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 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. 
  • 19 December 2013
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