Some lepidopterophobic foxes for June’s calendar – a little late this month because I do this around other deadlines, but still in time!
I think the nose-down fox is my favourite. The calendar can be printed in colour or for colouring in (click on the images below), and I will put them together into some prints through my Spoonflower and Redbubble shops as soon as other projects permit – check back!
I was preparing a sequence of pen-and-ink foxes, but one got away.
(A trifle late this week – I’d intended to colour this in between other jobs, but my computer was required for watching a Barbara Cartland movie marathon).
(Also, from an illustration perspective, bicycles are complicated).
The beginnings of fairytales (historic or galactic) are freighted with nostalgia, bearing endlessly back into a past that may not have existed and yet always has been long gone. It’s part of the logic of fairytales that I love, a clear warning that they happen on a plane of myth and symbol. “Outside, over there… Maybe it did and maybe it didn’t… Now hear o my best beloved, and listen, and attend… A long time ago…”
These two sketches are from fairytales-in-development, at the point where I was finding my way into that tone. Pencil and watercolour above, ballpoint pen below.
And here’s another, the cover of a sketchbook for a project with Angela Slatter. This is just for me, but here, too, I aiming to strike the note that will let me enter the mood and story when I sit down to draw (along with a key to the colours I’ve used).
In which even the contemporary Australian noir fantasy has a Regency connection.
- [Lady Helen and] The Dark Days Club – Alison Goodman: Regency urban fantasy, with a beautifully precise approach to research and a heroine who doesn’t actively dislike her ladylike life (even if she doesn’t get much chance to commit to it), but I may never forgive Alison Goodman for opening my eyes to the true horror of Regency presentation gowns. Also I really, really like the typography on the cover of the edition I have. Here is Angela Slatter’s interview with her (which I illustrated): Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club: Alison Goodman
- The Grand Sophy – Georgette Heyer: A re-re-read, and out loud to my dad. This time it struck me that Sophy is basically a Regency Pippi Longstocking, down to the absent indulgent father, the vast bank-account, the horse and the monkey. If you haven’t read it, Mari Ness’s reread on Tor.com (while of course containing spoilers) also discusses the, ah, problematic issues of the book and will give you a fair idea of whether you want to read (or re-re-read) it.
- The Seduction of Lord Stone – Anna Campbell: I… did not read this one out loud to my father. Though I must give a general cheer for forthright, determined heroines and negotiation of relationships (and while it exceeds my tolerance levels for certain content, since I belong to the ‘curtain blew across the screen’ school of romance, I do enjoy Anna’s writing in all the other scenes).
- Exile – Peter M. Ball: You may think I broke my Regency streak with these two, but the main character reads Persuasion on stakeouts. Myth-heavy hardboiled Gold Coast pre-(assorted)-apocalyptic fantasy. It resonates with the parts of my mind where American Gods took up residence.
- Frost – Peter M. Ball: See above – I’m reading the third now and will report in the May read.
- The Boss: Disappointing. It was two movies: a mildly crude disgraced-business-mogul-turns-good farce, and a violent-angry-girl-scouts classic comedy. Either could have been strong, but it never committed to one or the other. Which is a shame, because I like Melissa McCarthy, enjoyed Spy and I’m fairly sure would have adored the movie the end credits promised. Although we knew from Hotel Transylvania that good end-credits can retroactively ruin a decent movie.
I am in fact drawing Many Other Things, but most I can’t show yet. So here are some marginal mermaids who appeared on a list of reference needed for another project.
The colours (Koi travel watercolours) are limited to what was already on my palette after another picture.
Since this is a behind-the-scenes post, here is also an example of another merlady, and how illustrations start. This is the very early thinking stage, even before thumbnail sketches.
On this manuscript I’m reading through making these shorthand notations, then passing and repassing – looking for less obvious ideas, or poses more suitable to my developing ideas of the characters’ personalities, or even background stories that aren’t necessarily in the text.
At the same time I’m working up some ideas of my own, and in such cases I often start with art before words.
There I’m getting a feel for possibilities of style and colour. Then I’ll probably switch to a faster style to work out the narrative.
Here for example are some shorthand notes for another idea.
And last is something I can’t really show much of: the extras on a Usual Suspects-style lineup of characters for another set of illustrations, partly as a model sheet, partly for practice and also for my own amusement and to break in a new pen nib.
Tattoos of sailors (and a mermaid for Mermay). Pen, ink and watercolour.
A little silhouette of a lady burning secrets. I’m quite happy with how the stripes turned out.