Art Journal: The Victorian Halloween Stage by Stage

For this artwork, I first sketched out the rough shapes onto a piece of A3 (poster-sized) paper with a light 2B pencil, and then gradually added the finer features with a graphic pencil. One of the first items to be detailed-in was the marionette stall.

I had put out a request online for suggestions and one person had asked for a “dancing skeleton”; this gave me the idea of a puppet.

I have a mini-desk and tiny stool set up beside me and my daughter sits there beside me in the early morning whilst I work, with her own little art set. I keep a sheet of laminate close by that I can pop over my work-in-progress so that she can point out features she likes.

One request was for a “spooky merry-go-round with skeletal horses” and for this I referred to a veterinary anatomy book – even though the horse is actually only a centimetre in size.

A special friend, who is fighting a very brave health battle, requested a little girl with Star Wars buns in her hair, accompanied by her pet dog. I gave the girl the central position in the whole piece.

One suggestion was for “spiders with hats.” The town’s tavern therefore found its name: The Hatted Spider.

I was asked to include a “wizard with a huge beard that gets everywhere!” This developed into a mischievous character who used his beard to steal both hot chestnuts and a toffee apple. Local children can be found using it as a skipping rope.

“A mother witch with her children, all on broomsticks” was another suggestion. I imaged that this would probably require reigns of some sort to keep the little ones from flying off. The witch family can be found in front of the milliner’s, the mother witch balancing groceries on the back of her broomstick.

If you peek in the top window of Dr M. Shelley’s, you might spot Dr Frankenstein tinkering about with some cables that he should really leave alone. Both the Book Depository and the Physician’s have “established” dates that match the dates on which the famous books were published. B. Stoker’s book shop is “Open From Dusk.”

Gradually, it begins to take shape.

Here is the haunted mansion on the lower right corner being drawn in:

The outline finished. Time to add colour.

I wanted to create a sense of the orange-yellow glow that always accompanies a fairground at night. I focused on the areas of bright light first; the carnival rides, street lamps and windows.

The little dog here belongs to a lovely friend who gave me a photo of their pet in a woolly Christmas jumper. The witchy fortune teller was another brilliant request.

Nearly there.

The Ent-like tree, with his arm around the letterbox is one of my favourite parts of the poster.

Mrs Hudson hails a cab for Sherlock from a first floor window.

After everything is complete, we scan them and my husband turns them into digital artworks for

I want to thank the 130+ friends who took part in creating this artwork, with cheery company and fantastic suggestions.

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29 Comments Add yours

  1. clivebennett796 says:

    You may have already done or thought of this but it would look great on an old vellum type lampshade – illuminated from within!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness what a wonderful suggestion – thank you Clive! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. exquisite artwork. Love every detail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. John says:

    Wonderful art! I love watching you draw too. 🥰🇬🇧


    1. Thank you so much John, I really appreciate your support … and love the daily pics of faraway sunny Vegas:D


  4. ourcrossings says:

    Wow you are so talented. Love the details 🙂


    1. Thank you so much! I am so behind on my blog reading – how are you? I hope you are keeping safe and well xxx


  5. Widdershins says:

    Watching the video was great! : D


    1. Thank you! I need to up my game a bit on taking videos and learn how to create much more professional ones … although I have already moved onto using a phone stand instead of propping my iPhone up against a teacup 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fabulous and so much fun! I love your whimsy and imagination. Best to your friend!


    1. Thank you so much Laurie … please please send me a link to where I can get your beautiful book, (I have a kindle if its available electronically) and should I start with the first one in the series? xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It would make a great puzzle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! We are actively looking for puzzle suppliers … I absolutely love jigsaws, especially in winter months.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Mrs. N in Japan says:

    Wow! Again- you have such talent and patience!


    1. Thank you very much x It doesn’t feel like hours when I am working on these pieces, time just melts away x

      Liked by 1 person

  9. candidkay says:

    This is amazing! Truly.


    1. Thank you so much Kay x I hope you and your family are keeping well xxx


  10. Looks beautiful and very Halloween-y. Well done.


    1. Thank you! It was a lot of fun to draw ☺️✨

      Liked by 1 person

  11. tidalscribe says:

    Fantastic drawings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! 🌿


  12. TanGental says:

    And you do all that going backwards in high heels….or was that dancing? Anyhoo, quite extraordinary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙃 I’ve been drawing these tiny worlds for decades and keeping them in boxes in my wardrobe ☺️ My husband (who has been trying to get me to show people for years) put one of my maps on his twitter feed a few months ago and no one was more shocked than me that anyone would want to see them … let alone that they would want them on their wall! xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. TanGental says:

        they remind me of wasgijs that I loved ( – have you thought about them as jigsaws?


  13. Wow, you are so talented, so much detail. I love it.


    1. Thank you so much! xxx


  14. This is insanely impressive! WOW!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! 🤍

      Liked by 1 person

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