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Folktale week 2018

What is the Folktale Week?

The event with hashtag #folktaleweek took place between 12 and 18 November on Instagram. It was brought to life by the group of talented artists and by the whole week everybody who wanted take part posted illustrations based on folktales, legends, myths, stories.
There was a prompt list with a topic for every day of this art challenge, but it wasn’t mandatory. I decided to follow these themes and was very excited about this challenge from the beginning. It is because I love folktales, the scarier, the better!

You can read why I like scary stories so much in this post.

Folk tale week

Podobnie myślała grupa ilustratorek która stworzyła to wyzwanie. Miało ono miejsce od 12 do 18 listopada i odbywało się na Instagramie. Każdego dnia należało stworzyć jedną ilustrację nawiązującą do bajek ludowych związaną z jednym z 7 podanych wcześniej tematów (po jednym na każdy dzień wyzwania). Można też było puścić wodze fantazji i tworzyć bez żadnych ograniczeń. Wystarczyło opatrzyć swój post hashatagami #folktaleweek i #folktaleweek2018 by wziąć udział.

Another art challenge? Why it is worth attention?

It is understandable that after 31 days of Inktober (31 days with ink illustrations), and during November (30 days with different hues illustrations) you can be bored and tired witch new challenges. But I really think Folktale Week is a gem. Why is that?

  • It takes only 7 days. It is so hard to make finished illustration every day during whole months. Especially when you have a full-time job or little kids in the house. It is still not easy during a week but more achievable!
    Folktales are such an inspiring theme!
  • You don’t have any restrictions when it comes to media which you will use, style of illustrations or colors.
  • This art challenge took place this year for the first time and isn’t so popular as Inktober or Mermay. So your artwork won’t be lost among the hundreds of others in a few minutes.
  • It is a great opportunity to go back to your favorite folktales and stories, and show others, why you love them so much.
  • It is so interesting to observe how other illustrators deal with a topic of the day, what media do they use, and all the brilliant ideas they have!
  • I found many new artists to follow! I also got a lot of new followers! Numbers are only numbers, but it was a nice side effect!
  • But the greatest joy of all was to read all these intriguing, exotic, new stories in descriptions of other artists works!

all folktale week illustrations by Kamila Stankiewicz

Let me show you a folktale…

I made it! I completed all 7 illustrations, and I am very proud! It wasn’t easy, because of a very busy time at work. I illustrated mostly folktales I know from my childhood.
I really wanted to paint all illustrations with watercolors, but because of lack of time, I made them by using my iPad Pro (2017), Adobe Sketch and Procreate. But still, I tried to keep this traditional feel. Whether I succeeded? Please let me know!

Here is what I created. You can watch the walk-through on You Tube or read it, and see it below.

1. Forest

Fern Flower illustration by Kamila Stankiewicz

Fern Flower

Forest is always a mysterious place in every folktale. It is a home for various kinds of creatures like goblins, Leshy, Licho, and many others.
A lot of creatures from Slavic mythology are shown really well in Witcher 3.
I illustrated Polish fairytale, also known in other parts of Europe as Fern Flower. This extraordinary flower blooms during the shortest night of the year – Midsummer Night, and is very hard to find.
The lucky one who finds it can count on wealth and fortune.
I wouldn’t be myself if I wouldn’t smuggle a girl to the picture 😉 So in my interpretation of this story, the Fern Flower is a girl!

2. Magic

12 Months illustration by Kamila Stankiewicz

Twelve Brothers ( A tale of Twelve Months)

I illustrated beautiful Russian folktale which I remember from my childhood. A stepmother sends her stepdaughter into the dark forest in the frosty winter night. She demands strawberries. The sneaky stepmother wants to get rid of the girl.
But she can’t suspect, that her stepdaughter meets 12 brothers in the middle of the forest. They make a place for the girl by the fire and touched by her story, they decide to help.
The June makes strawberries start growing, blooming and have fruits right on snow. That was so magical to me! I have to say, that my early childhood took place in the communism time in Poland. Strawberries in markets in the middle of the winter wasn’t a case. Because there were no markets! And grocery stores were very poorly stocked. Luckily the 90ties had come, and everything changed!

3. Witch

Witch of Beldany Lake illustration by Kamila Stankiewicz

Witch of Beldany Lake

Polish folktale again, this time form Mazuria region. The heroine is the ugly Anne. She gets a gift form the malicious old witch, who lives near Beldany lake – a red beads. They have the power to change her look, and she becomes beautiful. Every boy in her village wants to marry her. So she has another problem – who she should choose?
The witch says:
– Take off the beads, throw it away and see who really loves you!
And guess what? Nobody wants her…
Poor girl has to jump to the lake to get back her beads. But she never leaves the water. Eventually, she becomes a wife of the King of the Beldany Lake. But is unhappy. When sometimes someone hears a cry nearby, people say:
– This is the Beldany Witch crying.

4. Ghost

Dziady illustration by Kamila Stankiewicz


Dziady is a Polish tradition of 2nd November – All Death Day. The eve of this day is called Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve).
You can hear and see amazing and chilling events that night!
If you want to meet your dead ancestors, it is the best time to drink a cup of tea with them.
Here is a bit bored one. A poor dead girl was buried at the edge of the cemetery. No living or dead soul in the neighborhood…Pity!

5. Insect

Bad sister illustration by Kamila Stankiewicz

Old Mother Frost (Frau Hole)

I hear that story also as a little girl. It was the tale of two Dorothies, but it was probably one of many version of the Frau Hole folktale. There was a bad, and a good sister. Guess, which of them was bad? The older one, of course! What a discrimination. As an older sister, I have to protest loudly! Yes, I don’t have my conscience totally clear, but who has?
Let’s get back to the story: the younger one was rewarded for good service. She produced diamonds and other gems every time she opened her mouth.
The older one, which was very lazy and disobedient (in my opinion she had better ideas for filling her time than cleaning Frau Hole’s house, I can’t blame her!), was punished. Every time when she tried to speak, ugly insects, toads, and sneaks were coming out instead of words.
Quite severe punishment for being assertive, don’t you think?

6. Mirror

Mirror Barbara Radziłłówna illustration by Kamila Stankiewicz

 Twardowski’s Mirror

The greatest wizard of Polish folktales – Jan Twardowski gave Zygmunt II August, King of Poland, an unusual gift.
It was the magic mirror in which the king could see his dead wife, the greatest love of his life – Barbara Radziwiłł, poisoned by his mother (Bona Sforza). What a story!
Today historians say that the Queen died from other reasons, but then people were sure that the old Queen Bona is guilty.
The mirror was a tricky trick, obviously 😉 But it exists to our times.

7. Animal

Pan Twardowski illustration by Kamila Stankiewicz

Mr Twardowski

Twardoswki again – he was an authentic person, the wizard and alchemist of Polish King lived in XVI century. It was believed, he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for magical powers.
There is a lot of legends and folktales related to him.
One of them is his journeys on a giant, magic rooster 🙂


It was definitely my favorite art challenge so far! And I am looking forward to taking part in Folk Tale Week in the next year. All these beautiful stories, ideas, art, discussions under posts… It was so exciting!

Do you know other interesting art challenges? Let me know!