“a chocolate inheritance.” roald dahl’s charlie bucket & willy wonka.

sometimes i ever wonder how my mother endured me re-watching the old movie over and over.  (i feel like it was either “willy wonka & the chocolate factory,” “toby tyler,” or the faerie tale classic theatre episode of “the twelve dancing princesses.”)

but i also wonder and continue in gratefulness for aunts & uncles who gifted me such classic children’s literature at a young age.  i still have my box set of charlie & the chocolate factory, charlie and the great glass elevator, and the bfg (see above) that aunt mary jo & uncle greg gave me for Christmas one year.  (yes, the covers are as creepy as you’d expect from the late ’80s.)  granted, i read the bfg more often than not.  but visually, i just couldn’t wait to paint the adventures of charlie bucket & mr. wonka himself!

so have a peek at my painting process and then i’ll break down all the background icons from the original book!  😀

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whenever i begin a faerie tale feet piece, i read all the original material, take margin notes, and often sketch while watching adaptations of the work on screen (or as is charlie & wonka’s case, listening to the new broadway soundtrack, too!)
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after i’ve decided which sketches would make the best background icons to tell our story, i trace my drawings to make a large pattern drawing.
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this willy wonka/charlie bucket piece is shaped like a candy bar. you can hang the final painting (or print) length-wise, or with charlie OR mr. wonka at the top!  this is the final drawing which i then transferred down to paint.
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after i use a bit of transfer paper to re-trace my pattern drawing onto my illustration board, i always start by filling in the background colour first, taking hours upon hours to paint around each shape and figure, getting a consistent colour down before painting any of the icons. seen here are the four gouache colours of paint i mixed to make this delightful purple background colour!
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after our background is dry, i move in mixing a new colour for each icon. seen here, adding pie-paint to our violet beauregarde bubble-gum bubbles.
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here’s a view of continuing to fill in the icon shapes with new colors, as always, mixing my gouache on paper plates.  (re-usable if i need to touch anything up later!)
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getting closer…
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i always save painting the characters’ feet for last. it helps me decide on colours to use to make them stand out from the background.  plus, since it’s “the faerie tale feet” series, it just kinda makes sense.  🙂
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i fought this painting. and after taking it to the scanner and reviewing the first batch of prints, i reclaimed the painting, completely painting over wonka’s pants and shoes, and making charlie’s shoes muddier than they originally were. i even touched up some of the icon details to make them crisper. the thing i was happiest with and didn’t have to change were the five golden tickets (which are actually shiny!!)


so after reading both charlie and the chocolate factory and charlie and the great glass elevator (more on that later), here’s what all my sketching and margin notes reduced our story down to visually for our final faerie tale feet painting:

  • 5 golden tickets
  • augustus gloop’s german hat (couldn’t quite work a clogged chocolate pipe into our composition!)
  • violet beauregarde’s bubblegum blueberry pie (“you’re turning violet, violet!”)
  • veruca salt’s squirrels and walnuts (she was a bad nut, indeed!)
  • mike teavee’s television
  • wonka’s black top hat
  • the chocolate delivery trucks (the only thing to ever come in or out of the factory!)
  • the oompa loompas’ caterpillars (what they ate before mr. wonka bribed them with cocao beans; not very tasty)
  • the pink open row-boat
  • wonka’s key to the inventing room
  • everlasting gobstoppers (yum!)

behind charlie’s feet (his not-a-great-fit muddy boots), are his crooked house, the end of grandpa joe & grandma josephine’s bed, at the other end of which are grandpa george & georgina’s side of the same bed (you’ll see everyone’s initials “carved” into the grain), a big pot of cabbage soup (the family’s usual meal), and a tube of toothpaste (charlie’s dad screwed the caps on at the factory.)  i also added “swudge” (the edible grass from the chocolate room in the factory), and bubbles coming out of the chimney for the “fizzy lifting drinks” that appear as a comment in the book, but get grandpa joe & charlie in trouble in the original movie.  and i signed the piece in a bucket full of snow.  because the bucket house was very cold whenever it began to snow!

for mr. wonka, i’ve included as details from the book his “bottle green trousers” and painted his factory, factory wall which kept people from going in or out once he threw out all the spies, and the wonka gates behind him (can you decipher the lettering?!)

i hope (however you hang) this painting, that not only does it make you dream beyond your current existence through the realm of imagination, but it makes you want to invent something or share something that makes those you love equally happy.

the original painting is available framed for $420 (+ $30 for safe shipping in the USA.)

limited edition signed prints are available HERE  on my etsy shoppe.

and matching greeting cards, too!  click HERE.

i’m a huge fan of roald dahl, and thoroughly enjoyed re-exploring this classic tale as he wrote it and how others have embellished it for ongoing generations.  (not a fan of charlie and the great glass elevator, by the way.  it had some good quotes, but was a huge delay, written eight years after the original, that was supposed to pick up where the first book ended, but was a wacky trip through space and more about the ridiculous “president of america” than it was about charlie and his family making their way with willy wonka to their new chocolate factory home.)  i was surprised to notice that tim burton’s more recent film was closer to the original text than the 1971 film.  but i enjoy them both.  🙂

and, just because, here’s a blurb from charlie & the chocolate factory which i found very entertaining and quite telling as to how roald dahl felt about television.  from the oompa loompa’s song on mike teavee’s downfall:

oh, books, what books they used to know,

those children living long ago!

so please, oh please, we beg, we pray,

go throw your TV set away,

and in its place you can install

a lovely bookshelf on the wall.

then fill the shelves with lots of books,

ignoring all the dirty looks…

fear not, because we promise you

that, in about a week or two

of having nothing else to do,

they’ll now begin to feel the need

of having something good to read.