April 7, 2010
I’m getting back into scratchboard after a break (I do like it for birds). This is, as usual, smaller than it is shown here. The original is 7.5×4.5cm.
In other news
- I have introduced my mother to A. E. Housman.
- There may be a change in hair lengths in my illustrations – on the weekend my mother cut my hair off to collar length, which must be at least a foot shorter than it was.
- My sister’s dog is, ungraciously, accepting me as a poor substitute in her absence.
- Since no one else has to eat my cooking for the next few weeks, I am experimenting with cooking: macarons – perfect; roast miscellaneous vegetables – very good; Sayers-inspired omelettes (savoury and sweet) – I made an omelette that worked!!!; couscous in the office kitchenette – effective; boston baked kidney beans – intriguing; gluten free cornbread – dry, but has potential; rice-milk custard – unmitigated failure. I’m sure there’s a lesson to be learned in there somewhere. But the macarons really were very good.
February 16, 2009
For this week’s Illustration Friday topic, a scratchboard illustration messed with (as usual) in Photoshop. I used a sample from a scan of an old painting as the texture/colour in the image above and as the background in the version below. Both are test cases – I wanted to trial some techniques for another project that is happening (of which more in the fullness of time… but if I am more difficult to pin down than usual, this is probably the reason).
January 13, 2009
A scratchboard illustration (with touches of colour added in Photoshop), during which I discovered that reclining on the sofa half-watching a documentary was not the best position for working in scratchboard. We learn from our experiences. Also from fairytales: E Nesbit’s ‘Melisande, or Long and Short Division’, apart from having one of my favourite titles, taught me the value of keeping scissors in your pocket. Modern women’s clothing, alas, does not run to pockets.
I bought more scratchboard today. I don’t need it yet, but I consider it one of my civic duties to keep up the demand.
December 30, 2008
Never kiss by the garden gate…
Love may be blind, but the neighbours ain’t.
Quite a large scratchboard piece by my standards – 7.5×6.5cm this week! I started with ideas of spies, and Romeo and Juliet, and then was listening to Damien Rice’s version of ‘When Doves Cry’ (I received TripleJ’s Like a Version album for Christmas – yay!), and duly picturing the courtyard, which led to thoughts of Queensland gardens and fishbone ferns and a book of bookplates I borrowed from the library. And here we are.
I have great plans for the new year, because I received wonderful art presents for Christmas: a screenprinting kit, lightbox, Spectrum volumes 15* and 4, the collection of James Jean’s covers for Fables (which I have to read carefully because I don’t want to spoil the last few which I haven’t read yet), a book of Leyendecker’s art and a calendar of 1920s & ’30s travel posters. And the illustrated Stardust and The Graveyard Book, which count because the illustrations in those have me all inspired to start on pen and ink again. Oh, and I bought a book of pulp covers before Christmas, so there’s inspiration all around.
*Congratulations to Leah Palmer Preiss, who has a picture in this volume!
December 23, 2008
Scratchboard, of course, because I am intent on using up the world’s remaining supply, with the rough edges left in this time because I like the texture. As usual, I have saved the image larger than the original (5 x 7.5 cm or 2 x 3 inches).
This pair of carol singers is a study for a larger group of singers I still wouldn’t mind doing, but probably for next Christmas. I had ambitious plans tonight, but had to do (what I hope is) the final print run of Christmas cards (more about those here). This is not to rule out artistic hijinks tomorrow night, but even I know I should try to exercise some self-restraint and not overdo things (ha! says she who was out every night with Aimee & co from Thursday and at a Darren Hanlon concert with Deb until very late last night and is up to I-don’t-want-to-l00k-at-the-clock tonight).
November 22, 2008
Another scratchboard illustration for this week’s Illustration Friday topic: Opinion. It is 5×7 cm (2×2.8 inches), scanned on my mother’s scanner (with which I have a fraught relationship) and coloured in Photoshop. It is a combination of two ideas: someone staying aloof in spite of the opinions of critics, and Kipling’s Cat (which walked by itself, and all places were alike to it).
Here is the black and white version:
And while I was drawing dogs, which is rare for me, I did a quick scratchboard illustration for I. R. Mcleod’s poem Lone Dog:
November 9, 2008
A scratchboard/scraperboard illustration: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise.” (Proverbs 6:6).
The original is a little over two inches square (est.) and the letter is based on two or three 16th century alphabets from Historic Ornamental Alphabets which seems to be from Delamotte’s The Embroiderers’ Book of Design, containing initials, cyphers, ornamental borders, ecclesiastical devices, monograms, alphabets mediaeval and original, national emblems, &c. &c. I left many of the horizontal lines, etc, to make it look (I hope) more like a woodcut. The ant is from memory, personal observation, unsatisfactory images in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (my parents have a very slow internet connection) and trying to get a clear photo of ants on the veranda.
They were on the veranda because swarms of Christmas beetles died – or were incapacitated – there the night before. In the morning, ants and magpies and butcher birds came to carry them away. A kookaburra also came along and landed on the washing line while I was hanging clothes. Later, I got within almost a metre of it:
I also made a quick watercolour birthday card for my sister (Genevieve, who went shopping with me, thought I should get a more age-appropriate gift bag for a 26 year old, but I resisted):
October 22, 2008
This week’s Illustration Friday picture is a sampler of scratchboard textures and also an illustration for one of my favourite books: Joan Lindsay’s Time Without Clocks, a memoir of artistic life (she was an artist and author, her husband an artist who became curator of the National Gallery) in Australia between the wars. She and her husband were visited by one of her old friends, and while the men were elsewhere, Joan and her friend sat in the living room working on a story they had been writing together when they were studying. The clock was broken, and so when they thought it was about four, they stuck a piece of paper to the clock with “four o’clock” written on it, and when they thought half an hour must have passed, updated it accordingly.
Here is a colour version:
October 13, 2008
A scratchboard fairytale illustration for this week’s Illustration Friday. /Karen/ visited this weekend and knitted and bought Angela Carter’s collection of fairytales which was illustrated with quite rough, folksy (lovely) woodcuts (I seem to recall part of K’s thesis was on this fairytale as well). I worked on this while she made her first foray into coptic bookbinding.
September 23, 2008
I spent Sunday afternoon sewing velvet trim onto a satin dress and watching The Adventures of Robin Hood (the one with Errol Flynn), and continued the theme last night sitting cross-legged at the coffee-table watching Robin Hood: Men in Tights (the one with Carey Elwes whose sword-play, incidentally, is better than Flynn’s) and doing a picture on scratchboard. A friend was telling me last week about her gothic literature class, and it is not impossible that the picture was influenced by that, but possibly also by the use of shadows in the fight in TAoRH (the version in RH:MiT with the hand shadows cracked me up – spoofs improve close upon the heels of the original).
The original scratchboard picture is about 5cmx10cm (2x4inches), coloured in Photoshop. Here is the black and white version: