Very hard to believe that this time last year I was at The Great Con-Junction, a 40th anniversary celebration of Jim Henson’s foundational fantasy film, The Dark Crystal. Chronicling the experience right here on Muddy Colors back in 2022, we took a look at the show and the special event at the Jim Henson Co. lot, along with a peek at my work for the official poster.

In the last week I’ve seen a few folks fondly reminiscing about that whirlwind weekend and it felt like the perfect opportunity to talk through that poster!

Every time I get to work with these characters and worlds I try to treat it like it’s the last time I’ll get to do it. Because it well could be!

For this piece I needed to incorporate many of the major characters from the film as they’d be repurposed for badges and other printed materials.

After scribbling through a few ideas I hit on one that would allow each of the characters to have about the same visual “weight” and allow me have some flexibility in arranging the figures.

After that I went about putting down a digital rough for approval of the idea.

Once settled, I then set about drawing all the various characters.

Everything had to move pretty quickly but I’m tremendously proud of the figures. I do think they’re the best for the series I’ve ever been able to do.

From there I began to bring together all the various elements.

Here’s one for you: The suns? The very same suns I created for this Shadows of the Dark Crystal illustration in 2016. I pulled the layers over and reworked them a little.

Now! You may well remember Aughra!

Yes, in fact, I built this poster around her. The only note was to make sure that she looked like herself from the original film and not the Netflix series. So there was a little work to bring her a touch more in-line with her first appearance but simple enough.

Lots of detail work to bring the whole piece together!

Oh, and we’re not done with the Shadows of the Dark Crystal connections, either! All those little “fairy lights” I’m not sure what to call them, exactly. The watercolor spatters?

The very same lights from the very first illustration for The Dark Crystal that I ever did.

End. Begin. All the same. Indeed!

It was an honor and immense privilege to get the chance to bring this poster to life. A lot of work! But what an absolute joy.

Until the next one!