Camille Rose Garcia - USA Today

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Peek inside the new illustrated ‘Snow White’

A couple of things struck me while reading Harper Design’s new edition of Snow White ($14.99):

First, I was reminded of just how brutal the Brothers Grimm could be. Over the years, the original tale has been eclipsed in my mind by the squeaky-clean Disney version, which omits quite a bit. For instance, did you know the Evil Queen first demanded the huntsman bring her Snow White’s lungs and liver? And that she later tried to kill Snow by suffocating her with a corset?

Also notable in this edition are the beautiful color illustrations by Camille Rose Garcia. It’s a pleasure to see the story through her eyes, and each page is a visual treat.

I asked Garcia to comment on her favorite paintings from the book. See them below:

“The Walt Disney animated version of Snow White is etched deeply in my brain from childhood, and is the penultimate Snow White experience. In my mind, there is really no way to improve upon the amazing art from that movie. I wanted to reference the gorgeous watercolored backgrounds from the film, as well as keep Snow White as a 1940s version of herself, but also add back a bit more of the horror from the original German folktale.”
“In many of the Snow White versions that I researched, the dwarves are really old and scary, usually wrinkled and they look like a gang of drunken bums. I did a bunch of crustier versions at first, but finally settled on these cute little round dudes. I was looking at old Betty Boop cartoons, and I always liked how round and cute the characters were in those old Max Fleischer cartoons. Don’t underestimate cute! It can be very powerful.”

“I’ll admit, I have a soft spot for the villains, and I like them best when they have dungeons and poisons. I’ve never seen someone get so excited about poisoning children the way the evil queen does in Snow White. I really wanted to capture the sheer glee she gets from hanging out in her dungeon laboratory thinking up new ways to kill Snow White. Of course, if you have a dungeon you must have skulls, drippy waxy candles and snakes. Did I mention I like villains?”

“I loved painting this one, as I didn’t find this scene illustrated in any previous versions of the story. When one is illustrating an ancient German folktale, the old hags have to have a very specific kind of creepiness. I wanted the queen/witch to feel like if you found an old, moldy children’s book in a rummage shop in Romania, then you opened it to this page, and right when you are getting excited, a centipede crawls out. And maybe someone left a piece of cheese in there for 100 years.”

“We’ve all had this moment, right? About to do something that we kind of know we shouldn’t, but it seems so right at the time. Sure, friends warn us, but we are confident it will be fine. It’s JUST one apple, right? And she’s a nice old lady. We never learn.”

Thanks to Camille for sharing her thoughts! Snow White arrives in stores Feb. 28.