Illustration Friday: Pet

Queen of Thorns: yet another in the playing card series, to (as usual) warm up for this week’s illustration projects and try out some techniques. This is a very light sepia pen and ink drawing, with colour and texture added in Photoshop Elements.

The shape of this one is taken from some 15th century playing cards from Holland (you can see them on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website). Old playing cards are generally amazing – have a 15th century Stuttgart set as well.

I have been asked whether the cards will coalesce into a single project. Maybe? They began as a prop for a story, and then turned into illustrations for other stories, as well as a testing ground for other ideas.

In other news: oh, stacks of stuff, some of which I hope to be able to talk about soon. I’ve been waiting on a few illustration projects to come back to my desk (they’ve all arrived this weekend), so I’ve been pushing ahead with the first read-through and edits on my Large Amorphous Manuscript. 8.3% to go!

Illustration Friday: Wiggle
Even mermaids start small…

Another in the ongoing, desultory playing card series. Pen and ink drawing, with colour and texture added digitally.

Scholarships and Access Fund

To mark its 25th anniversary, the wonderful Queensland Writers Centre (which among many other things runs the Australian Writers Marketplace, if:book and GenreCon Australia) is launching the inaugural Scholarships and Access Fund to provide funding and travel support for writers from diverse backgrounds. If you’re able to help us with that, please make a pledge to 25/25/25 on Pozible before Wednesday 6 May 2015. (Full disclosure: I’m on the board of QWC)

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Reaper

Friend and clever, eyebrowed, sweary person KHR Smith is writing a crowd-directed story for her Masters project. She needs input (ideas –>story; money–>charity). More on her Patreon here: The Reaper Next Door (language warning).

Cinderella

Books

  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent: A historical novel about Agnes Magnusdottir, the last woman executed in Iceland. Such a small, slow, bleak, beautiful book and history. Also some interesting Anne of Green Gables parallels, which is not at all to say that if you like Anne you should read this (you should read it, just not for any similarity!). I’m curious, however, to know if anyone else thought this.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic – V E Schwab: (One of several I grabbed from Tor based on the cover) The structure of the beginning of this novelreminded me of Diana Wynne Jones. It didn’t unfold or particularly explain, just… started, and then went on, so the whole book felt on the cusp of Telling You What The Plot Is And Tipping Into The Middle. This gave it a sustained, off-balance momentum which I always find both puzzling and enjoyable (it’s something that’s usually discouraged but high on my wish list). Schwab also starts with the point of view of someone not of our world looking at our world (or something like it) and just assumes the divided state of the worlds is normal. This is something else DWJ trained me to like.
  • Thus Was Adonis Murdered – Sarah Caudwell: The first and, as I read them out of order, the last. Alas. Such a delightful balance of classic mystery/comedy, and unexpected, understated messing-with-stereotypes.
  • Am I Black Enough for You – Dr Anita Heiss: Part memoir, part musing on identity (and how others perceive it, particularly the Aboriginal identity of an academic city girl), part story of the growth of an academic and author. Both this and Palmer’s book (below) had some interesting intersections on the themes of (a) speaking up and (b) listening.
  • The Art of Asking – Amanda Palmer: I really enjoyed this, and have recommended it to people for very different reasons: as an account of controversy (whichever side of several you fall on), as an artistic memoir, as biography, as a bohemian fantasy, as a crash-course in creative business, to read as a novel, for some unexpected Sayers parallels in the themes of growing up and negotiating adult relationships.
  • Gobbolino, the Witch’s Cat – Ursula Moray Williams: A classic. I may have cried at the end.

Movies

  • Cinderella: Just nice, in the nicest way. Terri Windling pointed out this review by Grace Nuth, “Have courage and be kind”, which points out the charming kindness and politeness. It sounds like a small thing, but as KHR Smith pointed out, we didn’t realise until we came out of the cinema that we’d been missing it.

The little gouache Cinderella painting above is available as a print on RedBubble.

For Illustration Friday this week, a little test piece, comparing techniques for an upcoming project. Pen and ink with digital colour for the first two (shadow/shadow and colour), watercolour for the last.

Illustration Friday: Outside

Illustration Friday: Ruckus Dancing in the lounge room with Caitlene, to “Shut Up and Dance”, after watching this video:

Edited to add: By request, the image is also up on Redbubble as a print and shirt design.

Books

  • Miss Pym Disposes – Josephine Tey: I was expecting a murder mystery, but this is a psychological musing, a novel of when-will-someone-murder rather than a murder investigation. The gentlest, sweetest novel of a soft-hearted person looking back on youth and high spirits ever to bear traces of Picnic at Hanging Rock and Primal Fear.
  • [a forthcoming novel]
  • And be a Villain – Rex Stout: Still loving them.
  • The Shortest Way to Hades – Sarah Caudwell: These books are the reason for my recent Gorey obsession.
  • The Sirens Sang of Murder – Sarah Caudwell: Alex Adsett pressed these books upon me and they are absolutely charming. Witty and knowing, a healthy dash of PG Wodehouse, and full of lawyerly in-jokes and asides (Alex had annotated her copies). A rather charming approach to assumptions about the behaviours of the genders, flawed lively young barristers, convoluted mysteries with convenient classical connotations… just fun.
  • Shadows – Robin McKinley: A different note for McKinley, simultaneously much more modern-YA and much more Diana Wynne Jones. Lovely, charming shadows. Also exceptionally lifelike dogs. And a sheep. This was also courtesy of Alex (I made her read Dorothy Sayers).
  • The Sibyl in Her Grave – Sarah Caudwell: Best. Cover. Ever. Also, another approach to how-to-deal-with-time-in-an-episodic-series, similar in this case to Rex Stout. We last left the chambers at 62 New Square reeling from Cantrip’s recent enthusiasm for the telex machine. Now, they are using computers. Yet no-one seems to have aged, at least in their own estimation, or that of that most energy-efficient, self-satisfied and mysterious of narrators, Professor Hilary Tamar.
Edward Gorey cover for The Sibyl in Her Grave

Edward Gorey cover for The Sibyl in Her Grave

Movies

  • Kingsman: No.
  • Jupiter Rising: Yesss.

 

 

 

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