Alice: Initial Composition Ideas

Here are the initial images I came up with for my Alice project after finishing the look for the characters. There are certain motifs I wanted to express within these images that represented both the story of Alice and the research and reading I have done into the Romanov family, as well as themes that arose within my dissertation. Firstly with the image of Alice and the roses, I wanted the image of the painted roses to symbolise a number of things and emphasised this with the blood red paint dripping onto Alice’s hand. Firstly, I wanted the roses to symbolise the blood thirsty nature of the Queen of Hearts and her constant demand for beheading and the roses ultimately becoming a representation of the possible severed heads.
In relation to the Russian revolution, I thought that the roses could serve as a representation of the many lives that were lost during the civil war as well as WWI, and finally, connecting Alice back to my dissertation research, the white roses, painted blood red, could symbolises Alice entering maturity and the dripping of the paint representing menstruation as well as the blood shed of war. Finally, the roses also serve as a reminder of the fabrication of Wonderland as they are not really red, but have been painted that way and ultimately becoming a disappointment of sorts to Alice, who has wanted to find the enchanted looking garden for most of the story only to find that everything is not as she expected.

Above are two more scenes I quickly came up with which illustrate the caucus race and the Queen’s court. For these two scenes I really wanted to incorporate the Russian revolution and mirror the two scenes and found this easier to achieve in these images. For the caucus race scene, I imagined the animals as a representation of the peasants in Russia during the revolution, who were starving and dying with not much was being done about it. The animals in Alice on the other hand, attempt to dry themselves by telling dry stories to each other and taking part in a race, neither of which dries them. I thought that the nonsensical ways the animals try to dry themselves could become a representation of the repression of the Russian people, the failure of the animals to dry themselves becoming an allegory of the starving people.
By comparison, the court of the Queen of Hearts I envisioned to be a representation of some of the nobility from the Russian revolution, who would regularly hold balls and parties, seemingly oblivious to the oncoming revolution. The Queen and her court use animals as equipment in the croquet games and leisurely activities, while other the caucus animals fail to keep themselves dry, creating a possible division of class society, something which is very relatable to the revolution.

These are the images which I showed during my mock viva in front of my three tutors and received very helpful feedback from them. I went overboard with the use of ink and eventually drowned the image out and talking this into consideration must be more decisive with my decision making in the future in terms of what works and what doesn’t in my own work. I think the strongest point of these images is their compositions, especially in the illustration of the caucus race with the movement of the animals as the surround a frustrated Alice. However they are still very early development work. I think the other two images possibly need new compositions, particularly the illustration of the Queen’s court as I feel it’s rather still looking and needs more movement.

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