Since it is fine weather for ducks here in Brisbane, this is a very fitting calendar! You can support these calendars through patreon.com/tanaudel – my thanks to all the patrons who have made them possible so far.
“The Goose Girl” has long been one of my favourite fairytales, although it is one of the few with quite ordinary waterfowl. It’s more common for wicked usurpers to go around changing true royalty into ducks, a habit I first encountered in “The Three Dwarfs in the Wood”.
Sometime’s it’s swans.
But my favourite waterfowl (today) are the plain but helpful ones of “The Enchanted Princess” (also featuring bees and ants that pay their debts).
I read all of these first in two astonishingly-illustrated volumes of A Treasury of the World’s Greatest Fairytales, edited by Helen Hyman and with illustrations from Fratelli Fabbri Editori, although the individual illustrators aren’t identified.
You can download the images below to print at home (either pre-coloured or to colour in yourself). And if you do feel like throwing a dollar or two in the hat at patreon.com/tanaudel, I would be very grateful (and if you support at $3+ a month, you get the calendar early).
It is called “Into the Woods”, and is about growing up reading fairytales when you live in the Australian bush. The protagonist of the illustration is far more willowy and on-trend than I ever was when I did this.
The final episode of a season is almost as difficult to illustrate as the overall season cover. How to represent what happens in this particular episode, while being true to the overall arc of the season and catching the right elegiac or hopeful note…
As a result, there were a lot of thumbnail sketches.
We went with the image of a Kinwiinik ship taking to the waves. Here are the final pencils.
And at last, alas, the finished cover (I’m particularly fond of the poppies). The final layout and design is, as ever, by Charles Orr.
I hadn’t yet read any of Frances Hardinge‘s novels when Gili Bar-Hillel of Utz Books asked me to illustrate the cover for the Hebrew translation of The Lie Tree. And oh, it is so very good!
Here are a few of my first thumbnail concepts for the cover.
The novel is a beautiful combination of gothic mystery, scientific discovery, faith, lies, ambition, hubris and secrets. Part way through I realised that it felt like Matthew Arnold’s poem “Dover Beach”, and then a particularly apt sentence sent me back to the beginning to check for a nonchalant line that convinced me this was entirely deliberate on Hardinge’s part.
Here are the pencils. We decided to go with more open vinework around the title.
I then cut the final image out of black paper, and sent it through for the designer, Dor Cohen, to do wonderful things with.
The Hebrew translation of France’s Hardinge’s novel The Lie Tree, translated by Yael Achmon, is now available for pre-order from Utz Books: The Lie Tree.
Thanks to my supporters on Patreon who help give me time to put together these process posts (and who get to see projects like this early).
Very recently I had the great pleasure of doing my first illustration for Strange Horizons. It was for Philip A. Suggar’s surreal and charming story “London Calling“.
Some of my patrons had the chance to see early progress pictures and some more detailed process description (and so can you: Patreon). But the art is out now!
Here are some of the early thumbnail sketches.
We chose the top right one, and I touched in some soft colours to test them. I still really like this thumbnail, and would like to do something in this style! But it wouldn’t have worked so well on a large scale.
I also played around with some cyanotype versions.
Then it was on to developing the pencils, and adding digital colour.
Digital colours over a pencil sketch, playing with some techniques and influences including (but not limited to) Blexbolex‘s way with overlays and early 20th century Australian circus costumes, particular as recorded in Mark St Leon’s history Circus: The Australian Story.
In other news, so many covers announced this week, making me look very efficient. I will start posting them here soon, or stay tuned on Twitter and Facebook.