Need Inspiration? Step Into a Fairy Tale with These Vintage Illustrations

by Kaitlin Cole

We absolutely love these illustrations by Kay Nielsen from East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Old Tales From the North, a 1914 book of 15 Scandinavian fairy tales.  Nielsen is most well known for his illustrations of The Brothers Grimm and a visual history of Arabian Nights.

Sure, the drawings are striking and pretty, but they also have a haunting feel to them, which is fitting since many fairy tales themselves do.  Just look at the big, looming trees closing in on a character, or creatures and faces hanging in the background.

Elements of whimsy and exaggeration are also common in the exquisitely detailed illustrations, whether in a moon spilling out stars or giant candles dripping wax.

We could definitely see a fashion designer pulling inspiration from these unique illustrations (check out those headpieces!).

There’s also a selection of black and white drawings that are equally stunning.

You can check out the rest of the drawings here.

Images via


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