"She sleeps: her breathings are not heard In palace chambers far apart The fragrant tresses are not stirred That lie upon her charmed heart" wrote Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his poem "The Sleeping Beauty" in 1830. But the famous British poet wasn't the first to bring the romantic tale of the beautiful princess, the sleeping enchantment and the handsome prince into the world.
The story of "Sleeping Beauty" actually dates back to 1697 by French author Charles Perrault and then later collected as an oral tradition by the Brothers Grimm. Of course, there have been many more adaptations from literature, visual art, musical theater and ballet to animation.
So it's not surprising that when I was researching a fairy tale to illustrate, my visual idea for "Sleeping Beauty" just clicked. Instead of focusing on the princess for my Sleeping Beauty print as so many famous illustrations and paintings do, I was inspired to create an illustration centered on another important character: the castle.
As with all my art prints, my process begins with a lot of research. I found a picture of the German Neuschwanstein Castle that became my main inspiration; coincidentally the "Sleepy Beauty" castle design in the Disney Parks is also based on this. With its dramatic towers, it's easy to see why the 19th century Romanesque Revival architecture of the hilltop castle is the source of inspiration for both me and Disney artists.
From there, for type reference I found a magazine clipping from a 1950s issue of Harper's Bazaar, which influenced the typography at the top of my illustration; I hand-drew all of the typography to give it a warm and old-fashioned feel.
"Sleeping Beauty" art print is part of our Fairy Tales art poster series that includes illustrations of other familiar and well-loved classic tales including Goldilocks and The Three Bears, Hansel and Gretel, and Paul Bunyan.