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The Young Slave, An Italian Fairy Tale

As a children's book illustrator, Denise has many things to say about the process, her struggles, and children's books on the market today.

The Young Slave, An Italian Fairy Tale

The Young Slave, An Italian Fairy Tale

My Children’s Alphabet Book

If you have followed my Fairy Tale Alphabet book series, you know I created a children’s book using fairy tales for each letter of the alphabet. I tried to keep them global, and not concentrate on only the classic Grimm’s fairy tales. This one is an Italian fairy tale. This one is almost a Sleeping Beauty-type story with a different twist. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

You’re entirely bonkers, but I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are.

— -Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

The Young Slave, An Italian Fairy Tale

In a kingdom long ago, a baron's sister bore a beautiful daughter and named her Lisa. The fairies came and gave her gifts, but one cursed Lisa to die when she was seven. She predicted that her mother while combing her hair, would forget and leave the enchanted comb in her hair. When the girl turned seven, the girl fell into a deathly sleep, just as the fairy predicted and the grieving mother put her in a crystal coffin and put her in a locked room. Lisa’s mother was so sad that she became ill. Before she died, she gave her brother, the baron, the key to the room and made him promise not to open it.

He obeyed her last request, but then he married. After a year or so his wife became curious about the locked room. One day while the baron was away hunting, his wife opened the door. At once she was jealous of the girl's beauty, so she pulled her out of the crystal coffin by her hair. The good news is that this rude treatment knocked the enchanted comb out of her hair and brought her back to life. But the baron’s wife was so jealous of the secret girl her husband kept behind a locked door that she beat her and made her a slave. She told her husband that a relative had sent a slave for them and warned him that stern measures were necessary with this perverse slave. The baron had never seen his niece but often thought there was something familiar about the young slave. But not wanting to upset his wife he let her do as she pleased with her slave.

One day, the baron overheard Lisa telling her doll who she really was and what had happened to her. When he learned the truth, he was outraged. He immediately confronted and dismissed his wife. The baron then put his niece, Lisa in the care of nurses and teachers where she was kindly treated. After a time, the baron brought Lisa into his home and found a suitable husband for her to marry.

Value Sketch

Value Sketch

Collage Illustrations

I used several photo references for girls and roses for this illustration. This collage was one of the first I worked on before publishing my book. Because I didn’t begin recording my progress on video until I was halfway through the book, I have no video to go with this story. I did take several progress photos though. I hope you enjoy seeing my progress on the collage.

You may notice that the thumbnails, value sketch, and color composition still have an S for Sleeping Beauty. I later decided that I wanted S for the Sage’s Daughter, the fairy tale from India, so I was going to throw out this illustration. But then I found the Young Slave which had a sleeping beauty in it and could use this illustration after all.

Photo compilation for the Young Slave illustration.

Photo compilation for the Young Slave illustration.

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”

— Albert Einstein

Published with Lulu

This fairy tale has been shortened to fit into my book along with all the other letters of the alphabet. If you would like to read the full version, you can Google the title and find the story as The Young Slave.

My book, The FairyTale Alphabet Book, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales from Around the World, was self-published last year with Lulu.com because Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing) refused to allow illustrations that spanned the central gutter of the page. They demanded at least a half-inch margin around the outside, which I could have done, and a half-inch margin through the center margin, which would destroy the look and cohesiveness of the double-page illustrations. I had to find a different publisher who would allow the illustrations the way I wanted them. KDP obviously does not understand illustrated children’s picture books. If you are interested in purchasing the book, go to the Lulu website and put my name or the name of the book in the search.

Did You Notice

In my collages, I use paper from magazines, old wall calendars, catalogs, and circulars. Often I will add things into a collage you can't see unless you are looking for it.

The most beautiful things in the world must be felt with the heart.

— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Final Thoughts

Because this is one of the illustrations I used for my school thesis project, the instructors felt free to suggest and require changes to my illustration. In the end, I changed everything back to my original concept before publishing my book. For fun, I have included below my work and the changes the professors thought would be best. What do you think?

