Canberra sketches

The weekend before Easter I flew to Canberra to visit my older sister and her family (and go to the Masterpieces of Paris Exhibition – I am now a fan of Les Nabis).

The page on the left is still in Brisbane – I have taken to drawing in Anzac Square Arcade in the mornings before work. On the right is the flight to Canberra – one of the flight attendants had friends in the seats across the aisle.

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On the left is my older nephew, Ben, at basketball, and some drawings by him. On the right is my sister’s lounge room.

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On the left is Ben – we sat out in the big basket/sunchair beside the pool and played drawing games a la Mr Squiggle. Below is my younger nephew, Sam, agonising over his homework. That is his Droring on the right – it is a murderous space crab capable of shooting lightening bolts from its claws.

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On the left is my sister’s drawing of her kitchen counter. On the right, the boys are doing homework underneath gallery patrons admiring a Gauguin.

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More homework on the left, and my congregation playing touch-footy/Calvinball. On the right, we return to Anzac Square Arcade (and the reason I have chosen it – people watching plus free doughnuts with coffee!).

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You can see larger versions of the pages by clicking on a picture to go to its Flickr page, and then clicking on “All sizes” above it. Here’s a page on this blog with links to the Flickr sets of each of my sketchbooks:

Illustration Friday: Ahead

Illustration Friday: Ahead

I spent the Anzac Day weekend at home talking with Aimee (she had spent Friday night with my parents) making pavlova, reading Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle to my dad, writing (finished another first draft) and walking my sister’s dog. Oh, and watching Doctor Who and Foyle’s War. This is a small pen drawing with digital colour.

Illustration Friday: Detective

Illustration Friday: Detective

Technical pen (the original is very small and drawn with 0.1 and 0.2 pens), and one of the new hats I mentioned earlier (Illustrations fallen by the wayside). The jade-handled magnifying glass appeared last time I ventured into Nancy Drew territory.

Here it is with a touch of colour.

Illustration Friday: Detective

And a variation (I’ve been reading through my 1930s schoolgirl annuals looking for insults stronger than “what a beastly pig”, and this is very influenced by that style).

Illustration Friday: Detective

Illustrations fallen by the wayside

Discarded thumbnails

I recently did some thumbnail roughs for an editor. Ultimately, the editor and author decided to go in a different direction with the illustrations (alas, but I am looking forward to seeing the final book), so we will never find out if I can draw a detailed sandcastle.

Discarded thumbnails

In other news:

  • Other illustration projects continue – I’m having a lot of fun.
  • Two short story drafts in two weeks! One is set in Western Queensland and is about domesticity and becoming like your mother – also people get killed, but some of the characters survive! and get a happy ending! See how I am growing as an author? The other started with The Frog Prince and went sideways, and is about ornamental ponds and the importance of speaking correctly for your station, and is much more lighthearted.
  • On the weekend I made apple bread and banana bread and double-cornbread-with-cheese and chilli-con-carne and instead of eating those went over and had tea (and gingerbeer and Angela’s apple-meringue pie) with Angela Slatter, which was lovely.
  • While avoiding my favourite patisserie (they know my name) I went past a hat shop, and bought hats! They may show up in an illustration. Also, coffee is cheaper.
  • Oh, and a birthday party is being had at me in Hattonvale on 29 May 2010. I’m not sure when my mother is sending invitations, but if you think you ought to get one and don’t, let me know!

Illustration Friday: Linked

Illustration Friday: Linked

A very small (smaller than shown here) watercolour on bristol board.

I hope to be able to post some more discarded thumbnails soon. In the meantime, I have been cooking! Aimee and Lisa were here for the weekend and a man came down the street selling boxes of fruit, so we had stewed apples and fresh oranges and a big bowl of red grapefruit pieces at breakfast. We had buckwheat pancakes and roast vegetables with sour cream and cornbread and gravy, and peaches and butter on cornbread, and sweet omelettes with hot jam, and butter and maple syrup on cornbread, and savoury omelettes with salsa and sour cream, and apple sauce on cornbread, and cornbread with peach slices baked onto it and cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. We had stir fried thai-ish chicken with rice noodles which suffered from not being cornbread. We drank tea made in an actual teapot in old tea cups and talked, and read Connie Willis and Susannah Clarke out loud and lay around and played Victorian parlour games.

Recent sketchbook pages

After a fall-off in new pages (due to large art projects), I have started making myself sit down and sketch more frequently (if nothing else, it is an excellent excuse to have a coffee in the morning – I am paying for drawing time and subjects, not just for beans in milk). I’ve also put up a page with links to all the uploaded sketchbooks:

The animal below is my younger sister’s dog, Diesel, enjoying a moment of transendence.

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The girl hiding behind the lamp-post amuses me. The guest artist is Madeleine Rosca, author of Hollow Fields, whom I met at the Aurealis Awards (her drawing is from the awards in January).

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The Atrium in the Anzac Arcade is becoming a regular location for me, not least because one of the food court cafes has decently-priced coffee with free doughnuts and Fawlty-towers-esque customer relations. I do not go to the botanic gardens as often as I should (I don’t even have to cross a road to get there from work, but I get very sleepy after spending lunch hour in the sun), and they have ibises and eels and turtles and enormous bearded dragons which sit, squinting, across the paths with the tips of their tails hanging down into the water and won’t move (although they do regard you with suspicious disapprobation). Also, there are avenues of clattering bamboo, tall and green and carved with white initials (there is something beautiful about graffiti on bamboo), and cathedral-buttressed figs.

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Illustration Friday: Dip

Illustration Friday: Dip

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.