Altered Book: Little Red Riding Hood

I need to come up with a proper title for this work because while it certainly is about the story of Red Riding Hood, it’s not a great title. But that aside, I am REALLY excited to share this altered book with the world. It’s the first in a series of Fairy Tale inspired work I am creating for an upcoming show.

As mentioned previously, I was hoping to combine photography and altered books in this work so the first step was photographing models as fairy tale characters. This led to a hilarious shoot with friends Monique and Siobhan playing pretend and wearing costumes. I made some of these images into paper prints to figure out sizing, which amused me because I realized I’d made friends into paper dolls. With the size figured out, and poses selected, I had a set of photo prints made and this is what you’re seeing as the Red Riding Hood figure in this book.

Altered Book: Little Red Riding Hood

I should mention those are real tree branches standing in for a full sized forest of trees. I gathered these along the ground from a nearby park, cleansed them of dirt and applied a coat of gel medium to each.

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I used a large encyclopedia volume as the canvas for this altered book, and decided to cut the niche about half way through the thickness of the pages. I used two crumpled up pages from the book to create the ground for Red Riding Hood to stroll upon.

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The flowers were added for colour, and I made them using a paper punch. The leaves were actually the last detail I came up with. I felt the forest looked too bare and decided to make leaves using another paper punch and recycled wrapping paper. It’s the right bit of whimsy and warmth even if there is a big scary wolf out to get the little miss.

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When I started this I wasn’t going to include the wolf, but then as things came together I realized he had to be in there. I decided to create him as a paper cut figure and went searching through google images for reference I could use to create an outline because my drawing skills aren’t very good. I printed out this wolf to use as my template. I traced it onto a piece of black paper then modified and added details by cutting freehand.

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I was pleasantly surprised by how well this worked out because it’s not a technique I’ve worked with much before. It’s inspired me to try and incorporate paper cutting into the rest of the Fairy Tales books.

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I’m really excited by this series because it’s allowing me to try new things and push boundaries with my artwork. I’ve already selected the next few Fairy Tales and will be starting another altered book this week.

Materials used: book, Japanese paper, recycled wrapping paper, photograph, paper punch, tree branches, straight pins, book pages, glue, and gel medium.

4 thoughts on “Altered Book: Little Red Riding Hood

  1. Roberta says:

    This is so beautiful. Your skills are amazing! What’s interesting is that I’ve started a photography series based on Fairy Tales….but I don’t have access to beautiful models and costumes, so my series is more about the animals!

  2. Rachael says:

    Thank you so much Roberta. I look forward to seeing what you do with your series. I lucked out with this because my friend Monique just happened to have a few costumes – including the red cape – and it was her idea to bring them for the shoot.

    I think all the books will focus on animals and female characters. I’m about to start another one today.

  3. Shelley says:

    ah, this is so so so gorgeous! i am in love with the tiny leaves. can’t wait to see the rest of the series.

    promise me that you will do Hansel and Gretel.. the house made of candy and sweets would be so fun!

  4. Rachael says:

    Shelley, if I can come up with the right elements to do Hansel and Gretel I’ll do it.

    I just finished the second in this series today, and will be starting the third next week. I can hardly wait to share more.

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