Susanna Plotnick

Painter, Illustrator & Doll-maker


illustrating The Snow Queen, part 1

27 November 2014

Let me say before I start that I consider Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” possibly the most difficult fairy tale to illustrate. It is an exceptional story, unlike any other.

There is a wildness and flow to the story which is incomparable. But also there is a sweetness, prettiness and religiosity in the original story. And I would never dare to “retell” this story.

Then there is the amount of white – the snow, the Snow Queen, the endless travels over snow-covered continents in a white sled. Quite a challenge for a painter.

And who is the Snow Queen, this beautiful woman whose eyes “have neither rest nor peace” in them? Who will give Kay his freedom only if he can spell “eternity” in letters of ice?

I am featuring in this first installment Vladyslav Yerko’s daring portrayal of the Snow Queen as a very frightening mechanized robot. This 2006 edition amazed me because so many of the images are in bright color. Note the skillful combination of color with white in this image.

I will continue to explore this fairy tale and its emotional impact in subsequent blogs.

I welcome your thoughts: