The Royal Illustrators of Oz

Visual explorations of the many different inhabitants of the Wonderful World of Oz.
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The Wicked Witch of the West is always seen as the primary villain of the Wizard of Oz but she’s such a minor character in the books. The real “big bad”, the Emerald City’s arch nemesis… is Roquat the Red also known as The Nome King.

Because my redesign of Witch was quite comical, I really wanted Roquat to be genuinely scary. 

The Wicked Witch of the West is one of the most iconic characters from the Wizard of Oz movie but she’s also one of the most inaccurately portrayed. She’s not green, she always carries an umbrella, she’s only got one eye, she’s short with pigtails and is terrified of the dark.
She wears a golden cap which she uses to control the winged monkeys (who are not her favoured creature, she mainly uses crows, bees and wolves).
The Wicked Witch of the West is an incredibly minor character in the books. In the 14 books by Baum, she appears in one chapter of one book.
With everything in mind, I decided to make my Wicked Witch a touch more accurate to the books but not just a copy of the original illustrations. I used yellow, the national colour of Winkie, the country she rules. I also thought that if she was scared of both the dark and water, perhaps she has scorched the entire country.
In my version, Winkie is a barren wilderness, with her ugly, stone castle inelegantly placed on top of the tallest mountain, so that her telescopic eye can see everything. I also gave her two Winkie guards, who go on to be the loyal servants of the Tin Woodsman. 
It’s also tradition that every author has given the Wicked Witch their own original name for her. Elphaba, Theodora - they’re lovely but they’re not official. So I’ve named her Belinka. It’s partly after another one-eyed witch in a later book Blinkie… but a bit more witchy. 
I wanted to work out a character design for both Jack Pumpkinhead and Old Mombi so I figured the best way was to illstrate the scene when Mombi tests Dr. Pippin’s Powder of Life on our lanky friend.
 Since Gilkin Country is purple I figured that all the plants there would be shades of purple. It’s also a great forest country so I assume trees would be everywhere. That said to me that it’s a cold area hence Mombi wearing a fur lined jacked.  Mombi is an interesting character, she was the former Wicked Witch of the North, she was a jailor for King Pastoria (Ozma’s Mother) and she also had the power to transform Ozma a baby girl into Tippetarius a little boy.  Jack is also interesting, one of the many characters in OZ who was able to honestly assess his unsurity of his own intelligence and place in the world. I lo ve that his head spoils and has to be replaced. It almost feels like a chance to make his personality different for each new pumpkin head he gets.
The Cowardly Lion was the third “person” to join Dorothy on her quest to see the Wizard, but taking the whole book series into consideration he is actually quite underdeveloped as a character.
He is given no official origin story and apart from the first book he is never again given a key role.
I like to think this is in keeping with his gentle nature - he avoids conflict and adventure as much as he can. 
In my head, he is a circus lion that escaped and fled to the forest. After being a pampered performer, he is surprised to find that animals eat each other! So he becomes a loner and recluse and only pounces on Toto because it’s the first animal he’s seen that he’s brave enough to try and attack. 
"When they were all quite presentable they followed the soldier girl into a big room where the witch Glinda sat upon a throne of rubies. 
She was both beautiful and young to their eyes. Her hair was a rich red in color and fell in flowing ringlets over her shoulders. Her dress was pure white but her eyes were blue, and they looked kindly upon the little girl.” -The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum
I’m glad I got this one in just in time along with Jack, this week being Halloween. A pumpkin and a witch. What could be more appropriate, right? 
I’ve always liked Glinda, but I’ve never seen her “frilly” as she is often portrayed today. I wanted her dress to be very simple, hardly any jewelry or accessories. She carries the skeropythrope, a magical instrument that shoots purple sparks which she uses in Book 14, of course titled, Glinda of Oz. It was the final Oz book Baum wrote. 
I know her head dress and earrings could be seen as more Mayan or Incan, but whatever. I had fun with this one.
Tip was so delighted that he danced up and down and laughed aloud in boyish ecstacy. 
"I must give him a name!" he cried. "So good a man as this must surely have a name. I believe," he added, after a moment’s thought, "I will name the fellow Jack Pumpkinhead!"   - The Marvelous Land of Oz, L. Frank Baum.
Being this close to Halloween, I wanted to do Jack Pumpkinhead. I’ve always liked his character and found him to be sweet. 
If you don’t know, As a child, Ozma (or Tip as she was known at the time) created him to scare the evil witch Mombi. Mombi later brought him to life with her magic powder.
But just like with children’s drawings, things aren’t always perfect or in proportion. So I wanted him to have different sized eyes and a wonky smile, and different tree limbs for hands. 
I followed the description from the book for his clothes in a pretty straight forward way: purple pants, red shirt, pink vest, but I wanted the vest to be a little mariachi bolero and for his shirt to be made from and old mexican blanket. Also, very ill fitting considering the clothes were pulled from one of Mombi’s old trunks.
I do like that his pants and scarf are purple, being that he hails from Gillikin Country where everything is tinted purple. 
-Terry Blas
Jack Pumpkinhead was built in order to give the Wicked Witch of the North (Mombi) a great big fright. However, she used the Powder of Life on him and sure enough he became animated! 
On his adventures, he regularly has to change his pumpkin in order to make sure he doesn’t spoil. He has a ritual of burying his heads so that their seeds might grow new ones for him.
He as built by a boy named Tip who was trapped in Mombi’s house, so I wanted him to look like he was constructed with whatever he could find. That’s why his gloves, scarf and boots are too big (as they belonged to the witch) and his clothes are too small (because they belonged to the boy).
Happy Halloween!
"An old, pointed blue hat that belonged to some Munchkin, was perched on his head, and the rest of the figure was a blue suit of clothes, worn and faded which had also been stuffed with straw…While Dorothy was looking earnestly into the queer, painted face of the Scarecrow, she was surprised to see one of the eyes slowly wink at her. she thought she must have been mistaken at first." -The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum.
Scarecrow, the wise. 
If you’ve read the original Oz books then you know that Oz’s countries are divided by color. Everything in Munchkinland is blue. Hopefully, that explains my color choices here, but I also like the idea of the Scarecrow having a smiling skull face and being covered by crows that never leave him alone. He can’t even scare one, right? 
I also wanted him to have mesh versions of those hideous Mexican pointy boots (botas picudas) that originated in San Luis Potosi. I think they’re ugly, but they work for Scarecrow. 

