Home » Creativity » Grimms Fairy Tales – visualization to empower or distort meaning and memory.

Grimms Fairy Tales – visualization to empower or distort meaning and memory.


‘The power of images is very great and it can be harnessed as many interpreters of fairy tales in pictures and on film have understood’. Marina Warner

Fig.1. David HockneyEtchings for Grimms Fairy Tales

‘What’s the use of a book without illustrations?’ Ask Marina Warner reading from Alice in Wonderland.

A question she goes on to answer.

To mark the bicentenary of the first edition of the Grimm brothers‘ Children’s and Household Tales in 1812 Marina Warner explores the many compelling and often controversial aspects of the tales in this BBC Radio 4 Series.

Fig.2. Marina Warner

These evocative stories have always stirred vivid images in the minds of artists, from the angular drawings of an early David Hockney to Dickens’ Victorian illustrator George Cruikshank. Through these artists’ impressions, we paint a new picture of the tales’ vital contribution to the long tradition of visual storytelling.

  • What do the artists add to our understanding of these stories?
  • What is the value of illustration and art direction in narrative, from books to film?
  • How do we impact on a person’s memory of the story?
  • What role therefore do impactful images have on a learning experience?
  • What remembered images do the conjure up?
  • Why do artists chose and crystallize certain moments?

Filling up your mind scape.


Fig.3. David Hockney – Etchings for Grimms Fairy Tales

‘The pot is winking … brimming with poisonous menace, the banal hold terrible’.

You should attract then hold the attention of your audience – these may be readers, listeners or students, but you have to be sensitive to the craft skills of storytelling. It requires a good deal to keep the mind alert.

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