10 Tips For Shooting Better On Film

10 Tips For Shooting Better On Film

1. Get to know your camera

Before you start shooting on film, it’s important to get to know your camera. Read the manual and familiarize yourself with the different features and settings. This will help you get the most out of your camera and avoid any potential problems.

2. Use a tripod

Using a tripod will help you avoid camera shake and ensure that your photos are sharp and blur-free. It’s especially important to use a tripod when shooting in low light conditions or when using a long focal length lens.

3. Use a remote shutter release

A remote shutter release allows you to take photos without touching the camera, which can help prevent camera shake. If your camera doesn’t have a remote shutter release, you can use the self-timer setting.

4. Use a low ISO

Using a low ISO will help you avoid image noise and produce sharper, higher-quality photos. It’s especially important to use a low ISO when shooting in low light conditions.

5. Use a fast shutter speed

Using a fast shutter speed will help you freeze action and avoid blur. It’s especially important to use a fast shutter speed when shooting sports or other fast-moving subjects.

6. Use a narrow aperture

Using a narrow aperture (higher f-stop number) will help you achieve a greater depth of field, which means that more of your photo will be in focus. This is useful for landscape photos or photos with multiple subjects.

7. Use exposure compensation

If you’re shooting in manual mode, exposure compensation can be used to make your photos lighter or darker. This is useful if the scene you’re photographing is very bright or very dark.

8. Shoot in RAW

Shooting in RAW will give you the most flexibility when editing your photos. RAW files contain all of the data captured by the camera’s sensor, which gives you more information to work with when editing.

9. Use a filter

Using a filter can help you achieve a specific effect or look in your photos. Common filters include polarizing filters, which reduce glare and increase contrast, and ND filters, which reduce the amount of light entering the lens.

10. Experiment

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different settings and techniques. This is the best way to learn and find what works best for you.

Hopefully these tips will help you shoot better on film. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

How to paint shadows – basic methods explained

How to paint shadows – basic methods explained

Painting shadows – resources for realistic painted shadows

This site tries to give some help on painting shadows in realistic, representational painting.
To establish the right form of a shadow is one thing, but to get the colour of a shadow “right” is at the centre of mastership in painting, I think.
Imagine a meadow in sunlight and a tree that casts a shadow on it. There will be different shades of green, some in light and some in shadow.

Especially the capability of the human eye to adapt quickly to low light levels adds to the difficulty to draw and paint true shadows. As you look into a shadow it seems to get lighter. When you look back into the sunlit areas the shadows suddenly seems so much darker again.

In the end painting shadows is painting light, a particular form of light: shadows are reflections of indirect light whereas the sunlit parts of a subject are exposed to direct sunlight.

Some basic steps to paint shadows are discussed here from dark to light and vice versa. Depending on the medium used there are limitations and different potentials to depict shadows. Two example paintings in oil colour (Plein Air) and dry pastels (studio still life) are discussed in detail. The tips can be used in studio work as well as in works on site, Plein Air.

Basics of the colour theory are explained together with links for more extensive studies. Finally some comprehensive “how to books” on painting light and shadow can be purchased from this website.

Image credits: All images on this webpage ,if not otherwise stated, are creations by the author.Images and illustrations of products (in affiliate links) are used according to Squidoo TOS.

The theory of light and shadow explained with a pastel still life painting as example

This is a great explanation of the theory of light and shade in drawings.

Understanding the categories of direct light, highlights, form shadow, reflected light and cast shadows can help a lot to see and depict the effects of lights in nature much better.

I lit the still life set above with a strong side light from the left and a weaker top light. With a bright piece of cardboard I reflected light back into the composition from the right side because otherwise those shadows would turn into a massive dark and partly almost black area. This is a method that photographers use a lot in portrait work to reduce the contrast between light and shadow areas.

What categories of light an shadow can be seen in this pastel painting?

1.) In area one there is the brightest part, the area of high light on this particular vessel

2.) In area two you see the darkest form shadow (core shadow) that contrasts the most with the area in direct light. This is partly an optical effect rather than a “true” observation. On curved surfaces you will see a more or less wide zone of transition from the brightest direct light into the form shadow. The core shadow will fade more and more
as you move away from the light source and will finally get brighter again when you get in to area 3

3.) Area three is a form shadow that receives some reflected light, often the reflected light has a different color and it will change the color of the form shadow. In this particular case I added some more red that was reflected from the background panel onto the vessel.

