I was a reluctant reader as a kid. I read a lot of comics (Tintin, Calvin and Hobbes,
Donald Duck and Uncle $crooge, etc.) but it was pretty rare for me to read a "words-only" book. I remember always keeping one eye on the clock, because it felt like time slowed down to a crawl when I was reading. I would constantly flip to the back of the book to see how many pages there were, and it felt like I would never get there.
I did not really begin to enjoy reading "words-only" books until the summer of 2001. I was living in Seattle at the time, working as a carpenter in the University of Washington's drama department scene shop, building opera sets. My best friend Gabe was also living in Seattle that summer and he and his girlfriend were reading the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. They loaned me their copies and each day at noon, I would cross the street from work and sit on a bench and read while I ate my lunch.
I was instantly hooked by Rowling's characters and the magical world that she created. Without even thinking about it, I was plowing through 300-600 page books and not once looking at the time - except to make sure that I didn't read through my lunch break! By the time the fourth book ended, I was in agony, wanting to know what was going to happen to all these great characters.
I had another two years to wait for book 5 and then another two years for book 6 and then another two years for book 7. When the series was finally over, I had been transformed into a person who enjoys reading "words-only" books, and began reading for pleasure for the first time in my life.
I have read (or listened to the excellent audiobook recordings of) the Harry Potter series probably 7 or 8 times. They are my favorite books of all-time. I'm sure they have influenced Isle of Elsi in a million different ways, from the characters, to the settings, to the use of magic, and other ways that I'm not even aware of because I have absorbed those books into my very being. But there is also a more direct link between Rowling's masterpiece and my current comics project!
In the lead-up to the release of the 7th Harry Potter book, many of my cartoonist friends did an online drawing challenge where they drew a new character from a list each week. I was in art school at the time and didn't have room in my busy schedule to participate, but after I graduated, I slowly made my way through the list.
At the time, this was the most fun I had ever had drawing in my entire life. Taking all these wonderful characters that I felt I knew so well and getting to bring them to life through my drawing was an absolutely incredible experience for me. I was slogging through Basewood at the time which was absolutely no fun at all. This Harry Potter drawing challenge was one of the main motivating factors that made me want to draw a fun comics project when I was done with Basewood. That tiny idea blossomed and eventually grew into Isle of Elsi!
Below I will post all of my 2008 Harry Potter drawings, which I hope you will enjoy.
What Harry Potter taught me about Dragons
Dragons appear prominently in books 1, 4 and 7 of Harry Potter. Here are a few things I gleaned from these appearances:
- Dragon eggs must be kept very warm
- Different breeds of dragon are found all over the world
- Female dragons are generally more ferocious than males
- Dragons can be used to guard treasure
- Dragon heartstrings, scales, blood, claws, teeth, etc. etc. etc. are very powerful magical substances and can be used to make wands, healing potions and all kinds of other useful magical things.