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Dark Hall Mansion – Harry Potter Poster

I was overwhelmed at the Toronto ComiCon with wonderful comments and orders for the Harry Potter print commissioned by Dark Hall Mansion.

To everyone who wanted a poster, please stay tuned as we set up a system to order.



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PlanetSlade part II

Continuing with Paul’s PlanetSlade commission.

These are my preliminary sketches for the ‘Secret London’ section of his website:

secret london

At this point it was becoming astonishingly clear what a massive undertaking this was going to be.

Next: Miscellany

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Paul’s PlanetSlade commission

Okay… so here’s what I’m working on now: Paul’s PlanetSlade commission.

Back in November (I am slowly getting caught up with my backlog of stuff), I received an email which read, in part:

‘I have a website called with 34 lengthy essays on it. They fall into three main categories: Murder Ballads, Secret London and Miscellaney. What I’d like is large landscape piece which pictorially represents every one of those essays somewhere in its composition. There are many images already up there on PlanetSlade which you may (or may not) choose to borrow as representatives for that particular essay on the finished piece. If you’d care to sneak a tiny Gerebus in there as a little grace note too, that’d be fine by me. I don’t mind whether it’s a “composite” piece with all the images sharing the same environment or a “panelled” one with each essay  consigned to its own segment. My only stipulations are that it be landscape in orientation and that the PlanetSlade appears very prominently somewhere on the piece. Everything else I’d be happy to leave up to you.
Thanks very much.’

One of my favourite things to hear: ‘Everything else I’d be happy to leave up to you.’

I spent quite a bit of time going through trying to quickly glean enough information from each article to get a sense of the core element that I could use to pictorially represent it. I found myself quite often getting engrossed in the article, having to tear myself away and move on to the next.

I also did a lot of searching through Google images for reference material. I’ve ended up with 547 files in my PlanetSlade folder. Here’s an example of some ‘period clothing’:


I decided to tackle the ‘Murder Ballads’ first, since they seemed most prominent on the website and have a common theme. The challenge was: how to portray the grizzly murders? Since these articles were about songs, I decided to include the musicians, which seemed to naturally lead to dance. I found a whole bunch of dance poses:


…and I turned the ‘Murder Ballads’ into ‘Murder Ballets’:


…except for ‘Stagger Lee’ which I based on the Jack Ruby/Lee Harvey Oswald shooting…

…just ‘cuz.

Next: Secret London.

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We are in Barrie, Ontario looking after a friend’s shop, house and cats while they are away in sunny Mexico.

Luckily, I can draw pretty much anywhere; like their dining room table:

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I can also draw at the shop:

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Stay tuned for what I’m actually working on: it’s a doozy!

Speaking of doozy, the view outside the window deteriorated rapidly…

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…and in the morning we had about a foot of new snow:

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Luckily, they have a new snowblower. Here’s the first pass:

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One of those times that I can’t wait to get back to the old drawing board.

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Potter Preliminaries…

I’ve been asked if I would able to post any of the preparatory work for the Potter poster. ‘Why, sure!’ says I.

Here is a little collage of  layouts that I cobbled together choosing from 157 different images that I collected online and then Photoshopped into these 17 different rejected ideas:



Having settled on a final version, I printed out a mirror-image layout, full size, in 8.5″x 11″ sections, taped together.

I then drew the basic outlines from the printout onto tracing paper.

Here is the rough pencil, flipped over and ready to be transferred onto illustration board.


07 rough pencil


XThen I tight-pencil everything on the illustration board.

08 penciled

And then start inking…

09 ink1…and inking…10 ink2

…and inking…

11 ink3

…all with Pigma Micron Archival Ink pens:X


18 inking2


The finished piece is almost 2 feet by 3 feet and doesn’t quite fit on my drawing board.




I try not to think about how many lines I’ve drawn in my career… that way lies madness.

But I’m sure if you laid them all end to end, they would stretch to the moon and back.