Soelberg family portrait

2015 Soelberg Family Portrait drawing pen

Drawing of the Soelberg family based on photos taken January 2015.

I guess it’s pretty obvious that I find the usual posed portraits kind of dull. I had this idea for a family portrait on my bed in January of 2015. I got the whole family on the bed, took the photos and picked the expressions that seemed to best reveal our moods and personalities. Just as I was about to make the drawing, I was consumed by distraction. Then other priorities took over, and mounting distractions filled my days until the drawing was literally buried under papers. I dug it out last month, finished the pencil drawing and inked it. Getting the personality and expression right is deeply satisfying. When I’m drawing from life, and especially portraits, every line of permanent ink is an exciting act of bravery. It’s a commitment. I’m sure tattoo artists get that same thrill with every bit of ink they commit to flesh.

On a related note, I was contacted just this week by someone wondering if I do commissioned drawings and portraits. Yes I do! Please contact me at with inquiries. I’ll post a gallery of past commissions to my site soon.

2015 Soelberg Family Portrait progress drawing pencil ink

Here’s a progress shot. Pencil drawing is done and I’ve just started the basic inking.

2015 Soelberg Family Portrait (upside down) drawing

Here’s an upside down view of the drawing


Going to Barrie tomorrow

Psammead Indie Lit & Comic Festival banner

Bear Creek Secondary School is hosting the Psammead Indie Lit and Comic Festival. Readings and panels will take place for classes during the day, but if you’d like to check out the full breadth of what our guests have to offer, join us after school from 4-8 pm for more readings, workshops, and a marketplace full of amazing books, art, and crafts. Cost for afterschool session will be $5 at the door, proceeds to benefit Bear Creek’s Arts Department.

I’ll be fully stocked with books and a new stack of 2016 calendars.

See you tomorrow!


Halloween Bazaar of the Bizarre recap

A stilt-walking visitor at the recent Bazaar of the Bizarre.

A stilt-walking visitor at the recent Bazaar of the Bizarre.

The Halloween edition of Bazaar of the Bizarre made another indelible mark of the weird, whimsical, macabre and exotic on Toronto. If you missed it, I have posted a few photos to entice you to come next time around.

Mrs. Addams holding Shadow Abuse by Dan Holst Soelberg

Hello Mrs. Addams


Dan Holst Soelberg book dedicated to the Addams Family

A familiar face came to my booth once again. It was the mysterious Mrs. Addams, who asked me to dedicate her copy of Shadow Abuse to her family. It’s a wonderful and satisfying pleasure to dedicate a book to the Addams family. It’s a Halloweeny delight!

Dan Holst Soelberg's Bazaar neighbour Becka Elliott

My Bazaar neighbour Becka Elliott

My neighbour was the fabulous Becka Elliot of Peculiar Potions. Her hand-made beauty products are top quality, sourced from cruelty-free suppliers. I replenished my own supplies as usual.

Across the aisle I spotted some truly inspired crocheted creations by Kaotic Ekko’s Curiosities. Take a look at this beauty! (image below)

Kaotic Ekkos with Dan Holst Soelberg

I love the subtle skull pattern in this hand-made creation


And it was so great to see Colleen of ClockworkZero again! I love all her robot creations and jewellery. She had a set of cuff links that I could not resist. Say hello to my newest cuff link addition. What a couple of gems (image below).

It’s Halloween today, which means it’s the last day of the Halloween Studio Tour. Check out my page (with links to the tour) before midnight!

My precious new Steampunk cuff links. Thank you Colleen!

My precious new Steampunk inspired cuff links. Thank you Colleen!


My copy of Seven Dead Pirates is here!


Lying on a rug, reading my new book

The charming Sylvia at Penguin Random House told me via email to expect delivery of a package. And so, a few days later, when I stepped into my foyer after a long day at the office,


Getting my first peek

I was greeted by a pale mustard-yellow wrapped parcel that made my heart break into a Buddy Rich. I don’t care much for anticipation, and this moment promised a quick reveal. The parcel read “PULL TAB TO OPEN” and I did. It was the book, that beautiful book that I first read and fell in love with a year earlier, now

dressed in a cover that I both designed and crafted with my art tools. I loved every step of making this, starting with Tundra’s then editor Tara Walker—now Publisher of Penguin Random House Canada’s Children’s Publishing Group—handing me the manuscript. It was a pure joy to read Linda Bailey’s masterful manuscript. Geared at 8-12 year olds, it was not created with me in mind, but I was hooked nevertheless. The characters are gripping and enchanting. I could see each unique personality with vivid clarity. Tundra has posted a brief synopsis that gives you a condensed version better than I can.


SevenDeadPirates_spine_DanHolstSoelbergIt’s a wonderfully frightening moment to agree to take on the illustrations for a written work of art that has lived in an author’s head, but I was too excited to let fear bother me! I had already sketched out renderings of all the major characters. I worked with the visionary that is Tara, and Tundra’s brilliantly talented designer Terri Nimmo to craft the artwork that evolved to its present published form.

