A very quick pen and ink sketch (with digital colour) of Peter Pan and the Neverbird (and Starkey’s hat) for Illustration Friday.
Some spooky things in trees for October!
I did this at the last minute, which is why there is so much going on in the picture. I also watched a lot of Frost tonight. And did some other illustrations. And it is 2am, good grief. My eyes basically look like the eyes in these pictures.
I changed the order in which I coloured the under-layers, and am getting closer to a useful effect.
By clicking on the images below, you can print the calendar either pre-coloured or for colouring in.
And I’ve put it up on Redbubble, too, on assorted things.
You may recognise the style from the covers I did for Season One (see also Tor.com’s post on that art).
This year, however, we’re cooking in colour!
I had a lot of fun with this image. A second season can expand out into the world or drill down into characters. This season pulls in more countries and cultures of the world beyond Riverside, but these add to the force and layers of what is happening to our spies and chocolate merchants, duchesses and politicians, swordsmen, forgers, mathematicians, scholars…
Once a final thumbnail was chosen and the sketch approved, the process proceeded much as for the previous covers. I still cut it as one piece, but this season we are reserving key areas for the highlight colour.
As usual, this is a best-bits version of the trip, where “best-bits” = anything that stayed still long enough to be sketched. You should be able to see a larger version of the pictures by clicking on them, which in most cases will take you through to their Flickr page.
And so: Iceland.
The Light Grey Art Labs residency was wonderful: small, active (very physically active!), interested, entertaining. And Iceland was… I couldn’t process it at first.
I spent my day before the residency looking around the Culture House and worrying about whether I would be able to work out how to process the lava fields I’d seen that morning on the way from the airport.
Because Iceland is, above all, an exceptionally new country. It is horrifyingly young, geologically and in terms of its civilisation. Journey to the Centre of the Earth makes sense here. We all got the theme for Jurassic Park stuck in our heads. Parts seemed like a recently terraformed planet, the rocks are raw and rough and new, steam pours out of the ground.
They didn’t get people until 800AD (give or take a few hermits), and didn’t use wheeled vehicles before the late 19th century.
We looked at sulfurous pits of boiling mud and climbed down lava tubes studded with ice and alive with spectral mists.
There were geysers, and everywhere people made little piles of stones.
Brown stones on clifftops, white stones in niches and arranged in little standing spirals below basalt cliffs.
(This evidence of people marking, decorating, understanding, playing was one of my favourite things).
The lakes steamed. We scrambled over crevasses and into ravines.
We marvelled at the pleated fans of basalt columns, drew volcanic plains and details of moss. Climbed. Watched. Took photos. Thought.
It was wonderful travelling with other artists. Learning from each other over wine in our cabin on Blueberry Hill.
We all approached work and landscape differently, but it was grand to be with people who understood spending half an hour recording the texture of a rock.
Or marvelling at light, or pointing out the rare welcome smoothness of a glacial stone after the raw sharpness of all the others.
We fell in love with moss.
It wasn’t like a fairytale.
Fairytales feel older than Iceland does.
It has fairytales, of course, but we had to learn to look at the land differently. And you start to understand where fairytales come from.
Growing up in Euro-centric Australia, you know there’s ancient and continuous human history but don’t really see it. We’re not taught to see it. We see European history, barely over 2 centuries of it, and then we go to Europe and envy them their castles and forts and standing stones.
Then to go to Iceland, and see their European history is longer than ours, but not by that much, relatively.
And before that? There’s no weight of human story.
I hadn’t realised that I was aware of that, until I came home.
But Iceland was exceptionally beautiful, full of curious microcosms and great raw new-birthed slabs and extrusions of uneroded mountain.
Sheep and puffins.
Then I was back in Reykjavik for one more day: museums and movies.
Then on to Oslo.
- Cut the cardboard to go down the spine: Cut a strip of light card. It should be about half the height of the book, and just wide enough to slip down the spine when the book is open. 1cm worked for this Moleskine journal. If in doubt, cut it a little bit too wide, then trim it down until it fits.
- Cut the bookmark ribbon: Use a ribbon that is narrower than the thickness of the closed book. Cut a piece that is at least 6cm longer than the book (A bit over 2 inches). I like to keep the ribbon long, then trim it to length when I’m finished (cut it at an angle, to stop fraying). You can also use more than one ribbon, if you want lots of bookmarks.
- Attach the ribbon to the card: Attach your ribbon(s) to the top of the strip of card. Overlap the ends, rather than matching them up (see the photos above) – basically, the ribbon should come off the card like a whip off a handle. Staple ribbon and card together, then wrap the join with masking or duct tape for durability.
- Attach bookmark to book: Open the book flat, then slide the strip of card all the way into the hollow spine, leaving the ribbon hanging out. When the book is closed, it should hold the card snugly in place.
- Reusing the bookmark: The bookmark should pull out easily when you want to add it to a new journal.
(Edited for clarity)