Wednesday, December 21, 2011

David Petersen Illustrates Muppets & Fairy Tales

Don't you just love Miss Piggy as the Evil Queen? She could definitely take on Regina from OUAT!
I know the Muppet fairy tale comics have been out for a while but I thought the artwork by David Petersen, creator of the award-winning Mouse Guard graphic novels, was worth a revisit. Not only is he a phenomenal illustrator he's been back in "fairy tale news" with his latest project, illustrating some old fairy tale affiliates we recognize and tackling some lesser known tales too.

I am, of course, talking about the new Jim Henson's The Storyteller graphic novel anthology. (And yes, this is on my  fairy tale wishlist too - which, admittedly, is actually a lot longer than the one on Heidi's blog!) Mr. Petersen was the artist behind the lovely cover/promo-poster artwork and he also illustrates The Tinderbox in the anthology (another of my favorite stories!).

Here's an excerpt of what he says about this project, from his BLOG:
I was lucky enough to be asked by the folks at Archaia to do a pinup for their Jim Henson's The Storyteller Anthology Graphic Novel.(This also marks the 3rd Henson property I have been fortunate enough to have done pinup/cover/promotional artwork for Archaia!) The show did a wonderful job of transitioning between the Storyteller character and his dog and the story he was telling. The characters from the tale would appear in the reflections of water in bowls, on the sides of decorative steins, and in the painting over the hearth. I focused much of my attention to a way I thought I could capture that transition idea in a single pinup.
The story I started with was called The Tinderbox by Hans Christian Andersen. The story starts with a soldier who, on the request of a old witch-like woman, climbs down the trunk of a hollow tree to a cavern where three giant dogs guarding piles of treasure dwelled, as well as a magic tinderbox capable of controlling the beasts. I only roughed-in these parts in my sketch and focused more on trying to get the linkess of John Hurt as the Storyteller and his Henson-furred dog. I scanned the sketches from my sketchbook and resized the elements (adjusting how close the Storyteller and his dog are sitting, where they sit in the frame, etc.) I also tinted the pencil work different colors to help me visualize what lines belong to which character or the window.
You can read more about his process and other projects HERE and below is the finished illustration of The Tinderbox that he shows some working steps for in his blog:
I'd love to see a panel with the Storyteller's dog meeting the three dogs with eyes like saucers. :D
I was so excited to pick up Jim Henson's The Storyteller book when it first came out. Although it doesn't approach the charm of the gorgeously puppeteered and animated TV series the collection is worth making a special spot on your bookshelf for. The comics, while having their own challenges in keeping the spirit of the series, once again pick up lesser known tales with a variety of illustrators and writers. While I'm picky about comics (I love the idea and much of the artwork but rarely find them truly readable) I can't wait to add this set (in hardcover if possible!) to my library when I can.

And, as promised, here are some of his beautiful cover pieces for the Muppet Fairy Tale comics:
I love Kermit as Peter Pan! It works really well.

I think this is from the King Arthur ones but it reminded me of Sleeping Beauty so I had to include it. :)
LOTS of info on the Muppet Snow White comic series HERE with behind-the-scenes insights on story and adapting the muppets to the characters and much more. You can also see additional illustrations for King Arthur and Robin Hood HERE and there's an additional illustration with Janice as Lady of the Lake HERE.

Since we're talking Muppets, as a completely silly segue I had to include a couple of the "Muppet Saga" posters recently released.
LOL! Now this is a version of Twilight I would like to see! :D

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