An invitation to a woodland wedding

Woodland Wedding detail

Late last year, my friends Andrew and Katie asked me to illustrate their wedding invitation. The imagery was to be in soft woodland tones, as above, but they had ambitious plans: a three-layer popup card with a woodland scene.

Here are Andrew’s notes from a meeting at the Pancake Manor.

Woodland Wedding - client notes

I then did placement pencil sketches, so that Andrew could print them out and make sure they all fit together as he envisaged (since I, having only admiration for Andrew and Katie but a strong sense of self-preservation, was only doing the art, not the construction!).

Woodland Wedding sketches

The illustration, as you can see, was in three separate layers, each paler than the last to add a hint of atmospheric perspective. The layers would only be 1cm apart, and I didn’t want the layers to fight with each other. I then inked and scanned in the final drawings and coloured them in Photoshop.

Woodland Wedding - constructed file

I provided the finished art to Andrew and Katie, together with a selection of spare deer, leaves, twigs etc for additional ornaments.

The designs were printed double-sided and cut out by laser.

Woodland wedding - construction

And glued together by hand (all construction photos are courtesy of Andrew and Katie).

Woodland wedding - construction

Andrew put the frame together with the spare leaf matter I had drawn.

And here is the final, three-layer pop-up invitation (these photos are from the wedding photographers, Trent & Jessie Rouillon).

They also printed a giant simplified version of the frame to act as a set for the wedding, and squirrels and deer lurk in the background of wedding photos.

Woodland wedding - construction

Woodland Wedding props


Photo by Trent & Jessie Rouillon

It was a beautiful wedding, and they were a joy to work with – it was tremendous fun to illustrate a project with such clear ideas of construction and dimensions but also with the freedom Katie and Andrew felt to adapt images to many uses – there are even life-size deer and squirrels lurking in the background of wedding photos!

And here they are striking the same pose as on the invitation, although I’m guessing Katie’s wearing heels here, because I remember we had to rework the invitation a couple times to get the relative heights correct!


Photo by Trent & Jessie Rouillon

Andrew and Katie have very kindly agreed to let me put some of those individual elements up as designs on Redbubble.

The images above will take you to the current “fairytale” collection. The individual pages are: SquirrelsWoodland, Flowers, Deer, Hedgehogs (that one is stickers only).

How to: Make a spare ribbon bookmark for your journal 

This is for the type of notebook with a spine you can look down when the book is open (hardcover or case bound).

  1. Cut the cardboard to go down the spine: Cut a strip of light card. It should be about half the height of the book, and just wide enough to slip down the spine when the book is open. 1cm worked for this Moleskine journal. If in doubt, cut it a little bit too wide, then trim it down until it fits.
  2. Cut the bookmark ribbon: Use a ribbon that is narrower than the thickness of the closed book. Cut a piece that is at least 6cm longer than the book (A bit over 2 inches). I like to keep the ribbon long, then trim it to length when I’m finished (cut it at an angle, to stop fraying). You can also use more than one ribbon, if you want lots of bookmarks.
  3. Attach the ribbon to the card: Attach your ribbon(s) to the top of the strip of card. Overlap the ends, rather than matching them up (see the photos above) – basically, the ribbon should come off the card like a whip off a handle. Staple ribbon and card together, then wrap the join with masking or duct tape for durability.
  4. Attach bookmark to book: Open the book flat, then slide the strip of card all the way into the hollow spine, leaving the ribbon hanging out. When the book is closed, it should hold the card snugly in place.
  5. Reusing the bookmark: The bookmark should pull out easily when you want to add it to a new journal.

(Edited for clarity)

(Edited again to add: This also works with multiple ribbons. My current version has four.)

Illustration Friday: Revenge

Illustration Friday: Revenge

A small act of vengeance for Illustration Friday – and a possible threat of retribution for a bookplate design. (Also, as ever, practice for some upcoming projects).

In other news: I’ve just finished a batch of commissions, wedding stationery and unexpected cover, T-shirt and award (!) designs. My flights are booked for Continuum (Melbourne, June) and my leave has been approved for World Fantasy (Washington DC, November). The T-shirt designs for Continuum are available on their RedBubble page here.

A woodland wedding invitation

All photos are by Bush Turkey Studio.

Bush Turkey Studio

Last year, Emily, one of my Auchenflower housemates, was married and I was delighted to be asked to design her invitations with a fairytale/woodland theme.


Here are the first pencil roughs:

Emily - invitation sketches

And the final design – pen and ink, with digital colour.

