October Calendar — Bats!

Note: This calendar is supported by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art: patreon.com/tanaudel, and also by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it via the tip jar: ko-fi.com/tanaudel

Here is the October calendar — a simple frolic of star-eating bats.

It began, as usual, in pen and ink — here’s a close-up. I’ve been drawing maps and bats all week, and have become very inky as a result.

Ink drawing of a bat chasing a star

And it is now up as a repeating pattern on various things (dresses, cases, scarves…) on Redbubble — and there’s a collection there of previous Halloween-adjacent designs, too (including more bats, and musical skeletons).

So here (for personal use) are the printable versions — one pre-coloured and one to colour in yourself. If you like them and/or like supporting the arts, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early) at patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at US$1/month!) or by buying me a coffee or two through Ko-Fihttps://ko-fi.com/tanaudel.

Printable calendar with pattern of bats — lilac bats on blue sky
Printable calendar with pattern of bats — linework

September Calendar — Chairs

Note: This calendar is supported by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art: patreon.com/tanaudel, and also by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it via the tip jar: ko-fi.com/tanaudel

I am perpetually trying to find a better desk chair, so the obsession got into this month’s calendar. (Printable versions are at the bottom of the post.)

These are all from books — the only particularly subtle one is in the top right, which is based on one of my illustrations for Margo Lanagan’s Stray Bats

Here are the original sketches for the idea — with a few more fairy tales, rhymes and riddles, and a bit of Diana Wynne Jones! It turns out there are a lot of chairs in fairy tales. (I later dropped all the people out, for simplicity.) 

And here are a few more, branching out (there’s a Georgette Heyer in there, and I have no recollection of the thoughts behind the chair with shoes).

The process from there was to sketch the images up in more detail:

And then to ink them, before scanning and colouring digitally.

This one is based on one of my own illustrations for Margo Lanagan’s Stray Bats

So here (for personal use) are the printable versions — one pre-coloured and one to colour in yourself. If you like them and/or like supporting the arts, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early) at patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at US$1/month!) or by buying me a coffee or two through Ko-Fihttps://ko-fi.com/tanaudel.

August Calendar: Sprigs

Note: This calendar is supported by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art: patreon.com/tanaudel, and also by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it via the tip jar: ko-fi.com/tanaudel

This month’s calendar is an arrangement of sprigs and twigs and leaves and fronds. I’d been wanting to draw a little pattern/sampler of plants, and I had originally planned to colour these. I did prepare all the areas for colour! But in the end I fell in love with the effect of the linework on its own. I imagine them as black-work (or white) embroidery on a Tudor-style blouse, or something like that. I have, however, included a green option for you, for variety. 

I do plan to play around with a repeating pattern for this one. However, this week I have been being artist/writer in residence at Concordia Lutheran College in Toowoomba (my old boarding school), and pattern-making time has been limited (it should be a simple repeat, but I need to move a few leaves around to balance the design).

But here (for personal use) are the printable versions — one pre-coloured and one to colour in yourself. If you like them and/or like supporting the arts, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early) at patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at US$1/month!) or by buying me a coffee or two through Ko-Fihttps://ko-fi.com/tanaudel.

July 2021 calendar — Houses

Note: This calendar is supported by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art: patreon.com/tanaudel, and also by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it via the tip jar: ko-fi.com/tanaudel

I knew I’d be running late on this one (due to some project deadlines), and I also knew this was NOT the fastest design I had in mind, but OH WELL. I’ve been wanting to draw a pattern of houses for ages and it was a very pleasing design to work on. And I was able to put some Queenslander houses into it, and a few hints of stories.

That, for me, is one of the charms of book maps — not “here is the place where this story takes place”, or even “here is this sort of place…”, but “here are the sorts of stories that might happen in a book like this.”

And that applies just as well to a town as to other maps.

It is also up as a print and repeating pattern on Redbubble if you are in need of (for example), prints, phone cases, notebooks or dresses (or a jigsaw puzzle). It’s up in both colour and as a line drawing (if you prefer monochrome, or would like to colour in your own clothes).

