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.

Don’t forget – Continuum X is on in Melbourne this 6-9 June (it looks to be awesome), and t-shirts are available on the Continuum RedBubble page (they may not be available at the convention, so this is your chance to get one!). They are based on the convention book cover design (by me, but t-shirt money goes to the convention) and there are three options (multiple shirt colours and styles available).

The full poster:

Continuum X

The trapeze artist:

Trapeze artist


And the Amazing Bird Boy:


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:


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