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?”


“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

I have put up a few designs, available on T-shirts (and some as stickers) at RedBubble. They are available printed on a variety of colours and styles of shirt. If there’s ever anything you’d like to see available, let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

The latest two are Owl Light:


And “A Crown for Dreaming“, originally a cut-paper piece for an art show last year:

Cranky Ladies

I have been scribbling some practice historical cranky ladies, because the Cranky Ladies of History anthology is fully funded, which means I am illustrating it! But there are still three days left to pledge to help meet the stretch goals for the anthology and make sure you get your copy (and some extras).

Authors who have pitched or accepted invitations to contribute include:

  • Aidan Doyle
  • Alexis Larkin
  • Amanda Pillar
  • Angela Slatter
  • Ann Martin
  • Barbara Robson
  • Danica Green
  • David McDonald
  • David W. Landrum
  • Deborah Biancotti
  • Dirk Flinthart
  • Eugie Foster
  • Faith Mudge
  • Foz Meadows
  • Garth Nix
  • Havva Murat
  • Jane Yolen
  • Johanna Qualmann
  • Joyce Chng
  • Juliet Marillier
  • Justina Robson
  • Kaaron Warren
  • Kaia Landelius
  • Karen Healey
  • Kate Eltham
  • Kirstyn McDermott
  • Laura Lam
  • Lauren Beukes
  • Lisa Hannett
  • Liz Argall
  • Liz Barr
  • Liz Myles
  • Lyn Battersby
  • Nisi Shawl
  • Octavia Cade
  • Pat Cadigan
  • Rachel Swirsky
  • Rob Shearman
  • Sandra McDonald
  • Stephanie Lai
  • Sue Bursztynski
  • Sylvia Kelso
  • Thoraiya Dyer
  • Timmi Du Champ

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.

Part One of the process posts for Catherynne M Valente’s collection The Bread We Eat in Dreams  (from Subterranean Press) is here. If you click on the pictures, most should have an option to see a larger version.

Sketchbook - first page

The many-talented Trudi Canavan once gave me several accordion-fold sketchbooks. I used one of them when I started reading through this collection, keeping a note of images for the stories, and those I’d like to use for the cover.

Sketchbook - Bread We Eat in Dreams

At the end, with a list of imagery, I made several thumbnail sketches for the cover. I still like that tiger with the human face.

Cover Sketches - Bread We Eat in Dreams

We went with the most scribbly design. I drew a key, to make sure I caught everything.

Cover Key - Bread We Eat In Dreams

I then pencilled and inked the cover (india ink, crow quill nib) on a piece of A1 drawing paper. I had to get it scanned at Officeworks, before adding colour on the computer – just a few shades of blue, and a scan of the blank, aged endpapers of an old book for texture.

Here is a (simplified) overview of the cover process:

Cover Process for The Bread We Eat in Dreams

Next – the internal illustrations!


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