A reminder of the long-ago, beautiful happening that was picturebookreport.com – you may recognise some of the names involved! This was where I fell in love with Kali Ciesemier’s vision of Garth Nix’s Sabriel and with Sam Bosma’s art for The Hobbit, and one of the earliest examples that really had an impact on me, of people Not Sitting On Their Hands But Putting Things Out In The World (quote more or less from Karen Beilharz’s original Plan to Take over the World, which was another example at roughly the same time). Putting Things Out In The World is a very important artistic practice!
I learned a lot at the time from Sam Bosma’s posts on the process of illustrating The Hobbit – just this week I went back to find his description of working with colour flats to explain them to another artist. But whether you love The Hobbit, beautiful finished artwork, process posts or lots and lots of sketches of goblins, that series of posts remain worth a look.
“I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.” EB White
“I have always felt charged with the safekeeping of all unexpected items of worldly or unworldly enchantment as though I might be held personally responsible if even a small one were to be lost.” EB White
The Illustration Friday topic this week was Orbit. I worked through a few concepts (moon-gazing -> Hobbits -> Mary Poppins -> The Childlike Princess -> The Goblin Prince -> Celestial Carousels -> back to Labyrinth -> Regency astronomy -> satellites).
Eventually came back to the carousel. Why? I do not not know? It involved a lot more work, digging out compasses, working at a large scale, working out new techniques I’d just learned in Inkscape… Probably for all of those reasons.
The idea is to print this on fabric, a panel per yard, and make a skirt in one of the two colourways. I haven’t decided which, but will report back if it works. Or if it fails in unexpected and humorous ways.
In 2015, at the inspiration and instigation of Laura Goodin, the Australian Flute Festival and Conflux Science Fiction Convention staged a joint concert in Canberra, combining original compositions, short stories and art.
I designed the logo and a series of cut-paper illustrations to accompany Houston Dunleavy‘s original piccolo composition “Skimming”, performed by Melanie Walters. The piece was approximately six minutes long, so the illustrations are compiled into the gif, above, at a much faster rate (approx 1 minute, repeating). When putting this together I accidentally hit play on a swing-dance track, which makes it look like the opening credits to a silent-film-era space opera.
At the concert, I also sketched the flautists in action. A sub-contra-bass flute is an impressive piece of musical engineering.
The February calendar is here! This is “Even the spiders were sleeping”, the image I was working on for Illustration Friday and did not quite finish. Printable versions are available if you click on the images below.
Alexandria: I love it when something accidental happens in a piece that really helps with whatever narrative i’m trying to get across. When it happens, it feels like everything’s clicking nicely into place.
K: Do you have an example?
Alexandria: This isn’t necessarily my favorite image but the light cutting across the top left and not appearing anywhere else was an accident. I had initially had a bit of light towards the bottom of the image as well, but some layers got turned off and I felt it just sold the story so much better. It also felt like a much bolder choice than my original intention.
Alexandria Neonakis: Weasley Wizard Wheezes
I also was painting the “extendable ears” sign onto the wall when i came up with the idea that his missing ear wouldn’t have been magically replaced, he probably wears an extendable ear so as not to scare kids who come into the store. then when they ask him a question, he can pull the ear towards them and ask them to speak up.
I really love fleshing out these off-screen moments in a well know story, particularly with Harry Potter which has been a huge influence on me for most of my life. I know fan art gets a lot of flack, but I feel there’s a real place for it, and it’s often a nice gateway for people to start exploring their own narratives. It certainly has been for me.
This July, I am off to Iceland for a week-long art residency run by Light Grey Art Lab. Depending on uni timetables and money, I may do some other travel on each side (since a round-the-world ticket is cheaper than just getting to Iceland and home again), but that is yet to be decided.
I’ll be part of Team Mist, which is made of the following illustrators, artists, game designers, animators, graphic designers, Google Doodle creators, concept artists, graphic novelists, textile sculptors and production designers.