December 2010


2010 Christmas Card

Here is this year’s Christmas card. I have not yet decided if it is more Grinch (after his heart grew but before he got used to it), Midwich Cuckoo, or Wicked Witch of the West. Lesson learned: don’t select colours on too little sleep. It did look good when all the cards were printed and set out on the table.

The design is one I made notecards from a few years ago (you can see those here). It was a lino cut. I scanned in the piece of carved lino, then edited it in photoshop, rounded the corners and shifted the colours out of alignment (I like that look). I printed it on fairly heavy textured drawing paper and rounded the corners with a clipper.

It is rainy, grey, humid but cool Christmas weather here. The lawns grow crazily, bush turkey chicks are roaming the gardens, my sister trapped an enormous huntsman spider under the bathroom rubbish bin and my neighbour saw a black snake on the footpath last night. The neighbours on the other side had their Christmas party last night. I took a mango, prawn and danish fetta salad (just that, on a glass plate, drizzled with sweet chilli sauce) which was both quick and very quickly eaten (neighbour across the way sat down with a spoon and finished it off).

Below is the advent calendar, all coloured. It is very cheerful and bright on the wall above the sideboard and the Christmas cards.

Advent Calendar

Merry Christmas, all, and God bless us, every one!

Recently, I was commissioned to do 3 fairytale illustrations – for gifts, rather than publication. I won’t put more detail up for now, as I don’t know the ultimate recipients.

Details of project

The first and last are pen and ink (dip pen). The middle is scratchboard. All three are coloured with watercolour (specifically, watercolour pencils). The first is the reason for the recent sleepy princess, and the second is related to my experiments in scratchboard fur textures.

I found this project alarming, because I am used to working in a combination of physical and digital media. Having a single finished piece of art appeals to me, but the process is daunting. There is no undo button with pen and ink (although to a limited extent scratchboard can be ‘reset’). But the pictures are finished and matt boards cut and I posted the originals today!

Illustration Friday: Phenomenon

I was working on an illustration of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” (yes, all twelve of them, in a 10x15cm picture) and trying to work out what I could draw for this Illustration Friday topic. When I hear “phenomenon”, I always think of the Muppets mahna mahna song. And then of course I realised that my glasses were, metaphorically speaking, on top of my head and the fairytale is about a soldier sent to investigate the phenomenon of the worn-out dancing shoes.

So here is one of the twelve, home at dawn. It is pen and ink with watercolour pencil.

I also did a sketch of Lydia Bennett dancing, which I may put up later.

2010 Blog Headers

Here are all the monthly header images for 2010! I am feeling quite pleased with myself for having managed one for every month. I think my favourites are January, March and August.

It is raining and raining and raining in Brisbane. This afternoon the rain flattened down. There were leaping white-waterfalls on stairs, and gutters were flooded so deeply that whole road lanes were covered, and even on elevated roads cars set up great plumes of water. There was a brief respite this morning when I took the dog walking in the green and uncommonly marshy wasteland between the creek and the golf course (there are hollow trees there which no-one has put rubbish in), but the lawn is still extravagantly unmown. We have a meadow in the back yard, with flowers I don’t know the names of.

Illustration Friday: Prehistoric

In this picture I was working on fur textures in scratchboard, and on colouring it with watercolour pencils (instead of digitally). It is the usual small-scale piece (3 x 8.5cm). If I were to do it again I would put heavy black outlines around parts of the picture (arms and legs and so forth) rather than simply running them into the background.

In other news, for those who like to keep tabs: I am working on a few illustration jobs. I have one week left at work. I am onto the second branch on my advent calendar. I have received my first Christmas card. I have to wear a shiny red hat to a Christmas party tomorrow night. We have seen sunlight and real stars over the last 48 hours! My umbrella is no longer waterproof. My wallet is held closed with elastic bands. I am slowly savouring my way through a new and beautiful edition of Wendy Cope’s poetry. I don’t have Christmas cards yet. The jury is still out on whether ibises are appropriately festive.

Here is the new header for December (which means I have managed a new one for every month this year).

December Blog Header

It’s been a cool and very rainy summer so far. The lawn is growing rampant but otherwise I can’t say I’ve noticed a hot day at all (and usually by now it is weather for ginger-beer and lying panting on the floor). This will make it interesting for our writing group picnic in the park.

Still no Christmas card design, but I am working on several illustration jobs (the table is covered with sketches of small bears, wolves and Regency ballgowns).