July 2011


Illustration Friday: Stay

Pen, sepia ink and wash, with background texture scanned out of an old book and added on the computer. This came from two sources – looking at Tenniel’s dark-eyed Alice in Wonderland illustrations (which I always remember as crisp and proper but which actually have a rather sketchy line), and the “Reader’s Digest version of Titanic” which was on the wall in my hall in college for several years and ran, I recall, like this:

ROSE: Hello, I am a wealthy girl.
JACK: I am a ship’s rat.
ROSE: Let’s frolic around the ship and have fun.
[THE SHIP SINKS]
ROSE: Never let go!
[SHE LETS GO]

In other news: On the weekend, I drew heroic ducks. Polished tables are great, because spilled ink wipes right off. I bought a book of vampire paper dolls, which is less dangerous than it sounds, but still both funny and awesome. It has Count Orlok and Spike and Varney the Vampire (who sounds like a muppet but is an actual classic of the genre). But, alas, no Count (“no, wait, why don’t we… cooperate!”).

My Fair Dalek

I broke my own “books and plays only” rule for this Dalek, but I really wanted to draw that hat. This seems to be a common inclination in the the Dalek Game.

My mother read George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion to us when we were growing up – she’s American and can’t do English accents of any variety, so when I finally saw the musical of My Fair Lady I had to get used to Eliza Doolittle not having a southern drawl (apparently my mother’s equivalent of Cockney).

My family does love the musical, however. It is frequently quoted, my father and I often burst into songs from it, and I distinctly remember my parents stalking each other around the kitchen, singing “Just you wait, ‘Enry ‘Iggins”.

Dalek of the Baskervilles

This is the latest installment in the Dalek Game and is for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles.

I mentioned several Daleks ago that until I left for boarding school in year 11, my mother read out loud to us every night. When she was away, however, the duty fell to my father, and his standard text was Sherlock Holmes. He read in a laid-back fashion (which caused my mother to take over in the first place) and now, although I love Holmes, I don’t read the stories as tense adventures, but as rather stately, considered, slightly military recountings (which really does suit them better).

The exception is The Hound of the Baskervilles, which terrified me thrillingly. It was the only book I ever read in bed under the covers with a torch. It lent a delicious horror to waking up in the night – or worse, waking up in the grey morning when camping – and hearing dingoes howling around the hills. Even painting one of our dogs up with luminous paint, though fun, didn’t remove the enchantment of that terrified run through the darkness – something which translated beautifully to our own dark scrub and howling nights.

And in other news, friends on Twitter have been committing atrocities on famous quotes by replacing important words with “duck”. I threatened to draw one if they didn’t stop, so here are Dale Arden, Flash Gordon and some very important waterfowl (pen and ink with coloured inks):

Flash, I love you...

Illustration Friday: Remedy

This drawing was also my entry for Jillian Tamaki’s “Summer Myths” contest, which I only found out about on Monday – the day it closed. It is pen and ink and – for once! – the original is slightly larger than what you see here. The remedy connection is to do with sunburn.

The drawing didn’t make the shortlist for the contest, but some stunning pieces did. You can see them on Jillian Tamaki’s blog here: Results! My favourite is Roman Muradov‘s picture of the “ancient Poldevian tradition of burning post-it drawings of curious creatures accumulated through dull summer jobs. Usually performed on August 28th (29th if you’re left-handed).

In other news, here is one of several figures I illustrated for Nicole Murphy’s semi-secret project. The others were coloured, but this one was surplus to requirements and only got a touch of shading.

Dalek on the Orient Express

This is, of course, for Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (and not by any means the last Christie title which may make it into the the Dalek Game.

In other news, here is the new header for July:
July Header

Regency Dalek

This is for Georgette Heyer’s Regency Buck (hilarious book, not quite what the title would suggest). I promise faithfully that this is the last Heyer Dalek for some time. Part of the Dalek Game.

In other news: I just took a milo cake out of the oven. The illustrations I did for Nicole Murphy’s secret project are in the wild, but you’ll have to go hunting for them as it has only been downgraded from secret to clandestine. I’ve been writing and having portrait parties and sitting in the sun at markets sketching with friends. I also wrote a new story, about quests and grandmothers and high hills, and have acquired a very beautiful couch from Angela Slatter (part of my collection of literary chairs) but it is in the car because I didn’t think through this end of the removal thoroughly. I will draw it when I can press someone into helping me carry it. I’m wondering whether to use the notorious bottle of blue wine to poach peaches.

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