I have recently completed an illustration of the ‘Mad Tea Party’ from Alice in Wonderland as a gift for my friend’s daughters christening.
I have become fascinated by the illustrations within the book which is a 1978 Castle Book edition, which has lead me to researching into John Tenniel.
I work in fine line ink and water colour – as I began to recreate the images I realised that the depth of detail in the black outlines and cross-hatching suggested that the images were not originally in colour. After some online investigation and rereading the books covers I discovered that the illustrations were indeed originally made in black and white and not only this, made in an incredibly time consuming and laborious process which can be read about here http://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/resources/background/tenniel-and-his-illustrations/ .
Through out the book I noticed differences in appearances of the characters which you wouldn’t expect from a character in a book today, so I re-created my illustration from a number of illustrations within the book, choosing the expressions I preferred. Reading about the process to create the book I can now understand the difficulty that would have been faced by an illustrator to mass produce illustrations before we found ourselves in the digital age!
I actually now look at these illustrations and think how amazing they are to have been produced in such a way, and rather than seeing the inconsistencies in them, I see a quirky uniqueness that we have now lost as we can reproduce pictures with such ease.