Fairy tales and all of their jovial, magical, strange, and occasionally inspiring characters are, unfortunately, not real; their sole purpose is to provide the young and impressionable with an easier way of understanding the world around them. Susanne König — known to many by her Instagram handle Suflanda — is an illustrative artist out of Hamburg, Germany, and she is seriously making us question if what we’ve been told our entire lives is a lie. Instead of being merely a literary tool used by adults to explain the confusing realm of virtues to children, fairy tales have a bit of truth to them. Because how else could you possibly explain how she captures the wonderfully magical characters that dot her work unless she had actually bore witness to them.
Tattooing exclusively in black ink, König’s work is wholly illustrative, using both line and dot work to fully realize her fairy tale characters’ full potential. With an incredible fondness for animals, monsters who aren’t exactly monstrous, and surreal ladies, her work looks as if it’s been ripped from the pages of our favorite childhood storybooks — and in some instances it has.
Taking time to fully develop her characters as well as their surroundings, König tells the tales of a whale who swallowed the sea, a bashful bear who yearns for a friend, and a woman who lives among the stardust, at times doing them more justice than an author could ever hope for.
We have been told time and time again that fairy tales are not real, that rabbits and cats do not hold tea parties, and that bears do not bake bread in anticipation of the house guests that are soon to arrive. We are told all of this and more, but with a wave of König's hand the characters that we so fervently clung to as children become a part of us, giving them life, and making them every bit as real as you and me.