BWF and BAD — sketches and recovery and too many zines

Little sketches with simple marker backgrounds of people with coffee, badges, etc

My festival weekend is done! I only got a very little sketch done at the Brisbane Writers Festival, mostly because (with a short break to raid the zine market*) I was talking all the time — either on the Haunting History panel (with Angela Slatter, Shelley Parker-Chan and Chloe Gong, chaired by Jo Anderton), chairing the Toil and Trouble panel (Angela Slatter, Trent Jamieson and Malcolm Devlin — somewhere there is a photo of us all with fans), or giving a three hour workshop on writing Australian Gothic stories!

And on the Friday — as part of Brisbane Art and Design — I gave an artist floor talk at the QUT art museum, about the art I did for the activity space for the Spowers & Syme exhibition, which is still on and is a delight.

But I was very in everything, which was energising (and energy-demanding), which leaves little time for sketching, even though there were some wonderful crowd scenes (these are hungry authors in the Green Room). After I finish the PhD (and a few other things), I need to get an artist-at-large gig again somewhere. (I think that might have been the first thing I ever officially did at a Brisbane Writers Festival!)

Tiny sketch of a group in the green room, talking and making tea, with simple blue marker colour

*”Zines are like, $3 each,” I told myself, cradling a sick headache. “How bad can it get?”
I bought so many.

Oz Comic-Con Brisbane sketches

Oz Comic-Con sketches! (I also sketched the March Homegrown Oz Comic-Con). Special thanks to Karissa who went to my house and found my sketchbook when I forgot it on the Sunday!

Importantly, these include another great (but very different) Kermit.

Two pages of tiny colourful sketches of cosplayers

There was a fair bit of space in front of my table, which was excellent for sketching, and observing occasional convocations of spider-men.

Two pages of tiny colourful sketches of cosplayers

There is a Death above! And a reprise by Mr Smiths below.

Two pages of tiny colourful sketches of cosplayers

Best are the little interactions, especially between different fandoms, and the ordinary moments of superheroes checking their phones.

Two pages of tiny colourful sketches of cosplayers

And the odd Kylo Ren doing some shopping.

One page of tiny colourful sketches of cosplayers

The March sketches are here: Oz Comic-Con sketches

Group photo of writer & comic guests at OzComicCon Brisbane
Comics and writing guests, with Kate and Sarah who kept us more or less under control

UK sketches 2022: Dartmoor and Glasgow

(Previously: UK sketches 2022: London)

I spent most of my time in Dartmoor either working, getting rained on (well, that was at Tintagel) or talking. But I did get a few sketches in!

Here are several teams of morris dancers. They all — with bells on! — had to run from a sudden downpour, and that was a remarkable sound.

A wonderful, windy, sunny afternoon on Haytor.

I introduced a younger artist to one of my favourite places — a very old stile in the woods.

Sketches of tangled trees, and a girl sitting near a stream sketching a stone stile

There was music on the wall on long summer evenings, and concerts in the chapel — here is the beautiful Elizabeth-Jane Baldry performing at both.

Then a last round of singing, and off to Glasgow (via an unexpected night in Newcastle) for the Once and Future Fantasies conference at the University of Glasgow, where I ran into many old and new friends, including the team from the Australian Speculative Fiction Project at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (previously).

Sketches of people playing guitar, and sketching a lamppost in Glasgow

And many others, including Rob Maslen, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Terri Windling, and Amal El-Mohar and numerous wonderful people not shown (due to talking to them instead of sketching them).

Then on the last day I took myself on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour and was enchanted by vehicles at the Riverside Museum on a very warm day.

Sketches of people talking at a conference and at a busstop, and a very old car

Then to Glasgow airport and from there, home.

Sketches of airport workers in hi-vis on the tarmac

(For the first half of the sketches from this trip, see: UK sketches 2022: London)

UK sketches 2022: London

In June/July I went on my first overseas trip since 2019, and here is the beginning of the sketchbook. (Update: the second half is at UK Sketches 2022: Dartmoor and Glasgow.)

I didn’t sketch a whole lot on the trip. I am editing a large project that is fighting back, and had some other deadlines, and still wasn’t really well yet. And the rest of the time I was catching up with people and/or looking at things with people, neither of which really suit sketching.

But I did draw a fair bit on my three days in London — there was a tube strike, so I only arranged two meetings, and I had my days largely to myself. So in spite of the heat, I got to the V&A and the Soane collection, among others, and walked along canals and met a fashion MA student ( who suggested I go sketch at the Graduate Fashion Week, so I did that, too.

Sketches on cream paper: people dozing in airport
First international flight (second trip) since 2019
Colourful sketches: people sitting and playing on V&A lawns
Sunny day in the V&A courtyard
Sketches of Fashioning Masculinities exhibition at the V&A
The Fashioning Masculinity exhibition at the V&A
V&A sketches: menswear, people looking through microscopes at Beatrix Potter exhibition, pelicans in St James' Park
Men’s fashions, microscopes at the Beatrix Potter exhibition, and pelicans in St James’s Park
Sketches of people looking at racks of clothes at the Roman Road markets
Roman Road Markets
Sketches of photographers
Photographers at the Graduate Fashion Week at the Coal Drops Yard
Sketches of seated audience and very rapid fashion sketches at Graduate Fashion Week
Audience and photographers at the Graduate Fashion Week
Very rapid colourful fashion sketches at Graduate Fashion Week
Fashion sketches! Cambridge School of Visual & Performing Arts
Very rapid colourful fashion sketches at Graduate Fashion Week
Bath School of Design
Very rapid colourful fashion sketches at Graduate Fashion Week, including some shoes
Bath School of Design
Very rapid colourful fashion sketches at Graduate Fashion Week, people wheeling racks of clothes, people along canal
Fashion, racks, a narrowboat bookstore, rowing classes
Pencil notes and sketches made at the Soane museum
Notes at the Soane museum, purposeful abundance, the light of Rome, infinite arpetures, convexities

More sketches soon! (Update: more sketches up at UK Sketches 2022: Dartmoor and Glasgow.)

