I created eight illustrations from Alice in Wonderland, to be displayed in libraries across Essex for their ‘Down the rabbit hole’ event, funded by the Arts Council England. They are to form a ‘wonderland trail’ as part of their celebrations to mark the 150yr anniversary of the book.
This is the first image, with the first time Alice sees the white rabbit. I have included the instructions the group gave me for the scene and a rabbit drawn in the workshop too.
The group voted that the rabbit should have a red jacket, the Cheshire cat should be pale grey with pink, blue and purple patches, and that Alice should be a strawberry blonde. All great ideas in my opinion, but I especially like the idea of Alice’s hair colour, I’m all in favour of redheads!
I added the Cheshire cat to this scene too to give the impression wonderland is already appearing (that Alice is already asleep).
There is a scene in the story where Alice’s neck grows too long and her head goes through the tree tops and scares a pigeon in its nest. This scene wasn’t chosen for the final few so I thought it might be nice to add a pigeon here being scared by the rabbit instead.
The pool of tears, after Alice has grown too big to get through the door to the beautiful garden. The group wanted the ‘French mouse’ in this scene to be wearing a red beret.
This is the finished caucus race, I thought it would be nice to have Alice joining in. Until I read the original story again before I started this project I had forgotten about the group of little animals and birds that crop up quite often, I love drawing little creatures so this was one of my favourite to do.
The scene where Alice grows too big for the house is illustrated in different ways, either from inside or outside the house. The group wanted a view from the outside and to include the little animals throwing rocks that turn into cakes when they hit her (she eats a cake to shrink again).
This is my final illustration for this scene, which I think is pretty close to the original idea. I couldn’t resist adding the blue caterpillar to the branch below though (as Alice meeting the caterpillar wasn’t a scene chosen by the group I thought it would be nice if he still made a guest appearance somewhere!)
The croquet game is one of my favourite scenes, it has a real sense of chaos and silliness to it.
This is another of my favourite scenes. I have made this one a little more chaotic, I thought it would be fun to have the accused thief the knave of hearts sneaking away and one of the animals stealing a tart, both taking advantage of the queen being distracted by Alice.
Alice waking up. I couldn’t resist adding the blue caterpillar again hiding in her apron pocket. I liked the idea of a bit of wonderland still being with her after she had woken up.