Illustration Friday: Wise


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):

26th Birthday Card

9 thoughts on “Illustration Friday: Wise

  1. Thankyou all very much! Andrew – I was going to do a full-on illuminated verse, mostly because I wanted to write “sluggard” in calligraphy, but I am restrained. And it was a very cool bird, willie, except for when it landed next to me and got a fright. Didn’t handle itself too smoothly then :)

  2. Tanaudel…

    I love this one… love the use of type and I love the ant…
    It’s funny… I was biblically inspired this week too…

    Thanks so very much for your kind comments. They honestly mean a whole lot to me.
    Illustration is my passion, and I’m so glad to share it..
    Speaking of… thanks also for sharing your notes, sketches and pictures… I want to go to high tea!

    And I’d like to set up an Etsy account… am planning on it… because I do get asked about prints… but email me (go to for my address) and we’ll talk!

    Have a great day!


  3. This is a really nice illustration. The style and execution both fit in really well with the quote you chose. I also think that the fact that the ant is mostly from observation makes it more authentic (and it looks like an ant!) Really surprised at the medium as well – I thought it was a woodcut or lino print!

  4. They’re wonderful birds, crisitunity – funny, loud, odd, ill-balanced with shots of blue feathers and very, very ugly when they lose their feathers!

    Thank you Denise! I do love your work (everyone! check it out) and will email you. Also, high tea is great.

    Thanks Rachel H – I am glad the ant worked! And I really like using scratchboard – it can look like woodcut or lino (without the mess or effort) or pen and ink or digital or anything you want it to. Also – your illustration this week is the creepiest Christmassy picture I’ve seen!

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