“ron’s a keeper.” ron weasley, from j.k. rowling’s harry potter series

it was incredibly interesting to re-read the entire harry potter series (cursed child, included; we can debate later, but i’m a huge fan!) keeping ONE thing in mind:  ron weasley.  he turned into 5 pages of teeny tiny handwritten notes in my faerie tale feet moleskine– all things to help represent his adventures with and without harry and hermione throughout the series.  he really “grew into his own” as it were… he became more than a loyal, fumbling sidekick.  he made mistakes.  he became a hero.  he didn’t have to outgrow his family shadow, but got to claim his own stake in the wizarding world.  and as book seven closes, declare with much truth and humour, “don’t let it worry you.  it’s me.  i’m extremely famous.”

have a peak at my painting process, and then jump down for all the icons that i (finally, with some help) decided upon for the background imagery to help tell his story.

ron halthegal blog 1
i always start a new faerie tale feet painting by doing all the research i can. for ron, of course, i got to reread all the harry potter books, taking copious notes about how our favorite tall, lanky redheaded hogwarts express companion made an impact on all the other characters.
ron halthegal blog 2
after i decide on the icons i want to use to help tell the story, i transfer my drawing down to watercolour paper, and here i am adding the very first glaze of the background colour. i used masking fluid on the shapes that wouldn’t have a subtle orange undertone, like the deluminator and the flying car….
ron halthegal blog 3
here’s the painting with colors slowly being added… for all the faerie tale feet paintings in the harry potter collection (there’s now four! harry, hermione, ron, & luna!), i painted on watercolour paper, mixing a few new colours, but mostly reusing paints from my other paintings– lots and lots of sheer layers of colours, recharged from the saved paper plates that i mix on for each piece.
ron halthegal blog 4
here was the first layer of gouache, graphite, and a bit of india ink is coming on the knight piece that ron rides/plays as in the very first book to help our trio cross the wizards chess board so harry can (what they think) stop snape from stealing the sorcerer’s stone. more contrast came later.
ron halthegal blog 5
here is an extreme zoom-in of one of the scabbers (in-progress) you’ll find in the background. he was so fun to paint, even if he was a villain. (so much more to his story than i remembered!)
ron halthegal bog 6
and here’s the left hand side of the final painting, ron’s too-short jeans, dirty hand-me-down-shirt, and what sneakers i would have put him in if they existed. 🙂 (i just can’t handle boring uniform shoes! i had to mix it up!!)

i consulted my nerdtastic*bff to help me narrow down my too-many-pages of ron notes (& let her see some preliminary sketches) for what shapes were working best to tell ron’s story.  so here’s what we decided upon:

  • one of each of ron’s red-headed family members are represented since his family was such a huge part of his motivation and place in harry’s world.  there’s mr. weasley (balding, horn-rimmed glasses, according to the text), mrs. molly weasley (lower left), bill (devilishly handsome; ponytail), charlie (a bit of a thicker, wider head since he’s probably a bit sturdy to work with dragons), fred & george (the twins.  yes, george is missing an ear), percy (the “perfect” prefect on the far left), and ginny (the only girl, bless her, top right)
  • scabbers (the fat, grey rat who turns out to be an animagus revealed in book three; my fave book, although it’s a tie with book six.)
  • chocolate frogs (part of harry’s very first meeting with ron on the hogwarts express in book one)
  • the maroon sweater (Christmas present from his mom; every year.)
  • flying turquoise car (ford anglica, later destroyed by the whomping willow, but also their savior in the forbidden forest)
  • howler (the red, steaming envelope of a letter that molly sends to yell at ron for stealing the car and being seen flying over london because he was late for the train)
  • spiders (ron’s greatest fear)
  • three broomsticks (for ron’s unwavering crush on its bartender, rosmerta, who wore sparkly turquoise heels, which i feel are important because they sound amazing.)
  • red rat tonic (something was obviously wrong with scabbers)
  • the three tall goal posts of quidditch (he DID become a keeper, even without the help of felix felicis.  but maybe not without some subversive wand work from hermione.)
  • elf hats (of course, dobby.  but also because the first time ron & hermione kiss, it’s because of ron’s mention of elf rights.  so that’s why one of them is rose-colored instead of green like in hermione’s painting.  one of their children was named rose.)
  • weasley is our king crown pins (with a green shadow since the slytherins did it to torture ron “he always lets the quaffle in!” however, his victory turned the chorus of the song into something a bit more uplifting.)
  • felix felicis (a molten gold liquid luck that harry wins in professor slughorn’s potion class that he lets ron believe he put into his juice before a big quidditch match; but it was a trick of the eye & harry later uses the potion to get an important memory out of slughorn at aragog’s funeral in hagrid’s garden)
  • love potion (not only the need for a life-saving bezoar, but let’s not mention that whole lavender brown nonsense, shall we?)
  • sword of gryffindor (like all weasleys, ron got sorted into gryffindor.  but unlike any of his siblings, he dove into a frozen lake to retrieve the sword, save harry’s life, and destroy salazar slytherin’s locket of a horcrux with it.)
  • the deluminator (left to ron in dumbledore’s will, it lead ron back to harry & hermione.  the blue, floating light… swoon.)
  • his silver terrier patronus
  • & of course the knight wizard’s chess piece he uses to help harry & hermione across the board in book one!

