Illustration Friday: Electronic

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The Illustration Friday topic this week was “electronic”, and since I’ve been regretting my (unavoidable) inability to enter the Folio Society illustration competition, my thoughts were on Diana Wynne Jones’s books, and the unexpected co-appearances of magic and more contemporary technologies.

So here is a Howl, of Howl’s Moving Castle, as loosely suggested by a scene that is in the book, but not the movie!

And here is the original piece, with my hand for scale.

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Border Keeper cover reveal

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Over on Bookish.com, there is a reveal for my cover art for Kerstin Hall’s upcoming novella The Border Keeper, to be published by Tor.com. It includes a video of the art process (if you glimpse a bandage, it was from a julienne-ing incident, not the craft knife).

Cuckoo Song – Frances Hardinge

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My latest book cover for Utz Books’s editions of Frances Hardinge’s novels (previously: The Lie Tree). This is for Cuckoo Song, a strange, wild, kind 1920s tale of fey creatures, family, and urban planning. It is available for pre-order from Utz Books here (I understand). But if that is not your language, I recommend tracking this book down in one you can read. It’s a delight.

The process, from thumbnail sketches to detailed pencils to cut paper silhouette, is shown below. The details on the original are very small — the whole piece was cut from a sheet of A3 paper, but a lot of room was taken up by vines at the bottom/top.

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Corella Press

Do you like crime? mystery? forgotten books of the 19th century?

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I’m very delighted to be involved with the cover designs for the first books of this new teaching press at UQ: Corella Press.

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Corella Press is a not-for-profit small press committed to making beautiful, collectable editions of recovered Australian nineteenth-century crime and mystery stories.

Corella Press launches with Bridget’s Locket and Other Mysteries by ‘Waif Wander’ (Mary Helena Fortune). This triptych of works by a premier Australian crime writer of the nineteenth century includes Dora Carleton: A Tale of Australia, a novella published for the first time since 1866.

I will reveal more as I can. In the meantime, here is a teaser:

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Book cover: Mountains of the Mind

I’ve known Gillian Polack ever since, having read Diana Wynne Jones’s Deep Secret, I decided to go to a science fiction convention in Canberra. So I was honoured when Shooting Star, a brand new press, asked me to illustrate the cover for her collection of short stories, Mountains of the Mind, launched at Continuum earlier this month.

Here is the first round of thumbnails sketches (with colour inverted for ease of visualising possible treatments). I enjoy the challenge, with collections, of trying to get in thematic references to most if not all the stories.

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We went with the first design at top left. Some details, however, required refinement — attempting to combine readability with some degree of historical accuracy, a nuanced line when illustrating stories by a historian. Here are some of those further notes.

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After a full pencil sketch was approved, I transferred the design to a larger than usual sheet of black paper: A3 instead of A4 — there’s a lot going on here and I couldn’t quite fit it inside the usual dimensions. I also forgot to flip the design before tracing it, so the original now runs the opposite way to the final design.

Cut, cut, cut.

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Then I have to lift the design out without breaking any delicate bits.

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There’s a pure satisfaction in working the design out of the scrap paper and leaving the offcuts entire.

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Here is the image cut out and scanned in, waiting for a few minor tweaks where corners folded or joined, and general tidying. The grey overlay is to show the crop lines for the cover.

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And here is the final cover, designed by Wolfgang Bylsma of Gestalt Comics, art by me, book by Gillian Polack!

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(And if you like regular behind-the-scenes process glimpses, I show them (along with calendar designs, etc) to patrons on patreon.com/tanaudel).

Cover art: Arcanos Unraveled

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Meet Anya Winter, junior professor of magical textiles at Arcanos Hall. She spends her days designing invisibility cloaks and teaching reluctant sophomores to knit. If she can avoid her conniving ex-boyfriend and steer clear of campus politics, that’s a plus. But everything changes when her secret university is unshielded by a saboteur, placing the entire magical community at risk. Joining forces with a rebellious princess and a mysterious engineer, Anya must save her school—and her reputation—before it’s too late. But can she really change the world with just a ball of yarn?

This are the covers (e- and print) which I illustrated and Stewart Williams designed for Jonna Gjevre‘s novel of magic, knitting and computers, Arcanos Unraveled. (Print, Kindle).

Stewart did a splendid job, and if any of you are looking for a cover designer (and you should be, they are worth their weight in gold), his website is: Stewart A. Williams Design.

Every so often a project comes along which forces me to dust off my needles and knit a swatch for art-reference. I couldn’t find the needles this time, so ended up knitting with a pencil and the handle of a paintbrush.

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In the end it was decided to do a design that could function as two covers or a wraparound – there was some refinement, with boots.

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And sheep were cut out. They have these beautifully, misleadingly patrician faces. For scale, those are half-inch squares on the cutting board.

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I cut the illustrations out as two separate images which could be joined over the spine if so decided (although in the end they were framed by blue).

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Then I tidied these up, and sent the files away to be turned by Stewart Williams into something marvellous and blue.

And if you want to get early sneak-peeks and process details on projects like this, I post those for supporters on Patreon.

Arcanos cover art - sheep

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Ditmars!

First of all, congratulations to all the winners and finalists for this year’s Ditmar Awards!

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If you were following the ballot announcements, you might have seen that I was shortlisted for “Best Fan Artist”, but that no award was given. This is because I asked the committee if I could be withdrawn from eligibility – it’s been such an honour to receive several Ditmars in this category, but there are so many wonderful and committed fan artists who should be promoted and considered, and as most of my illustration work is professional now I wanted to make sure attention goes where it should. Always happy to accept nominations in other categories, though!

However, I was a bit conflicted about withdrawing this year – because I designed the Ditmars, and I kind of wanted one!

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My part of the design was a cut paper silhouette – so much fun with the swirly bits!

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But the awards were cut and constructed by Allan Carey of the marvellous Type40 – your source for all your themed shield and weapon needs (check out the Wonder Woman shield!)

 

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Type 40

 

 

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