Here is a sneak peek at the new cover for the next Tan book - Truly Tan, Jinxed! by the lovely Jen Storer, with illustrations by me. It will be out in Australia April-ish or May-ish -- I hope you have managed to find a copy of Truly Tan (book 1) which is still available. Book 3 is due out in November. What a busy year for Tan.
Just squeaked this one in. Animated kitty! Now that was fun.
Here's a doll left out in the garden to fend for herself and find a way back to her nice warm dollhouse.
I really didn't want to do this today; pages in my sketch book of listless doodles, a late night, a late start, other things to do, the novelty wearing off - all the usual suspects.
But I'm glad I pushed through with drawing number 10. When I think about it, there's probably going to be many more hard days than inspired days, so tricks and techniques for getting through it are going to be the key. My mantra for today was "when in doubt, draw girls in pretty dresses"... so that's where I started.
Tomorrow I intend to lash out with an entirely different colour palette. Have you noticed my predilection towards brown, pink, orange and black? Drawing 10 will be all about green and blue. Pinky promise.
“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” ― Voltaire
Dancing beatniks with their favourite books. This is a bit of a cheat as I actually started work on this ages ago - inspired by that great dance scene of Audrey Hepburn's from the film Funny Face. But I finished it today and I think I will be popping it up on Society6 in the next few days - I hope. Or etsy. I can't decide. Let me know if you are interested and I'll keep you posted. There will also be a version with the Voltaire quote for those who like quotes.
Day 8! Bam! xx
The girls went back to school today after a couple of weeks of holidays. And what do I do? Sit down and draw them. Sad really.
Here's the early sketch version for the sake of keeping this all about the process:
And here's an early version - I actually like this better than the final:
Can you spot the difference? Just a tiny thing that makes a world of difference.
It's probably a little truer to the relationship between the girls but to make a nice illustration that both girls will feel good about I changed it a little. If I had decided to make this nothing to do with my two actual daughters and called it "The McSquinty Sisters" or something, then this is definitely how I would have left it.
Now I'm going to go and wander about the quiet, quiet house wailing and wringing my hands until it's time to pick them up from school. (ha).
Messing about with paints and pencils. One of these might eventually end up on a book plate. Now I am off to drink tea in front of the fire and contemplate cracking open a 1000 piece Charlie Harper jigsaw puzzle - which is a crazy thing to do on the last day of the Christmas Holidays and really should have been contemplated 10 days ago. The tea will be good regardless.
Happy day 5. I'm feeling slightly collagey today. I also went to the art-supply store in town and bought some watercolours, so watch out, this ride is going to get crazy.
A work in progress for today's drawing (4 or 365!) and contribution to Illustration Friday. I just did a quick search and discovered that the last time I participated in Illustration Friday was 2004. I'm working in pencil to push myself - no command-z ! I just have to live with the bits I would otherwise delete or redo. Also - I notice that it's time to build a light box and dust off my camera instead of relying on my phone.
How are you doing? Are you doing any crazy projects this year? My track record is pretty shaky when it comes to keeping up with long term projects like this but I needed some artistic discipline in my life. So far so good.
Happy New Year!
I Thought I might try doing a drawing a day for 2103. Not all of them will make it on to my blog but it's nice to have a goal.
Edward Lear was born in May 1812. To celebrate 200 Years of Edward Lear the Ashmolean museum in Oxford is having a show of his travel paintings and sketches. He was a remarkable artist. I am celebrating by publishing one of my favourite Edward Lear illustrations and limericks. Having had a couple of Barred Owls keep me awake in the middle of the night, I sympathise with this poor fellow.
I've been working on something pretty special these last few months and today a courier brought my very own advance copies to my door. What a great day!
Truly Tan by the amazing Jen Storer is due out in stores (in Australia) in November - right in time for Christmas!
Overseas folks may have to order them from Readings.com.au or some such, until further notice.
The project has been one of those dream projects with a publisher, editor, author, designer and illustrator (that's me!) who all seem to be on the same page. We're all very proud of it and now I need to get started on book two. xx
Hey! I'm working on something fun and steampunky for author Jordan Stratford. I finished this sketch of the two main characters today. Ada and Mary. This has been such a great project. I can't resist drawing girls in pretty dresses. I feel like I'm 8 again when that's pretty much all I drew. Jordan is launching his kickstarter.com campaign on Sunday to fund the production of this fabulous sounding book:
"Wollstonecraft by Jordan Stratford
London 1826: The Advent of the Steam Age
11 year old Ada has a problem: her governess, Miss Coverlet, has quit her job to go get married (a dumb idea if ever there was one, if you ask Ada) and her new tutor Percy ("Peebs") is a total drip. She'd rather be left to her own devices – literally – inventing things and solving math problems and ignoring people altogether.
