I was fascinated with honeypot ants ever since I watched David Attenborough snack on one like it was a grape on Youtube. So in this bizarre take on Hansel and Gretel, I decided to feature the ants dangling from a twisted tree as a lure for the kids.
My original concept was to illustrate the theme of abandonment in the story of Hansel and Gretel. In the thumbnail phase I wanted to set the scene in a desert, with buried bones protruding from the sands in the background. I also tried to make a weird tree house as the witch’s cottage. But as you can see the forms were just not coming together. I thought a bit deeper about how I can make the ants, tree and and house work. As with every other piece, there’s a point where I wanted to scrap the idea altogether. (That’s one problem with digital – you can’t have the satisfaction of ripping, crumpling and tossing your work in the garbage).
Well it wasn’t until I changed the setting from a dessert to a cave did this piece come together. I also abandoned the tree house idea because it just looked clumsy. So instead of a literal representation of the cottage, the witch’s presence is expressed through the characterization of the gnarly tree. The gaping hole in the trunk takes on a mouth-like appearance.
So far, I’ve limited myself to black, white and red in the series as a challenge. But as I mentioned in the last post, if the rules didn’t fit the theme of the piece I would toss the rule. The colours bring an otherworldly feel to the piece, almost taking the story in a sci-fi direction. Hunger might be part of a sub-series within this world.