Armed with an arsenal of graphite pencils, Robert Bailey has spent years recreating iconic scenes from the Star Wars movie franchise.

“It is a very, very sad day indeed today for all Star Wars fans,” the Stony Plain, Alta.-based artist told CTV Edmonton.

On Tuesday, actor Carrie Fisher, who skyrocketed to fame as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars film series, passed away following a heart attack. She was 60.

Bailey, a licensed Star Wars and Disney artist, first met the actor six years ago at the Edmonton ComiCon. Bailey had wanted to give Fisher one of his illustrations. She liked them so much that her collection eventually ballooned to 18. Over time, the two also developed a friendship.

“She'd embrace me and kiss me and tell me how much she loves what I’m doing and that makes it very, very special,” he said.

Bailey drew Fisher from various scenes, including in the signature white dress and bun-like hairstyle she donned in the first Star Wars film.

“She hated that hairdo, that wig,” Bailey reminisced. “She thought it was just nuts.”

Fisher got to ditch that wig in subsequent films, including in Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is slated to be released in December 2017.

Bailey said the actor always made time for him in her busy schedule.

“I will always treasure (her),” he said, “especially now that she is sadly gone.”

With files from CTV Edmonton