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The Little Red Riding Hood, A French Fairy Tale

Updated on June 19, 2020
PAINTDRIPS profile image

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.

R is for little Red Riding Hood, a French Fairy Tale
R is for little Red Riding Hood, a French Fairy Tale | Source

My Children’s Alphabet Book

We are more than halfway through this alphabet if you have followed my alphabet series. You probably have noticed by now that I created a children’s alphabet book using fairy tales for each letter of the alphabet. At first, I thought I should concentrate on all the old favorites but later I decided to make it a book with fairy tales and folk tales from all over the world. This is one of the first ones I created for the book and my favorite. I hope you like it too.

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”

— Albert Einstein
Three of my thumbnail sketches for this illustration.
Three of my thumbnail sketches for this illustration. | Source

Global Fairytales

When it came to me to be more global I had already created the pages for R is for Little Red Riding Hood and J is for Jack and the Beanstalk. The research for the global fairy tales and folk tales from all over the world certainly added to my workload but in the end, it became very satisfying.

I chose these reference photos for my illustration of Red Riding Hood.  I loved the little Hmong girl's outfit and just changed the colors in her hat and dress to red.
I chose these reference photos for my illustration of Red Riding Hood. I loved the little Hmong girl's outfit and just changed the colors in her hat and dress to red. | Source

The Little Red Riding Hood, A French Fairy Tale

There was a little girl who was called Little Red Riding Hood after her red clothes. On this day, her mother asked her to take some shortcake and drink to her sick grandmother. She was told not to go through the woods but to take the road around. But the shortcut through the woods looked fine to her and would save her time, so she took it instead. Along the way, she met a big bad wolf that asked where she was going with the basket. She was very trusting and told him about her sick grandmother. The wolf then suggested she stop and pick some wildflowers along the way to take to the grandmother. “What a good idea,” Red Riding Hood thought. “They will cheer my grandmother.” So she left the path and got lost in the picking of flowers until more than an hour had passed.

While the girl was busy picking flowers, the wolf went to the grandmother’s house, after entering, he and locked the grandmother in the closet. He put on the grandmother’s nightclothes and slipped into the bed just as Red Riding Hood arrived.

When the girl arrived at the house with her basket and flowers and greeted her grandmother, she noticed that the grandmother looked very strange. She thought her grandmother must have changed very much from being sick but had to ask anyway. She said, “What a deep voice you have!”

“The better to greet you with,” responded the wolf.

Then she said, “What big eyes you have!”

“The better to see you with,” responded the wolf.

“What big teeth you have!”

“The better to eat you with,” responded the wolf and he jumped from the bed to catch her.

The frightened girl ran outside and a woodcutter happened to be passing with his ax. He saw her running from a wolf, so ran to the rescue and he killed the wolf with his ax. Together they freed the grandmother from the closet and enjoyed the shortcake.

Here is the decided on value sketch for the illustration.
Here is the decided on value sketch for the illustration. | Source

“Fear isn't so difficult to understand. After all, weren't we all frightened as children? Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf. What frightens us today is exactly the same sort of thing that frightened us yesterday. It's just a different wolf. This fright complex is rooted in every individual.”

— Alfred Hitchcock

Collage Illustrations

I didn’t want my book to be just one more “A is for Apple” alphabet book and since I love fairy tales, why not use them instead? After deciding that, I was told I should use my collage method instead of the usual watercolor illustrations that I had originally desired. The collage took much longer but in the end, it made for a very unique book.

I used a photo of a little Hmong girl at the Hmong New Year’s Celebration in my area as a reference for this little girl. I also found a photo reference for the wolf and woods. I didn't make a video for this collage because, in the beginning, I didn’t think of taping my progress. I did, however, take plenty of photos along the way. I do hope you enjoy the progress of this collage.

Color Composition to see if all the colors work before making the collage.
Color Composition to see if all the colors work before making the collage. | 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 the story as "Little Red Riding Hood" or "Little Red Cap."

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. If you are interested in purchasing the book, go to the Lulu website and put my name or the name of the book in the search.

“If you happen to read fairy tales, you will observe that one idea runs from one end of them to the other--the idea that peace and happiness can only exist on some condition. This idea, which is the core of ethics, is the core of the nursery-tales.”

— G.K. Chesterton
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Progress Photo #1Progress Photo #2Progress Photo #3Progress Photo #4Progress Photo #5Progress Photo #6.  For my College Thesis project the professors insisted I change the face of the girl to increase the "cuteness factor."  I personally like the original but they insisted on this one.Progress Photo #7Progress Photo #8Progress Photo #9Final Illustration
Progress Photo #1
Progress Photo #1 | Source
Progress Photo #2
Progress Photo #2 | Source
Progress Photo #3
Progress Photo #3 | Source
Progress Photo #4
Progress Photo #4 | Source
Progress Photo #5
Progress Photo #5 | Source
Progress Photo #6.  For my College Thesis project the professors insisted I change the face of the girl to increase the "cuteness factor."  I personally like the original but they insisted on this one.
Progress Photo #6. For my College Thesis project the professors insisted I change the face of the girl to increase the "cuteness factor." I personally like the original but they insisted on this one. | Source
Progress Photo #7
Progress Photo #7 | Source
Progress Photo #8
Progress Photo #8 | Source
Progress Photo #9
Progress Photo #9 | Source
Final Illustration
Final Illustration | Source

Did You Notice

In my collages, I use paper from magazines, old wall calendars, catalogs, and circulars. Often I will add things into a collage you can't see unless you are looking for it.

My final illustration as it appears in the book for Red Riding Hood
My final illustration as it appears in the book for Red Riding Hood | Source

Final Thoughts

As a side note, did you know that the original Charles Perrault’s version of “Little Red Cap” (1697) was actually a warning to young girls to beware of being alone with “wolf-type” men who could seduce and rape them? His intended moral of the story was to obey your mother and not talk to strangers, the two key things that Little Red Riding Hood failed at. In the Perrault version, the wolf ate the grandmother and the story ended with the wolf eating the little girl as well. The woodsman was added in later versions. Were you aware of the original moral? Do you have one take away of your own? I’d love to hear about it.

I hope you like my story and my fairy tale alphabet book idea. I’d love to read your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Comments

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      11 months ago from Fresno CA

      Peggy Woods,

      Me too. I thought it was a Brother's Grimm story but apparently not originally. The research has been fun and enlightening, I must say. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      11 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I never realized that this fairy tale had a French origin. It is fun learning these fairy tales from around the world from you. Your book should appeal to many people worldwide.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      16 months ago from Fresno CA

      Liz Westwood,

      We have appropriated it into the English language and culture, haven't we? It is interesting when you go digging how many fairy tales have origins we didn't know about. I'm glad you like my work. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      16 months ago from Fresno CA

      Lorna Lamon,

      Thank you for your continuing support of my artwork. It means a lot to me. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      16 months ago from Fresno CA

      Linda Crampton,

      I didn't know the original version or moral either. I took a class on old fairy tales and their morals. Was I ever surprised. The class also covered Blue Beard and Sleeping Beauty. Interesting stories. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      16 months ago from Fresno CA

      RoadMonkey,

      Maybe even more these days than ever. But how many of us girls even knew this original moral? I certainly didn't. But it does make sense. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      16 months ago from UK

      I had no idea that this was a French tale. I always assumed it was English, as it is so engrained in the British fairy tale culture. Your collage is very good.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      16 months ago

      I remember this tale as a child and always being scared of the wolf in sheep's clothing so to speak. I love the quote by Alfred Hitchcock and as usual I'm amazed by your talent. Take care and stay safe Denise.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      16 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You've created an interesting depiction of Little Red Hiding Hood. I didn't know the facts about the original version of the story that you've shared. Thank you for sharing the information, Denise.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 

      16 months ago

      Yes, I knew the original was a cap. I think the Perrault moral is needed just as much these days!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      16 months ago from Fresno CA

      Virginia Allain,

      I'm very happy you like it. Thanks for the feedback and the comments.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      16 months ago from Fresno CA

      RoadMonkey,

      I'm so glad you like it. I was worried that some people would give me push back about the Hmong headdress as not being a real "hood". But the original wasn't a hood. Perrault called it "Little Red Cap". What did you think of Perrault's moral to the story? Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      16 months ago from Central Florida

      What a wonderful project. Very imaginative and illustrated so beautifully.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 

      16 months ago

      I love fairy stories. I actually wrote an addition to this one on a blog, where the granny gave red riding hood a map to help her return home safely. I called it Red Riding Hood Returns but it's an adult motivational story, just written as a sequel to Red Riding Hood. Love your global pictures of children, very different from the usual picture of red riding hood's hood.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      16 months ago from Fresno CA

      I'm glad you like the twist, Marie. I just couldn't leave a classic with the typical little blond girl. And this little Hmong girl posed for me with her traditional garb, she was so cute. In the original collage, I kept the two missing front teeth because I thought it added to the little girl's charm. But of course, the professors at the art school wanted me to simplify the face and give her front teeth because they said it too away from the cuteness factor. I sometimes wonder if they even know their business. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 

      16 months ago from Jacksonville, FL USA

      One version I heard of this story was that the woodcutter cut the wolf open and saved the grandmother.

      The most fun part of the story is the line "What big teeth you have!" This story is often told with puppets, and children loved to be tickled with the fuzzy wolf pretending to eat them.

      Alfred Hitchcock also said that people like to be frightened (I'm not so sure I do), but I certainly watched enough of his television shows. I always remembered none of it was real.

      My grandmother actually bought my brother and myself hoodies, as they are called today. His was blue and mine was, you guessed it--red! He and I spent hours on our swings in the old crab apple tree while wearing our favorite hoodies.

      Nice job. I like the twist with the Asian garment.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      16 months ago from Fresno CA

      Devika Primić,

      They are entertaining, aren't they? I sure like them too. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      16 months ago from Fresno CA

      Bill Holland,

      For a man of words and letters to run out of words is a serious thing. I take that as a compliment. Thanks so much for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      16 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Denise you have an interesting write up and these fairy tales do not run out of entertainment.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I have run out of superlatives!

      Stay safe and keep providing the world with your talents.

      Blessings always

      bill

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