The Queensland Writers Centre has been running an 8WordStory project on GOA billboards around Brisbane. This is one of mine! There is still time to enter until 24 November 2017 on 8WordStory.com or on Twitter, tagged with #8WordStory.
Leife Shallcross has written a lovely article on Hodderscape about Spike Deane, Lorena Carrington and me!: Three Australian Artists Creating Fairytale Artwork That’ll Take Your Breath Away.
And while you’re at it, check out the cover for Leife’s own novel, coming out next year! The cover is by Daren Newman (illustrator) and Jo Myler (designer):
This is the first process post for my illustrations for Kij Johnson’s wonderful The River Bank, from Small Beer Press.
The first step for the illustration project (after an emailed ohmygoodnessyes when Small Beer asked me about it) was to read the manuscript. I like to print a manuscript, if possible, because then I can draw my responses directly onto it. It makes for a more immediate response, but also means I can match an idea with the relevant passage again easily when I need to go back and check details!
For some projects, like Angela Slatter‘s The Bitterwood Bible and other recountings, the initial response is very close to the final illustration. The River Bank required more work and refinement (you can see at top right that I was still working out Badger) but many of these early notes recognisably found their way into the final illustrations.
Frequently, I find it difficult to objectively assess a manuscript simply as a book – this is partly because it doesn’t yet have a cover by which to judge it, but mostly because I am reading it looking at one very specific aspect: the visuals. It takes a second reading, in a non-illustrator headspace, to appreciate the text on its own terms. The River Bank, however, lifted off the page even on that first, pragmatic reading. I think it’s because of Kij Johnson’s delightful visual language – I’ve just finished her World Fantasy Award winning novella The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, purely as a reader, and my goodness I want to draw every page.
Next post: Early Design
For this month’s calendar, a Goblin Market, brought to you by my supporters on Patreon (it would be lovely if you could join us! There’s advance news and sneak-peeks of projects).
I don’t recall, now, why I was thinking of Christina Rossetti’s poem. One does, I suppose, from time to time.
The sisters ought to both have yellow hair, but there was too much yellow in one area and so they are now just… two more girls walking through the market.
Bonus fact: The 10th anniversary edition of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones (with my illustrations!) comes out in November. I had to illustrate a page of a menu, but there wasn’t enough information in the book to complete a whole page, so I filled it out with fruit from Christina Rossetti’s poem.
As an aside, my favourite of the many interpretations of “Goblin Market” (although not the most convincing) is that it can be read as a diatribe against the rise of advertising and consumer culture.
That is a wombat at the top right of the full illustration. Many of you probably know this, but I saw some friends find out recently so maybe it isn’t as widespread a piece of knowledge as I thought: Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Christina Rosseti”s brother) had two pet wombats, which is why they occasionally get into Pre-Raphaelite art.
The calendar can be printed from the files below – pre-coloured, or to colour yourself! And if you like these calendars, please consider supporting them for $1 or so a month (or, if you prefer not to subscribe but would still like to toss something in the direction of your friendly neighbourhood artist – think of this as illustrative busking – my PayPal link is paypal.me/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.
A Rumpelstiltskin in pen, brush and ink, with a little imitation gold leaf, for Inktober prompt “Furious”.
I have missed doing challenges, like Inktober and Illustration Friday. I’m flying to the World Fantasy Convention in 12 days, and am frantic with deadlines and art show preparation, so it seemed like the perfect time to dip my toe back into those waters.
… that’s a little bit flippant, but not entirely. In times like this, it’s easy to forget to just have a good time occasionally, and why I got into this in the first place.