ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Lute Player, A Russian Fairy Tale

Updated on February 23, 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.

L is for the Lute Player
L is for the Lute Player | Source

My Children’s Alphabet Book

If you have followed me, by now you may have noticed I created a children’s alphabet book using fairy tales for each letter of the alphabet. I could have concentrated on all the old favorites but I decided to make it a book with fairy tales and folk tales from all over the world. This particular story is more of a story for the father than for the daughter. The daughter was faithful but the father couldn’t see through to the truth underneath.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Character Sheet for the Lute PlayerThumbnail sketch #1Thumbnail sketch #2Thumbnail sketch #3Thumbnail sketch #4Thumbnail sketch #5Thumbnail sketch #6
Character Sheet for the Lute Player
Character Sheet for the Lute Player | Source
Thumbnail sketch #1
Thumbnail sketch #1 | Source
Thumbnail sketch #2
Thumbnail sketch #2 | Source
Thumbnail sketch #3
Thumbnail sketch #3 | Source
Thumbnail sketch #4
Thumbnail sketch #4 | Source
Thumbnail sketch #5
Thumbnail sketch #5 | Source
Thumbnail sketch #6
Thumbnail sketch #6 | Source

Global Fairytales

When it hit 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 work but in the end, it became very satisfying. This story is a fairytale from Russia.

"Art will remain the most astonishing activity of mankind born out of struggle between wisdom and madness, between dream and reality in our mind."

— Magdalena Abakanowicz
The Value Sketch
The Value Sketch | Source

The Lute Player, A Russian Fairy Tale

Long ago, a king wanted to win glory in battle so he set out against a wicked king, but was captured. He sent a message to his daughter to ransom him.

His daughter, the princess, thought that if she went herself, the wicked king would take her as one of his wives, and she did not know whether she could trust her father’s ministers. She was a clever girl so she cut her hair, disguised herself as a boy, and took her gusli (a many stringed lute). When she reached the court of the wicked king, she performed for him and charmed him with her music. He was so taken with the music that he promised what he thought was a boy whatever he wished, and of course, she said she wanted a companion for her lonely journeys, so she asked for one of the wicked king’s prisoners. He let her choose, and she picked her father, the king.

Even her father, the king, did not recognize her and so they went back to their country without his discovering who she was. Before they reached his court, she left him. When he got to his castle, he was very angry that his daughter had not ransomed him or even come to plead for him. He became even angrier when he discovered that she had vanished while he was imprisoned and had only just returned. He would not listen when she tried to explain. The princess could only do one thing. She disguised herself as the musician again and performed for her father. Thinking she was a boy, he promised her whatever reward she wished. She told him she wanted only him and revealed she was the princess.

The Color Composition.  You can see at this point I was thinking of keeping it minimal with no background.  I changed my mind later.
The Color Composition. You can see at this point I was thinking of keeping it minimal with no background. I changed my mind later. | Source

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 hope you enjoy my process here showing the start with thumbnail sketches, then value sketch, color composition and finally, the collage. My little princess does not look much like a boy in this illustration but I didn’t think that mattered. I used a reference of a girl from Peru because I wanted a more global feel than just another white girl.

When you buy something from an artist, you’re buying more than an object. You’re buying hundreds of hours of errors and experimentation. You’re buying years of frustration and moments of pure joy. You’re not buying just one thing, you are buying a piece of a heart, a piece of a soul… a small piece of someone else’s life.

— Anonymous
L is for the Lute Player.  You can see even the letters are collaged pages from magazines and wall calendars.
L is for the Lute Player. You can see even the letters are collaged pages from magazines and wall calendars. | 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 of the Lute Player.

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.