She's also forced to study alongside the imaginative girlie-girl Mary, who's always going on about romance and exotic travels. Fortunately, Mary's appetite for adventure leads her to propose the two girls open a detective agency, and when an heiress shows up with a case about a missing diamond, it's the perfect puzzle to coax Ada out of her shell.
This is the made up story about two very real girls – Ada, the world's first computer programmer, and Mary, the world's first science fiction author – caught up in a steampunk world of hot-air balloons and steam engines, jewel thieves and mechanical contraptions. For readers 8-12.
This is a pro-math, pro-science, pro-history and pro-literature adventure novel for and about girls, who use their education to solve problems and catch a jewel thief. Ada and Mary encounter real historical characters, such as Percy Shelley, Charles Babbage, Michael Faraday, and Charles Dickens – people whom the girls actually knew. If Jane Austen wrote about zeppelins and brass goggles, this would be the book."
Wonky perspective, wonky technical drawing - but I like it anyway. Mostly I like the expression on the kid's face.
I've been digging Edward Ardizzone recently - for movement and expression. I remember not being terribly enthralled with his work as a child - preferring the clear lines of Babapapa and Richard Scarry et al. but I am making a gradual move away from digital dependancy and learning to trust my hand without relying on command-z, so anything with loose lines is encouraging.
Now, how to get that front wheel to look like it's turning?
Growing up - Amelia has told me that almost all of her friends and girl class mates want to be vets at the moment. It's the career du jour for grade fours. Amelia tells me she wants to be a writer, a video game developer and an artist. Lily wants to be a rockstar, and a tattoo artist and an artist-artist. Luckily we moved to the right place for those little flakes. I think I might like to be some of those things too.
"A swath of JRR Tolkien's original illustrations for The Hobbit are to be published for the first time this week as part of celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the book's publication." Alison Flood, The Guardian.
I love Tolkien's illustrations. Letters From Father Christmas was such a favourite of mine growing up - a real influence. Here are some other great pieces:
This little illustration is something I have done for the latest Cloudy Collection - Volume II, Edition I. The theme was "Who Are the People in Your Neighbourhood" and I chose a mother and daughter who I see walking around the streets all the time. I think they were the first people I noticed when we first moved into the area 5 years ago. I have never actually seen them look so cheerful - in fact sometimes they make me feel down-right sad because they look as though they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. I decided to give them a break and illustrate a moment in a possible good day.
The letterpress collection comes in a limited edition of 100 and it's only USD $35 for all 7 prints in the set.
I was so blown away to be asked to contribute - I have loved the Cloudy Collection ever since I fell for Vera Brosgol's little knitting girl in a blanket-cubby in Vol. I, Edition II. The quality of the prints is beautiful... yay! Thank you David.
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Speaking of art and buying it - Andrew from Mumblier is trying to raise money to buy himself an iPad when they finally come to Australia. He's selling original iPad themed art as a fund raiser. You can order an existing piece, or custom order a drawing or comic strip. I bought one for Phil, sight unseen, to hang above his desk as he bangs away at his own iPhone development and it really is the best little thing. Andrew's sense of humour, line work and colouring is delightful. Give the guy a hand!
Yesterday two parcels arrived from Etsy sellers in Finland. I finally found a copy of Tove Jansson's The Dangerous Journey for a very reasonable price - in Swedish, yes - but clearly I am turning into an obsessive collector because it doesn't seem to bother me.
Favourite new book - Yumeji Graphics.
"This book focuses on the graphic works created by legendary Japanese artist and designer Yumeji Takehisa. It included his illustrations for books, editorial designs for magazines, drawing, typography and more.Takehisa (1884-1934) was a painter and pioneering graphic designer during Taisho era and early Showa era in Japan."
Here's a fun idea from Susie Ghahremani of Boy Girl Party - order a custom illustration designed to your specifics. Answer a series of questions for Susie to narrow it down and get your own personal B G Party original. What I like about this idea so much is that it takes advantage of the wonderful communication tool that is the inter-web. Makes me want to think of ways to do something similar.
School is back and Lily has decided to start afternoon napping again which is kind of her, so I am getting a little bit of creative time:
1) painting wooden dolls
2) getting back to those marshmallow bunnies
3) piling stuff on my sewing table
4) reading "On Writing" by Stephen King but not actually doing too much writing. It's good! I haven't read much SK before but even his memoir is a page-turner.