Tiny Birds


Some tiny birds from the margins and interstices of my notebook/journal. I quite like the faint shadow on the owl (top right).

They aren’t illustrative of anything in particular except, perhaps, horror vacui (what else are dragons for?).

The brown birds were, however, suggested by some sketches I did in the Qld Museum on Saturday, while I watched children being towed away from fascinated contemplation of fossils to look at snakes, and being blindsided by the actual height of a bush stone curlew.



(NB: some of those are affiliate links which means I might get a very small commission if you buy something after clicking through, but I do encourage you to buy/order from local art stores if you have them!)

January calendar: highly artificial

Welcome to 2018 (almost)! I’ve started the year with a little clockwork bird calendar, because they are so cheerful, and also because I have a story coming out in April from Tor.com (!) in which I picked up a few threads from “The Emperor’s Nightingale” and ran with them. It is called “The Heart of Owl Abbas”, and like this calendar has a noticeable lack of owls.

As has been the case all this year, the calendar is brought to you with the support of my patrons over at patreon.com/tanaudel. If you’d like to sign up to support the calendar and other art (for as little as $1 a month), you’ll even get it a few days early!

There are two colourways this month, as I was feeling indecisive. Pattern to follow. Please feel very free to print these for your personal use – pre-coloured, or to colour yourself! And if you did colour any calendar pages this year, I’d love to see photos if you’re happy to share.

July calendar: Starcatchers

July calendar - detail

My continued thanks to all my patrons on Patreon who make this calendar possible!

Apparently catching stars is about as easy as herding cats. So it made sense that the birds responsible would be some of the more unimpressed and harried birds of my acquaintance, who when not pretending to be sticks can be found in bushes, howling (we used to call them murder-birds, at uni). Bush stone-curlews really do look and sit like this. They also find their own reflections entrancing. And (Triple-J language warning) one used to be pretty accurate on Twitter.

July calendar art

So here, to print pre-coloured or for colouring, is the July calendar. (Don’t forget to support on Patreon, if you’d like to make sure the calendar can keep happening).

July calendar - colourJuly calendar - lines

Flight of Ravens

Flight of Ravens - Spoonflower wallpaper

I have worked the ravens from January’s calendar into a repeating design of birds, stars and feathers. Pattern-making is something I’ve wanted to do more of, and it’s a lot easier to arrange existing images than to draw new things when laid out with a bad back!

They are now up on Spoonflower as fabric, wallpaper and wrapping paper – I’ve ordered a sample and will show more detail when that arrives.

They are also on Redbubble on shirts, notebooks, phone covers and other such items. I’m eyeing off a duvet cover.
Flight of Ravens - Redbubble shirt

I really am rather happy with these fellows.

Flight of Ravens - Redbubble Bag

No calendar? No problem!

At least, for January. Below, you can download a calendar for the month, either coloured, or for you to colour in, according to preference.

Illustration Friday: Soar

Happy New Year to you all! Clicking on the image will take you to a larger version, which you can then download and print (crop and print just the left-hand side if you need more room to write):

January Calendar Final



January Calendar Final Colouring

Will there be more? One lives in hope.

Bird gift tags

Spent the afternoon with friends, watching the Muppet Christmas Carol, which *I* think is the truest movie version of the book. Also, creme brulee! It was raining, but on the way home I stopped at the nursery to find a tree which could do double service as a Christmas tree, but didn’t buy anything, and then I walked down to the wilderness by the creek at the end of our street but couldn’t find anything suitable (and the grass was long and wet and tangled around my feet, and I was wearing sandals). So I came home, hung a branch over the entryway and put some baubles over it, then settled down to make gift tags and listen to the Go-Betweens and War Child: Heroes.

Blue bird tag

These are pen drawings of birds from my box of decorations (which is why the second one has an alligator clip instead of legs) perched on part of my garden (above) and a branch of fake berries (below), then coloured on the computer.

Pink bird tag

I’ve made up a sheet of variations – two of these print to an A4 sheet of sticker paper (although you could print them to card with a ribbon).

Gift tags

There is a larger version here. Please feel free to use them (Merry Christmas!) for personal use (but please don’t repost the image – you can link to this post or the Flickr page).

I should probably go stop my sister’s dog from barking at possums.

Illustration Friday: Wise


A scratchboard/scraperboard illustration: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise.” (Proverbs 6:6).

The original is a little over two inches square (est.) and the letter is based on two or three 16th century alphabets from Historic Ornamental Alphabets which seems to be from Delamotte’s The Embroiderers’ Book of Design, containing initials, cyphers, ornamental borders, ecclesiastical devices, monograms, alphabets mediaeval and original, national emblems, &c. &c. I left many of the horizontal lines, etc, to make it look (I hope) more like a woodcut. The ant is from memory, personal observation, unsatisfactory images in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (my parents have a very slow internet connection) and trying to get a clear photo of ants on the veranda.

They were on the veranda because swarms of Christmas beetles died – or were incapacitated – there the night before. In the morning, ants and magpies and butcher birds came to carry them away. A kookaburra also came along and landed on the washing line while I was hanging clothes. Later, I got within almost a metre of it:


I also made a quick watercolour birthday card for my sister (Genevieve, who went shopping with me, thought I should get a more age-appropriate gift bag for a 26 year old, but I resisted):

26th Birthday Card