vasilisa the beautiful

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Something exciting! @repecca and I are doing a joint Visual Development project this term! Based on the Russian fairy tale Vasilisa the Beautifulwe’re going to be doing characters, locations and other fun things. Here are some of my sketches and design explorations for Baba Yaga, Vasilisa’s Step-sister and Step-mother. Some location designs are also in the works and on their way! :> 

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Vasilisa the Beautiful and Baba Yaga: 

By his first wife, a merchant had a single daughter, who was known as Vasilisa the Beautiful. When the girl was eight years old, her mother died. On her deathbed, she gave Vasilisa a tiny wooden doll with instructions to give it a little to eat and a little to drink if she were in need, and then it would help her.

Baba Yaga is a supernatural being who appears as a deformed and/or ferocious-looking woman. Baba Yaga flies around in a mortar, wields a pestle, and dwells deep in the forest in a hut usually described as standing on chicken legs (or sometimes a single chicken leg).

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The last two weeks Animal Alphabets Fairy Tale Edition was U for Ugly Duckling and V for Vasilisa the Beautiful (Based off a Russian fairy tale).  Long story short, she is sent to find fire, and meets Baba Yaga and must complete a set of tasks with the help of her magical doll given to her by her dead mother.

Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (Иван Яковлевич Билибин), Vasilisa the Beautiful at the Hut of Baba Yaga (Василиса Прекрасная в Избушка Бабы Яги), 1902.

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No fairy tale

It’s rare when sisters get on in fairy tales.

They usually seem to come in threes

With two a step apart from one,

And eldest always try to steal the youngest’s

Thunder, (see Cinderella)

Or plot to get her killed (see Vasilisa.)

With two it’s not much better,

One’s ugly, lazy, just plain bad (guess which)

One’s sweet and good and gets the boy (guess which)

Or whatever happens to be going.

Odd that it’s never the other way round;

eldest always fails and gets the tarry brush

or axe or death or just the conciliation prize

While the younger comes out golden.

If that’s a fairytale, then give me what we have:

We’ve moved out from our little house

So near the wood (or the Green Belt);

We don’t have time for little girl games,

Sometimes we even forget to speak,

And you’ve found a candidate for prince,

while I just watch and wince at love.

But if he turned out to be Blue Beard,

You know that I’d come running and

bite his knee caps off.

And if some fairies nicked my head

And stuck a cow’s one on instead,

I know you’d ride out (not on a goat)

And get your little sister’s pride back.

So we’re not fairytale material. So what?

I think we might just be Snow White

and Rose Red, though for the life of me

I couldn’t tell you which was which.