Every month (with the support of patrons) I make a printable (and colour-able) calendar page. (You, too, can support the calendar, receive the files early, and get occasional alternative colourways here: patreon.com/tanaudel).
Here are all the designs for 2022:
To view the art larger, as a gallery/slideshow, click the images below.
Note: Want to support the arts? This calendar is made possible by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art (patron levels start at very low amounts!): patreon.com/tanaudel. It is also supported by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it via the tip jar: ko-fi.com/tanaudel. And many of these designs are available as prints, clothes, cases, etc on Redbubble, as fabrics and wallpaper on Spoonflower, and as prints in InPrnt.
These calendar pages are made possible by patrons, who get them a little bit early, along with alternative colourways, and other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art: patreon.com/tanaudel. It is also supported by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it via the tip jar: ko-fi.com/tanaudel.
Here is the December calendar! A carousel of various improbable animals, of course, because I was finishing it at the last minute (due to travel, deadlines, etc), and thought “what will be simplest?” and chose incorrectly.
And also because I like carousels. Not just the design, but the experience of soaring and swooping aloofly around a whirl of mirrors and metal and music, almost like flying without the imminent terror of my second-favourite ride, the chair-swings.
You can see the illustration process below:
First, loose sketches in conference notes. At that point I’m following lines into an idea, then feeling out whether there’s enough to sustain a full design, and then using the page to collect enough animals and variations to play with/select from later.
Then I start working out the layout — I’d been playing with an ogee shape for some other ideas, and thought it might work for a more formal arrangement of images. Here and on some following pages I worked out the rough dimensions I liked, and some ways to repeat/alternate within that framework. You can see several of the creatures are already in place here. I was still thinking of putting hints of mirrors and floor behind them, but in the end that made everything look too crowded, so I discarded that idea. Because I was going to put frames around the creatures, I discarded the ones which sat flat on the deck (e.g. the swan), because they’d break the pattern.
Next, I used the mirror-assist tool in Procreate to simplify sketching the repeating frame. sorting out an ogee shape to contain the creatures, then sketching them (using the mirror-assist in Procreate to simplify drawing that shape), then inking it in layers, then deciding it looked rather nice without the curvy borders and leaving them out.
Finally, I inked the calendar. I kept the border on a separate layer because I wasn’t confident the swooping lines would go down smoothly (and as it was, I kept sticking my thumb into the wet ink). It’s quite thick paper — 250gsm — but it’s on a lightbox here.
After scanning and tidying the inks, I went through quite a few colour schemes on the way to the cream design! Patrons got all of them, because I like to outsource my decision-making where possible.
I am adding this to the list of images I want to make into repeating designs, and will post when I’ve done that!
But for now, below (for personal use) are the printable versions — pre-coloured and to colour in yourself.
If you like these and/or like supporting artists, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early) at patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at US$1/month) or tip me a few dollars through Ko-Fi:ko-fi.com/tanaudel. Either is greatly appreciated! And of course many previous designs are available as prints etc on Redbubble and Spoonflower.
Also, I have a very occasional mailing list (not a newsletter), if you’d like to keep up with any major announcements: Mailing List Sign-Up
Return to the opulent world of Elfhame, filled with intrigue, betrayal, and dangerous desires, with this first book of a captivating new duology from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black.
A runaway queen. A reluctant prince. And a quest that may destroy them both...
I can only show you what Holly has shared so far, but that includes what’s under the dust jacket — a foiled fox-and-heart, by me!
Despite the noise, heat, dust and fumes, the ceaseless movement, light and toxins, many birds successfully live their lives among us. And not just furtively in the shadows. Ibis steal our lunch, brush-turkeys rearrange gardens and magpies chase us from near their nest.
From blackbirds and sparrows in his childhood country town to brush-turkeys in the suburbs, Darryl Jones shares a fascinating story of curiosity, discovery, adventure and conflict, played out in the streets and backyards of Australia. He also provides rare insights into the intimate lives of some of our most beloved and feared, despised and admired neighbours. Magpies, curlews, ibis, lorikeets and cockatoos will never seem the same again.
Darryl Jones is a Professor of Ecology at Griffith University in Brisbane, where he has been investigating the many ways that people and wildlife interact for over 30 years. He is particularly interested in why some species are extremely successful in urban landscapes, while many others are not, and how best to deal with the ensuing conflicts. More recently, he has been trying to understand more about the humans that also live in cities in large numbers, and how they engage with nature. This has led him into the strange and fascinating world of wild bird feeding and has resulted in collaborations with other researchers all over the world. He has published six books, including The Birds at My Table and Feeding the Birds at My Table.
If you’ve chatted to me in-person in the last few months, I’ve probably told you about this book: Darryl Jones‘ memoir Curlews on Vulture Street, which I thoroughly enjoyed — and for which I was delighted to do the internal illustrations (often while glancing out the window at the birds in question).
In Curlews on Vulture Street, acclaimed urban ecologist Darryl Jones reveals the not-so-secret lives of the most common birds that share our towns and cities.
Despite the noise, heat, dust and fumes, the ceaseless movement, light and toxins, many birds successfully live their lives among us. And not just furtively in the shadows. Ibis steal our lunch, brush turkeys rearrange gardens and magpies chase us screaming from near their nests.
From his childhood in a country town noticing blackbirds and sparrows to studying brush turkeys in the suburbs, Jones shares a fascinating story of curiosity, discovery, adventure and conflict, played out in city streets and backyards. He also provides rare insights into the intimate lives of some of our most beloved and feared, despised and admired neighbours. You’ll never see magpies, curlews, ibis, lorikeets and cockatoos in the same way again.
This time, instead of getting an (illustrated) story to fit into a panel progression, I was forcing images from the past few days (a tree, a person with a dog, an ibis, a bottle of hand sanitiser) to fit into a simple shape. (I’d done something similar in the post Sketching the People Glimpsed From the Corner of Your Eye).
This sort of exercise can be useful for developing an illustration. Choosing a strict framework for a composition both narrows the available options available and makes me be creative in designing new ones. It can also compress an image and make it iconic.
It’s also good practice for fitting art to unusual surfaces, e.g. a tureen.
A standardised shape for a set of illustrations can unify a set of disparate ideas. E.g., the illustrations for the main story-chapters in Flyaway all fit into a square. You can see some of those here: Illustrating Flyaway.
But squashing something into a strict shape which doesn’t necessarily suit it can teach a lot about that containing shape, too. That was the point of the exercise in the Rearranging Scenes post earlier this week, just with plot structure instead of e.g. triangles.
Those realisations aren’t revolutionary. A triangle, off-balance, creates an unbalanced composition. A triangle tends to be less organic, and movement runs into/up against the frame, but feels as if it lends itself more to narrative or character-in-action. A circle lends itself to organic shapes, and is more balanced and contained and iconic, but creates peculiar interaction with artificial/less-organic elements.
But in an exercise like this, the process of reinventing the wheel is the important thing — learning by doing instead of by being told, or understanding why what I’ve been told is so.
Pick three things you’ve seen today (objects or interactions).
Pick three basic shapes (circle, rectangle, square, pentagon, triangle, etc).
On a sheet of paper, draw each of those shapes three times.
Now, try to sketch each of your subjects (scenes/objects) once into each shape, as pleasingly as possible.
Bonus: Make a note of which combinations were easy, and which resisted. Did certain shapes fit certain types of subjects better? How did your approach to sketching a subject change as you repeated it through different shapes?
Bonus bonus: Pick a scene from a favourite story or movie or artwork (tip: consider viewpoints). Sketch it into several different shapes. Notice which weaken and strengthen the scene, and what you learn about both the shape and the scene.