Chris Riddell, British illustrator and political cartoonist, posted his take on Neil Gaiman’s Instructions earlier this month. The poem, previously published in books including Trigger Warning, Fragile Things, and its own self-titled picture book with illustrations by Charles Vess, is described by Gaiman as “What to do if you find yourself inside a fairy tale.”
The Instructions’ vagueness may lead readers to consider it as a sort of practical advice for real life, but I’ve found that it is best enjoyed as the fanciful adventure world Gaiman has meant it to be. Besides, I think the ambiguity is part of its charm. I had not seen or read any of the previous interpretations before coming across this one on Facebook, and I very much enjoyed it.
It is hard not to appreciate Chris Riddell’s take on the piece. The delicate lines of his almost-too-minimalistic art, I think, leaves more to the readers’ wonder and improves the overall experience. The hero’s curls- that grows ever wilder throughout the story and draws readers’ eyes to where the focus is at, is testament to smart character design.