Fast-forward to the recent release of the bookI received an email from the author that I put off reading for an hour. I imagined the worst, so I had to let my insecurities play out before I read the sweetest message I could ever imagine. To learn that Linda Bailey was pleased with my visual interpretation of her characters made my heart sing in a note that it had no business singing. I’m pretty sure there was some embarrassing falsetto happening in there. Please check out Linda’s website here. Linda regularly speaks to children about her work, and her current slide show mentions me! I am thrilled to be associated with the fabulous Linda Bailey.


What’s this, a note?


I work with the BEST people anywhere!

Let’s get back to the recent pale mustard-yellow parcel in my foyer, and a note from Tara Walker that I won’t share in its entirety, but I can’t help revealing in part.

It is with pride and deep satisfaction that I present to you Seven Dead Pirates. It is now available for sale and I highly recommend it, especially for any 8-12 year olds you may know who are full of imagination and love adventure. Happy reading!


On to current events: Are you going to be in Toronto this weekend? On Sunday, October 11th I’ll be exhibiting at the Bazaar of the Bizarre with all my books, prints, calendars (yes, I have them in stock!) and all the rest of my wares from 11am to 8pm. For full details, visit the event’s facebook page.

If you’re just meandering about looking for somewhere to eat, go to Vesuvio Pizzeria & Spaghetti House in the Junction and enjoy my original artwork on the walls. Artwork will remain on exhibition until October 25th. Get all the details here.


Shadow Abuse – Dan Holst Soelberg’s Hallowe’en Studio

Once again, I’m taking part in the annual Online Hallowe’en Artists’ Studio Trick or Treat. Artwork is available for sale from October 1 to October 31, 2015.

You are about to witness incidents of Shadow Abuse. Sounds horrible doesn’t it? Believe me, it is. From my book, Shadow Abuse, I have chronicled the escapades of children who torment their shadows by means that are heartless, calculated and downright sociopathic. What follows are drawings from the book. The original artwork is available for purchase exclusively through this Hallowe’en Studio Tour. Every original artwork is hand-rendered in archival ink on a 30cm x 30cm illustration board.

20% of your purchase price will be donated to Freedom Dog Rescue, a non-profit organization that operates in Ottawa and surrounding areas. With an amazing network of committed volunteers, foster homes, local veterinarians, and trainers, they are able to rescue dogs in need and provide them with loving temporary care until a well-matched carefully screened home is found.  You can learn more about Freedom Dog Rescue by clicking this link to their website.

Without further ado, I present to you the terrifying and macabre world of Shadow Abuse. To make a purchase, contact the artist for details at



Lucinda’s shadow was over-inflated

— $600 —


Aeryn made hers feel abandoned and hated

— $600 —


Dane doused his shadow with wolf pheromones

— $600 —


Rosa reduced hers to spasms and moans

— $600 —


Tal toyed with second-hand dentistry tools

— $600 —


Shelby spun her shadow onto a spool

— $600 —


Perth’s was at once, pecked to pieces by seagulls

— $600 —


Dinna did things most immoral and illegal

— $600 —


Bird made his shadow a one time assistant

— $600 —


Pasha proved hers wasn’t acid resistant

— $600 —

Click here to continue on the Hallowe’en Studio Tour.



Shadow Abuse Original Art Exhibition

Shadow Abuse decoration Top


Bending Spoons Gallery @

Vesuvio Pizzeria & Spaghetti House

3010 Dundas St W, Toronto

Show Runs

Sept 21 – Oct 25, 2015

Shadow Abuse decoration Bottom

I’m now showing original artwork from the book Shadow Abuse at my favourite Pizzeria in Toronto, Vesuvio Pizzeria & Spaghetti House. Fourteen pieces of artwork in total, which is a couple more than I usually do. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to host a reception this time around, but if you buy a piece from me I will personally meet you at the restaurant when the exhibition is over and give you a signed book with your artwork. I have two copies of the softcover for you to read at the bar, so if you haven’t been able to read the book yet, now you can.

The artwork was hung last weekend so it is ready and waiting for you! I was hoping to post this invitation sooner but I’ve fallen ill with a flu that isn’t going anywhere. I’m hoping I’ll shake it by tomorrow.

Here is a preview of eight of the pieces I’m showing at this exhibition. Some of these have never been shown online, so they may be brand new to you:

Fairly_ Shadow_Abuse_DanHolstSoelberg

Fairly mashed his shadow into the mix

Wayne_ Shadow_Abuse_DanHolstSoelberg

Wayne weighed his down using several bricks

Clover_ Shadow_Abuse_DanHolstSoelberg

Clover’s careened off the chateau’s high roof

Milt_ Shadow_Abuse_DanHolstSoelberg

Milt put a match to his shadow and poof

Channary_ Shadow_Abuse_DanHolstSoelberg

Channary’s shadow chose door number one

Flip_ Shadow_Abuse_DanHolstSoelberg

Flip had an unseemly concept of fun

Sebastian_ Shadow_Abuse_DanHolstSoelberg

Sebastian sold his to a treacherous tramp

Gabe_ Shadow_Abuse_DanHolstSoelberg

Gabe did the ghastliest things with a clamp

Shadow Abuse By Dan Holst SoelbergYou can purchase your very own copy of Shadow Abuse from my online shop.