Tale Beasts presents lesser-known tales featuring animals both wild and gentle who appear in imaginative landscapes and enjoy a host of surprising talents. With striking original illustrations by artist Lina Kusaite and helpful introductions by fairy-tale scholars Jennifer Schacker and Christine A. Jones, the offbeat, haunting stories in this collection are rich and surprisingly relevant, demanding creative reading by audiences aged young adult and up.

"The Rat's Wedding"
“Prince Chéri”
Schacker and Jones choose stories that represent several centuries and cultural perspectives on how animals think and move. In these ten stories, rats are just as seductive as Little Red Riding Hood’s wolf; snakes find human mates; and dancing sheep and well-mannered bears blur the line between human and beast. Stories range in form from literary ballads to tales long enough to be considered short stories, and all are presented as closely as possible to their original print versions, reflecting the use of historical spelling and punctuation. Beasts move between typical animal behavior (a bird seeking to spread its wings and fly or a clever cat artfully catching its prey) and acts that seem much more human than beastly (three fastidious bears keeping a tidy home together or a snake inviting itself to the dinner table). 

Kusaite’s full-color artwork rounds out this collection, drawing imaginatively on a wide range of visual traditions—from Inuit design to the work of the British Arts and Crafts movement.
Together with the short introductions to the tales themselves, the illustrations invite readers to rediscover the fascinating world of animal fairy tales. All readers interested in storytelling, fairy-tale history, and translation will treasure this beautiful collection.
“East o’ the Sun, West o’ the Moon”
"The Story of the Three Bears"
"Nanina's Sheep"
Snake Skin

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