4.) Area four is interesting as a cast shadow falls directly into the zone of bright direct light. That dark shadows cast from the soda bottle is lit up on the lower edge of the other vessel by some reflected light from the lower body of the soda bottle.

5.) The shadow in area 5fice is a special case. There is a soft, somewhat blurry cast shadow with a darker core. That effect occured because I used two sources of light. The darker core is in fact a more precisely cast shadow from the strong side light, whereas the soft broader outer part of the shadow originates from the further away light bulb under the room ceiling.

Light, shade and shadown in drawing and painting a beginners guide

Is there a formula to mix the colour of shadows?

An example in oil colors -Some problems and questions that occur in painting shadows

Artprint plein air landscape painting by editionha
Large format printing by Zazzle

In this plein air oil painting light and shadow are the main features. I did this study because I wanted to find out what is the colour of grass and foliage in sun and in shadow and whether there is a way or maybe a kind of formula how I could get the best or convincing results.

But from which colour or shade should I start from? Should the colour of the grass in sun be the starting point and I would mix from bright to the darker shadow, or should I come from the dark side and establish the colour of the grass in shade first and brighten that colour somehow up to paint the areas in direct sunlight?

The most irritating thing is that the human eye adapts always to the light conditions. When I looked at the grass in sun the shadows seemed to be very dark. But when I studied the areas in shadow it seemed that the shadow was not that dark anymore the longer I looked at it. It seemed to get brighter and many different shades of grass emerged, which disappeared again when I studied the sunlit parts of the landscape. Particularly the border between light and shadow presented a difficulty. The contrast seemed so very strong there, but my logic told me that the amount of light and as a consequence the colour of the grass directly at this border line and a few meters away from it had to be the same. In other words the shadow would not get darker close to the sunlit area and also the sunlit area would not be brighter close to the shadow area. This effect again has to do with the way our eyes handle strong contrasts. There are limits for what our eyes can discern and for that reason leaves of trees observed against a bright sky always seem very dark, almost black even though we know that they are green.

Finally I had to realise that I never would be able to reproduce the very same sensation and experience of seeing light and shadow in my painting. Instead I could try to imitate the “effect” of light. For that reason I painted the grass near the border to the sunlit area in a darker and cooler green than the grass close to the edge of the forest. Also I tried to put in some variations within the sunlit and shadow areas.

Also my idea of a kind of a mixing formula vanished; instead I understood that I needed to establish the right tonal values between light and shadow and that I had to find the true colours of grass or leaves etc in shadow and light. Plein air painters often have a small card board frame with a small hole in it with them. By looking through this hole they can isolate certain spots of colour to determine the true colour of objects. I used the palm of my hand to form a kind of monocular and thus isolated certain spots of the landscape for my eyes to get an idea what the true value and colour. This helped me to establish the basic tonality of the shadow and the sunlit meadow. Then I started from these middle values and expanded the range by mixing slightly lighter and darker colours of dark greens and greens in sun.

Some people mix their shadow colours by adding blue, violet to the colour of the sunlit areas or objects in a rather schematic way. These shadows often look artificial. The same applies for the other method that starts with the object colours in shadow which then is brightened up with white and yellow to imitate the sunlit appearance. Both methods are based on the assumption that shadow or sunlight can be understood as some sort of colour filter. Sunlit areas contain more white and yellow, whereas shadows contain more blue and violet components. of course these basic assumptions are correct and helpful on the way, but for more sophisticated painting one has to drop “recipes” I think.

So how do you mix dark shadow colours with oil colors ?

There are many ways to mix dark colors, in fact the possibilities are endless. However there are only a few starting points.

1. Add black color to your base color
Let’s say you need a dark red. By adding black to red color you can mix a darker red, but the red will get more and more muddy the more black you add. You can tell by the greyish look of a paintings that a lot of black has been used in mixing. If you want that look it is fine, but if you prefer bright colors this method most probably will not be the preferred one

2. Start with a dark version of your base color and add dark blue
If you want to keep your colors bright and virbrant adding dark blue to the base color will give you a dark, but blueish version of the base color

3. Mix a dark color with the three primary colors : magenta,blue and yellow
This is the most demanding version to mix the color as seen from the primary colors. You might want to experiment with dark versions of the primary colors or similar colors for example you could subtitue magenta by burnt siena and use prussian blue instead of a primary blue etc..

