To celebrate the publication of Scissorella, illustrator extraordinaire – Laura Barrett – has taken over the Andersen Press Instagram account to share a little bit about her process.
In case you missed it, here’s a recap!
Hi everyone! I’m Laura Barrett, the illustrator of Scissorella, and I’m delighted to have been asked by Andersen Press to take over the account this week and share my creative process.
Scissorella is written by the fantastic Clare Helen Welsh and combines the much loved Cinderella fairy tale with the inspiring real life story of German animator Lotte Reiniger.
Lotte is one of my all time heroes, so I was thrilled when the team at Andersen sent me Clare’s text. I adore working in silhouette and with the subject of fairy tales, so Scissorella was the perfect match.
Scroll through to see the book cover, my illustration of the real Lotte Reiniger, some stills of her actual animations plus some images from a school Zoom event @_reading_rocks_ of me showing children the book and how to make paper puppets from my home studio in London!
As the illustrator of Scissorella, I thought I’d share my favourite part of the book making process… the beginning!
I particularly love the weeks after reading a text, when I’m brimming with ideas and thoughts for how the book, characters and scenery might look, and where illustrations might work on the page…’Will that work as a full page spread? Can I split those illustrations into vignettes, to give the impression of movement and time passing?…’ So many questions!
I thought you might like to see the early roughs, working out the layout and pacing of the book. Keep swiping to see how some of the roughs compare to the ﬁnal spreads. It’s been so satisfying watching Scissorella go from early sketches to ﬁnal artwork and beautifully foiled and printed book!
Just like the original Cinderella tale, there’s a clear journey that Lotte goes on throughout the book. I hoped to capture her progression; from put upon house maid, to crafty star of the ball, and finally inventive maker who creates her own happily ever after!
I wanted our Lotte character to have some resemblance to the real life Lotte Reiniger. She started working as an animator and paper cut artist in the 1920s & 30s, so I decided to give Lotte and her surroundings an Art Deco setting. I enjoyed taking fashion and interior design inspiration from this period, with colour inspired by the films of Wes Anderson.
You can see Lotte and her surroundings’ change. We decided that there should be quite muted colours and outfits at the start, transitioning to more colour and style as Lotte comes into her own.
Here you can see some of those transitions and first character developments.
I usually work digitally, drawing silhouette shapes with a Wacom tablet into Adobe Illustrator. I sketch ﬁrst, then after I digitally draw each character, object and piece of scenery I move everything around until I’m happy with the composition. Every now and then I also create paper cut outs with scissors or a scalpel. Scissorella was a fun combination of the two! ✂
To create artwork reminiscent of the real life puppets of Lotte Reiniger, I drew my illustrations as usual and then photographed various papers before using these textures on top of my illustrations in Photoshop. I found lots of different types of paper; handmade, fabric and even a pearlescent type to use for Lotte’s paper cut dress!
Swipe through to see how I’ve used the texture in the book along with the actual papers that I used.
Hello again, I’m Laura Barrett and I’m going to reveal my favourite spread from Scissorella, on the ﬁnal day of my Andersen Press Instagram takeover. It’s been a pleasure sharing details from the book with you all, thanks for following along!
The best part of working on Scissorella was getting to create a laser cut centrefold! In the book, Lotte visits the Prince’s palace ball and wows everyone with her paper cutting skills. So we decided to show a peek through the palace windows.
It was a challenge making sure that everything lined up properly, and that the windows were ornate but not so much that they would fall to pieces! I’m so pleased it
worked out. ✂
Here’s the centrefold in action, plus a page from my sketchbook, planning out how the laser cut windows might work.