And here (for personal use) are the printable versions — one pre-coloured and one to colour in yourself. If you like them and/or like supporting the arts, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early) at patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at US$1/month!) or by buying me a coffee or two through Ko-Fihttps://ko-fi.com/tanaudel.

June 2021 Calendar — Dragons

Note: This calendar is supported by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art: patreon.com/tanaudel, and also by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it via the tip jar: ko-fi.com/tanaudel

Dragonlets for the June calendar! Wriggling all over the place. You will notice distinct design homages to Smaug (as depicted in Tolkien’s drawings), particularly the tiny wings with a single anchor-point, and the three-pronged tail. It turns out tiny wings are MUCH easier to manage for decorative purposes. Others are more in line with my usual dragons.

Here’s a glimpse of the project’s beginnings in my notebook, where most calendars begin.

I was originally planning mermaids, for the Mermay illustration challenge, but we just had mermaids in February

I drew these to a grid, which was a puzzle, getting them all to fit — especially since I wanted some to go off one edge and back on the other (to better repeat).

There’s a printed grid under this sheet of paper, which I used as a guide — all the dragons take up 10 squares.

Once I’d sketched out the dragons, I used that set of dragons as the base for another set of sketches (each dragon filling the same space as its twin, but facing the other way. I put those together and darkened the sketches on the computer, then used a lightbox to ink the finals on clean paper before tidying and colouring them on the computer.

Hunt Crowquill 102 nib and Winsor & Newton black ink, on Canson illustration 250gsm paper

I’ve also wrangled it into a repeating pattern, which is now up on clothes, stationery, prints & etc at Redbubble! I will put it on Spoonflower, too. Oh, and the February mermaids are now up on Redbubble, too.

And here (for personal use) are the printable versions. If you like them and/or like supporting the arts, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early) at patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at US$1/month!) or by buying me a coffee or two through Ko-Fihttps://ko-fi.com/tanaudel.

May calendar — Frog princes

A pattern of dragonflies, waterlilies, golden balls, and crowned frogs on a dark background, in shades of mauve and olive/sage

Note: This calendar is supported by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art: patreon.com/tanaudel, and also by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it or buy me a coffee via Ko-Fihttps://ko-fi.com/tanaudel — I’m extremely grateful for all your support.

Welcome to the May calendar! Frog princes, this month. It’s not a story that usually leaps to mind as one of my favourites, but it keeps recurring — I love the murky gleam of it, the promises, the consequences. It underpins “Undine Love”, and was one of my earliest repeating patterns and has infused my PhD.

A frog swimming towards a lilypad

But it’s a challenge, too — it’s an odd story, and greens and yellow are complicated to pair in art as pleasingly as they go together in life, and frogs’ hips are wildly improbable.

I’ve also wrangled it into a repeating pattern, which is now up on Redbubble! (I will put it on Spoonflower, too).

A Redbubble promotional image with a scarf showing the repeating pattern

(The April calendar design is also now up on Redbubble and as a print on InPrnt.)

And here (for personal use) are the printable versions. If you like them and/or like supporting the arts, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early) at patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at US$1/month!) or by buying me a coffee or two through Ko-Fihttps://ko-fi.com/tanaudel.

Calendar for May 2021, with the design of frogs and waterlilies

Colour-able outline of design

April Calendar: silver and gold

A black page with images in grey and yellow: bucket, sword, boot, horse, fox, dress, crown, apple, candle, chest, hand, skull, glass coffin, rose, needle and pin, poppet, shears, window, raven, strawberries, glass bell, fish, book, coin

Note: This calendar is supported by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art: patreon.com/tanaudel, and also by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it or buy me a coffee via Ko-Fihttps://ko-fi.com/tanaudel — I’m extremely grateful for all your support.

This is a collection of fairy tale imagery — part of a slightly larger collection, all inked with a no. 8 brush (just taklon) and Dr PH Martin’s black ink. I coloured them digitally and very simply, because it was almost 1am by then, but I love the feeling of old endpapers.

It was a good and educational brushwork workout. But also I have been setting up a new studio area and it was really nice to be able to just reach for all my reference material and leaf through it or turn it to the light, and incorporate the bits I wanted. I also like the calligraphic effect of the lines.

