When your parent is an artist, your bedroom might be a little more special than average. When that parent is also a huge Harry Potter fan, it might be downright magical.
With a baby on the way, Twin Cities cartoonist Kevin Cannon decided to apply his talents to the new nursery he and his wife are creating for the new member of their family. Specifically, Cannon—who, in addition to a range of books and comics, is known for his stylized illustrations of local bookstores and other Minnesota landmarks—designed and painted a full-wall mural of the wizarding village of Hogsmeade.
“As a cartoonist I usually work on a very small canvas, so I jumped at the idea of painting a mural in the nursery. And my wife, Maggie, and I are big Harry Potter nuts, so we definitely knew we wanted a mural that existed in the HP universe,” Cannon said. “I really love the architecture in Hogsmeade, especially the steep, snowy rooftops and haphazardly angled chimneys, and I kind of fell in love with the idea that our kid would look out of their crib and live amongst those rooftops.”
Although Cannon isn’t totally new to the medium, having painted murals and chalkboards for Indeed Brewing in Northeast Minneapolis, it’s not something he has extensive experience with. You might also have seen his artwork at a Metro Transit station and on a bus in recent years, but as he notes, those were drawn at a smaller scale and sized up. “I think that’s why I was so excited to paint a mural in the nursery,” he said. “It gave me an excuse to stretch those barely used muscles.”
To create Hogsmeade, he planned out the design on a single piece of paper, which he blew up in Photoshop and painstakingly printed out on a series of 8- by 10-inch sheets. He then taped those sheets to the wall with graphite paper in between, which meant that when he retraced the whole design in pencil, he was left with graphite guidelines on the wall to paint over. The final result is something just about any young Potter fan would be willing to swap more than a few Chocolate Frog cards for.
Unsurprisingly, Cannon included a couple of personal touches in the design. “The major Easter egg is the big, multipronged lamppost on the left side of the mural—that’s based on a sculpture at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, where Maggie and I got married last year.” He even included the family cat.
Baby Ulysses was born December 1, and Cannon finished the mural just before Christmas. “Maggie and I have had a great time watching him slowly get acclimated to the world over the past month. For someone who sleeps most of the day, he has taken up most of our waking hours, but I have still managed to carve out a few hours here and there over the last few weeks to finish the mural.”
“Ulysses probably won’t move in for another few months, but it’s nice to finally have the mural done so we can start accessorizing the room with all the great Harry Potter swag we’ve been gifted from friends and family.”
And yes, I made sure to ask about Cannon’s house affiliation. “I’m Ravenclaw, my wife is Gryffindor, and Ulysses is Hufflepuff. For now, anyway—I believe that all babies start as Hufflepuff.”