Reach for the Dalek

2018-01-ReachForTheDalek

Ah, remember the Dalek game? I have been drawing them again, from time to time. At the moment, I’m just showing them to patrons over on the Calendar Patreon, but when I’ve got enough of a backlog I’ll eventually make more of them public. For now here’s a teaser.

This is for Paul Brickhill’s biography of Douglas Bader, Reach for the Sky, one of the many military books and movies my father raised us on, and probably the one which got me interested in early-ish aviation. I haven’t seen the movie for ages, but I remember it as being both thrilling and charming. Bader was a… colourful character.

Previously released Daleks can be seen here: the Dalek Game.

Next Year

FestiveDalek

I’m not going back to the office after the Christmas holidays.

I have taken a leave of absence from The Day Job ™ and will be spending 2016:

  • not being a lawyer;
  • undertaking an MPhil in creative writing (the illustrated variety); and
  • illustrating and writing.

The finer detail of that is still being resolved.

I’m still a little startled this has happened at all, let alone so soon. It was a distant possibility six months ago, a concrete chance three months ago, a reality two weeks ago.

It would be nice to write up a little piece on how it came about, and the work and privilege (mine and others’) which have contributed, but I’m not sure yet how to phrase any of that in a way that is useful rather than obnoxious. In the meantime, I recommend David McDonald’s series of guest posts about Paying For Our Passion, and Peter Ball’s post Let’s Be Clear, There’s Privilege Behind My Process.

The Ordinary Dalek

The Ordinary Dalek

Another rediscovered instalment of the Dalek Game! This one was for M M Kaye’s wonderful fairytale, The Ordinary Princess. The best princess, the best prince, the best wicked (or disgruntled) stepmother, the best names. Approached in my affections only by E Nesbit’s “Melisande, or Long and Short Division”, which loses because M M Kaye’s illustrations (her own work) are just so charming.

The Dalek in the Morning

The Dalek in the Morning

This is not a return to the series, unless I find vast quantities of time and space up my sleeves… but I found a page of Dalek Game pictures I never used!

This was for M. M. Kaye‘s very charmingly written autobiography The Sun in the Morning, an account of her childhood in the Raj in India.

Five Daleks and It

Five Daleks and It

Do we detect a theme?

This instalment of the Dalek Game is for E. Nesbit’s novel Five Children and It, (and a direct reference to H. R. Millar‘s illustrations for it) one of those “be careful what you wish for” stories which was far more entertaining than didactic.

I am probably being unfair to late 19th/early 20th century children’s novels, because in my mind they are mostly very grim, with saintly children dying and melting the hearts of neighbouring curmudgeons. I’ve realised lately that while there is some truth to this, that seed was planted by sarcastic comments in the books of some of my favourite more recent writers. The older books I’ve read usually make the transgressions – while attended by awful consequences – look not-so-secretly like jolly good fun as well. By which you can deduce I had a hearty dose of E. Nesbit, L.M. Montgomery, Susan Coolidge and Ethel Turner, growing up. Not that the last two, at least, didn’t feature their share of tragedy, but at least everyone seemed to be having a good time up until that point.

And the best lessons were never that you couldn’t fly, but that you should take reasonable safety measures beforehand.

The Dalek and the Carpet

The Dalek and the Carpet

Another E. Nesbit Dalek for the Dalek Game! This one is for The Phoenix and the Carpet, which is… probably due for a reread, because I haven’t retained this one the way I have her short stories and other novels. It is one of the more fantastical, but I remember it as less enchanting than – say – The Enchanted Castle, which only has one magical conceit, or the Bastable books, which haven’t any magic at all, but might as well be Narnia, or Harry Potter (as a matter of fact, they get a direct reference in Narnia). Have I mentioned how I love it when non-fantasy novels are so fantastical that fantasy bookstores stock them? I will next time I talk about Eva Ibbotson.

In other news: My cover for Karen Joy Fowler’s What I Didn’t See is out! Also, I am busy making paper-cut images for my contribution to a fairytale art show (among other projects), of which more anon. The date-claimer details (for Brisbane folk) are:

Once Upon a Time – Reinterpreting the Fairy Tale

16th- 25th August 2013

The Art & Design Precinct, 10 Bailey St, West End, Brisbane

http://artdesignprecinct.wordpress.com/

http://thecreativeactivists.com.au/about-us/

Melisande or Long and Short Daleks

Melisande, or Long and Short Daleks

This instalment of the Dalek Game is for E. Nesbit’s short fairytale of wishes and mathematics, “Melisande, or Long and Short Division”, which is available at several locations online (here’s one) but is best read with all her other wonderful tales of princesses and lift operators, kings and treacly sea-serpents, plagues of yellow houses and bell-people, and towns in libraries (in towns in libraries).

In other news: Oh look! A new Dalek drawing and more to come! Also, I’m taking part in a fairytale art exhibition in Brisbane in August, and the organisers are fundraising on Pozible, should you wish to obtain an art print or other rewards (and support the Make a Wish foundation).