August 2021 — round-up of posts

Here is quick summary of the August blog posts (not including Patreon posts).

The starred posts have art and writing exercises (tags: writing exerciseart exercise), but most of the observation journal posts can generally be adapted for those purposes too.

Posts over on Patreon, at various tiers, included: art workshop reports, sneak-peeks of illustrations in progress, bits of projects yet to be released, thoughts on bells, and advance views of observation journal pages (and some art sent out to a few supporters).

Note: If you’d like to support art and writing and posts like these about it, patrons at (patreon.com/tanaudel) get behind-the-scenes process and sneak-peeks, starting from US$1, or you could buy me a (virtual) coffee or two at ko-fi.com/tanaudel (and I get through quite a bit of coffee).

Observation Journal — a sequence of week-in-review pages

Here is a series of end-of-week summary pages from the observation journal. (I wrote about the structure of the summary pages here: reflections and summaries.)

It’s useful having these pages, both to catch big ideas at the end of each week and to look back on them much later, following the little growing fascinations, the recurring epiphanies, the big and little moods, the lessons I did learn and the ones I won’t.

For example, this time I notice that apparently I like these shades of green. (Previously on colours.)

The same goes for the “Things to Do” page: it’s more a list of possibilities than actual tasks, so there are items that are carried forward week to week until they suddenly turn into a project (I did finally order the foil cards), and ones that get set aside, or are written off but suddenly roar back into my field of vision a year later, or are just there as a reminder to keep in mind.

So below is a five-week run of summary pages, with some of the points that now seem most interesting to me extracted.

Week-in-review c 25 April 2020
  • 2020 effectively squashed most of my domestic urges.
  • While the journal is great for writing blog posts, this blog is also one of the things that keeps me reviewing the journal.
  • The (useful, if I act on it) frustration of not making things, whether because of admin commitments or because I’m just splashing around coming up with ideas.
Week-in-review c 2 May 2020
  • I like colour! I do so much linework I need to remind myself of this. It also makes the journal more of a pleasing object to keep and review.
  • The playful aspects of the journal do get into more formal projects.
  • The power of unlikely abrupt intense proximities for creating stories.
  • The joy of being silly when classifying things.
  • The charm of specificity.
Week-in-review c 9 May 2020
  • How much easier everything is if I (am legally allowed to) leave the house for some portion of the day.
  • The effect of a shape on a story.
  • Relatedly, making space for a thing to happen makes it more likely to happen.
  • Flipping and hypothetically remixing a story (my own or others’) is a way to take charge of an idea.
  • How characterisation works when it is done by creating sympathy for a character off the page. (Related, or at least I should link the ideas: Sympathy for characters)
Week-in-review c 16 May 2020
  • Going outside is nice but I have enormous difficulties achieving escape velocity. (My whole family does. I used to have volcano-and-bushfire nightmares in which we kept having to rush back into the house to get things we’d forgotten… thanks Children’s World Book Encyclopaedia and assorted Ash Wednesday bushfire novels.)
  • The charm of playing something (even the magical/unlikely) very straight and low-key. (I think this was prompted by murder mysteries.)
  • I’m more likely to get editing done if I just keep tinkering my way into the story than if I start with some strategic plan.
  • Key ideas (this reference-story, that painting as a visual key) are very useful for narrowing editing choices.
  • Doing something, and keeping on doing it, even in small ways, reduces later bars to entry.
  • The extreme usefulness of tentative mock-solutions. (Not closely related, but not unrelated: ten terrible things.)
Week-in-review c 23 May 2020
  • Changing ONE thing in an idea (varying one character in a story, picking one colour note to commit to), and then following the consequences, is sometimes more interesting than flipping everything.
  • The power of definiteness in first lines. (Staring at sentences; First sentences.)
  • Reading is a necessary and relevant part of the job!
  • The pull that a strong aesthetic exerts both on the story being written and on the reader, to pull them into it. (If the reader is me: aesthetic posts).
  • Perhaps not unrelated to the above: how many of my favourite first lines highlight a setting more than a character.

Note: If you’d like to support art and writing and posts like this about it, I have a Patreon account (patreon.com/tanaudel) and patrons there get behind-the-scenes process and sneak-peeks, starting from US$1, or you could buy me a (virtual) coffee at ko-fi.com/tanaudel (and I get through quite a bit of coffee — or I will once we get out of lockdown again!).

July 2021 — round-up of posts

Moustache-twirling villainy

Here is quick summary of the July blog posts (not including Patreon posts).

The starred posts have art and writing exercises (tags: writing exerciseart exercise), but most of the observation journal posts can generally be adapted for those purposes too.

Posts over on Patreon, at various tiers, included: early sneak-peeks at illustrations, sketch studies, several weeks of observation journal pages, advance glimpses at the notes for a finished but not-yet-announced writing project, general writing updates, and a one-page comic test.

Red and black Procreate drawing of a person in a wooden tub saying "come in!" and another person peering through the curtains.

Note: If you’d like to support art and writing and posts like these about it, patrons at (patreon.com/tanaudel) get behind-the-scenes process and sneak-peeks, starting from US$1, or you could buy me a (virtual) coffee or two at ko-fi.com/tanaudel (and I get through quite a bit of coffee).

June 2021 — round-up of posts

Here is quick summary of the June blog posts (not including Patreon posts).

The starred posts have art and writing exercises (tags: writing exerciseart exercise), but most of the observation journal posts can generally be adapted for those purposes too.

