Alida Massari - my illustration process

Illustrating classic fairy tales is always a big challenge.

Famous characters are so stereotyped inside our minds that it is not easy to find new interpretations.

In order to realize the two volumes of Andersen’s fairy tales, I tried to stay close to tradition but also give a personal view of the stories.

It was the first time I could work on so many famous characters, in the past I have illustrated single stories, but never all together like in this collection.

So it was like being a film director that is working with famous actors. The audience will immediately identify who the characters are, but you have to show them with your style: you have to decide how to dress them, what light and what framing is better for them.                                     

   

Mainly I worked on three points that characterize my style:

colours, patterns and architecture.

 

Colours

 

Every story is distinguished by a different colour.

I like to give continuity and to have the same atmosphere inside the same story…so we have a freezing blue Sky for the “Snow Queen”, a fresh light green for “the ugly duckling” , a dramatic blue for “the little mermaid”, a warm scale of reds for the “princess on the pea”, and so on...

 

Patterns

 

I really enjoy decorating my illustrations, so I created many patterns that I alternated in the numerous illustrations.

I invented floral and geometric patterns to paint sumptuous fabrics, princely robes, and elegant draperies typical of fairy tales.

 

Architecture

 

Many of Andersen’s stories are set in little towns in northern Europe.

I have always loved the architectures of northern countries, the houses are absolutely fabulous and decorated, so I enjoyed reproducing those styles of architectures, taking inspiration from photos I took during my past travels.

 

 

To finish, I’d like to add that there is a story among Andersen’ s tales that I prefer, it is : “The Emperor’s new clothes” .

I like this story because it is educational and still relevant.

For several years I have been teaching in a School of illustration in Rome and I usually give this tale to my students to illustrate.

It was the first time I worked on this story so I felt like a young student, and I tried to do my best!

 

Make sure to follow Alida on Instagram, and visit her website