new book beginnings ~ db

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final drawing stage/work in progress, spread 18  (detail) | charcoal, pencil on vellum

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I’m about 3/4 finished the 6th spread and am reminiscing about London and Paris. The swan is referenced from photos I took in Kensington Park 5 1/2 years ago and the foremost toy boat is from my visit to le jardin du Luxembourg in 2008 (when I knew I would be illustrating a story about boats and photographed as many boats as I could from Orkney to Paris). Whenever I travel, I take as many photographs as I can to build up my image reference library.

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The Round Pond | Kensington Gardens, London

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The Round Pond | Kensington Gardens, London

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The Round Pond | Kensington Gardens, London

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During my wanders in Kensington Gardens, I was thrilled to discover the haunts of Peter Pan. The Rackham illustrated Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens was an absolute favourite book of mine when I was little. The illustrations were pure magic to me. When I found myself walking in the real Kensington Gardens 25 years later, I had a strange mixture of feelings: excitement, nostalgia and loss (or maybe I was just suffering the effects of extreme jet-lag). But there was still a sense of magic in the misty landscape that appeared to have changed very little from the scenes Rachkam drew, and yet, conversely, a lot, framed now with the skyline of a modern city and crossed by cars passing over the Serpentine Bridge.

The Serpentine is a lovely lake and there is a drowned forest at the bottom of it | Arthur Rackham, illustrator | from Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, J.M. Barrie

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The Serpentine Bridge | Kensington Gardens, London

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After this the birds said they would help him no more in his mad enterprise | Arthur Rackham, illustrator | from Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, J.M. Barrie
(photo) The Long Water  | Kensington Gardens, London

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Peter Pan | by Sir George Frampton, 1912 | Kensington Gardens, London

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