Fairy Tale Art.

A wonderful site, full of enough fairy tale art to keep a person quite busy, sent along by rq: Art Passions. Fairy Tale art and artists encompass so very many styles, and the illustrations are crucial to the stories, they inflame the imagination, and illuminate the stories from within. In this particular case, serendipity strikes, as I brought home a book of short tales by Leigh Bardugo yesterday:

The first story, Ayama and the Thorn Wood, is a grand story which I enjoyed very much. I do have one noisy complaint however, and it has to do with the fairy tale art. In the story, Ayama is described thusly:

“Ayama was clumsy and apt to drop things. Her body was solid and flat-footed, short and round as a beer jug.”

Given this description, why in the fuckety fuck is Ayama drawn like this?:

This never should have gotten a pass from anyone, let alone the author. It is not a crime to depict characters correctly, and all girls do not need to be tall and thin with a teeny waist. FFS, seeing this sort of thing is infuriating, and it went a long way to souring a very good story. In the story, Ayama is strong, courageous, imaginative, and thoughtful. In the drawing, she’s just another generic pretty, skinny girl. That’s not doing anyone any favours. We all come in different shapes and sizes, and that’s a message all kids need. What they don’t need is yet another cookie cutter shape to try and stuff themselves into, regardless of fit.


  1. rq says

    Speaking of fairy tales, have you read Katherine Arden? I’m eating up herThe Bear and the Nightingale right now, and it is a delight -- religion and old gods and taking a lovely turn for the dark right now, with a stubborn and proud main character. I hope the ending doesn’t disappoint. And she’s got a second book out that I will seek out when I’m done.

  2. rq says

    The picture’s redeeming feature is the fact that Ayama is portrayed as a person of colour, which happens so rarely, even when the characters explicitly are people of colour. But I agree sincerely re: shapes, that is not a beer jug!
    Also sounds like a book I should check out.

  3. says

    But that makes it worse! Ayama is described as being dark-skinned in the story, so if the artist got that bit right, what the hell happened with the rest? Ayama ends up magnificently at the end of the story, and she does physically change, but it’s not her shape or height which change. She’s still short, round, and flat-footed with a clarion voice.

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