Posts over on Patreon, at various tiers, included: several amusing (or horrifying) iPad art tests, a recording of a talk I gave about art, several weeks of observation journal pages, a rough sketch of a card game, sneak-peeks of cover art and illustrations-in-progress, thoughts on the process behind a short comic, behind-the-scenes on a piece for an art exhibition, book-planning trip reports, printable poster, and — for those at the story level, two tiny illustrated stories (May’s and June’s).

A snippet of a Patreon short comic

Note: If you’d like to support art and writing and posts like these about it, patrons at (patreon.com/tanaudel) get behind-the-scenes process and sneak-peeks, starting from US$1, or you could buy me a (virtual) coffee or two at ko-fi.com/tanaudel (and I get through quite a bit of coffee).

May 2021 — round-up of posts

Pencil sketch with digital colour of me grumpily editing

Here is quick summary of the May blog posts (not including Patreon posts).

The starred posts have art and writing exercises (tags: writing exerciseart exercise), but most of the observation journal posts can generally be adapted for those purposes too.

Glimpse of dragon head and the lettering "Hoard"

Posts over on Patreon, at various tiers, included: two process posts on a yet-to-be-published map, two weeks worth of Observation Journal pages, a sneak-peek at a design for an art-swap, some examples of how I use computers in non-digital drawing, a new Dalek, and some dragon-themed stationery.

Biro drawing of mermaid on a hillock.
I had to stop the Mermay mermaid drawings due to other deadlines I couldn’t turn into mermaid excuses. I did sketch this one while I was at the writers festival.

Note: If you’d like to support art and writing and posts like these about it, patrons at (patreon.com/tanaudel) get behind-the-scenes process and sneak-peeks, starting from US$1, or you could buy me a (virtual) coffee or two at ko-fi.com/tanaudel (and I get through quite a bit of coffee).

Silhouette pen drawing of mermaid reading a book.

April 2021 — round-up of posts

Sections of silhouettes for Chain of Iron

Here is quick summary of the April blog posts (not including Patreon posts).

The starred post has art and writing exercises (tags: writing exerciseart exercise), but most of the observation journal posts can generally be adapted for those purposes too.

A section of a tiny watercolour comic test on patreon.com/tanaudel

Posts over on Patreon, at various tiers, included a cover art process post, several tests of style and media for a comics project, some extremely tiny comics, several sneak-peeks at a yet-to-be-announced work in progress, some week-by-week collected observation journal pages, a new Dalek Game drawing and some froggy stationery — and, for those at the short story level, a one-page comic.

Note: If you’d like to support art and writing and posts like these about it, patrons at (patreon.com/tanaudel) get behind-the-scenes process and sneak-peeks, starting from US$1, or you could buy me a (virtual) coffee or two at ko-fi.com/tanaudel (and I get through quite a bit of coffee).

Watercolours for a wedding card

March 2021 — round-up of posts

Black and blue sketch of people looking at art
Sketches from a gallery

Here is quick summary of the March blog posts (not including Patreon posts).

Black, blue and yellow sketch of people sitting at a table talking
Sketches from a workshop

The starred posts have variants on art and writing exercises and games (tags: writing exerciseart exercise), and the observation journal posts generally can be adapted for those purposes too.

Posts over on Patreon, at various tiers, included a mood map of a work in progress, several tests towards an art style for a comic project, some week-by-week collected observation journal pages, a drawing hack, sneak peeks of silhouette dragons and workshop sketches, printable stationery, and advance notice of the calendar and some other ideas. Oh, and a seven page comic for those at the story level.

Tiny ink and watercolour drawing of a sneaky/gleeful fox
Tiny panel detail from the Patreon comic

Note: If you’d like to support art and writing and posts like these about it, patrons at (patreon.com/tanaudel) get behind-the-scenes process and sneak-peeks, starting from US$1, or you could buy me a (virtual) coffee or two at ko-fi.com/tanaudel (and I get through quite a bit of coffee).

February 2021 — round-up of posts

Here is quick summary of the February blog posts (not including Patreon posts).

The starred posts have variants on art and writing exercises and games (tags: writing exerciseart exercise), and the observation journal posts generally can be adapted for those purposes too.

January 2021 — round-up of posts

Gouache painting of boulders at Hanging Rock.
At Hanging Rock

Here is quick summary of the January blog posts (not including Patreon posts).

The starred posts have variants on art and writing exercises and games (tags: writing exerciseart exercise), and the observation journal posts generally can be adapted for those purposes too.

Ink drawing with digital colour — a princess in a pink dress enters a thicket of dark roses. A fox and a raven watch her. There is a castle in the background.
For Flight

2020 reading

KJennings-JanuaryBookSketches
Sketches from January

I finished approximately 79 books, not including manuscripts for illustration (or at least, the ones I couldn’t talk about yet). You’ll see I got through a lot of 2020 on midcentury murder and Regency and adjacent romance. 15 books were rereads, and many of those were Heyers. It doesn’t include a lot of art books, although I do want to sit down and read them more traditionally more often.

I wrote about some of the patterns in what I was reading — particularly the “romance (and tragedy) of the navigable world” over on Meanjin: What I’m Reading — Kathleen Jennings.

I was trying to do sketches or fanart for each book, but that thinned to a single broadly thematic image over the year. I still like the idea of doing it, but we shall see.

Here’s the list, including links to the individual “Read and Seen” posts, some of which include fanart and occasionally some thoughts on the books (they also show up in Observation Journal posts from time to time).

The *asterisks are for books which did something (style or trope or idea) I’m still thinking about.