Sketching — Oxley State School

Two sketchbook pages with children playing and adults gardening

This week, I spent a delightful and slightly chaotic session sketching prep students in the school gardens, with P&C and Landcare volunteers. (Thanks to Yvonne, particularly, for organising this, on the basis of my sketching the committee in action at the election!)

Such fun and joyful subjects (and gardens) — but also there was the additional artistic challenge of trying to sketch while five-year-olds swung on my drawing arm and offered critiques.

A really charming time, and it was especially nice to be involved with the local community, of varying ages.

One sketchbook page with children playing and adults gardening

Flashback: Cafe sketching in 2011

Photo of me in a leather jacket holding my sketchbook and drawing a terrace house on the wall of a cafe

This surfaced again recently.

Here I am in 2011(!) drawing on the wall of a cafe in King’s Cross, Sydney (Coco Bar, I can’t find that it exists anymore). I’d been staying in a youth hostel across the road and sketching while having coffee each morning, and the cafe staff kept asking me to paint a mural. I kept saying no, I was leaving soon (and hadn’t done a mural). Then they came out one morning with a permanent marker and said, “Free coffee until you leave,” and I bargained them up to free daily coffee and pain au chocolat, and then freehand-drew the picture directly on the wall.

This, incidentally, is still the best way to get me to do most things: trap me in the location, feed me, and don’t let me out until I’ve done the thing.

Here’s the page of the sketchbook I am using as reference in the photo.

Sketchbook with sketch of terrace house and people in coloured hats

Alumni book sale sketches

Page of sketchbook with tiny sketches, lightly coloured of people carrying books

People with books — my sketches through the door of the UQ Alumni Book Sale, made while recovering outside after collecting my haul.

I do love doing a whole series of sketches of the way people interact with objects (see also Written Sketches & Samplers).

Page of sketchbook with tiny sketches, lightly coloured of people carrying books

Electoral sketching

Sketchbook page with sketches of people serving and buying sausages etc, coloured in yellow and blue

Election day sketching! A very cold, rainy day, so sketched near the sausages.

Photo of sausages in bread and a can of coke

Here are some action shots by Liz.

Photo over my shoulder of me sketching in small sketchbook — photo by Liz McKewin
Adding a touch of colour

Photo between wooden steps of me sketching — photo by Liz McKewin
Between steps at the school

Photo over my shoulder of me taking photo of sketchbook with subjects of sketchbook barbequeing sausages in background — photo by Liz McKewin
Getting meta

Oz Comic-Con sketches

I spent last weekend at Oz Comic-Con. After a panel with the very excellent author Trent Jamieson (on “Pinning Magic to the Page” with Trent Jamieson, hosted by Angela who did a fabulous job interviewing us both), I spent most of the weekend at a table selling books and stickers and some little original pen and ink drawings. It was a really lovely, convivial weekend.

And of course, my table was prime real estate for being able to sketch passers-by (the only drawback was that the table blocked my view of feet when people were close by). It was further enhanced by being next to Thor of Oz, with whom people kept stopping to pose for pictures.

So here are my sketches of various cosplayers from Oz Comic-Con Homegrown Brisbane 2022, beginning with a close-up of the only sketch for which I interrupted a conversation: Kermit holding Mjolnir.

If you’re in these pictures and would like to repost the picture of you online for personal use, you’re very welcome to — just please credit it to me (Kathleen Jennings — I’m @tanaudel on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, or otherwise). But if you’d like to buy me a virtual coffee (see below), that is very welcome, too!

If you’d like to follow me / support artists (me) / buy things with (my) art on them here are some options!

Sketchbook: Boy&Girl — Brisbane Powerhouse

Here are all the pages from my sketchbook from last night at the wild, impressive, ribald and hilarious cabaret/performance Boy&Girl (from Oscar Production Company) at the Brisbane Powerhouse (it’s still on for two more nights).

Sketchbook page with tiny sketches of audience and crew and MC

As previously mentioned, I expanded my usual limited speed-sketching colour palette by adding pink for flamboyance.

Tiny sketches of people singing and dancing and doing acrobatics at a cabaret

The joy of this sort of sketching is in capturing the movements.

Tiny sketches of people singing and dancing and doing acrobatics at a cabaret

The physical personalities of the people on stage.

(And it was delightful meeting more of the cast afterwards, and watching them pick out people — even the ones without the super-obvious costumes.)

Tiny sketches of people singing and dancing and doing acrobatics at a cabaret

Lighting is tricky in this medium, at this speed, in a show with LED and fire components.

Tiny sketches of people singing and dancing and doing acrobatics at a cabaret

But occasionally — as with the audience members at the table below, and the crew on the first page, I can capture a hint of what the light was doing.

Tiny sketches of people singing and dancing and doing acrobatics at a cabaret

Boots and heels!

Tiny sketches of people singing and dancing and doing acrobatics at a cabaret

Lyrical dance and sequins and shadows and fire!

Tiny sketches of people singing and dancing and doing acrobatics at a cabaret

As posted yesterday, here is my little setup in the balcony — the crew let me borrow a stand and light, which was great. If I get to sneak in to sketch a show like this again, I’m going to experiment with some sort of low-powered booklight.

Photo of sketchbook and pens on music stand with light on balcony looking over stage performance

The show is on for two more nights, and check out Oscar Production Company to see what else they do!