Emily and Luke wedding invitation

There were also two little foxes on the back of the invitation – now also available as stickers from Redbubble (separate stickers – one is only upside down in order to fit):

Fox stickers available on Redbubble

It looked like such an enchanting wedding.

Rebecca and Aaron’s wedding

Earlier this year, I had the delightful task of designing the invitation for the wedding of two friends and ex-colleagues of mine: Rebecca and Aaron.

Photograph by Byron Loves Fawn

Photograph by Byron Loves Fawn

Here are some of the initial sketches.

Rebecca & Aaron - sketches

The final pieces were inked, then coloured digitally. The church in the background is Saint Mary’s at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane. You can see some of the inks behind the final invitations in this photo:
Rebecca & Aaron - invitation

As well as the front of the invitation, I drew the reception venue (the Brisbane Customs House), the border for the RSVP card, and several detachable sprigs of flowers for general decoration.

Rebecca & Aaron - additional

Unfortunately, I was not able to go to the wedding, but judging from Byron Loves Faun‘s beautiful photographs, it was an enchanted evening:

Photograph by Byron Loves Fawn

Photograph by Byron Loves Fawn

Byron Loves Fawn‘s photographs are used with their very kind permission.


Weddings and pictures

Hodgkinson/Richardson wedding

Just before Easter, my cousin Jess married Dave in the trees on their property by the river in Nagambie (photos top and left are by my cousin Joanna Hiron). I posted about the invitation illustrations here: Victorian wedding. It was a beautiful wedding, full of music and family, flowers and lights, with small children and dogs underfoot and (I hear) some hay-bale tossing by late in the evening… and they printed the wedding invitation linework on the stubby holders, which was a first for my illustrations. A lovely weekend, followed by a vacation in Melbourne and road trip to Canberra with my mother (including sketching musicians in a hotel in Beechworth).

And on the topic of weddings, here is a little design I did as a gift for two friends, Thom and Lily (both photographers: ) who were married earlier of this year:

Thom & Lily

A Victorian Wedding Invitation

Last year my cousin Jess asked me to draw her save-the-date and wedding invitation, featuring some of their livestock. I was delighted to, and obliged with several pages of pencil sketches and chickens:

Invitation roughs

The save-the-date was drawn in pen-and-ink and had a very simple colour-scheme!

Save the Date

I don’t do typography, but I hand lettered these (I do enjoy hand lettering!).

For the invitation, Jess and Dave knew they wanted the dancing couple from the early sketches, but with a pink and purple colour scheme. I sent two variations, with my favourite at the top (some details removed).

Colours for invitation

There was a slight difference of opinion between the interested parties (more precision was indeed required, as the groom valued colouring between the lines and blue jeans), so when my cousins visited in January, we sat down and finalised the invitation below (some details removed):

Wedding invitation

It may also make appearances on other wedding accessories, but those are yet to appear…

Edit 6 April 2013: The linework from the invitation was printed on the stubby coolers for the wedding.

Illustration Friday: Crooked, and cards, and cloth

Illustration Friday: Crooked

Crooked branches for Illustration Friday (and some birthday cards). The dog is in ink and gouache – my father likes to say of dogs that “every inclination of their heart is only evil all the time”, so presumably this one has some ulterior motive. The branch of flowers is in gouache and (imitation) gold leaf. That was my second attempt. The first attempt to use gold leaf (and do an illustration for this topic), below, went horribly wrong due to some misapplied… well, it wasn’t varnish. Anyway! Turns out the size and leaf apply rather well to fingernails, and the Dustbuster my sister gave me for my birthday comes in handy when the table is covered with tiny flecks of metal foil.


On the theme of cards, here is a belated thank you card for a gift of handmade concertina books from Trudi. The card is about an inch-and-a-half square when it is folded, and has foxes, birds, mice, a cat, a Dalek and me:

Thank You Card

And on the theme of dogs, the Little Red Riding Hood fabric swatch arrived! The fabric is now available for purchase at Spoonflower: All the Wild Wolves

Wolf fabric

A Birthday Dragon

Birthday Dragon

This was for my oldest nephew (and godson) for his 12th birthday card. Pen and ink with watercolour.

A Wedding Invitation

Wedding invitation

(View it larger here)

This is my illustration for the invitation to the wedding of the lovely Nicky Strickland and the slightly more elusive Damon Cavalchini. The commission was quite simple: lighthouse, mermaid, two Daleks and a Firefly reference. I drew it in pen and ink and coloured it on the (old!) computer – the colours are quite flat since it was to be printed on textured paper.

Here are the original thumbnail sketches (with bonus thumbnail!) if such things amuse you: