Illustration Friday: Imperfect

This Illustration Friday contribution is a sketch inspired by a character from Catherynne M. Valente’s wonderful Orphan Tales duology – the captain (and only seemingly ‘perfect’ member) of a crew of strange and wonderful pirates. It is in pen and ink, with colour and texture added digitally. I’d like to reread the books and do another version of this character – more mysterious and velvety and deadly. I’ve given her a rather standard picture-book pirate outfit here.

I highly recommend the books – beautiful, nested, recursive, reminiscent original tales of bird-people, star-horses, smoke-creatures, bone-coins, wind-cities… like all your fairytales come at once, but better and slightly singed and smelling of spice.

And here is also the new header for August, in honour of the Ekka, which begins this week. I don’t know if I will make it there this year – my cost-effective ticket source has left town, and some of my favourite things have been changed or closed and so I am afraid it will hurt twice. One day I will learn not to get attached to traditions. But I do love the chair-swing ride (though they won’t actually let me take my sketchbook on):

August header

In other news, yesterday I bought a proper, vintage, crank-handle pencil sharpener (red) and two model WWII aeroplanes, which are staging miniature dogfights on the kitchen table. They are eventually to serve as models for steampunk illustrations (I swear!) but so far have only had supporting roles in sketches in the margins of translations.