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  • Writer's picturesamartfindlater

V&A student illustration competition

The following illustrations were created for entry to the Folio/House of illustration 2019 BIC 'Howl's Moving Castle' by Diana Wynne-Jones. I loved reading this book and I love the authors playful enjoyment of 'Fairy-Tale' tropes, and so I wanted to make reference to the golden age of fairy tale illustration - Rackham etc but like Wynne-Jones contemporary twist (Howl is a modern-day Welsh man from the valleys) I hoped my classic-contemporary approach to illustration balanced this out so that it is relatable to audiences... The Binding Illustrates Sophie (under an enchantment which makes her appear old) stops the castle. At the start of the book we are told that Howl is heartless and takes girl's hearts..but at the end we see that Howl has a big heart and is very kind..but he is indeed without a heart because he gave it to Calcifer and we are told that Howl's heart is symbol heart shaped rather than anatomically correct. My first spread is when Howl accosts Sophie on May Day, We are not told this elaborately dressed man is Howl, but we sort of think he might be..I wanted to keep this mystery of his identity in this image whilst still having a connection between him and Sophie, who is socially anxious and embarrassed and terrified by the attention of this handsome man. The second illustration is when Howl has to move the 'root' location of the castle. To perform this he has to move Calcifer on a silver spade who is sitting on a cleft piece of coal (which is actually Howl's heart) the room fills with smoke and Sophie, Michael (Howl's apprentice) and the red setter dog are watching, Michael struggles to hold his balance, Sophie tries to stop herself breathing in the smoke and wipes the tears from her eyes and the dog leans against Sophie. The third spread is the scene when Michael is trying to catch a shooting/falling star. Again the illustration is from a passage in the text and I think with this one I was very literal with the text description, but it seemed so beautiful and fascinating that I was compelled to visualise it on paper.

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