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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.

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And then start inking…

09 ink1…and inking…10 ink2

…and inking…

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…all with Pigma Micron Archival Ink pens:X


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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.

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Harry Potter Print – Limited Edition

A long, long, long time ago, I was asked by Dark Hall Mansion to draw a limited edition poster of the first installment of the Harry Potter Series.

Here is a short excerpt from their “About” Dark Hall Mansion page.

“Dark Hall Mansion is a labor of love. We are passionate about art, about the work of print and poster artists present and past, known and not so known, here and abroad, we are committed to bringing their skills to the forefront on projects that are both compelling and exciting.”

It has been a “secret” project for quite a while, and I’m pleased to announce that it is now print ready and available for purchase. To see the finished products, click the link below.

I’ve been told that it might show up on the Harry Potter Facebook page.

Dark Hall



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Leaning Into the Learning Curve

Hello and welcome to the new website and blog!

We are still in the process of fine-tuning the site but at least we are up and running.

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That’s me staring in complete befuddlement at the computer screen just before making the executive decision to hand everything over to Shelley so I can get back to the drawing board.

Here’s Shel at our local library using their WiFi to slog through all of the necessary tutorials and to upload images while I spent the day scouring Google Images for reference for my next big commission:

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Meanwhile, outside the huge picture window, was a veritable Cerebus background scene:

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Stay tuned for more (hopefully) regular blog posts and for improvements to the site.