4. Use Schmincke van Dyke brown to darken colors
I have used Schmincke van Dyke brown with great success to darken colors, especially for painting shadows on green foliage or very dark foliage.
In fact I consider van dyke bewon the best black you can get. It does not kill the clarity of your base color as black does. In combination with variation of no.2. and 3. one can get great results.

I commend to experiment with all four starting points. The shadows and dark greens in the landscape above were painted by using variations of the no.2–no4.

What is the colour of shadows ?

A bit of colour theory

The colour of an object is determined by the light, or more exactly by the wave length of the light that is reflected by the object.
An object in direct sunlight reflects stronger and different light in comparison to an object that receives no direct light or only a fraction of the available light because some other object is casting a shadow on it by stopping the light from the primary light source. Nevertheless the object receives indirect light from the surrounding, which is reflected light, when in shadow. The colour of this indirect light can vary of course depending where it is coming from especially from where it is reflected or maybe even filtered.

Very well known is the effect of blue and grey shadows on snow. Snow in shadow receives mainly indirect light from the sky. As snow is white i.e. without colour or more correctly reflects all colours, the shadows in snow look blue under a blue sky without clouds or greyish on an overcast day with a closed layer of grey clouds.

Example 2:
The shadows under a red sun umbrella are influenced by the colour of the umbrella for example. A blue drinking cup under a red umbrella might change to a violet colour due to additive colour mixing theory : blue + red=violet.

Also it is interesting to observe that the colour of the primary light produces shadows in the complementary colour. If you chose a red bulb as your primary light source in a still life painting the shadows cast by that bulb will have a greenish colour.

How to paint shadows – basic approaches

From light to dark and vice versa

1. From light to dark
In water colour and in acrylics it is a very common method to lay down the colours of an object in “normal light”. Then the artists waits until the colours are dry. In a second step those areas in shadow will be covered with a transparent layer of colour that will darken the original colours in order to get a shadow effect. A similar approach is also used in oil colours by adding blue and darker colours to tone down from light to dark shadows. That way the colour hue of the sunlit area is always present in the colour mix for the shadows.

Usually the primary source of light as the sun contains warm yellow light and the colour of shadows are mixed with blue colours as cool complementary hue.

2. From dark to light
Of course it is also possible to start from the dark side and to establish the colours in shade first. The colours of the sunlit parts are then mixed by adding white and yellow to the shadow colours to brighten up or tone up the shadow colours.

3. Mixing the colours as seen
The other way is to paint the colours as they appear in front of the painter. In principle there is no difference in mixing the colour of the sky and the colours of a wall in sun and in then in shadow. In any case the painter has to observe the colours and to translate his observation into a colour mix.
Very bright hues can be mixed by adding white and if the source of light is “warm” i.e. yellowish, as direct sunlight mostly is, with a little bit of yellow in addition. In general it is wise not to overdo the mixing with white because the result will be washed out or almost bleached colours. Overdone highlights can really ruin an otherwise well done painting.

A major difficulty is to mix dark or very dark colour hues. To know the extreme dark and bright colours that are possible with your medium is very important. The gamut of oil colours and other painting media is just not sufficient to represent the wide range of tonalities which are there in nature. Therefore a very bright light can only be represented by emphasising the contrast with dark colours around.

Painting or drawing shadows with dry pastels

A studio still life study with controlled light

This is a still life in dry pastels on medium rough watercolour paper from life in my basement studio. During a week I studied light and shadow colours in artificial light. I tried to find the right colours as seen on the objects to get the realistic look of light and shadows.

It was very helpful to have different colour shades in the Schmincke set of pastels colors. For example the ochre tonalities in light and shadow on the lamp on the right are only very slightly mixed. For the most part I applied the pastel without mixing in that case.

The green glass bottle in the middle however required quite a lot of careful mixing as the set of pastels colour did not contain greens in a suitable gradation of tonalities. I also used bits of grey or charcoal to darken certain areas. With purpose I avoided to use a lot of white in the brightest areas. I would commend to establish small areas with the brightest colours and the darkest colours very early in the painting process to keep control over the contrast or tonality range. It might be very difficult to establish highlights later if the medium tonalities are to high already. If you set your middle values too dark the deepest darks in shadows can become a problem. I found that it is more difficult to create the darkest darks in pastel than the lightest lights.