These are the inks in progress. They are on a light box with the pencil sketches on thin paper underneath.

Because the background was fully-inked, linework is a little difficult to extract, and retains some digital tracery, alas. Notes for next time, especially as inking the entire background takes a really long time.

Edit: This design is also now up on Redbubble and as a print on InPrnt.)

And here (for personal use) are the printable versions. If you like them and/or like supporting the arts, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early) at patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at US$1/month!) or by buying me a coffee or two through Ko-Fihttps://ko-fi.com/tanaudel.

Observation Journal: Work at Play

Four very tiny unicorn drawings, in ballpoint pen lines on gridded paper with a little bit of blue watercolour for the shadow.

Tiny unicorn drawings, from a mid-April Lessons Learned page of the Observation Journal. These led directly to the unicorn calendar.

A printable calendar page for May 2020, with a design of unicorns and vines on a starry twilight-blue background.

I’ve been giving some school workshops on drawing tiny things, and quite apart from all the other uses of drawing small, the playfulness of it always charms me.

A hand-written page from the observation journal, with tiny writing of various lessons learned, and also small unicorns.

A lot of these notes were specific to the week of 14-17 April 2020! But an ongoing lesson is that I am most likely to work on a project if there is impetus and enjoyment — a sense of catching the wave of a project, and of play. Ideally, I’d have both, but either one can help create the other.

That week, I worked out a way to restart a sense of both momentum and play on a dragging project. The first 15 minutes (at least) of a work block (or longer at the beginning of a project) should be time to tinker — to try out the tools on fun little drawings, or riff on scenes, or write silly little variations on the core idea. It warms the project up again, and gets some traction, and helps me to like the work again.

March Calendar — Rondels

An ink drawing on a mottled blue background of 12 floral wreaths/rondels, colouredin pale beige and white, including stars & moths, grasshopper & dandelions, heron, crown, bees, spiderweb, goblet, fox, moon, cat, bouquets, and a snuffed candle.

Note: This calendar is supported by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art: patreon.com/tanaudel, and also by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it via the tip jar: paypal.me/tanaudel — I’m extremely grateful for all your support.

I was cutting it fine on this month’s timing, so I decided to do the most complicated of many ideas (the other main contender was a simple repeat of dandelion flowers and leaves).

As for this design, of stars & moths, grasshopper & dandelions, heron, crown, bees, spiderweb, goblet, fox, moon, cat, bouquets, and a snuffed candle — oh, I like self-contained worlds, and objects that could belong to tales, and old endpapers, and a sense of being watched, and silver-and-bronze, and blue brocade, and arrangements that could be the best sort of game… There are a couple call-backs to other illustrations I have done, including for Holly Black’s Folk of the Air trilogy, and Angela Slatter.

Pencils vs final

Edit: It’s also up as a print on Redbubble.

And here (for personal use) are the printable versions. If you like them and/or like supporting the arts, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early) at patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at US$1/month!) or through the tip jar at paypal.me/tanaudel.

February calendar — beside the seaside

Note: This calendar is supported by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art: patreon.com/tanaudel, and also by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it via the tip jar: paypal.me/tanaudel

Welcome to February! It had been a little while since I did a mermaid calendar (here’s a round-up of the last four years of calendar art). And for some reason, I thought I should hand-draw all those little waves. (They were all drawn in black ink — I changed the colours digitally). I’m still on a midcentury-inspired colouring kick (see also January).

Fish are one of the subjects I find unnecessarily effortful to draw. This time I decided I didn’t care about accuracy, and instead went for a Seuss/Baynes effect. I rather like them.

As you can see, I’ve drawn it to work as a repeating pattern. I have not yet made it actually repeat, mostly because I was working on my PhD confirmation presentation (first year milestone — the presentation was on Friday). I will put this up on Redbubble, etc, when the pattern is completed. So stay tuned if you’re into art on things!

And here (for personal use) are the printable versions. If you like them and/or like supporting the arts, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early) at patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at US$1/month!) or through the tip jar at paypal.me/tanaudel.

Edit: This design is now also up as a print and on some clothes, cases, etc at Redbubble.