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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.