As you may observe the tonality varies in shadows, by darkening the shadows close to the contact with the bright areas I tried to imitate the sensation for the eyes when it looks at strong contrasts as described in the previous paragraph. There was a rather complicated mixture of shadows cast by the objects onto themselves and on others as well as effects of reflected coloured light, particularly in the green glass vessel at the centre of the composition.

How to draw water – a drawing tutorial,tipps and tricks

How to draw water – a drawing tutorial,tipps and tricks

Drawing water – tipps and tricks

Water is transparent like glass if it is clear and the surface quiet. The water itself therefore often appears as “not visible”. Natural water in creeks and rivers is mostly not 100% transparent. Anyhow drawing water can be a challenge no matter whether it is without color or not and moving or not.

What is visible when we look at water are the reflections on the water surface and those things that one can see under the water surface. Big masses of water like the sea appear in opaque colours, often it is the reflected color of the sky or a muted variation of the sky color mixed with the color of th water. Also the waters of a big river can look opaque. Depending on the situation there are different strategies to depict water in a drawing. Unfortunately in the most cases the water you want to draw appears in a very complex and always changing mix of reflections and transparencies. On this website you will find tips and tricks how to depict water in a convincing way.

What you see when you look at water an analysis before drawing

What you see when you look at water an analysis before drawing
The appearance of water, especially of moving water, can be very confusing. I commend to sit down and watch the water flow and to make notes of what you see:

1. Reflections of the surrounding landscape and sky

At Harmony lake you see the typical mirror effect of a flat water surface. Clouds and trees are reflected on the water. The reflections of vertical elements converge towards to the viewer, as the trees are in far distance that effect is not visible that much.

The mirror effect can be perfect on a totally quiet water surface. If there are ripples the reflected forms are interrupted in a certain typical pattern. Tree trunks are deformed to wavy lines or even interrupted by bright reflections of the sky colour on the ripples. The contours get blurred or frayed as you can see in the black and white image of tree reflections.

2. Stones, sand and other things at the bottom of the water, changed in color by the turbidity and light

The beautiful view of the chalet at a lake is a very difficult subject as the water is very clear and reflections of the landscape above water level and the lake bottom are visible and overlap in an intriguing mix.

Almost any water surface, be it a river or a lake, shows a dark line directly at the bank. In the image of a quiet lake you can see that thin dark line, a shadow of the bank. When you look at the water surface yiou will notice that the closer you get to the bank the more the muddy colour of the water gets mixed intot the reflected color of the sky.

Water pen sketch

In this sketch I tried to depict a water surface with the reflections of a post. From left to right there are more and more ripples. The more the water moves the more difficult it gets to draw water. Appart from horizontal lines or short strokes flat elliptic lines can evoke the impression on water.
The reflection of the post gets more and more blurred or distorted the more the water moves and the bigger the ripples are.

If you experiment with horizontal and elliptic lines to represent ripples on the water you will get a feel what works and what not.

Helpful books on drawing water, river and seascapes

Amazon offers several books that deal with drawing and painting of seascapes and rivers and ponds as frequent and interesting elements of landscape drawing.
“Down by the sea” got excellent reviews and so does “drawing sceneries” more a compendiium of various landscape types.

Online Tutorials on how to draw water

Diane Wright is an experienced artist. She has written a number of great tutorials on landscape drawing. Her tutorial on drawing water is comprehensive and covers the subject very well.

DRAWING WATER – tutorial by Diane Wright
DRAWING WATER tutorial by Diane Wright. Artist Diane wright has written a great comprehensive tutorial on drawing water that covers all aspects very well.

Observations on moving water – analysis before drawing

Moving water is more difficult to draw as the ripples or waves will not mirror the surroundings as quiet and complete as a flat lake for example does.

One can see different patterns of ripples, depending on the water follow. However once the appearance of a ripple is understood and seen correctly drawing moving water becomes easier as all ripples show the same characteristics.

Simply spoken ripples always have a bright top and a darker flank. Ripples vary in direction, curvature and width. In the darker flanks the surrounding landscape is mirrored as more or less thin colour bands, whereas the bright tops reflect the sky and /or might be white because of foam.

Reflections on a pond in the woods

Gouache sketch in the forest diary
In June 2011 Im sketched a pond in the woods. When looking at a water surface from a low view point there is almost no transparencies to see, one can concentrate on the pattern of reflected colours and froms on the surface.

Pastel sketch drawing of moving water

This is one of my early humble attempts to sketch water. I have a vivid memory of thoset 30 minutes I stared into the water, concentrated and tried to draw what I saw. Suddenly I understood the Hermann Hesse novel Siddartha much better, contemplating on a river or stream changes your mind and way of thinking. It was a happy afternoon and for that reason I kept this humble sketch as a souvenir. The water was flowing quickly between those big stones near the river bank creating a confusing pattern that changed and re-shaped again and again…

Stunning realistic drawings of water

Emma Stibbons creates amazing works in charcoal. Her Upstairs gallery portfolio contains impressive seascape drawings in big size.

How to draw deciduous trees

How to draw deciduous trees

Tips on how to draw deciduous trees

This is an introduction to drawing deciduous trees in a realistic way from life. This site explains how to draw deciduous trees with a pen and with charcoal. If your looking for some inspirations or ideas for tree drawing have a look here.

The website discusses the main features of deciduous trees and how to draw them. First simple drawings point out to the basic proportions and parts of a tree. Then tree trunk, branches and tree tops are explained further. Examples and methods how to represent bark and foliage of trees in drawings are given. Finally the making of a very detailed ink drawing of an apple tree orchard is demonstrated in a sequence of intermediate states. Herre you can see the process of drawing step by step.

Let´s try to draw some simple apple trees !

A tutorial for beginners
In the beginning a simple four step approach to drawing trees with pen or ink might help.

In order not to get overwhelmed by the many details of a tree I commend to begin with studies from a distance.
First try to depict the shape or outline of trunk and tree top.

In a second step larger internal forms in the tree top are mapped. The confusing pattern of leaves in fact follows a certain order and on observation one can see that the leaves are organised in typical “groups” following the branch and twig structure of the specific tree species.

In a third step the larger forms can be described further by filling them with a typical smallpattern that the leaves are forming.
I a final fourth step one might add hatches to add shadows, thus the drawing gains more three dimensional look.

No.1 : Starting with the trunk

After the outer form was established I continued with drawing the trunk and then continued to represent the foliage in shade on the right side of the trunk in small circular movements with the pen.
Later the hatching was added for the shadows on the trunk and for the darker tonality in the shadowed area.

The trunk of a tree is a very interesting subject for further exploration. The ink drawing below shows the stem of an old apple tree.

No.2 Mapping the tree tops

detailed view of line pattern
The foliage of trees shows, depending on light, lots of different shades or tonalities. By squinting I identified darker and light areas or clusters of twigs with foliage that have different tonality. Then I try to map the borderlines between darker and the lighter areas by blind drawing.. With some experience you will notice that eqach tree species has a specific “organisation” of branches and twigs and therefore shows a typical pattern of leaves which are grouped by the twigs and branches. So the method here is to establish the bigger forms first and then proceed to the next lower level in the hierarchy.

No.3 Patterns of leaves and foliage

round or jagged outlines?
Each tree species has it´s own pattern or rythm of leaves. I tried to imitate the rythm I saw with my pen movements. The leaves seemed to be arranged a bit like little roof tiles. Also it makes a big difference whether the leaves have rounded edges like on fruit trees or more sharp distinct edges like a red oak or a maple tree. Jagged leaf outlines should be represented by a pattern of jagged lines if the natural character of the tree shall be displayed in the drawing.
With light or heavier pressure on the pen I tried to create thinner/lighter or thicker darker foliage.

How to draw foliage in tree tops

This sketchbook drawing shows a group of apple trees. In the detail below it can be seen how I tried to represent the variations tonalities in the foliage. A realistic impression can be achieved by putting emphasize on the outer branches and leaves of the tree tops and drawing them in very dark tonality. Leaves and twigs at the very tree top often seem to look very dark or almost black in contrast the bright sky. As soon as you move your eyes downwards from the very tree top the foliage seems to get lighter and colors become more visible, because the bright sky does not dazzle the eyes so much.

Apple tree orchard – tree drawing in ink

Development of a landscape drawing with trees
apple trees with ink drawing on site, plein air With more experience the draughtsman develops a strong feel for proportions and an excellent eye to hand co-ordination. The masters seem to know already how the finsished drawing will look on paper and all they need to do is to put it down with their drawing tool. I have not come that far yet, but meantime I can estimate proportions fairly well and I find myself starting a drawing without establishing the outlines visibly on paper first.

See here an example of a detailed landscape study, an apple tree orchard. I have documented the progress of the drawing on several subsequent days. I avoided cross hatching with purpose in this drawing as cross hatchings tend to obscure details and thus reduce the clarity of a drawing. Of course sometimes that can be a wanted effect too.

ink drawing apple tree orchard

I started the drawing with the base of the important tree trunk on the left and then proceeded further to the other more distant trunks and finally into the branches and tree tops. The tree trunks functioned as basic grid and reference for proportions and spatial order. Working all over the page helps to keep the drawing coherent and to make the right decisions about gradadtions of tonalities too. The best is to know from the very start which parts of the drawing shall be the lightest ones and which ones should be the darkest.

In the decidous forest – a charcoal drawing

Oak and beech forest in spring,strategies to deal with an abundance of detail.
The drawing on the right was done on site very near to my home. It shows a beech and oak forest in late spring. I remember those big leaves of Coltsfoots that bloom early along those machine path prepared for logging of timber. You can see those leaves in the foreground on the left.

I found the best way to adopt to the overwhelming amount of details in a forest scenery is to examine the subject before starting with the drawing. I decided to built the picture around the bright spot where the sun hits the grass. It was that light that attracted me to choose that subject.
The big trunks and some smaller ones established the composition grid in this drawing. I start with light marks and lines because mistakes can be wiped out with a cloth easily and the darkest darks should be placed at the end with consideration. The darkest and the lightest spots in a drawing attract the viewer eyes like strong magnets. Wrong placement, wrong form of those “highlights” can spoil the most beautiful drawing. In order to pull the viewer into the picture I placed the sunlit spot of grass at the end of the over grown path in the very center of the paper. To enhance the brightness I placed the darkest darks around the bright spot, which seems brighter than the blank paper in the sky or the foreground.

After the vertical grid was established I concentrated on typical structures of foliage and shrubs and added the background, which filled the spaces between tree trunks. I used a soft eraser to recover some lights in the background to imitate the impresionj that the pattern of light spots on the leaves evoke. To improve that illusion I added dark small marks that resemble the form of leaves.

Finally the foreground was put in. Instead of trying the impossible, to copy each and every grass or leave, I concentrated to represent samples of some of the typical forms and structures I saw. After all the drawing is a simplification of the real scenery, that is just detailed enough to keep up the illusion.

How to draw a tree – The book published on BLURB

A field guide to sketching and drawing trees

70 black and white images of pen, ink and charcoal drawings. You will find many of the illustrations on this lens, but others also from related lenses on drawing deciduous and coniferous trees and some extra images too in the book.
The book summarizes my experiences in drawing trees. The majority of drawings are deciduous trees, but there is also an explanations about pine tree drwaing and spruce.

Link to the book How to draw a tree There is a full preview available.

Quick tree sketch with charcoal

One day a thunderstorm surprised me when drawing. Quickly I seeked cover under a bridge and made a quick drawing of young trees in a rain shower

A look to the edge of a forest

Drawing a forest with pen
This sketchbook drawing was part of an exhibiton project “A year in the vine yard”.
The full sketchbook can be seen here “A year in the vine yard”
Study of a willow tree
Ink drawing in four stages
drawing of a willow tree in four stages

This ink drawing was done in several short session of 20-30 minutes due to cold winter temperatures. The depiction of the many think twiges at the top of the willow tree was a challenge. Not all of those visible in reality found their way into the drawing. More than ofteb less is more in drawing.

Drawing the urban landscape – publication on Blurb

Exploring the city with pen and sketchbook

Between April 2006 and May 2007 I have

worked on an exhibition project about the urban landscape of the city of Stuttgart,Germany.
I have selected more than 30 drawings for a book now available online at BLURB.
The first 10 pages show panoramic drawings together with the essay about the urban landscape and the experience of drawing such a complex subject. The following pages show two panoramic drawings per page without text.

Into the Woods Musical

Into the Woods Musical

Go Into the Woods with This Sondheim Musical

Into the Woods is a Tony Award-winning musical with music and lyrics from Stephen Sondheim and written and directed by James Lapine.

Sondheim’s elaborate musical score is the background for the story that intertwines the original Grimm fairy tales of Cinderella, Jack and the Magic Beanstalk, Little Red Ridinghood and Rapunzel as we follow these characters in search of their wishes.

What they discover in the woods is an important life lesson—the consequences of those wishes—and perhaps that they might have been better off not wishing them in the first place.

Take a trip with me into the woods and discover this unique musical.

Image from Into the Woods Cover, music available to download on Amazon.

Discovering Into the Woods

We discovered Into the Woods, when it was presented as one of the play options for my daughters childrens’ theater group to perform for the summer.

I knew the story involved darker fairy tales, so looked at the plot summary on Wikipedia before letting my daughters watch the DVD of the American Playhouse production. One thing that was clear is that the stories were based on the original Brothers Grimm tales with more more blood, mayhem, deception, killings and scary creatures.

After becoming familiar with the musical my daughters discovered reading the Once Upon a Time Book that some of the text from the Into the Woods play has been taken directly from the original Brothers Grimm Tales.

Some of the things she discovered were Cinderella’s stepsisters getting their toe and heel cut off to fit into the shoe, Rapunzel’s Prince gets blinded falling from her tower and Little Red Ridinghood and Granny getting swallowed by the wolf and then cut out by the huntsman.

I got them the Once Upon a Time book because we are also fans of the ABC show Once Upon a Time show, a television show based on the Brothers Grimm tales.

Into the Woods Jr. Book

Into the Woods – Darker Tales

The Broadway musical uses several of the Brothers Grimm’s real fairy tales, the tales that are much more graphic, violent and often gruesome than the Disney version’s we’ve grown up with and intersperses these stories with a new story about a Baker and his Wife and what they go through to start a family.

The Amazon review for the American Playhouse DVD version describes Into the Woods as:

Fractured fairy tales of a darker hue provide the remarkable context for Into the Woods, which deconstructs the Brothers Grimm by way of Rod Serling.

Another reviewer wrote this about the Into the Woods soundtrack, “It is a marvelous deconstruction of fairy tales and how the wishing and the getting is what really important, not obtaining it.”

In these fractured fairy tales, Sondheim and Lupine weave many cleaver story twists, metaphors and meanings into this grown-up fairy tale that will leave you thinking about the importance of the journey, living in the moment and what goes into living happily ever after.

NOTE: Parents may want to familiarize themselves with the story plot, twists, death, deception, adultry and mayhem before deciding to let their children watch the play.

Disney Goes Into the Woods

Disney is aiming for a Christmas Day premiere of its version of the Tony Award Winning Musical. Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep were the first two actors confirmed for this new version of Sondheim’s play.

Depp is set to play the Wolf with an unknown Little Red Riding Hood and Streep, the Witch who is involved in stirring up a lot of mischief for the Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt) and also plays a major role with Rapunzel (unknown). Tracey Ullman is in talks to play Jack and the Beanstalks Mother (she should be great!) and Daniel Huttlestone as Jack.

Other actors linked to this new version include Jake Gyllenhaal and Chris Pine as the two handsome princes for Rapunzel and Cinderella (Anna Kendrick). Christine Baranski plays Cinderella’s step mother.

It is going to be very interesting to follow the making of this film and then see Disney’s take on the real Grimm Brother fairy tales, rather than the cleaner versions we’ve seen for years.

Cast for Into the Woods

These are the people, so far, who have been linked to the Disney version of Into the Woods:

1. The Baker – James Corden
2. The Baker’s Wife – Emily Blunt
3. Jack in the Beanstalk – Daniel Huttlestone
4. Jack’s Mother – Tracey Ullman
5. Cinderella – Anna Kendrick
6. Cindrella’s Step Mother – Christine Baranski
7. The Princes – Chris Pine (Cinderella’s) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Rapunzel’s)
8. The Wolf – Johnny Depp
9. The Witch – Meryl Streep

More on the Disney Version of Into the Woods

Articles about the latest revival of Into the Woods for Disney, as we discover the different cast members.

Johnny Depp in Into The Woods: A Dream Come True, But He Worries About His Singing | E! Online
Johnny Depp can’t wait to play The Wolf in the movie adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Tony award winning musical Into the Woods.
Anna Kendrick & ‘Into The Woods’: Actress In Talks For Cinderella Role
Let’s hope the glass slipper fits — Anna Kendrick may be taking on the role of Cinderella. The 27-year-old actress is reportedly in talks to join the upcoming adaptation of “Into the Woods,” led by director Rob Marshall (“Chicago”).
“Into the Woods” Film Eyes “Les Miserables” Star to Play Jack – Playbill.com
Young actor Daniel Huttlestone, who starred as Gavroche in Tom Hooper’s film of “Les Misérables,” is in talks to join the cast of the “Into the Woods” film, Deadline.com reports.
Tracey Ullman in Talks to Join Disney’s ‘Into the Woods’ (Exclusive)
Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, and Chris Pine are among those playing classic fairy tale characters in the adaptation of the Broadway musical.
Disney’s Starry Into the Woods Film Sets Christmas 2014 Release – Playbill.com
The film adaptation of Into the Woods, the dark, Tony Award-winning fairytale musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, will be released in theatres Dec. 25, 2014, Walt Disney Pictures announced June 13.
Disney Release Dates: ‘Into the Woods’
Disney has announced release schedule updates, which includes a date for the ‘Into the Woods’ musical movie and a new title for ‘The Muppets’ sequel.

Into the Woods Synopsis

Available from Amazon Into the Woods musical intertwines the original Grimm fairy tales of Cinderella, Jack and the Magic Beanstalk, Little Red Ridinghood and Rapunzel with the story of a Baker and his wife who want a child.

Through the 3 hour + musical we follow Cinderella, Little Red Ridinghood, Jack, Rapunzel and several Princes along with the Baker and his Wife on the paths that they take searching for their Happily Ever After. What they all discover, venturing into the woods, is that life may not always go the way we wished for or turn out to be quite so happy.

The first act is more lighthearted and focuses on the wishes made by Cinderella, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood and the Baker and his Wife as they all venture into the woods in search of their wishes.

Much of the first act is spent watching the Baker and his Wife go in search of “the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold” to make a magic potion that will help them have a child. The first act ends after everyone’s wishes have come true. This is the act that is adapted into the Into the Woods Jr. version for Childrens’ Theaters.

The second act soon becomes darker and much more somber. Some recommendations are that the second act may be too heavy for younger children (under six). In this act we take a look at what happens to our original characters now that they are living their “happily ever after.” Cinderella, Jack and the Baker and his Wife are still wishing and enter into the woods again in search of what they are missing. The second act includes more mayhem, treachery, adultery and several deaths, but it also features many of the show stopping musical songs including “No More,” “No One Is Alone,” and “Children Will Listen.”

My daughters were more disturbed by the Princes wishing for new Princesses (after they’d already gotten their first ones) than the deaths and mayhem, but the Princes’ wandering eyes became a good teachable lesson about the boys and men they may date in the future.

Into the Woods – Video Clip

This clip from the 1988 Tony Awards features Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, Phylicia Rashad with the rest of the original cast of the Broadway production.

Music from Into the Woods

The song most recognized from Into the Woods is probably “Children Will Listen” which was made popular by Bernadette Peters. The song has also been recorded by Betty Buckley, Barbara Streisand and Mandy Patinkin.

Other recognizable songs from the play are “Last Midnight,” “No One Is Alone,” and “No More.”

There are several different versions of the music from Into the Wood available for listening. The original Broadway Cast that features Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason was the one that we listened to first after watching the DVD.

There is also the London Cast version from 1991 and the Broadway revival of 2002 that featured Vanessa Williams as the witch.

Once we heard that my daughters’ theater group would be doing Into the Woods as a summer production we started listening to the music. Initially listening to the rather complicated arrangements of different voices singing over each other at the same time was a bit challenging, but it wasn’t too long before my daughters’ both had the music down and were singing right along. The music gets stuck in your head.

Into the Woods London Cast Soundtrack available on Amazon.

Into the Woods Musical Numbers

The musical numbers from Into the Woods on the original Broadway Cast Recording include:
  • 1. Into the Woods (Prologue)
  • 2. Cinderella at the Grave
  • 3. Hello, Little Girl
  • 4.I Guess This Is Goodbye / Maybe They’re Magic
  • 5. I Know Things Now
  • 6 A Very Nice Prince / First Midnight / Giants in the Sky
  • 7. Agony
  • 8. It Takes Two
  • 9. Stay With Me
  • 10. On the Steps of the Palace
  • 11. Ever After
  • 12. Act II Prologue: So Happy
  • 13. Agony (Reprise)
  • 14. Lament
  • 15. Any Moment / Moments in the Woods
  • 16. Your Fault / Last Midnight
  • 17. No More
  • 18. No One Is Alone