March calendar

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I just… love that dormouse so much.

Hello, and welcome to the March calendar. It has been brought to you by my wonderful patrons – you too can support calendar development and even have the option of getting calendars early, and stationery based on them, as well as behind-the-scenes glimpses and the thrill of patronising me.

I based these folks on Sir John Tenniel’s most famous illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, although I decided I was not really feeling like drawing legs on the teapot. One day.

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By Sir John Tenniel

I didn’t used to love Tenniel’s design for Alice, but I’ve grown to. He captures so very well what many versions fail to: Alice is neither a terrible human being who never says thankyou, nor a precocious innocent.

March 2017 calendar

She’s simultaneously a child trying to make sense of an adult world, to enforce upon it the rules she’s been taught (falsely) exist, and the only remotely grownup person in the make-believe chaos of Wonderland. In some ways, I think, she’s a rather close cousin to (some interpretations of) Susan Pevensie.

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There will be some products and prints available soon. I’ll update, or you can keep an eye on Redbubble and Spoonflower.

March 2017 calendar

As ever, you can download the images below for personal use for this month’s calendar: pre-coloured or to colour in yourself. And if you’re considering chipping in on Patreon, I’d be delighted to have your support!

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Illustration Friday: Mischief

The Illustration Friday topic is “mischief”, which has a rather softened meaning in modern English.

The illustration, however, turned into the love child of The Cheshire Cat and Tailypo, and other things that hang head-down from the trees and whisper to you.

Illustration Friday: Mischief

I’ve also been playing around with cyanotypes (sun prints), so here is a print made with the original silhouette.

Illustration Friday: Mischief

Illustration Friday: Villain

Illustration Friday: VillainBack to the desultory playing card series for this Illustration Friday topic, “Villain”. This is not, incidentally, the original villain of my imaginary deck. One should, however, always be wary when taking directions from strange cats.

It is a tiny little cut-paper piece (although I had fun with the thistles and would like to do a larger version), digitally edited.

Illustration Friday: Villain

Dalek in Wonderland

Dalek in Wonderland

This instalment of the Dalek Game is for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and is not the first Alice Dalek (that would be A Dalek like Alice). To my mind, this explains a great deal about Wonderland – although I haven’t worked out yet whether the Doctor’s analogue would be the white rabbit or the Cheshire cat. I suppose it depends on which Doctor. For all my love for Rory, I can’t help casting him as Bill the Lizard (I am also quite fond of Bill).

In other news: I have put up a post about the cover art for Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze. I once (on occasional visits to relatives with television reception) saw and loved a show very like this one: Candle Cove (and I think those common cryptic half-memories are why that piece is so strong – I adore stories with odd, erratic television shows, like Kelly Link’s “Magic for Beginners”).

March and April Short Movie Reviews

I am using the good/bad rating system this year. It is not an objective ranking – sometimes I like terrible movies, and detest ones that I know are well made.

March

Crazy Heart: Good. Borderline – I liked it for the loving humour of the first half and not the slice-of-life realism of the second. Good music.

Daybreakers: Good. This is nothing to do with the plot or the acting (I can’t watch Sam Neil play a vampire seriously after seeing him in the Eat Red Meat (we like to boogie) commercials) but solely because it was filmed in Brisbane and I spent the movie going, “There’s my office! That’s just down the street! That’s where the cycle path goes under the bridge!”

Alice in Wonderland: Bad. It hinted at a greater story that never eventuated. Johnny Depp was, predictably, good, but I wanted more of the great romance between the Cheshire Cat and the Hat. The costumes were fabulous set-pieces, however, and there were lots of Burton spirals (TM).

Men Who Stare at Goats: Bad. Borderline – it would have been good if it finished 1 second earlier.

Green Zone: Good. Self-contained and concise, a very neatly packaged story but not one that lingers.

How to Train Your Dragon: Good. I had a blast. Wonderful dragons, gorgeous character design.

April

Kick Ass: Good. And unrecommendable. Or Bad, but raises interesting issues. Starts as crude teen comedy and ends as ultra-violent heartwarming family drama.

Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang: Good. Barely on balance and Ewan McGregor’s cameo helped with that, as did the accuracy of farm children and the deployment of military nannies. But such an old fashioned movie – it’s hard to get a grip on it.

Illustration Friday: Similar

Similar

My illustration for this week’s Illustration Friday topic: Similar. It is a very small (unnecessarily tiny) scratchboard picture (the black border was added in Photoshop) and is a reference to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

‘You should learn not to make personal remarks,’ Alice said with some severity; ‘it’s very rude.’
The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, ‘Why is a raven like a writing-desk?’

I will put up my Christmas card design soon – I’ve started printing and posting them (Sunday afternoon, sweating in the enclosed veranda which serves as my annex/studio, getting all inky).

Oh, and I just got an assignment to do three short story illustrations! They will be black and white line drawings, so I may have to put the scratchboard aside for a few weeks. Maybe :)

Illustration Friday: Blanket

Blanket

A marker illustration of Alice, Fern and/or pigs in blankets for this week’s Illustration Friday. I wanted to experiment with updating Alice a little, and so here she is in last season’s fashions, complete with wraparound belt and ballet flats. Fern, I hope, would have worn more sensible footwear.

I found this week’s topic the hardest this year. I couldn’t come up with anything I liked. It should have been easy, but in point of fact I don’t think we actually have any blankets in the house, so there wasn’t anything I could play around with.

Comments, criticism and advice welcome as always.