Once upon a time…


Phew – this was a bit of a mammoth task. It’s always nice when a bit of hard work pays off, and more so when you actually learn something from it – in this case some new brush tool techniques.

This is of course another creative writing competition poster for the Tower Hamlets Schools Library Services, and after the last ones being entirely computer generated, I wanted to go back to some drawing and freehanad colouring.

I knew I wanted to go with the group portraits from the start, being influenced by sources such as the Metabarons graphic novel cover and the portrait pages of the Kingdom Come graphic novel. It seemed the best way to condense as many disparate characters into a single artwork.

I didn’t have a huge amount of time to plan the poster, but I did my best to get a fairly rounded selection of characters from as many backgrounds as possible – the competition emphasises reading up on multi-cultural myths and legends. I went for old favourites that weren’t too obscure and would be recognised by the pupils entering the competition and mixed in some less familiar faces.

Each character was drawn separately at A3 size and then scanned and composited before being coloured. The reversible design came about simply because I had a long list of characters and they just didn’t fit well on a landscape composition, but I think that the pupils will like the distinction between the ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ and (I hope) explore the representations in their writing.


 List of characters:

  • Beowulf (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Arthur (British/ Welsh)
  • An Ifrit (Arabic/ Middle-Eastern)
  • The Morrigan (Irish)
  • Red Riding Hood (Europe)
  • The Swan Princess (Europe)
  • A Tomte (Scandinavia)
  • Snow White (Europe)
  • Baron Samedi (Haiti/ Caribbean)
  • Anansi (Africa/ Caribbean)
  • Elves (Various)
  • Faerie (Various)
  • A Wolf (Various)
  • Lilith (Hebrew)
  • A Golem (Hebrew)
  • Namahage (Japan)
  • Sasabonsam (Africa)
  • An Asura (India)
  • A Troll (Various)
  • A Gorgon (Greek)
  • Mictlantecuhtli (Aztec)
  • Baba Yaga (Russia)