This week: news and matters of note

This week on Twitter etc. (rings by Janet Kofoed)

This week on Twitter etc. (rings by Janet Kofoed)

Alison-Goodman-sketch---not-used

  • The X-Files finally started in Australia (everyone complained about the pop-up ads but I thought it restored the nostalgia which the shock of watching on flat-screen in HD took away). In commemoration, here is the original music video to Bree Sharp’s “David Duchovny” which is so full of wait-was-that? cameos that it bears watching to the very end:

  • If you are into Old Hollywood, You Must Remember This, or Catherynne M Valente’s Radiance, then this long but cumulatively charming article from Brisbane newspaper The Truth, only 100 years ago, is a winsome read: Where Films Are Faked, Fixed and Finished.
  • The rather marvellous talking-to-writers expedition last week included much talk of pens, and it is one of the joys of working in these fields that asking “what pen do you use” tends to result in an arsenal emptied over the banquet table (that was at Illuxcon), while their owners trade virtues and merits. For the record mine are: Hunt Crowquill 102 with Winsor & Newton India Ink (drawing), Pitt Artist Pens (sketching), slim fine ballpoint (for notes, although I haven’t settled on one that is reliably non-blotting).

Hunt Crow Quill

  • Peter Ball’s post on “Prose, Blocking and the Perfect Combination” has a very useful approach to thoughtfully orchestrating the action in your writing.
  • Peter’s post (above), however, also underlines the degree to which storytelling advice translates across media. Illustration, movies, novels: all these contain examples and principles which can be incredibly helpful no matter what field you’re working in. Plus, if you need another incentive to watch Every Frame A Painting, it is 7 minutes of all the Best Bits.
  • Another resource for those trying to make the impossible believable is James Gurney’s Imaginative Realism (that’s James National-Geographic-and-Dinotopia Gurney). It’s also just interesting – my mother made off with my copy to read it. His rather good blog is Gurney Journey.
  • Here’s a less accessible but in-depth look at some myths about classic composition advice – of direct use to photographers and artists but, I would argue, also very useful to writers if you don’t mind doing some heavy lifting with metaphors (and you’re writers, aren’t you?): 10 Myths about the Rule of Thirds
  • The Ship Song Project continues to be beautiful – when I sing it while doing the dishes, this is the version I try to sing:

 

Little bits left over at the end of the week

22-29 Jan on Twitter etc

22-29 Jan on Twitter etc

Bitterwood Bible - spine image

  • A reminder of the long-ago, beautiful happening that was picturebookreport.com – you may recognise some of the names involved! This was where I fell in love with Kali Ciesemier’s vision of Garth Nix’s Sabriel and with Sam Bosma’s art for The Hobbit, and one of the earliest examples that really had an impact on me, of people Not Sitting On Their Hands But Putting Things Out In The World (quote more or less from Karen Beilharz’s original Plan to Take over the World, which was another example at roughly the same time). Putting Things Out In The World is a very important artistic practice!
  • I learned a lot at the time from Sam Bosma’s posts on the process of illustrating The Hobbit – just this week I went back to find his description of working with colour flats to explain them to another artist. But whether you love The Hobbit, beautiful finished artwork, process posts or lots and lots of sketches of goblins, that series of posts remain worth a look.
  • The final episode of Tremontaine has been released! At least, for this season…

Tremontaine episode 13 cover

  • Based on the title alone, I am very excited about the new Serial Box series The Witch Who Came in From the Cold, created by Lindsay Smith and Max Gladstone, and written by Lindsay Smith, Max Gladstone, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Ian Tregillis and Michael Swanwick. The first episode is out and free! (text and audio)
  • Milli and Fink screenprinting workshops are up again (Ipswich, Queensland) – I did one of these a few years ago (post: Screen printing) and it was great: http://www.milliandfink.bigcartel.com.
  • If you ever describe a painting in your writing, the descriptions of art in this article are loving, funny & effective: The Emergence of the Winter Landscape. Also, lots of medieval snowball fights. (h/t Sydney Padua)
  • I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.EB White
  • I have always felt charged with the safekeeping of all unexpected items of worldly or unworldly enchantment as though I might be held personally responsible if even a small one were to be lost.EB White

A few pieces of news

  • I am walking around again and mostly not using a cane! The moral of the story: never mop.

FoilforWeb

“The world Slatter has created feels perfectly poised on the cusp of reality, in the same way that Gormenghast, or the twin countries of Guilder and Florin, might just, might almost, just perhaps, have been real–if you squint at them sideways and imagine that somehow the relevant chapters in the history books got themselves skipped in high school…

…there may be undertakers who talk to ghosts, and pirates, and sorcerers, and badgers that change into people and back again, but the emotion, the people, the relationships, the families, and most of all, the loves and the hates, the revenges, the primal centres of these stories: all of this is profoundly real.”

It’s a very true review with some good thoughts about fantasy and the experience of reading in general, but he also refers to “numerous elegant, humane little illustrations”, which for me was one of those epiphanies: “That! That is what I want to do. Oh wait, he was talking about me!”Dust jacket

Diane, by Kat Weaver

  • Alas, Jedediah Berry’s beautiful Untine, a story told by Twitter poll, is completed (with some post-it-note drawings by me)

Owl Baron - Untine

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.

Exciting news!

Angela Slatter and I have signed with an agent: Alex Adsett Publishing Services! Alex will represent us as a writing/illustrating team, which is hugely exciting. I feel almost like an adult.

Here is a glimpse of one of the projects we have been working on:

Illustration for Genevieve and the Dragon

And here is my illustrator photo. The fox at top left is one of my favourite foxes so far. The mug behind the ink bottle is the Mozi peacock mug my younger sister gave me years ago and it definitely has tea in it! Not paint water.

Kathleen Jennings profile sketch

Back from abroad

Brief update: I’m back from the USA!

The trip was fabulous. I returned to jet lag, a heatwave and family health upheavals (all under control), but should begin posting about the trip in the next few days.

March!

March header

Still alive! Still here! Still… a bit feverish, and meeting a deadline (like an adult), but Things to talk about once that is done, like a lovely screenprinting workshop with Milli & Fink, and more Eclipse and Lair pictures, &c…

In the meantime – there’s a new header (above) and a glimpse below of the sort of things that show up on my friends’ phones when they leave me alone with the flu and a project (the messages start at the bottom of the strip and work up, and the marginalised unicorn is a response to a comment by Gillian Polack on some marginal unicorns).

Fever/deadline sketchesAlso, it has been raining and raining and raining for months, and we could either have dry towels or clean towels, but never both at the same time (said the Red Queen) so now I have bought a dryer and am in love with the 21st century all over again.