June 2011


Short History of Daleks in Ukrainian
And what more is there to say? This is the tenth installment in the Dalek Game, and one in which I prove I can’t write in a straight line. There is a lot more action in the next one (out Saturday).

In other news, I’ve received my contributor copies of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine! I did a post on illustration process for the cover (Cover art process) and will put up some of the internal pictures soon.

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine issue 51 has been released! Here is the official announcement: ASIM 51: Our first quarterly issue.

For those interested in such details, here is a quick glimpse of the process of doing the cover, based on (the talented, lovely and award-winning) Thoraiya Dyer‘s “The Birds, the Bees, and Thylacine”.

Simon, the editor, had asked me for something evocative of illustrations from early/mid-20th century children’s books.

This is the thumbnail sketch from which I originally planned to work (usually my thumbnail sketches look a little neater):

I had my heart set on that thumbnail, with its (I thought) rather neat circular composition, and the framing of the man and the thylacine (Tasmanian tiger), but it wouldn’t come together. I redid it and redrew it and looked for more reference and wished I had a man to pose and finally had a minor meltdown, sat down and did two small pen and ink pictures, one of which became the final.

Here is the cover in progress (you can see it larger by clicking on the picture and going through to its Flickr page):

ASIM 51 - Cover Process

That is the original pen and ink drawing at the top left, as I scanned it in. I layered it with a scan of an old page (from Janet’s Winter in Quebec, I think) and put in the shadows. Then I added further layers of fairly soft colour. The list of contributors would cover the tiger, but that was deliberate – a lot of Thoraiya’s story is about vanishing.

I also coloured the other pen sketch, which I posted back in April: This is not the cover you are looking for. It was much brighter.

I’ll put up another post soon with thoughts on drawing the internal black and white illustrations.

There's a Dalek in my Bedroom

This is one for the Australians, or at least those who grew up with Margaret Wild and Jane Tanner’s classic There’s a Sea in my Bedroom. This is the ninth installment in the Dalek Game.

I am not a beach-going Australian. I grew up inland.  My younger sister and I learnt to swim in concrete cattle troughs (lying under the water to grab the noses of unwitting cows) and in the dams (one of which was allegedly bottomless, and all of which were said by my father to be inhabited by bunyips, which liked eating children but were scared away if there were adults in the vicinity). Sometimes we would go and stay in my father’s godmother’s house at the Gold Coast (it was built by her father, a ship’s captain I think, with narrow steep stairs and porthole windows and a big clam shell for washing sandy feet), but that was a 6 hour drive. The first time my younger sister walked over the dunes and saw the sea she said, “Look, Daddy! What a big dam!” I like the sea, but I find it large and unfamiliar and unsettling, and prefer to walk along the sand – I have a lot of sympathy for the hero of There’s a Sea…, and now that I’ve grown up I’ve bought a new copy to replace the one I lost.

In other news, I have lost my voice (a great trial because I Need To Talk), and have put up all my drawings from Sydney: Part 1, Part 2

Illustration Friday: Asleep

So… the poppies from the Wizard of Oz. Pen and ink with colour and texture added on the computer. The dress is from the movie, but the shoes are the silver shoes from the original book.

Mari Ness on Tor.com did a fabulous series of posts rereading the original Oz books here: Oz.

In other news: I’ve put up my sketches from Sydney (Part 1 and Part 2), the Dalek Game is up to 8 comics, I am home with no voice (an unfamiliar sensation for me, although it did pass through a low, sultry stage which was quite attractive), I am working on projects, I’ve finished the first draft of a new story (working title: “Very Private Property”) and my mother made me watermelon jam for my birthday.

This is the second half of my Sydney sketches. The first half is here: What I did on my holidays – part 1

On Sunday morning, I sat outside a cafe near my hostel and drew a terrace house (turned hostel) across the street. The cafe owners asked me to do a mural based on it, but I explained I was leaving soon.

Page 06

I walked to the city, and updated Facebook and Twitter with this sketch – “The motto of all the mongoose family is ‘Run and find out!’”

I went to St Andrews Cathedral and St Phillips on Sunday. I love old hymns, but can’t get used to organ music – it sounds to me like a remixed traffic jam. I went to the Zine Fest at the MCA and drew hats.

I also went to a Zia Pina in the Rocks for calzone. I love Zia Pina because they serve lemonade in glass beer mugs. I am easily pleased.

Page 07

The next day, I drew outside the cafe which had asked me to do a mural. They gave me a permanent marker and I drew on their wall. We made arrangements involving coffee and pain au chocolat.

Oh, look! An actual photo of me:

After that, I walked to Newtown by degrees. Here is one of them:

It was sunny and windy. I walked and ate cinnamon waffles and shopped and tried on buttons for size (and was not subtle enough, as the button lady suggested that another variety would be a better size for a Coraline costume). I met Guan and Karen and Ben and Astrid again at Berkelouw Books in Newtown, then walked back across town to Berkelouws on Oxford Street, where I sat for a while to recover. Like this:


Then I went back to my dorm at the hostel for the last time, and gave possibly misguided advice to the Germans who wanted to know about the happening suburbs in Brisbane.

Page 08

On the last day I went into town again, and was chased by a sweeper in Hyde Park.

I stared at books and bought a pair of shoes (that’s two for the year! Another resolution to cross off the list!) and felt very decadent asking to have them delivered to my house. They have not yet arrived.

And that was the end of Sydney.

Dalek Shrugged

This is the eighth installment in the Dalek Game and is for Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, which I have not read.

If anyone is waiting, breathless, to see whether I survived my trip to Sydney, I will post the rest of the drawings tonight or tomorrow.

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