Creature Court covers

Tansy Rayner Roberts’s Creature Court covers have been revealed!

These city silhouettes were so much fun (and detail), and the silhouette of Aufleur, for Book 1, is at the World Fantasy art show in Baltimore right now.

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If you’re at World Fantasy, the art show this year is FABULOUS. And I’ve brought a lot of original art including this one.

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Cabaret of Monsters

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So, a little while ago I mentioned Tansy Rayner Roberts’s Kickstarter campaign to reprint the Creature Court trilogy. It was successful, and she has launched her new novella in that world: Cabaret of Monsters. This was another fun image to play with: Flappers! Wolves! Stars!

The cover design and typography is by Cathy Larsen.

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Rats!

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The pins have also been produced, and look very shiny online.

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I’ll show mine off as soon as Australia Post delivers the goods but in the meantime, here is Tansy’s photo:

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Book cover: Mountains of the Mind

I’ve known Gillian Polack ever since, having read Diana Wynne Jones’s Deep Secret, I decided to go to a science fiction convention in Canberra. So I was honoured when Shooting Star, a brand new press, asked me to illustrate the cover for her collection of short stories, Mountains of the Mind, launched at Continuum earlier this month.

Here is the first round of thumbnails sketches (with colour inverted for ease of visualising possible treatments). I enjoy the challenge, with collections, of trying to get in thematic references to most if not all the stories.

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We went with the first design at top left. Some details, however, required refinement — attempting to combine readability with some degree of historical accuracy, a nuanced line when illustrating stories by a historian. Here are some of those further notes.

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After a full pencil sketch was approved, I transferred the design to a larger than usual sheet of black paper: A3 instead of A4 — there’s a lot going on here and I couldn’t quite fit it inside the usual dimensions. I also forgot to flip the design before tracing it, so the original now runs the opposite way to the final design.

Cut, cut, cut.

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Then I have to lift the design out without breaking any delicate bits.

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There’s a pure satisfaction in working the design out of the scrap paper and leaving the offcuts entire.

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Here is the image cut out and scanned in, waiting for a few minor tweaks where corners folded or joined, and general tidying. The grey overlay is to show the crop lines for the cover.

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And here is the final cover, designed by Wolfgang Bylsma of Gestalt Comics, art by me, book by Gillian Polack!

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(And if you like regular behind-the-scenes process glimpses, I show them (along with calendar designs, etc) to patrons on patreon.com/tanaudel).

Cover art: Arcanos Unraveled

Arcanos covers

Meet Anya Winter, junior professor of magical textiles at Arcanos Hall. She spends her days designing invisibility cloaks and teaching reluctant sophomores to knit. If she can avoid her conniving ex-boyfriend and steer clear of campus politics, that’s a plus. But everything changes when her secret university is unshielded by a saboteur, placing the entire magical community at risk. Joining forces with a rebellious princess and a mysterious engineer, Anya must save her school—and her reputation—before it’s too late. But can she really change the world with just a ball of yarn?

This are the covers (e- and print) which I illustrated and Stewart Williams designed for Jonna Gjevre‘s novel of magic, knitting and computers, Arcanos Unraveled. (Print, Kindle).

Stewart did a splendid job, and if any of you are looking for a cover designer (and you should be, they are worth their weight in gold), his website is: Stewart A. Williams Design.

Every so often a project comes along which forces me to dust off my needles and knit a swatch for art-reference. I couldn’t find the needles this time, so ended up knitting with a pencil and the handle of a paintbrush.

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In the end it was decided to do a design that could function as two covers or a wraparound – there was some refinement, with boots.

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And sheep were cut out. They have these beautifully, misleadingly patrician faces. For scale, those are half-inch squares on the cutting board.

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I cut the illustrations out as two separate images which could be joined over the spine if so decided (although in the end they were framed by blue).

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Then I tidied these up, and sent the files away to be turned by Stewart Williams into something marvellous and blue.

And if you want to get early sneak-peeks and process details on projects like this, I post those for supporters on Patreon.

Arcanos cover art - sheep

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The Silver Well: Book launch (with art exhibition)

The Silver Well

“One English village. Two thousand years of stories. Best-selling legends of Australian fantasy Kate Forsyth and Kim Wilkins have teamed up in this collection of 7 incredible stories, all original and never-before published.”

I’ve had the honour of creating the cover art and internal illustrations for this brand new collection by the inimitable Kate Forsyth and Kim Wilkins.

It is currently launching around Australia, with the Brisbane launch next Wednesday 29 November at Avid Reader (free, but bookings essential). That launch will be accompanied by an exhibition of the original cut paper/cyanotype cover (if I can get it to lie flat) and pen-and-ink internal illustrations.

The Sydney launch will be on 30 November at Galaxy Books, launched by Garth Nix (but the only art will be in the books).

The Silver Well - originals

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The River Bank!

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Kij Johnson’s The River Bank is now a real, published book that exists in the world. It is a beautiful story – charming and jaunty, and a delight to read as well as illustrate.

In addition to its many native felicities, the text is embellished by Kathleen Jennings’ beautiful incidental illustrations, grace notes sounded in E. H. Shepard’s mode with a line reminiscent of Beatrix Potter and a sensibility all Jennings’ own.”
— Amal El-Mohtar, NPR

One final, important point: Kathleen Jennings’s period-style illustrations add just the right extra magic to make “The River Bank” a complete triumph. If he were still around, Kenneth Grahame himself would be wildly applauding.
— Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

I’m away from my scanner at the moment, but will put up some process details. In the meantime, here is one of my favourite drawings:

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The Usual Suspects

 

The River Bank

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Look what’s coming out soon! Kij Johnson’s The River Bank, from Small Beer Press, with my drawings!

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This is such a delightful story, and I cannot wait to read it as a REAL BOOK – they now exist in the world:

Publisher’s Weekly had very nice things to say about it.

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