I hope you like my story and my fairy tale alphabet book idea. If you are interested you can purchase it on Lulu but not on Amazon. I’d love to read your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on July 25, 2020:

Peggy Woods,

I thought she was all wet about that "simplify" thing. I thought that she was losing her "cuteness factor" and if it isn't cute, what's the point? Glad you agree. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 25, 2020:

I liked your image much better than the one suggested by your professor. We are spanning the globe with your fairy tales, which is fun. This one does resemble Sleeping Beauty.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 14, 2020:

Devika Primić,

I'm very pleased that I found ones you never heard of. It's more fun that way. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 14, 2020:

Gilbert Arevalo,

I'm so happy you liked it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 14, 2020:

Denise you amaze me with such titles. I am glad you writing about such tales. Most of what I didn't know of. The illustrations are fascinating!

Gilbert Arevalo from Hacienda Heights, California on May 07, 2020:

I enjoyed your Italian fairy tale and illustrative art work.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 06, 2020:

Linda Crampton,

Thank you. I think so too. They were trying to simplify too much for the audience (children) and I don't think that having all the pieces confuse children at all. There are realistic illustrations for children. I feel like I'm swimming against the current but I know I'm going the right direction for me. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 04, 2020:

I can definitely see why you discarded your professor's suggestions! Your version is much more attractive and interesting. It's a lovely illustration.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 04, 2020:

Eric Dierker,

I'm so tickled you think so. It does my heart good to see so many good people like fairy tales like me. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 04, 2020:

Paula,

I'm glad you think my artwork is working for this book. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 04, 2020:

MG Singh,

I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 04, 2020:

Liz Westwood,

Yes, I really enjoyed finding so many familiar elements in so many fairy tales from other countries. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 04, 2020:

Bill Holland,

I'm so glad you think so. I liked it enough to enter this one in an art show. I didn't win anything, but it sure looked good on the walls of the gallery and gained lots of attention. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 04, 2020:

Lorna Lamon,

I really loved the eye on the arm as well, but my art school professors thought it was too much "clutter" for children and made me remove the extra "collage" look for the final thesis. After graduating I looked over everything and thought, my orginals were better. So I threw out most of the suggestions and changes they made in school. I like the clutter better. I figure these are the same people who didn't have the foresight to see "Where's Waldo" as something that would sell. Thanks for the kudos.

Blessings,

Denise

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 04, 2020:

You are such a creative person. I love your idea of doing the alphabet this way. It is much more interesting.

Rachel Alba on May 04, 2020:

Hi Denise, I trust you and your family are safe and well in the midst of this quarantine. You have many talents, I enjoyed the story and your art work is beautiful.

Blessings to you.

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on May 04, 2020:

One has to really study those thumbnail shots to see some of the differences, while others are obvious.

The Italians are famous for their dramatic operas, and this one is a great example.

Your patience with preparation for art is commendable, Denise, and I appreciate your value sketches and photo compilations.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 03, 2020:

I like the story but wish that the baron's wife stayed around long enough to apologize and reconcile with Lisa. Your art work is phenomenal and yes, I appreciate seeing the progress. What awesome talent you have!

fluxit on May 03, 2020:

Cool

James C Moore from The Great Midwest on May 03, 2020:

I I always like a happy ending. Trying to keep up. I've read four or five other tales in this series and commented on one. This is a really unique book you're writing.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 03, 2020:

Thanks much. I read Einsteins' quote and thought how you help me to imagine.

Suzie from Carson City on May 03, 2020:

Denise......A wonderful tale and your artistic talent is AMAZING! Paula

MG Singh emge from Singapore on May 03, 2020:

Denise, what a wonderful tale. Reminded me a bit about Blue beard. This was a refreshing story and all credit to you.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 03, 2020:

It's interesting to find familiar elements in an unfamiliar tale. I can see why you reverted to your original design.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 03, 2020:

I love your collage. One of your best so far, me thinks. Bravo!

Lorna Lamon on May 03, 2020:

Another timeless tale and there is something so serene about this sleeping beauty. To achieve this effect through your collage is incredible Denise. I have spotted a little dog and some socks within the roses and I love that watchful eye on her arm. Just lovely work.