illustration friday


Illustration Friday: King

Playing around with techniques for a new illustration project, and playing-card motifs for an old story idea.

I also mocked up a Queen, based on old oval playing cards, and kept track of the process this time.

Queen Card

Both were straight digital sketches (pencil tool in Photoshop Elements), deconstructed in a vector program (I use Inkscape) and put back together in Photoshop Elements with some interesting textures.

Queen Card in progress

Illustration Friday: Repeat

 

Sometimes you picture me, I’m walking too far ahead…“, “It’s wonderful Tina, the fruit, everything!“, local history and writerly conversations led, of course, to time travel and pineapples for this Illustration Friday topic.

And then, since I was thinking of repeating and returning, and someone on the DWJ fan list had a bright idea, I also drew Throgmorton and a loud declaration of provenance (for all the property of Chrestomanci Castle announces where it belongs, on being removed). I’ve put it up on Redbubble as a sticker book plate, and without the dotted line as a cushion or tote.

Chrestomanci book plate

Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter East.

- Reepicheep’s lullaby, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C. S. Lewis

Illustration Friday: Summer

It is not summer here, although it has been the warmest June on record. Wednesday it finally turned cool. So here is a memory from summers having wonderful adventures in Western Queensland pretending we were having wonderful adventures in Narnia.

The elements are cut-paper silhouettes (of course!), with colour and texture added digitally after the event.

As usual, this is a warm-up/cleanser between other projects…

And here are the original paper pieces:

Before photo - Illustration Friday: Summer

Illustration Friday: Temptation

This week’s Illustration Friday picture began as a technique practice/reset between jobs, but I lost track of what I had originally planned on doing and got carried away (not for the first time) with Janet luring Tam out into the daylight in the ballad “Tam Lin“.

I do appreciate that Janet always knows exactly what she’s doing. I do not require this of all my heroines, but Janet is so beautifully consistent. “Oh I forbid you maidens all who wear gold in your hair/To come or go by Carterhaugh, for young Tam Lin is there.” The story opens with a prohibition, which Janet consistently and deliberately flouts, while Tam is simply caught up by events (and Janet).

She should also be wearing green, but this is Janet, so “should” may be safely ignored.

This is pencil with digital colour and assorted textures. One day I will remember to make a cleaner layer of flat colour, because I do enjoy getting the flats to ‘read’ well. I ran these flats through Inkscape to tidy them up a bit for public viewing:

Illustration Friday: Temptation - simplified flat colour

In the interests of trying out (and discarding) a different approach to silhouettes for a current project, here is a bicycle for Illustration Friday!

Illustration Friday: Retro

I like simple bicycles. It isn’t even the aesthetic, it’s just easier. I need a low entry-leve. I like back-pedal brakes. I’m not a sports cyclist. I did buy two bicycles in the last two days, but having also discarded one this represents a net gain of only one. One is a lovely pale yellow vintage (70s) style with only 7 gears (the store owner wouldn’t let me have a back-pedal brake). The other is a second-hand electric bicycle and really heavy. Also self-motivated and with a longing for freedom. No doubt there will be more news on this later.

Illustration Friday: Revenge

A small act of vengeance for Illustration Friday – and a possible threat of retribution for a bookplate design. (Also, as ever, practice for some upcoming projects).

In other news: I’ve just finished a batch of commissions, wedding stationery and unexpected cover, T-shirt and award (!) designs. My flights are booked for Continuum (Melbourne, June) and my leave has been approved for World Fantasy (Washington DC, November). The T-shirt designs for Continuum are available on their RedBubble page here.

This week’s Illustration Friday topic was “Vanity”. That called to mind Ecclesiastes, “Vanity, vanity… a chasing after the wind”. And that in turn led to poor Curdkin always chasing his wind-blown cap in the fairytale of ‘The Goose Girl‘*.

Illustration Friday: Vanity

So here she is. It’s a pencil drawing with rough, flat digital colour, and why I decided to sit up and do this after a full day at work and walking, and in between all the other jobs I’m in the middle of, I do not know. Well, I have a suspicion it may be for all those reasons.

I’m also experimenting with some printers. I’ve made this picture available on Redbubble so that I can order a test print. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here are the pencils, for comparison.

Illustration Friday: Vanity - pencil

 

*The version of the fairytale linked above has different rhymes than the ones I learnt, which were:

“Poor Falada, kind and true,
What evil has been done to you?”

“Bride, bride, what cruel fate
Brings you here beneath this gate?”

and

“Wind, wind, blow today,
Carry Curdkin’s cap away!”

Illustration Friday: Natural - roses

If there is one thing that I have learned from fairytales, it is that roses are naturally bad for you.

Nettles, on the other hand, may be what saves you.

Illustration Friday: Natural - nettles

Illustration Friday: Red

 

For all my love of Little Red Riding Hood, the myriad analyses of its meanings and origins, the fun that can be had reimagining and reinterpreting it, my favourite explanation for the emergence of the story remains that in which it is a fireside tale, meant to frighten the hearer when the teller shouts, “And it gobbled her all up!”

Incidentally, Charles Dickens loved Little Red Riding Hood as well, and it can be quite entertaining to trace the themes of the fairytale through the wonderfully twisted plot of Our Mutual Friend.

Illustration Friday: Voice

Who – who?

An attempt to emulate, digitally, some mid-century illustration styles.

In other news: There’s a family wedding on this weekend and we had a 2000km road trip from Adelaide to Brisbane at the end of last week in preparation, so… not a whole lot else is going on at the moment! But several new projects are brewing or being sketched, and I have a Plan of Attack on a too-small whiteboard.

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