Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Bee's Knees

A bit over a week ago I was asked by Bok Theatre Bournemouth to create an illustration for their theatrical adaptation of The Queen Bee, a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. Bok Theatre Bournemouth is "an informative, interactive, inclusive theatre company" created by the uber talented Mr. and Mrs. Parkin. I was happy to accept the project because it seemed like good fun (bees? ducks? ants? ... why ever not?) and also because Aaron and Charmaine easily inspire with their obvious passion for theatre, their unique creativity and their enlightened goal to "use the powerful tool of theatre to benefit society". Do support them if you are able! If you're unfamiliar with the fairy tale, you can make up for that HERE. Well worth two minutes of your time, I'm certain.

Some sketches below: 

Prelim ideas of the personified bee and other characters
- not far off the final results. 
Kind of like this very simplified version ... but not sure she could command the role of "Queen". Below the bee, a note about Charmaine's suggestion to include a key, pearls and honeycomb after I mentioned I'd like to include the King Ant and ducks. 
Working sketch of the queen before being "transferred" to watercolour for the final illustration. The bit cut out to the left was for gauging how close to the bee I should place the ducks.
 For some reason, when I drew this version and decided it was the best, I forgot to include the wings. So, amazingly without realising it, I thought I had completed the illustration when the Queen still didn't have her wings. Thinking I was nearly finished,  I showed it to Dan and he said "I like it, but it looks kind of like an ant without the wings". WITHOUT THE WINGS?? I actually hadn't noticed!! So these wings here were sketched on the above bee the next morning as practice. I cut out a piece of paper into the shape I thought would be best and traced around it on either side to make sure the wings were uniform and to decrease room for error. At this point, I didn't want risk drawing them freehand. I then (very nervously) added the wings to the final illustration using the same method. Voila! I added the little third and fourth wings (yes, Queen Bees have four wings!), and it was a go! PHEW!

Oh! And the tiny ants (some of the 5,000 helpers) around the King Ant were a last minute addition and the idea of my Dad. Thanks Dad! :)


  1. I like it, although I must admit I think I like the bee in the third pic the best! Heehee circular bees...

  2. Yes, I do see your point :)
    I might have shaved off a fair few hours of work had I submitted that one!