Brief update: I’m back from the USA!

The trip was fabulous. I returned to jet lag, a heatwave and family health upheavals (all under control), but should begin posting about the trip in the next few days.

Today, on Twitter, Text Publishing was (facetiously?) harking back to the gentler days before the great YA/Adult Lit debate, and wishing for some new pieces on the death of print publishing. I think they wanted links to articles, but I wrote a poem instead.

Print is Dead

Ink stains the sheets.
The newswires said
Behind a locked door
Print lies dead.

TV detectives
Trace white lines
Where the books fell
With broken spines.

(The culprit words
In bright neon
Through dirty windows
Flicker on,

Then flicker off.)
Print lies there, still
Ignoring all the ink
We spill.

Illustration Friday: Octopus

Yet another playing card! I am still working out some techniques with these, and also warming up for some projects which I need to get done ASAP BECAUSE OH MY GOODNESS I FLY TO NEW YORK IN 12 DAYS WHY AM I DOING ILLUSTRATION FRIDAY???

Anyway, here are the pencils for it:

Pencils for Octopus

Justine Larbalestier's boots

The latest project to go live! Pen and ink with digital colour, over a coat of arms supplied by Justine. These boots are an icon for author Justine Larbalestier, and are based on her own remarkable boots (which I first saw at the Brisbane Writers Festival last year).


I am a fan of good boots, perhaps because of scarcity. I grew up wearing boots (elastic sided RMs, in my part of the country), but I have large feet with a high instep, and have spent too much time having my plastic-bag-wrapped foot physically wrestled into boots by aggressive salespeople.

Now, I often send my characters (drawn or written) off wearing good sturdy footwear, which they do not have any difficulty buying in their size.


Illustration Friday: Novelty

Continuing with the playing card motifs, while sketching armour late at night. This piece is all digital (textures from an old book, as usual). I have no idea where the idea came from. I was thinking about bad puns and knight-jokes this afternoon (what weapon does a knight fear the most*), but can’t trace the connection. One day I will discover a purpose for these images, beyond trialling ideas and techniques.


*A can opener.

Illustration Friday: Money

I am trying to use paints (in this case, watercolour pencils over lead pencil) more often, as I could use the practice.

For this topic, I was continuing with the playing card theme (round cards this time), influenced by too many Georgette Heyer novels in which fortunes are gambled away.

Bitterwood Bible - spine image

My copy of Angela Slatter‘s collection The Bitterwood Bible finally arrived, and it is so (literally) shiny.

Dust jacket

The dust jacket is consistent with Tartarus Press style, but underneath there is foil on the boards, and it gleams! Here is a flash photo for maximum effect (I am so happy the little fox on the stand turned out as it should).


There are many, many pictures inside, too – here are a few as they appear in the original sketchbook:



And here are the beloved badgers:





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