Illustration Friday: Slither

Illustration Friday: Slither

The Lady of the Green Kirtle (from The Silver Chair), mid-change, sporting a rather ’90s updo. Pen and ink and digital colour.

In other news, my hair was cut again (a group effort, this time, and not something which should be done the morning of your birthday party, mid-preparations, but no harm done). Also, aside from other projects, I have been working on a thank-you card design. My little sister (and style consultant) vetoed the first design (ink and watercolour bougainvillea flowers), but I finished the new design tonight and will post it once I print and write and send all the cards.

Illustration Friday: Early

Illustration Friday: Early

The frightful importance of arriving early. Inspired by the limited colour schemes of old books, German illustrations, a 1930s (I think) guide to home economy and a fear of Things with Teeth in my house (see further below).

This is pen and ink and watercolour pencil on a piece of A5 (14.8 x 21cm) paper. Originally, I wanted to draw this using one continuous line, but while I followed one continuous line (starting top left and zigzagging down the page), the ink dried in the nib very quickly (I am using the airconditioning so that the living room functions as a dryer, which is great for flannel sheets but not so much for ink) and the nib skips on this paper. I was also trying to take a video of it, but had issues with focus and precarious tripod perches (the table looks like the set of War of the Worlds) and available memory.

You can see the whole picture larger here, and below is a close-up of Red looking unconvinced.

Close up of 'Early'

In other news, I spent most of today making sugar cookies and being reassured that my house is not being eaten by termites – something I can relax about!

Morning sketches

Girl with coffee

In the mornings, I often stop for coffee at the ANZAC Square Arcade before work, and sketch the passers-by and the regulars. It’s fast work – most of the subjects are on their way from the station to their office.

Page 16

Often it’s just a matter of trying to catch the angle of a face, or a pose, or a hairstyle, or a striking scarf. You can see the season changing through these pages and the ones to come.

Page 17

You can see a larger version of the pages by clicking on the picture and then – when that takes you to its Flickr page – clicking on “all sizes”. The sketches are very small. The sketchbook itself is only a moleskine pocket sketchbook: 14cm (5 1/2 inches) high.

Woman with bag

The rest of this sketchbook (so far) is here:

Illustration Friday: Equipment

Illustration Friday: Equipment

I drew these with a calligraphy pen (Artline 1.0) and coloured them with watercolour pencils (Faber-Castell Albrecht Duerer, which used to be my mother’s). These are all from my kitchen drawers. From left to right: I-don’t-know-but-it-might-be-related-to-a-zester; citrus juicer; button hook; wooden biscuit stamp. A quick illustration while waiting to go out with my sister. I spent the morning walking the dog, giving the purple bushes in front of the house a style cut and making banana bread (we freeze it in slices and toast them in the sandwich maker for breakfast).

Illustration Friday: Fearless

Illustration Friday: Fearless

I unwound after a tense day by testing a new pen nib (and thanks to some gifts from my sister: a sour cherry tart and some more novelty cookie cutters). The nib is excellent – not as fine as I’m used to, but I only had to dip it three times to finish the picture.

This is the irrepressible Princess Eilonwy “of the red-gold hair” from Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, after finding the sword in the tomb below Spiral Castle when rescuing Taran the Assistant Pig Keeper and (accidentally) a wandering bard. Taran and Eilonwy grow up over the series, but Eilonwy never shuts up. She has a lively turn of phrase, is unfazed by magic swords, underground kingdoms, Cauldron Warriors and oracular pigs, and has an endearing dedication to finishing embroidery even though she isn’t very good at it.

Illustration for “Breathtaker” – ASIM 44

I’ve been hoping to do an illustration for Andromeda Spaceways, and so was very happy to be asked by Sue Bursztynski (art editor) and Felicity Dowker (editor, with Simon Petrie subediting) to illustrate Joanne Anderton’s short fantasy story Breathtaker, which is to appear in issue 44 of ASIM.

After I read the story, I did the following thumbnail sketches in technical pen, added flat shading on the computer and sent them in.

Breathtaker thumbnails

The editors chose D (I still have a fondness for C).

Originally, I planned to do do the final by inking lines and then shading it on the computer in much the same way as the thumbnail. The illustration is to be over a whole A5 page, however, and I wanted to put more detail in than I would get from simply scaling up the thumbnail, so I did the whole illustration at full size with brush and ink, including the shading. I then scanned it in and tweaked the shading (and added a bit more texture – not immediately obvious unless you compare this with the original) on the computer.

Breathtaker illustration

The background is still my favourite part – I had fun with the flowers.

Mother’s Day Card – process

I made banana bread last night and brownies this morning – a long bar tin and a heart-shaped tin of fudgy brownies with white chocolate chips stirred in, and talked to my sister’s boyfriend and did a brush sketch of some crockery (top left, below).

Mother's day card - process

Some friends of my sister called in, so we had fresh hot brownies and toasted banana bread with butter and tea, and I drew pictures and played hangman and did maths with their kids (“will you please write some plus and minus problems for me?”). After the tide of people abated, I scanned and coloured sketch on the computer and printed the final picture (top right) as a mother’s day card. Deb is on her way over now for tea and brownies.

Oh! And the cover for the Worlds Next Door anthology is up, and looks great!