other shapes there simply wasn’t room for:  the infamous wingardium leviosa feather, the burrow, de-gnoming the garden (but my sketches were adorable), bezoars, an egyptian pyramid (family vacation), the sneakoscope ron brings back to harry (more scabbers clues), lavender brown’s bunny binky, pidwidgeon, the merpeople from the goblet of fire challenge, his prefect badge, the brains from the department of mysteries, the silver quidditch cup, cattermole’s raining office, dragomir despard, the yellow dragon they escaped gringott’s on, the basilisk fang he & hermione go back to the chamber of secrets for to destroy rowena ravenclaw’s diadem…. well, those were the second tier of icons.  there was more… ;D

“ron’s a keeper.”

original gouache painting from the faerie tale feet series

6 x 14″ on watercolour paper

$450, framed.

limited edition signed prints now available HERE on etsy!

& his greeting card HERE on my etsy shoppe! & as part of the hogwarts friendship pack HERE.  🙂

“harry– yer a wizard.”

IMG_3613
research on harry potter was of course fun– and i’ve got a bit too much to work with. so we’ll eventually have to paint ron & hermione’s feet, too.
IMG_3644
we [royal, just me, really] reduced harry’s tale down to these images and icons- and decided on the painting layout.
IMG_3671
here was the final background pattern drawing.
IMG_3682
and for a wee bit of texture on this one, we painted it on watercolour paper instead of my usual illustration board.
IMG_3689
i still painted it in gouache, but layers and layers of washes instead of the usual opaque application of one colour at a time.
IMG_3691
and here is the final painting!
IMG_3702
and here’s the print that you can buy on my etsy shoppe!

“harry– yer a wizard.”

original gouache painting by me, hallie m. bertling

based on the collected works of our beloved j.k. rowling, here in all its glory is harry, flying off to the next adventure in my faerie tale feet series.

search the background for icons relaying people and events from his magical journeys:
chocolate frogs, the winged key (book one on the way to face quirrell), his stag patronus, the grim, golden snitches, the gryffindor crest, dobby, his hogwarts acceptance letter, the sorting hat, his infamous broken glasses & lightning bolt scar, dumbledore’s half*moon glasses, the prophecy from the department of mysteries, hedwig, the hungarian horntail faced in goblet of fire, buckbeak the hippogriff…. i thinks that’s it, but maybe you’ll find more. 😉

hogwarts is pictured in the bottom right*hand corner– with a hint of knitting in gryffindor burgundy & yellow– for it was HOME to harry. and i always think of mrs. weasley knitting him that Christmas sweater- his first real Christmas present. homey, no? (also in the tower is a famous symbol and the title of book seven.)

also, the one sock you can see on the harry figure is his homemade gift from dobby– his mismatched red sock with broomsticks on it. the other unseen sock of course was the green one with snitches. so since you can’t see both socks in the composition, i combined them into a red sock with snitches. sneaky.

🙂
the original painting has sold, but you can purchase the limited edition print here on my etsy shoppe:  http://etsy.me/1MZXhh3