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The Frog Prince, a German Fairy Tale

Updated on February 4, 2020
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As a children's book illustrator, Denise has many things to say about the process, her struggles, and children's books on the market today.

F is for the Frog Prince, from my children's book, The FairyTale Alphabet Book, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales from Around the World.
F is for the Frog Prince, from my children's book, The FairyTale Alphabet Book, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales from Around the World. | Source

The FairyTale Alphabet Book

As background for this story, I have to tell how it all began. If you an old friend, you probably know I’ve written and illustrated a children’s alphabet book using fairy tales and folk tales from around the world as prompts for the letters of the alphabet. Some years ago I started it as a thesis project for my illustration degree. The whole project transformed and morphed many times before I was done. Now I am planning a series with several more folktales and fairytales from around the world for each letter of the alphabet.

Thumbnail group off possible illustrations for this story.
Thumbnail group off possible illustrations for this story. | Source

Collage Illustrations

First of all, I didn’t want the typical “A is for Apple” type of alphabet book. It has all been done before. I needed mine to be unique. It was my love of fairy tales that started me on this theme. Second, my idea was to do the illustrations in watercolor by my advisors saw some of my collage work and suggested that I make the illustrations in collage instead. I resisted, knowing that would that collage would take much longer, but I began anyway.

Value Sketch for the illustration
Value Sketch for the illustration | Source

Global Fairytales

After doing R is for Red Riding Hood and J is for Jack in the Beanstalk, I thought I was going to have trouble finding fairy tales for all 26 letters if I stuck to the typical English and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. And that’s when it hit me to be more global. Why not research fairy tales and folk tales from all over the world? This added to my work but in the end, it became very satisfying. You probably know this fairy tale retold many times but originally it was a Grimm fairy tale from Germany.

This one is particularly difficult for me because my thesis advisors simply could not make up their minds. They kept having me make changes. They thought the girl was too realistic, then too cartoonish. They thought no one would know the frog was a prince without a crown so they made me add one. I disagree. The title is the Frog Prince. How could the children no know he was a prince without a crown? It all made me frustrated with the illustration. Altogether, they insisted on 16 different changes.

Color composition for the illustration
Color composition for the illustration | Source

The Frog Prince, A German Fairytale

There once was a very spoiled, bratty princess who wanted everything she saw. No one wanted to be her friend or play with her because she was such a brat. One day playing with her golden ball she accidentally dropped it down a well. There was no way she was going to be able to go down and get it. She stomped her foot and cried but no one could help her. The princess asked servants and her father the king, but they all agreed that the golden ball was gone. The well was just too deep. It seemed that the thing she could not have became the thing she wanted most.

The princess often went to the well and would gaze down wishing she could get her golden ball back. One day while gazing into the well, a frog spoke to her and said he could go down and get the ball for her if she promised to give him whatever he asked. The princess was not accustomed to promising anyone anything but she reluctantly promised.

The frog jumped into the well and retrieved her golden ball in his mouth. The princess was overjoyed until she heard that the frog wanted only one thing from her in payment. He wanted a kiss. She thought about disobeying the frog and forgetting her promise since she had her ball now but instead, she bent down and gave the frog a kiss. Instantly, he transformed into a handsome prince. He had been under an enchantment and only a kiss from a princess would release him.

The frog prince and the princess became good friends and eventually got married.

Do you like fairy tales.

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Click thumbnail to view full-size
Progress photo for the collagePhoto of the collage frog
Progress photo for the collage
Progress photo for the collage | Source
Photo of the collage frog
Photo of the collage frog | Source

Published with Lulu

This fairy tale has been shortened to fit into my book along with all the other letters of the alphabet. If you would like to read the full version, you can Google the title and find several versions of The Frog Prince.

My book, The FairyTale Alphabet Book, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales from Around the World, was self-published last year with Lulu.com because Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing) refused to allow illustrations that spanned the central gutter of the page. They demanded at least a half-inch margin around the outside, which I could have done, and a half-inch margin through the center margin, which would destroy the look and cohesiveness of the double-page illustrations. I had to find a different publisher who would allow the illustrations the way I wanted them. KDP obviously does not understand illustrated children’s picture books.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Finished collage #1Finished Collage, change #2Finished Collage, Change #3Finished Collage, Change #4Finished Collage, Change #5Finished Collage, Change #6Finished Collage, Change #7Finished Collage, Change #8Finished Collage, Change #9Finished Collage, Change #10Finished Collage, Change #11Finished Collage, Change #12
Finished collage #1
Finished collage #1 | Source
Finished Collage, change #2
Finished Collage, change #2 | Source
Finished Collage, Change #3
Finished Collage, Change #3 | Source
Finished Collage, Change #4
Finished Collage, Change #4 | Source
Finished Collage, Change #5
Finished Collage, Change #5 | Source
Finished Collage, Change #6
Finished Collage, Change #6 | Source
Finished Collage, Change #7
Finished Collage, Change #7 | Source
Finished Collage, Change #8
Finished Collage, Change #8 | Source
Finished Collage, Change #9
Finished Collage, Change #9 | Source
Finished Collage, Change #10
Finished Collage, Change #10 | Source
Finished Collage, Change #11
Finished Collage, Change #11 | Source
Finished Collage, Change #12
Finished Collage, Change #12 | Source

Final Thoughts

I apologize for not having a production video to go with this collage. I didn't have the equipment when I was working on this collage and so there was no filming of the process yet. It would have been frustrating to watch if there had since I reworked the illustration 16 times before it was done.

I hope you like my story and my fairy tale alphabet book idea. Lately, I’ve been doing some research to begin another one. There were so many stories I had to pass over with the first book because there was just not enough room or letters in the alphabet. I’d love to read your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

working

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