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November 16, 2011

Not in Harry's Name! Chocolate Frog Cards

I'm currently ten pages away from finishing my first graphic novel, Basewood.  I'm finding it very difficult to split my focus during this home stretch, so I thought I would take a break from creating new 100 Watercolor paintings for a few weeks, and instead share some recent illustration work I did for The Harry Potter Alliance.

A few years ago The HPA contacted me about a new campaign they were developing, called Not In Harry's Name, which has now gone live.  You can follow this link to read more about the campaign, but the basic gist is that Warner Brothers is using ethically reprehensible sources for the chocolate in their Harry Potter brand Chocolate Frogs.  One of the main messages of the Harry Potter books is basic human rights for everyone, so the HPA has been confronting Warner Brothers, trying to get them to change the source of their chocolate to a fair trade manufacturer.

Here is a web banner that I roughed out for the campaign back in 2009, when the idea was just getting started (click to see bigger).  This was never used, which is probably a good thing.  While I think it gets the idea across, it's a bit too cute for such a serious campaign.  I think the bold, dripping-chocolate design that is being used on the site works a lot better.

Warner Brothers has not complied with The HPA's wishes, even though The HPA's petition has already garnered 16,000 signatures of support.  So The HPA decided to create their own Chocolate Frogs, to prove to Warner Brothers that a product with certified fair trade chocolate could still be profitable.  As any Harry Potter fan knows, Chocolate Frogs usually come with collectible cards featuring famous witches and wizards - which is where I come in!

A few weeks ago, the HPA contacted me to see if they could use some of my existing Harry Potter illustrations on the cards, or if I had time to create some new ones.  Honestly, I didn't really have time to make new ones, but I dug deep and made time to create some.  These are the kind of illustration jobs that I cherish because I get to draw something I love and it allows me to use my illustration skills to help a great organization enact social change.

Using pre-existing images of Harry Potter characters in random scenes seemed to me like a missed opportunity.  Instead, I decided to depict a few main characters in key moments from the books, when they had to be brave and stand up against injustice, or face off against great evil.  That way, when someone buys one of the HPA Chocolate Frogs they will be reminded of the parallel theme from the Harry Potter stories, which is the whole idea behind The HPA.  The first idea that popped into my head was the newly-freed house elf, Dobby, blasting his previous master, Lucius Malfoy.

I made four other illustrations for the HPA Chocolate Frog cards, so I will post one a week, which should buy me enough time to finish off Basewood.  In the meantime, please check out the campaign, and consider signing the petition.  I couldn't find a link for buying these HPA Chocolate Frogs, but if I do, I'll post it here!

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