Created by Meera Chauda
What will we create today?
Transform yourself into a character to star in a fairy tale or folktale. You could create a new tale of your own, or enter the world of a story you already know.
You could be a wizard, prince, warrior princess or a magician. You could be part-animal or part-giant. Will your story be set in our world, or will you be transported to another land? What fantastical creatures will you meet and what magic will you encounter?
This is a collage activity. You will need:
- A colour photograph, print-out or drawing of yourself. It should be a full length portrait, approximately A5 size
- Collage material i.e. coloured paper, patterned paper, shiny paper, star stickers, photocopies of images
- Any found imagery i.e. magazines, print outs or British Library images from the website i.e. Aesop’s Fables or The Infant’s Library
- Drawing pencils
- Your imagination!
What character would you like to be? Could it be based on an animal, creature or person in a story you already know?
In Blackberry Blue by Jamila Gavin (2014), the title story offers us a Cinderella-esque tale of a beautiful girl called Blackberry Blue who wears a delicate ball gown created from the forest flowers. She is also protected by a thorny forest.
Usage terms © Jamila Gavin, Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales, published by Penguin Random House Children’s Books (2013). Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.
What could be enchanting about your clothing? Could you have wings? And what could protect you?
In I am Hua Mulan by Qin Wenjun and Yu Rong (2017), the central character is a female warrior who long ago fought bravely to protect her people. She learnt how to ride a horse and fight with a spear like her father. Mulan disguised herself as a man so she could ride off to war. Mulan’s bravery and skills won her wide acclaim but her true identity was never revealed.
Usage terms 2017 text copyright © Qin Wenjun, illustration copyright © Yu Rong. First published in China by China Children's Press and Publication Group. All rights reserved. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.
Would your character disguise themselves to help someone? Will you be brave, kind or courageous?
The illustrator of the book used paper cut-outs and drawing to create the characters for this tale. She cut nearly 20 versions of the cover image of Mulan on horseback before perfecting it. So, don’t be afraid to have a few tries until you’re happy with your own collage!
What people and magical creatures could you meet in your tale? In The Phoenix of Persia by Sally Pomme-Clayton, illustrated by Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif (2019), Prince Zal is adopted by a wise and kind phoenix (firebird).
Usage terms The Phoenix of Persia © Tiny Owl Publishing, 2019, written by Sally Pomme Clayton ©2019 and illustrated by Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif ©2019. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.
Held by© Tiny Owl Publishing, 2019, written by Sally Pomme Clayton © 2019 and illustrated by Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif © 2019
Could your character be adopted by a bird or animal? Or could they help you in another way?
In Yokki and the Parno Gry, a Romani folk tale by Richard O’Neill and Katharine Quarmby, illustrated by Marieke Nelisse (2017), a white horse called Parno Gry appears and transports a family to a faraway abundant land and shows them a hopeful future. Could the animal you meet also be your transport? Where would they take you?
Usage terms Yokki and the Parno Gry. Reproduced by kind permission of Child's Play (International) Ltd.
Text copyright © 2016 Richard O’Neill and Katharine Quarmby.
Illustrations copyright © 2016 Child's Play (International) Ltd. First published 2016 by Child's Play.
All rights reserved. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.
Make yourself into a character to star in your own fairy tale
1. Create a full-length self-portrait
Think about how you would like to pose and your expression.
You could ask an adult to take a photo of you.
Ask them to print it out in colour for you to collage with.
Or you could draw a self-portrait using coloured pencils or pens.
2. Think about what sort of character you would like to be
Will you be a wizard or a princess, a demon, an animal or a magician? Will you be a hero or heroine? Will you have a magical power?
Or perhaps you will transform yourself into a character from an existing story you have always wanted to be in?
3. Transform your photograph or drawing
Draw and collage to create your character.
4. Will your character be holding a special object or animal, or could they have wings?
See the photo below which shows how you can use other images to create these elements. I’ve used images from Aesop’s Fables printed by William Caxton (1484) and The Infant’s Library (1800).
An adult could enlarge or reduce existing images and print them out for you.
5. What will your character be called?
Maybe it will start with the first letter of your name i.e. Waheem the Wizard.
What is unique to your character? What will their personality be like?
6. Now you are ready to enter your fairy tale...
Where will you go to? Will you get lost? Will somebody help you find the way? What will they look like?
How will the story end?