Artistic Takes on 9 Classic Fairy Tales

Fabricio Moraes
Fabricio Moraes / Fabricio Moraes

We’re all familiar with the classic Disney and Brothers Grimm versions of fairy tales, but with a little artistic skill and imagination, it’s amazing how drastically these tales can change—at least visually. Need proof? Look no further than this collection of fantastic artistic versions of some of the most common fairy tales.

Special thanks to the WWA Gallery in Los Angeles for putting together their Fractured Fairy Tales art show, which is where many of these creations were sourced.

1. Cinderella

We’re all so familiar with classic fairy tales that we often forget how silly they can be, but when Yudi Chen switches the genders of the main characters, it shows just how preposterous they are—like the idea of a handsome young man running away from the princess and leaving his shoe behind as the clock strikes midnight.

Brain Candy Toys ran a brilliant ad campaign last year that turned classic fairy tales into math equations. In the Cinderella version, a peasant plus a fairy godmother makes a gorgeous gal, a gorgeous gal at a palace equals a gorgeous gal missing a shoe, a prince with a shoe plus a peasant equals happily ever after.

Photographer Thomas Czarnecki doesn’t seem to think much of fairy tale princesses. His “From Enchantment to Down” series shows a variety of princesses who have come upon a tragic end, including Cinderella, who seems to have caught her glass heel at the top of a stairway and cracked her head open on the way down.

2. Snow White

Rodolfo Loaiza’s “Disasterland” takes an array of classic Disney tales and shows the shocking events that happened behind the scenes. While the entire collection is wonderful, there’s something so magical about seeing chipper little Snow White hitting rock bottom with the help of a few bottles of booze.

The most pivotal scene in Snow White’s tale occurs when the young princess chooses to take a bite from the juicy, red poisoned apple the witch has given to her. Brittney Lee’s intricate papercraft take on the scene freezes White in that critical scene for all eternity.

3. Little Red Riding Hood

Matt Saunder’s take on Little Red’s tale is visually stunning and the design is so effective that it manages to sum up the tale of a little girl wandering through the woods while being stalked by a vicious wolf all in one beautiful, concise image.

While there are quite a few endings to the Little Red Riding Hood tale, none of them seem to mention what happens to the wolf’s body after he dies (that is, in the ones where he does die). Should Little Red survive, it only makes sense that she turn his head into a wearable trophy to warn other big baddies not to mess with her, as she does in this great painting by Helena Garcia.

If Little Red Riding Hood was friends with the three bears from the Goldilocks story, then she might have gone through this adorable scene imagined by Sandra Equihua before heading off to meet her grandma—and the big bad wolf. As for why the bears are friendly to her and not to Goldilocks, well, Red obviously has better manners and doesn’t just enter the home of strangers in order to eat their food and sleep in their beds.

4. Goldilocks

If Goldilocks just escaped her chain gang and the three bears looked more like Yogi Bear than Brer Bear, like they do in this illustration by Drake Brodahl, then chances are the bears would go ahead and let her finish her nap and enjoy the porridge rather than trying to chase her out into the forest. Of course, if they were as smart as Yogi, they’d at least tell the ranger a convict is hiding out in their house.

Should the bears put a violent stop to Goldilocks’ intrusion, then Johnny Yanok might be right in that they might end up throwing a barbecue to celebrate –complete with tiki drinks served from their new skull cup.

5. Puss In Boots

While DreamWorks' take on Puss in Boots has established the character as one of the cutest fairy tale creatures of all time, Becky Dreistadt reminds us that when you have a cat wearing boots, he’s bound to be utterly adorable, whether he’s friends with Shrek or not.

6. Jack and the Beanstalk

It’s hard to imagine the true scale of a giant beanstalk that reaches into the sky, but Roque Ballesteros’ take on the story starts to give an idea of the plant’s impressive size –with little Jack barely able to even measure up to one of its leaves.

7. The Three Little Pigs

As you can see, Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle of Airigami are particularly gifted at turning balloons and a little Photoshop magic into an incredible cross between painting, origami, and sculpture. While their entire portfolio is impressive, their takes on fairy tales are particularly stunning, especially this one showing the wolf blowing down the first pig’s straw house.

8. Rapunzel

It sure would be hard to climb on Rapunzel’s hair if it were made out of nothing but inflated rubber, but Airigami’s version of the princess trapped in the tower is stunning nonetheless.

How, exactly, would Rapunzel’s tower have to be built and how would her hair need to be laid out in order for the prince to climb up to meet her? Well, architectural firms Bernheimer Architecture, Leven Betts and Guy Nordenson and Associates worked together to put together an elaborate set of design specs conforming to the classic Grimm tale. The results might not be the most artistic on this list, but they’re certainly the most architecturally sound.

9. Pinocchio

If Pinocchio was some sort of steampunk creation rather than wood, he would almost certainly look like this steam-powered, copper-robot version imagined by illustrator Fabricio Moraes.

What do you think? Do you prefer the more classic versions or these new artistic interpretations? Or, do you maybe have your own ideas for how a particular fairy tale should be modified?