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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
By Lewis Carroll
For the optional project, I chose to create an illustration based solely on the first of the Alice books. Included in the illustration are parts of Wonderland that stuck most with me, everything from the completely absurd (the orange marmalade she observes during her fall down the rabbit hole) to the more important characters (the mad hatter, the March hare and the red queen). At the start of the novel, Alice is sitting with her sister outside and in the end we find that everything that had occurred was simply a dream, as she had fallen asleep. The drawing illustrates the reality Alice drifts from as she sleeps and the jumble of characters and things she encounters while in the dream world.
While I made Alice asleep in her world of reality appear serene, I made the characters and their proximity to one another, combined with the swirling background purposefully jumbled and overwhelming to convey the chaos that defines Wonderland.
I attempted to make Alice appear ethereal compared to the characters of Wonderland, who look more vibrant, alive and defined in comparison. Additionally, Alice looks nearly encompassed by her dream, and I did these two things to symbolize the fading of her identity and the continual loss of her sense of realism throughout the story.
The final point I try to convey in my illustration is in the large contrast in the use of color of wonderland versus reality. Wonderland is dark, foreboding, with a fluidity in change as the swirling darkness drawn around the characters representing the dream world. It’s harsh and ominous coloring compared to reality is symbolic to how I felt about Wonderland. Reality’s warm colors and the fact that it is more gentle on the eyes simply is my view that reality, despite its flaws and tragedies, is a much more inviting, more preferable place to Wonderland. I found Wonderland to have too much dark and twisted humor, appearing to me not to be a place of wonder, but terror, since it is a place without sense or reason, and one does not know what or who he or she will meet next. The infant who is turned into a pig after its mother would simultaneously nurse and abuse its baby was too much for me to handle and the fact that being “mad” was a norm quite accepted was not at all an adventure but a place of nightmares.
The Alice books were interesting to read, but the fact they were written in the hopes of entertaining children was disturbing and frightening. I would prefer reality over a dream world any day, because in a dream, there is no control or hint of what is to happen next.
The illustration is done on 11” by 14” paper and in colored pencil.