"Glinda walked to the canopy and parted the silken hangings. Then she bent over the cushions, reached out her hand, and from the couch arose the form of a young girl, fresh and beautiful as a May morning. Her eyes sparkled as two diamonds, and her lips were tinted like a tourmaline." - The Marvelous Land of Oz, L. Frank Baum.

Go with me here. 

I’ve posted a few Ozma’s before but didn’t really connect with them or see them as part of my set here on The Magic Picture. I had to really go back and think about what my connection to Oz was/is and when I really thought about it, it all clicked. 

I did not enjoy growing in up in Boise Idaho, especially after being exposed so much to Mexico and visiting my family there. Boise was brown, gray. Mexico was so vibrant and full of color and culture that I connected with Dorothy’s story in such a similar way. In the books, Oz eventually becomes Dorothy’s home and she ends up living there. 

So Oz, for me, is directly tied in to Mexico and how wonderful that country and my experiences there have been. My set of characters will be inspired by that, Aztec patterns and design, Mexican architecture and clothes, all of it. 

Ozma is the lost princess of Oz. She was stolen as a baby by The Wizard and given to the evil witch Mombi. Mombi enchanted her and transformed her into a boy she named Tip. 

For this reason, I like the idea of her wearing a helmet. To protect her from enchantments and spells. A lot of Mexican jewelry is silver and turquoise so I went with that. I also like the idea of her poppies being part of the helmet. She’s got a cool pattern on her dress which is inspired by a Mexican wedding dress.

She’s got on a large red belt with silver on it, since she wears The Magic Belt which used to belong to the Nome King. 

Lastly, her staff is inspired by an Aztec weapon, and I sort of like the more angular Oz markings on it. 


The thoughtful Scarecrow of Oz. So I’ve been thinking a lot about this character and I have reasons for his design beyond he looks cute. First his hat: I think this would be the Munchkin hat, huge brim partly for shade and partly for parting those tall stalks of wheat as they work in the fields. Wheat is high for a 6ft tall person but even taller for a three foot tall munchkin. 
Second his clothes: they’d be tiny, because he’s being made by munchkins out of scraps, they’d just use whatever was lying around.  
Third his body: he’s designed to hang and also he’s meant to be a little scary, if I were a munchkin I’d find tall people creepy and I’d think they were all limbs, so I’d make my scarecrow that way too. 
Something I find interesting in OZ is the use of color. According to the books Munchkin Land is blue, but not just as a national color but everyone wears blue, houses are blue, maybe even wheat is blue.
- Reed