Frank L. Baum’s Land of Oz books have been a wonderful part of our American culture. What I find so special about the Oz books is that Baum has created for the USA what C.S. Lewis did for England in his land of Narnia. Like Lucy and her siblings leaving rural England in magical ways Dorothy and others have left rural North America (such as Kansas.) Oz is the magical land that Americans can claim as their own! Generations have embraced and explored them over the years in many ways.
Whenever someone mentions the Wicked Witch of the West (WWW) an image that comes to our minds is that of a lean, green woman dressed in black with a pointy hat and a nose to match. Top this off with an evil cackle while soaring through the sky on a broom stick. This design originated in the MGM film based on the first Oz book and it has been imitated ever since in other books, films, and now a wonderful musical (Wicked!). However, no one seems to think of the original WWW from the words of Baum’s description or W. W. Denslow's illustrations. She’s very different from the pop culture image in more ways than one, and she is wicked through and through, not a misunderstood victim of circumstance. Not to mention she is a very small part of the book.Anyway, I thought that I would take this opportunity to show you how I explore and design a character and my example will be the WWW.This is the basic form of the character that I am going to use as the platform for the rest of my work.
I will continue to present a series of posts covering my design exploration of this OZ character.