Hansel and Gretel: 7 Different Takes

AgencyNet’s creatives take a stab at creating their own rendition of this well known fairy tale.

Hansel and Gretel is a fairy tale of Germanic origin, recorded by the Brothers Grimm.   The story follows a young brother and sister who venture into the forest and are lured by a house of candy and cake owned by a child-devouring witch. [source] With Tim Burton’s new Alice in Wonderland flick coming out soon, we were intrigued with the idea of reinventing a classic. This exercise proved to showcase a number of sides from sweet to scary from our creative brains. Below are the results of some quick explorations and the thinking that went into them.

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1. Josh Corliss

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A broken computer forced this digital convert to resort to more archaic methods of visual expression.  Despite the dark tone underlying the story – I took a happier route.

2. Garett Bugda

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I have always believed the story of Hansel and Gretel was somewhat spooky.  The idea of a wife convincing her husband to lead her step-children into the woods and abandon them is frankly disturbing. Throw in the idea of a crazy cannibal woman who lures children to her house by making it out of candy so she can capture, enslave, cook and ultimately eat them and you’ve got the makings of a real horror film. I wanted to capture a bit of that spookiness in my take on the story.

Making this image was a great journey.  Through the magic of photoshop…everything changes when the forest goes dark.

3. Melanie Hunt

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The tale of Hansel and Gretel is a strange one.  When I first heard the story as a young child, I was mostly fixated on the candy house (who doesn’t want a home you can munch on when you’re hit by a wave of “sweet tooth”) and the fact that Hansel and Gretel got away from the evil witch in the end (phew!). Now that I’m older, I’ve revisited the story and picked out a few key things I missed as an 8-year old:

  • One: Hansel and Gretel are actually left in the forest to die by their starving father and step-mother.
  • Two: The “Wicked Old Witch” is a CANNIBAL. Yes, that’s right a person who EATS other people.
  • Three: The story of Hansel and Gretel is a seriously disturbing one.

Since I live for all things creepy and spooky (yay for Halloween!), I channeled my dark side and opened up Photoshop! I started by building a house that, if I came across it in a dark forest, I’d head in the opposite direction immediately. The rest came pretty naturally… using different elements and photos, I composited together what I think might be a scene from the Hansel and Gretel story.

4. Larissa Meek

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For this exploration, I decided to place the emphasis on Hansel and Gretel themselves (vs. the tone or plot of the story).  Looking to get away from the “photo-shopped” feel, I wanted to create a piece that was reminiscent of a hand-made sketch. Lots of layers and desaturated colors evoke a sense of memory that brings me back to memorable a childhood story.

5. Augi Sanchez

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Hansel and Gretel was one of those stories that just plain creeped me out as a little kid.  Most people focus on the candy, the breadcrumbs, etc, but I was always left uneasy with the notion parents abandoning their children in the woods as well as the idea of an old woman trying to fatten the kids up to eat them.  The sketch I put together focuses on the sense of dread the story has always instilled in me.

6. Joshua Pipic

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In this piece Hansel & Gretel are holding the white bird with their eyes closed, praying it will lead them safely through the forest. The process to create this image was first illustrating the outlines with a pen, then scanning in the lines. In Photoshop I layered textures of water color bleeds and composited everything onto a wood panel.

7. Christian Romer

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The inspiration for this piece came from the movie “The Brothers Grim.”  I’ve always found it interesting how people go through trials and experiences in life and adapt them to “fairy tales” and “folklore.”  Most of these stories have an “actual event” origin that people, over time, dress-up with fantasy elements. I wanted to revert this classic story to its purest form: its core emotions of despair, togetherness, and being lost.