Kay Nielsen’s East of the Sun and West of the Moon

One of the illustrations from Kay Nielsen’s book East of the Sun and West of the Moon
Designed by STadeoDesign

Kay Nielsen's East of the Sun and West of the Moon
So she rode a long, long way, till they came to a great steep hill. There, on the face of it, the White Bear gave a knock, and a door opened, and they came into a castle where there were many rooms all lit up; rooms gleaming with silver and gold; and there, too, was a table ready laid, and it was all as grand as grand could be.

Above is an illustration redesign of one of the images from Kay Nielsen’s book East of the Sun and West of the Moon. I added colors to a black and white image found on the public domain. You can read the book online or download the ebook from Gutenberg.org. Please don’t forget to add a reference link to this blog if you would like to use the image.

I recently learned of Kay Nielsen while doing research on fairy tales, myth and folklores, illustrations, and picture books in general. I came across a copy of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales (copyright 1924, printed 1932) at a local used book store and I just could not believe my luck! Kay Nielsen “illustrated books with the publication of Fairy Tales by Hans Andersen in 1924. That title included 12 color plates and more than 40 monotone illustrations.” (Wikipedia.org) You can view or purchase a copy of the same Fairy Tales here if you are interested.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Illustrator: Kay Nielsen
Here is the original illustration from Gutenberg.

Nielsen’s illustrations are categorized under the Art Nouveau movement from the early 1900s, which I am obsessed with. Naturally, I am now obsessed with Kay Nielsen’s work. I am however in search of the original copy of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, if not, I can settle with the newer edition, which still looks very good.

This project allowed me to accomplish several tasks all at once. First, I have been meaning to practice my drawing/painting skills using digital tools. I have only used acrylic on canvas and doodled on my journal using a pencil whenever I get the chance. I have been creating illustrations for years but they were mostly logos and marketing materials. Second, I wanted to finally use my Wacom tablet that I received as a gift many years ago! I was very glad to learn that it was still compatible with my computer. Finally, I am fortunate to have Photoshop CC from my job and able to use it while I’m off work. I am also going to be using Krita, “a professional FREE and open source painting program,” which I’ve found only recently and I am excited to learn and start using it.

My goal is to continue drawing and painting in order to hone my skills and also to imitate Nielsen’s illustrations. Eventually, I would like to come up with my own designs and publish them as well. I will continue updating this blog with more of my version of Nielsen’s artwork as soon as I have them.

You can follow me on Twitter @stadeo17 and IG @santadeophoto.

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