Ekka 2010

Sooner than never! These are my sketches from the Ekka – I went twice but will upload the surrounding pages in the fullness of time.

This is the first day (after the carwash): mead and chickens, spinning and the woodchop. I really like sketching the woodchop, but it is a race to capture movement when the axeman is climbing up and chopping down a pole in a few minutes flat. I went with Deb, whom you can see below contemplating a clown.

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Here is a close-up: 2.5×1.5cm:

Orpington - close-up of Page 03

The second day I went alone, and found that sketching parades around a ring has its own trials, mostly to do with foreshortening. The vintage speedcars were (if you can read my writing) “quite thrilling!”.

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Here is a Man with some Flags: 2cmx2cm

Man with flag - close-up of Page 05

I could have sketched the judges at the dog show indefinitely – all hats and shawls and opinions on specialty Dachshund judging  and the politics thereof. On the way home, a disproportionate number of train passengers were clutching oversized stuffed creatures. and on the right we return to your regularly scheduled ANZAC Square viewing. Of the cameos, top right and bottom left are definitely regulars.

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Close-up of the band (playing, at this point, ‘all shook up!’). 3.5cmx3cm

Band - close-up of Page 06

And a lady in purple at the dog show: 2cmx4cm

Purple lady - close-up of Page 06


I ate, of course, far too much – Dagwood Dogs which should only be eaten at the Ekka and probably not even then, strawberries & cream, bratwurst and other good things, washed down with tea brewed far too long in an enamel kettle from the CWA stand. I sat in the sun and rode the ferris wheel with Deb and the chair swing by myself and listened to music and fought through crowds and looked at cattle ruminating quietly and generally had a wonderful time.

Illustration Friday: Acrobat

After a short break for Worldcon, I’m back to Illustration Friday. I was admiring some beautiful art at the art show and was inspired to paint, and having spent Sunday afternoon pottering about in the annex I’ve realised why I usually draw:

Illustration Friday: Acrobat 1

This one is just me working out what colours I could make with the paints which hadn’t dried out:

Illustration Friday: Acrobat 2

Still, it was fun and I may do it again sometime.

Worldcon – Aussiecon4

I don’t travel with a camera and I don’t write detailed convention reports. There are many excellent detailed reports out there, and I never do anything with the photos and always get the names wrong (sorry, Chris!). So here, instead, is my sketchbook. It is a very small sketchbook (there is a photo at the end for scale) but you can see the pictures larger by clicking on them to go to their Flickr page.

I’m back from Worldcon in Melbourne! I took two weeks off, which turned out well as I spent much of the first weekend at work, and most of the first Monday cutting matt boards, mounting pictures, matting them in cellophane and jettisoning non-essential plans. On the Tuesday, I flew to Melbourne and walked across the city centre to a hostel in an old convent. Its chief recommendation is its cat, Brother Francis (see below) and a common room with fireplace.

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It rained and was very cold.  On Wednesday, I went into an unidentified doorway and found myself at the launch of the Melbourne Fringe Festival – Lord Mayors and Members of Parliament, free ale, comic hula-hoopers and Barry Morgan from Morgan’s World of Organs.

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I also found a cafe with a wonderful mushroom, lentil and cinnamon dahl, medicinal teas (the owner believing the problems of the world can be relieved by the proper application of herbs) and sprouts growing in a yellow birdcage. That afternoon, some very kind Worldcon volunteers smuggled me in the back door under the noses of UN security so I could ask silly questions about hooks and pegboard. On Thursday the convention began. I spent most of the morning setting up in the art show, then emerged into the rest of the convention and was quickly overstimulated – So Many People To Talk To!!! I calmed down a bit by Friday, when I realised that getting to know everyone at the convention was a lost cause. Below, in the propeller beanie, is John Hertz, DUFF winner. On Friday I was able to see the 15 minute animation of Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing.

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It was my first art show. I spent a lot of time going back to check it out and talk with artists there. I also went to several bid parties in the evening and acquired the stickers on the right, below. I went to various food courts and restaurants and ate far too much with many old and new friends.

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I did not get to nearly as many panels as I highlighted in the program, but I did go to most of the artist panels – Richard Harland led a panel with David Cornish and Shaun Tan which was a lot of fun because Richard was so fascinated by the process of illustration and David and Shaun kept commenting on each others’ techniques and approaches. I also went to a reading by Catherynne M Valente which was an unexpected delight (I think I was meant to be elsewhere. Also, for some reason I have written Aussiecon3 on that page when it should be Aussiecon4). Richard Harland and Jack Dann were meant to read one after the other, but instead did the voices in each others’ readings (and encouraged audience participation in angry mob scenes). There should be more theatrical readings at conventions! The Ditmars were awarded Friday night – congratulations to everyone I didn’t see, or mistook for someone else!

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Here are some masquerade costumes, including a rather affectionate Cthulu. That evening, some brave souls and I ventured in to the Filking room and had a wonderful time – harps and ukeleles, guitars and fiddles, silly songs and serious ones.

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The following day I contributed to public acts of harping (by carrying a harp and egging Ann on). There was more coffee and food, and a rehearsed reading of Norma K Hemmings 1950s play The Matriarchy of Renok (containing the immortal lines “Inferior male technology!” “Inferior female repairs!”). The Hugo awards were that night, and although it was all stately and formal (mostly) it was exciting to be there! More filking that night.

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I spent most of Monday at the art show, doing paper work (I sold 10 of 13 pictures and won Most Humourous!), and had an extensively bar/restaurant oriented evening before collecting my bags and moving back to the hostel. On Tuesday, I found the Wunderkammer, caught up with (con-going) friends for breakfast and lunch, bought art books and comics and discovered we now had a government.

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I sketched in the cold in Federation Square. There is a big screen in the square and sometimes they show the news, and sometimes Meerkat Manor and sometimes they turn the camera on the crowd. It is fun to watch peoples’ reactions (also, it enables very small selfportraits). I stopped at St Pauls Cathedral to listen to evensong, and then it was a long cold walk across town back to the hostel. I stopped in a Greek bakery and a mall on the way back.

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I spent most of the non-con days walking far too far and eating far too much, and the evenings reading ghost stories in the hostel common room, so a fairly ideal holiday. Below left is another hostel guest taking some time with Brother Francis. On Wednesday I walked back to the galleries and saw the Tim Burton exhibition (details below) at ACMI, and the Masterpieces of Europe exhibition at the NGV.

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As usual, I sketched people looking at paintings instead of the paintings. Then I walked back to the hostel, gathered my bags and trekked back to Southern Cross Station, took a bus to the airport and flew home.

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Here are some sketchbooks with a yardstick and a good reference book for reference. I put different stickers on the front to tell them apart – the current book (open) is “No Door to Door Traders” which seems to puzzle people.


In conclusion, I had a wonderful time, miss everyone already, have a handful of anthologies to write submissions for and have lengthened the list of people whose work I hope to illustrate one day.