The Daleks of Tom Bombadil

The Daleks of Tom Bombadil

This (rare, landscape-format) instalment of the Dalek Game is for J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and other verses from The Red Book, and particularly for Pauline Baynes’ beautiful, cascading, angular, half-Gothic, half-fairytale illustrations for it.

It is a lovely book, a very Hobbitish book, and while the illustrations and later heartbreak occasionally touch the elven austerity glimpsed in The Lord of the Rings, the words themselves are often sheer play – joyful literary silliness (“He battled with the Dumbledors, the Hummerhorns, and Honeybees”, “An unwary guest on a lunatic quest/from the Mountains of the Moon”, “The pard dark-starred, fleet upon feet”, “He passed the archipelagoes/where yellow grows the marigold”). It tells how Tom Bombadil defeated the Barrow-Wights and stole Goldberry, and of the Man in the Moon’s difficulties with time. It tells of princesses and vagabond knights, greedy hobbits, put-upon trolls, oliphaunts and mewlips, cats and giant turtles, loss and longing.

Daleks with a Donkey

Daleks with a Donkey

This instalment of the Dalek Game is for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes which… I have not read. However! I am fond of a little Stevenson, having been raised on Kidnapped and A Child’s Garden of Verses (among others) – just the other day my father was quoting the “Land of Counterpane”.

This donkey owes more than a little to Edward Ardizzone’s illustrations for this book, but I think my donkeys are beginning to improve. There’s a lot of scope there.

In other news: I have put up part of an ongoing series of author portraits and sent off new cover art, internal illustrations and cover sketches. So, daylight is starting to look unfamiliar.

Author Portraits for the Lair of the Evil Doctors Brain


Over the last little while I have been providing very small illustrations for a series of interviews for the Lair of the Evil Doctors Brain (aka Angela Slatter and Lisa Hannett) which can be found here: and here:

They have invited very impressive guests, and subjected them to the indignity of being drawn in footed pyjamas, up trees and in full Jedi get-up.  All poses and costuming are at the request of the Evil Doctors.

The first was China Mieville (rejectamentalist manifesto) – interview “China Mieville in da Lair”

China Mieville

Stephen Jones (Stephen Jones Editor) – interview “The Peripatetic Life of the Freelance Editor”

Stephen Jones

Jason Nahrung (Vampires in the Sunburnt Country) – interview “Sublime Juxtaposition and Gravitas”

Jason Nahrung

Karen Miller (karenmiller) and Sean Williams (seanwilliams) in their Star Wars capacities – interview “So You Want to Write for a Franchise, or Thanks for my New Kitchen, Mr Lucas”


Kirstyn McDermott (kirstynmcdermott) – interview “Oops, Your Psychosis is Showing”

Kirstyn McDermott - large

And a bonus:

Kirstyn McDermott - small

The Dalek of the Opera


This instalment of the Dalek Game is for Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera, which I have read, and cannot find my copy anywhere to lend to mulders drapery, so if you have it would you please give it back? All this said, the last time I read it was a very long time ago, and my only clear memory is of two heroes trapped in an octagonal room of mirrors? with an iron gallows tree in it, endlessly reflected? and maybe a very bright lamp? It is entirely possible this isn’t even in the book, but it made a keen impression on me.

My favourite adaptation is (but of course) Terry Pratchett’s Maskerade, which is everything it should be, and has all the trimmings, even the gargoyles. Especially the gargoyles.

In other news: I am back from Sydney, where I went for the Aurealis Awards, where I won many accolades for my shawl and wore myself out talking to Absolutely Everyone (photos of some of whom are here, courtesy of Cat Sparks), visiting ferrets, being given Heyer novels, and generally being windswept and interesting. I have no sketches due to talking the entire time. So many congratulations to everybody!

Illustration Friday: Hitched

Illustration Friday: Hitched

This is a quick comic treatment of a scene from a fairytale – pen and ink with digital colouring (experimenting further with limited tones). I’d expand the fairytale further, but it taps into so many you can probably invent a satisfactory setting for the scene – that is one of the beauties of the rules of fairytales (and, as Chesterton would have it, the ethics of Elfland). The two sketches at the bottom are of the same character at other stages of her story.

The header for May, below (and, if you are reading this in May, above) is a side-effect of gazing deeply into Pauline Baynes illustrations, for nefarious purposes to be revealed in the fullness of time.

May Header / Illustration Friday: Hitched

In other news: I have paid for my tickets to North America in November! Rough itinerary is: Erie, Toronto, Altoona, maybe-possibly-Washington, Lafayette (Denver? I need to work out where my grandmother lives), San Francisco, so if you lurk along that route or go to World Fantasy or Illuxcon you can jump out and force coffee upon me (consider it a pre-emptive strike, as I am likely to do the same to you). Also I have just finished erasing all the pencil lines from a book cover and 13 internal spot-illustrations, and am avoiding scanning an A3 picture on an A4 scanner. Also I have started, wincingly, a very preliminary read-through of my LAM (Large Amorphous Manuscript). Also there is a baby gecko (its body is less than an inch long) sitting on my desk watching me. Always watching…

Over the Dalek with Jim

Over the Dalek with Jim

This instalment of the Dalek Game is for Hugh Lunn’s memoir Over the Top with Jim, his recollection of growing up in Brisbane in the ’50s, only a few suburbs from where I live now. My mother read this out loud to my family more than once – she loved it for the era and Catholic schooling, which she shared in another country, and my dad loved it for the Australian childhood, which was his. I missed the era by 40 years, but loved the books for the city, which was mine. It is a wonderful account of school battles, White Russians, tennis stars, dreadful eternal family road trips to Sydney, chipped china (and its fate), home medication and Brisbane summers.


Illustration Friday: Jump

Illustration Friday: Jump

I have been reading G. K. Chesterton, and so often he talks of the vigour and movement of medieval art. This may have cross-pollinated with The Avengers, the preview for Brave, and my ongoing affection for Robin Hood. The second half was a test, after the fact, of how intelligible the silhouettes were without any detail.