June 2014


Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter East.

– Reepicheep’s lullaby, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C. S. Lewis

Illustration Friday: Summer

It is not summer here, although it has been the warmest June on record. Wednesday it finally turned cool. So here is a memory from summers having wonderful adventures in Western Queensland pretending we were having wonderful adventures in Narnia.

The elements are cut-paper silhouettes (of course!), with colour and texture added digitally after the event.

As usual, this is a warm-up/cleanser between other projects…

And here are the original paper pieces:

Before photo - Illustration Friday: Summer

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I posted previously about the t-shirts which were available for Continuum X. Now I am back from Melbourne and the convention, which was wonderful, I can show you all the art for it.

First, the sketches. The theme for Continuum X (this year’s Natcon) was “dark carnival” (later “Carnival of Lost Souls”), which was a lot of fun to play with. I’d acquired some books of Australian circus history and started playing around, going sideways from the recognisable images in those, and getting in a Banjo Patterson reference as well.

Sketches for Continuum X program cover

The original brief expanded at this point to include designs for the postcards/flyers and so forth, so I worked up the acrobat-with-stars and the ringmaster. Here are some variants.

Continuum X postcard variants

The committee suggested a darker colour scheme, and this is the final design for the tumbler (with stars swapped out for cards):

Postcards for Continuum X

I’ve already shown a version of the program cover on the t-shirt post. The final was all pen-and-ink line drawings (including the lettering), compiled and given flat colour and texture on the computer (Photoshop Elements as usual, if you’re interested). My original sketches had little headings such as “The Amazing Bird-Boy”, “See the Future”, “Genuine Mermaids”, etc, but I dropped them out as they cluttered up the final design too much.

Continuum X program cover

I’m still really happy with this. I’ve also ordered a few test prints on various art papers and it came up gorgeously velvety.

And finally the brief was expanded again to use some of the artwork on the trophies for the Ditmar awards! This was also very exciting, and I think the way the committee printed them on the back of clear acrylic came up really well – here’s my contributor copy:

Ditmar award design - Continuum X

Congratulations to all the award winners, and to the convention committee and volunteers! It was a lovely convention – I found it very relaxed, with lots of hilarious and interesting panels, lunches and evenings in the bar. Too much talking to sketch a great deal, but here are my pages for the cover art pose-off panel, based on the notable efforts of Jim C Hines (guest of honour and judge of the panel).

Posing

Illustration Friday: Temptation

This week’s Illustration Friday picture began as a technique practice/reset between jobs, but I lost track of what I had originally planned on doing and got carried away (not for the first time) with Janet luring Tam out into the daylight in the ballad “Tam Lin“.

I do appreciate that Janet always knows exactly what she’s doing. I do not require this of all my heroines, but Janet is so beautifully consistent. “Oh I forbid you maidens all who wear gold in your hair/To come or go by Carterhaugh, for young Tam Lin is there.” The story opens with a prohibition, which Janet consistently and deliberately flouts, while Tam is simply caught up by events (and Janet).

She should also be wearing green, but this is Janet, so “should” may be safely ignored.

This is pencil with digital colour and assorted textures. One day I will remember to make a cleaner layer of flat colour, because I do enjoy getting the flats to ‘read’ well. I ran these flats through Inkscape to tidy them up a bit for public viewing:

Illustration Friday: Temptation - simplified flat colour