Michael Mackenzie of ABC Radio National interviewed Kim Wilkins, Namila Benson and me about the curse of distraction. It was live (argh) but the edited podcast is now up online. The federal government leadership spill happened halfway through and I had a deer-in-the-headlights moment, but those have now been removed so you can pretend this all takes place in a calm and stable environment.
So, a little while ago I mentioned Tansy Rayner Roberts’s Kickstarter campaign to reprint the Creature Court trilogy. It was successful, and she has launched her new novella in that world: Cabaret of Monsters. This was another fun image to play with: Flappers! Wolves! Stars!
The cover design and typography is by Cathy Larsen.
The pins have also been produced, and look very shiny online.
I’ll show mine off as soon as Australia Post delivers the goods but in the meantime, here is Tansy’s photo:
Now that I’m back catching up post-jet-lag, it occurs to me I haven’t really updated you with what’s going on over on Patreon, besides the calendars! If you don’t know about Patreon, it’s a site where you can patronise artists from as little as $1/month, contributing to various projects. My primary activity there is creating the fairytale calendar, but in addition to that there are other things going on at every level of patronage:
There are sneak-peeks of secret projects and work in progress:
There is stationery based on the calendar:
There are tiny stories and snippets of tales:
And occasional original sketches travelling off to folks:
And then there are there are other oddities, updates and even occasional discounts, such as a discount code I’m just about to put up from Literary Book Gifts, a shop selling… gifts for lovers of books! Totes and tshirts etc. I haven’t got my hands on any yet, but if you like (for example) Peter Pan or Beowulf, you can check them out here: Literary Book Gifts.
I actually like that Beowulf design, which reminds me to tell you that, unrelated to Patreon but very much related to books, Maria Dahvana Headley is in Australia on book tour with The Mere Wife! Her last date is here in Brisbane at Avid Reader on 29 August.
But back to Patreon! I really value the support and freedom all my current patrons have given me to just make things and send them back out into the world. If you enjoy the calendar or would like to help ease some of the rockier passages of the freelance lifestyle, if you like looking over artists’ shoulders or being involved in making pictures happen, or want suggestions for presents for the artists in your life, I would of course welcome the support!
But it isn’t just me: I really recommend checking out Patreon and seeing which artists, folklorists, writers, musicians, inventors, etc are on there, doing things that particularly excite you. I love the community of creative folks, and patrons — no matter which creatives they support, and no matter whether it is with money or food or spatial reasoning or cups of tea in a crises — are and always have been such a vibrant part of that.
I’ve received support from Arts Queensland to help me attend the World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore (and some subsequent events and meetings in New York) in November this year. It will cover flights and in-country travel, and I hope to see some of you there!
Formally I’m meant to say “Kathleen Jennings has received financial assistance from the Queensland Government through the Visual Arts and Crafts strategy, an initiative of the Australian, state and territory governments“, but although they try to hide it behind Government-ese, these folks do a really good job helping artists through difficult financial climates. I had a support from them a few years ago which definitely helped me take things to a new level and have a good time doing it.
(Thanks to Angela, Caitlene, Gavin, Kelly and Kim for your help with this application!)
A selection of fair pedestrians for July’s calendar.
I have been in England for three weeks, and many of the details are from events that have happened here: flowers from fields and the Blenheim Flower Show, keys from cathedral libraries, damselflies and English magpies, Regency soirees and Tolkien exhibits, tea and Old Weird Britain.
The colours and offset colouring style are drawn from old advertisements and the ironwork in the Oxford Natural History Museum.
As ever, these are brought to you with the help of patrons on patreon.com/tanaudel, who also get the calendar early and other extras, should you wish to help support it!
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.
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.
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.
Then I have to lift the design out without breaking any delicate bits.
There’s a pure satisfaction in working the design out of the scrap paper and leaving the offcuts entire.
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.
And here is the final cover, designed by Wolfgang Bylsma of Gestalt Comics, art by me, book by Gillian Polack!
(And if you like regular behind-the-scenes process glimpses, I show them (along with calendar designs, etc) to patrons on patreon.com/tanaudel).
Ink and imitation gold leaf again for Inktober prompt “trail”. This is Mabel from E. Nesbit’s The Enchanted Castle. I’m loving working with gold leaf, but I think I need to work at a larger size to get the degree of control and detail I want.