You can see at the end I felt I needed something behind her for balance and collaged some tall flowers.
You can see at the end I felt I needed something behind her for balance and collaged some tall flowers. | Source

Final Thoughts

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

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      4 months ago from Fresno CA

      Lawrence Hebb,

      I'm so glad you think so. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      4 months ago from Fresno CA

      William Kovacic,

      I remember having a Mother Goose book full of nursery rhymes that I cherished as a child and even loved reading it to my younger siblings as a teenager. I was hoping this book would be loved by children the way I loved that Mother Goose book. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Denise

      Delightful fairytale.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Amazing artwork, Denise along with an interesting story. Any child would love your book.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Linda Crampton,

      They are fun, aren't they? I love fairy tales so it's all good for me. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Devika Primić,

      I'm happy you enjoy my work. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Lorna Lamon,

      I'm so glad you agree about the flowers. I like to pop of blue too with all the reds elsewhere in the image. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Marie Flint,

      I am so happy for your fan-mail comments. It makes my day. You certainly have a grasp of the complexity involved. I have to think lighting, value, cool or warm colors and then detail. Often I simplify things but I wanted to keep the colors and pattern of the poncho so it added to my work but it was worth it. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The princess has a lovely smile. Of course, I enjoy looking at your art in this series. I'm enjoying reading tales from around the world, too.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A great addition here and so enjoyed another tale with beautiful illustrations.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      5 months ago

      Hi Denise, Yes I like how the picture is balanced with the addition of the flowers, which are beautiful.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 

      5 months ago from Jacksonville, FL USA

      You have outdone yourself on the poncho--it's beauiful and looks authentic. I also love the flowers. Lupine is the closest to the image, I think.

      The quote about "when you buy something from an artist" is so thoughtful and passionate. I'll try to remember this one.

      As you put the tiny pieces together, I am reminded how detailed this is. You have to have a good eye and sense of lighting and color balance, and you do an outstanding job of this. The process is so much more complex than working a jigsaw puzzle, which I enjoy doing from time to time.

      Thank you for sharing your passion and talent, Denise! I look forward to more of this alphabet series.

      Blessings!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Demas W Jasper,

      Oh, I covet your good opinion. Thanks so much for commenting again.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      RoadMonkey,

      I'm so glad you think they are special. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      5 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      As always, thumbs up!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Donna Rayne,

      You are so sweet. What a kind thing to say. I am blessed to have such friends and encouragers. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 

      5 months ago

      What a great tale! You have certainly found a great variety of tales for your book and more lovely illustrations too.

    • Donna-Rayne profile image

      Donna Rayne 

      5 months ago from Greenwood, In

      Oh, Denise, this one was a sweet story! I loved it and can't wait for the next letter you write.

      You're an excellent writer!

      Donna Rayne

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Eric Dierker,

      I sure intend to keep them coming. Glad you like the stories. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Treathyl FOX,

      Fairy tales are fun. I love them. I probably never grew up at heart, but I read them all the time. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Sergey,

      You are right, the girl I used is not a Slavic girl. I mentioned in the description that I wanted to keep the children in my book diverse so she is darker than the story would indicate. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Lorna Lamon

      Thanks. Do you think the addition of the tall blue flowers were necessary for the balance of the collage? I was going to leave them out at first. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Liz Westwood,

      And so you are getting a global tour of fairy tales. Just wait, there's more to come. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I sure like this series, please keep them coming.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Shaloo Walia,

      I am glad you like it. I think it is a story about looks being deceiving. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt,

      I'm happy you liked it. I hope you like the Sage's Daughter when I post it as well. It's a fairytale from India. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 

      5 months ago from Austin, Texas

      At one time I had considered writing books for kids. As part of the learning process it was suggested that I read world fairy tales. That was fun! I love fairy tales. https://virily.com/virily_poll/my-favorite-fairy-t...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't know what else to add. Brilliant work!

      Blessings always

      bill

    • profile image

      Sergey 

      5 months ago from St.-Petersburg, Russia

      ===

      but this is the tale of slavish people.

      ===

      sorry for my spellchecker, of course Slavic.

    • profile image

      Sergey 

      5 months ago from St.-Petersburg, Russia

      Character is pretending to be alive. I remember this tale from my early ages, and Liz definitely has enough charm and craftiness to fool two kings. To the greatest good, of course. And when i watched movie, i waited she starts playing. The only thing to add is that finally she looks like inhabitant of some far-north region of Russia, but this is the tale of slavish people.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      5 months ago

      A slightly different tale this time Denise which makes these stories so interesting. Beautifully illustrated and such an enjoyable read.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 months ago from UK

      This is a lovely tale. I feel like I am getting a global fairy tale tour in your articles.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      5 months ago from India

      Interesting tale and beautiful illustrations.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      5 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Very interesting tale and well presented. Good reading.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)