My first full-scale publishing project, The Lindworm, is an illustrated Norwegian fairy tale. The story follows a queen ignoring the directions of a wise old witch, leading to a reign of terror by her first born — a terrible, worm-like dragon. I first read this tale thanks to an adaptation by the talented Michelle Krivanek, Bride of the Rose Beast. I was particularly inspired by her decision to reframe the story under a sapphic lense; the Lindworm, originally a Prince, was transformed into a Princess.
Throughout the design process, I sought to challenge myself to illustrate in ways I previously felt were uncomfortable. I have illustrated for a number of years, but have feared complicated compositions with landscapes, interiors, and complicated monsters; to overcome this fear, I included all of those in The Lindworm. My color palette only contained three colors; white, black, and teal. Other fairy tale books focus on a naturalistic, painterly method to depict their stories, and I went the opposite direction to capture the mood of such a tense and dark story. In an effort to move away from my tendencies to illustrate for comics, I made fully formed illustrations that spoke for themselves out of sequence. Thirty-two compositions later, and I surpassed my vision.
Paul Kepple, Scott Laserow
August to December, 2019