Here is a magical book for you to have a look at: Cinderella by Errol Le Cain. This process of sharing my favorite illustrators has helped me realise how profoundly they have influenced me . When I am asked what my influences are, I tend to think about serious fine artists. Audrey Beardsley maybe? But in all honesty, it is people like Errol Le Cain who have shaped the way I look at things.
I wish I could draw like Errol Le Cain! Here is Cinderella doing her embroidery under the watchful eye of her stepmother and stepsisters.
I love the little touches: the pumpkin sitting there, waiting for its big moment. The little mice and lizards are always around. In the upper right hand you can see the Fairy Godmother keeping a benign lookout over her god-daughter.
This series of books by Le Cain are all set up like this. Each spread has an illustration on the left and text on the right, and the text has appropriate drawings all around it. Like this one, in which the text describes all the lovely bits and bobs that go into the making of the step sister’s costumes for the ball:
I used to draw and re-draw many variations of this theme, Cinderella dressing her sister. I was fascinated by that wig, and all that powdery hair. And notice the little mouse watching down there on the floor.
I also had long arguments with my sister about that reflection in the mirror. Is it the right way round?
I had such a hard time choosing which of these images to scan. I am not showing you all of them! It would take too long. But this one I could not leave out. I love Cinderella’s shadow on the tiles, and once again that Fairy Godmother keeping a watchful eye…
Here is a detail to give you an idea of the richness of these drawings:
Not all of the drawings are in colour. And the black and white ones are just as lovely. Cinderella being comforted by the nicest Fairy Godmother I have come across. Just look at her eyebrow antennae.
Here is a closer look:
And of course, a Cinderella book has to have a sumptuous drawing of The Dress. Traditionally The Dress is white. Or Pink. But just look at this one. If you look closely, you can see the pearlescent details in the lacy areas:
And for once the prince is just as splendiforous. And a bit more appealing than the standard page boy cut Disney prince too. Check out his high heels and curly mustachios:
And on the facing page, the jealous step mom and step sisters just do not recognise this magnificent stranger:
On the stroke of midnight, Cinderella transforms back into her kitchen self. The transformation is so convincing:
I’ve left out the “but the shoe fits” picture. But all’s well that ends well. This last drawing really does show the “happily ever after” , with a fitting farewell to the Fairy Godmother: