This Art Is Not By Me (but the story is)

Art by Audrey Benjaminsen

In all Owl Abbas, before it burned (after the Falling but before the Cartographer’s War and the Recurrence of Owls), there were among its many windows only two that need concern us

This is the illustration reveal for Audrey Benjaminsen‘s beautiful charred, byzantine illustration for my story “The Heart of Owl Abbas”, which is to be published by in April. It’s the first time (as far as I recall!) that a story of mine has been illustrated for publication by someone else, and I am so happy with it. Look at all those tiny engraved details, and the little lace cuffs, and that muscular, visceral heart.


Three Australian fairytale artists

Fairytale article

Leife Shallcross has written a lovely article on Hodderscape about Spike Deane, Lorena Carrington and me!: Three Australian Artists Creating Fairytale Artwork That’ll Take Your Breath Away.

And while you’re at it, check out the cover for Leife’s own novel, coming out next year! The cover is by Daren Newman (illustrator) and Jo Myler (designer):


Cover illustration by Daren Newman, design by Jo Myler

Introducing Team Mist: Lana Crooks

Lana Crooks

Lana Crooks

Lana Crooks is the fifth member of Light Grey Art Lab‘s 2016 Iceland Residency: Team Mist to volunteer to be introduced. Previous interviews are all linked on this post: Iceland.

K: What lights you up about what you do?

Lana: I enjoy trying to figure out shapes and patterns and new way to build forms. I spend a lot of time researching so it makes me feel like I am unwrapping mysteries. I started out as an illustrator so I still like to bring some narrative into the works as well.

K: Do you have an example?

Lana: Snake oil was a piece for an exhibit called Zealots Elixir at Modern Eden, It was my first attempt at a snake skeleton. Each vertebrae is 7 individual pieces of fabric so it is a pretty good example of translating the flat to the 3D.


Snake Oil by Lana Crooks

Snake Oil by Lana Crooks


Snake Oil by Lana Crooks

Snake Oil by Lana Crooks

K: And where can we find you online?

Lana: I am at and @lanacrooks on Instagram

Introducing Team Mist: Betsy Bauer

Betsy Bauer is the fourth member of Light Grey Art Lab‘s 2016 Iceland Residency: Team Mist to volunteer to be introduced. Previous interviews are all linked on this post: Iceland.

K: What lights you up about what you do?

Betsy: I think creating concept artwork for animation is particularly exciting because you see your ideas realized by other artists.  It’s so rewarding to see a character or prop that I have designed translated into 3D by the modeling and surfacing departments.  Animation is such a collaborative medium!

K: Do you have an example?

Betsy: This isn’t really a great example of what I’m talking about because it’s hard to show that, but I do really like this image. :).

by Betsy Bauer

by Betsy Bauer

K: And where can we find you online?


Leftovers from the week that was

This week's pictures from Twitter etc

This week’s pictures from Twitter etc

  • I spent the weekend (at fairly short notice) in Sydney for a family function, but also caught up with several good friends to talk about podcasts, art, Dorothy Dunnett, comics, freelancing, illustration and stories. It was extremely pleasant, and also I got to hold a real live pet rabbit (it looks just like a rabbit!).
  • As you may be able to see above, the pineapple and raven fabrics arrived from Spoonflower and turned out beautifully – the watercolours on the pineapples printed particularly well. One of my cousins also ordered the pineapple skirt from Redbubble and it is very cute! (Since it’s white knit, you’ll probably wantto wear tights or something under it, as is true for all white skirts).

Pineapple Pencil Skirt

  • Congratulations to all the Ditmar nominees! I’m particularly thrilled to have a story nominated this year – “A Hedge of Yellow Roses” from Ticonderoga Publications’ anthology Hear Me Roar, but since I have interests in so many publications (whether as illustrator, fan or friend) mostly it’s just fun to see some of the many great works of 2015 celebrated.
  • Want to buy (relatively) affordable original art by established and rising stars of illustration? Check out Every Day Original!
  • The opera(!) of Shaun Tan and John Marsden’s remarkable picture book The Rabbits is coming to Brisbane next month!

    • I have finally (thanks to Kate Eltham) started listening to the podcast You Must Remember This, which is indeed epic and fascinating.
    • I want to learn to animate just so I can make book trailers like this gorgeous Isabella Mazzanti Carmilla:

Black-Winged Angels

  • Happy Valentines!



Introducing Team Mist: Jared Tuttle

Jared Tuttle is the third member of Light Grey Art Lab‘s 2016 Iceland Residency: Team Mist to volunteer to be introduced! Previous interviews are all linked on this post: Iceland.

Jared Tuttle

Jared Tuttle

K: What lights you up about what you do?

Jared: What I enjoy most about my work is the feeling I get from seeing my vision come to life and take shape on paper.
K: Do you have an example?
Jared: I’ve attached an image of me working on a piece that I suppose could fit with the above response (ink, graphite, and gold leaf on claybord)
Jared Tuttle: Sphinx work in progress

Jared Tuttle: Sphinx work in progress

K: Where can we find you?


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)


  • 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: