Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

…although I would rather we call it The Seven Dwarfs And Snow White here.

Needless to say, this is one of the fairy tale heavyweights.  Whole libraries have been written about it, which makes even typing this sentence daunting.  You only have to enter Snow White into Wikipedia to get a sense of how many adaptations and interpretations have been attempted down the years.  With that in mind, I’ll keep the words here brief.  The reason I wanted to post about Snow White was because of a single sentence I found in my copy of Vintage’s The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm.  I suspect it’s the kind of detail that owes more to translation than design, but this sentence explains how the evil queen – in her peddler-of-apples disguise – has to cross seven mountains to get to the household of the seven dwarfs.  I thought it would be fun to try to draw the dwarfs as if they and the mountains were one and the same.  Avatars of the mountains, if you will, operating at a more practical size.  It’s perhaps also worth noting that at the end of the Grimm version of the story the dwarfs place Snow White’s coffin on a mountain peak, where they can gather round and keep watch over it (along with, very specifically, a dove, an owl and a raven).

Here’s the hunter giving Snow White his coat to wear up the mountain.


And here she is with either Bashful or Sneezy, you decide… 


Some dwarf sketches…


One last tidbit before I sign off – I forgot to mention above that scholars of such things have found out that the Grimms made various changes to the original version of this story after they received it from their source.  Perhaps most notably, that the evil queen was not, to begin with, Snow White’s stepmother but her very own biological mother.  Jack Zipes, writing in the introduction to the Vintage edition I have, includes an excerpt from the original source that the Grimm’s based their version on.  It’s interesting to note what they added and what they kept the same.  Worth picking up a copy of when you’re next in the bookshop.



Comments 2

  1. Eugenia wrote:

    Ali, these are so much more aligned with my vision of this original story than all the cloyingly adorable clutter of Disney.

    Posted 20 Dec 2009 at 10:23 pm
  2. Ali wrote:

    Hi Eugenia, I’m glad you found them a bit more in keeping with the Grimms. I think the Disney version’s problem is its ubiquity. I expect it’s the first thing a lot of people think of when they hear the words ‘Snow White’. If it was just a charming elderly animation it would be alright.

    Posted 22 Dec 2009 at 3:10 pm