The Dalek Game


In April (2011), in honour of Doctor Who’s imminent return, I started inflicting the Dalek Game on my friends. It is much simpler than the Blurb Game and can provide hours of fun (and annex a great deal of available brain-space). It is played by replacing important words in book titles with “Dalek”, and is suitable for long car trips.

I have started drawing the most visual of these bad Dalek jokes for my own amusement and will be posting them twice a week until I run out, which may not be for some time. Edit 29 March 2012: Schedule has switched to once a week.

They are all drawn in sepia ink with a dip pen on A6 medium-weight drawing paper (except for the 75 or so which are still drafts pencilled on yellow sticky notes).

If you are not yet familiar with Doctor Who or the Daleks, you can check them out on the BBC website , or Wikipedia: Doctor Who, Daleks.

For those who are, I am not attempting detailed scale representations of the Daleks. They are my favourite Doctor Who monster not because of their construction and complex history but because of that tone of rising panic in their voices. They remind me of harried engineers.

Edited to add:

Prints: I have contacted the BBC in relation to selling prints – I will update this if they become available.

Prints update: I have heard back from the BBC, and they have declined permission to sell prints. If anything changes, I will update this further.

The pictures to date are –

I eat a biscuit (also, IF “Stir”)

I eat a biscuit (cookie, for Americans)You can see it larger here.

Fairly self-explanatory, I think? Part cartoon, part thank-you note to the friend who acquired it for me from her firm’s career fair promotion material. Pen and ink (and butter, sugar, flour…).

And here is an illustration for this week’s Illustration Friday, “Stir” (also pen and ink and thematically related). When we were younger we used to find the Kenwood mixer’s dough-hook ideal for clasping at the end of a long sleeve and being all piratical, but the new, streamlined, ergonomic design is less appealing for that purpose.

Illustration Friday: Stir

Illustration Friday: Reverse

Illustration Friday: Reverse

The first person to get the joke/pun/quotation and post it in the comments may have the original drawing of this illustration in return for evidence of a donation to a recognised fund for Australian flood, fire or cyclone relief. Congratulations to my mother, who worked it out. Next time, no family. Our brains are too alike. The answer is:
Why is a banana like the laws of the Medes and the Persians? Because neither can be repealed.

Pen and ink, with thanks & apologies to Albert Racinet’s costume encyclopaedia.

Birthday card

My older nephew (and godson) turns 10 today (happy birthday!). I was put in charge of card-making from his aunts on this side of the family. So this is the front (you can see a larger version here:

Birthday card - front

And this is inside:

Birthday card - inside

The dragon’s facial expressions are oddly like those of my younger sister’s dog. Technical pens and digital colour.

In other news, on the weekend I finished the 7 illustrations I’ve been doing for an anthology of science fiction/fantasy stories for the 8-13 set. More on that in the course of time, I suppose.

Illustration Friday: Clumsy

Illustration Friday: Clumsy

A very small pen illustration (perhaps 6cm tall) with colour added on the computer.

I am in the (final!) throes of a project that is a much steeper learning curve than I bargained for. Below is a test panel I drew (not in the final) to trial some shading. It’s drawn with technical pens but the flat tone is added on the computer. It is also the reason I have been more absent from life than usual the last month or two.

Test panels

Illustration Friday: Packed


I decided to offer a selection of famous luggage for this week’s Illustration Friday topic, “Packed”. (If some seem obscure, it was going to be called “Literary Luggage”, but one is from a movie).

Literary luggage is often very revealing of characters, more so than real luggage (I hope). It is an object lesson, a key to personality, sometimes an aid or extension of it. Some luggage is simply a reflection of a character’s position: Anne Shirley’s “very old carpetbag”; the Grand Sophy’s piles of luggage. Even then it can reveal personality: Anne’s cheerful, fragile optimism; the avalanche of Sophy’s character.

Sometimes it encapsulates personality and interests: Larry Durrell’s trunks of books and briefcase with spare clothes; the Children of Cherry Tree Farm’s selections for their traveling trunk.

But almost always it contains magic: bags of tricks and mysteries, promises and possibilities, lists bare of verbs to be populated by the imagination with the bizarre and enlightening and hilarious.

What was learned – Part 5 of my travels with a sketchbook

USA Sketchbook 20
  1. I had an epiphany at a Turner exhibit – the importance of boldness. This was the biggest lesson: to be bold in terms of time, line and materials. I have always tended to pale, tentative sketches. The limitations of time and materials forced me to far less subtlety, and I think that is a good thing. You can get away with a lot more if you do it with confidence and flair. I’m still working on both of these, but I am aware of the difference now.
  2. To appreciate markers and coloured pencils. Not always like, but appreciate.
  3. The joy of having the book constantly up to date.
  4. Paying attention to little scenes. I remember places keenly because of a knitting girl or a moldy pumpkin.
  5. People complicate travel sketching. I am conscious of their possible reaction (both to my sketching and to others’ reactions), time constraints, the need to move at a joint pace rather than individual, the vagueness it lends my half of conversations. I need to practice drawing in company and to stop being rritated by conversations which on drawing time.
  6. I have become much more comfortable with drawing/sketching from life and have continued this in other sketchbooks since returning.
  7. I like having a visual record. It is more legible than handwriting alone, I look back at it more frequently than a written journal, and I think it is more self-contained and interesting than a photo album alone.
  8. I feel less self-conscious about inviting people to look at sketchbook than at photo albums. This is partly vanity and partly because I am never convinced people actually want to look at photos (and I have to sit there and explain them).

Knitting at Books of Wonder

Next time I will:

  1. Take less.
  2. Ignore perfection – better at all than never.
  3. Draw more.
  4. Be bold.
  5. Make hi-res scans the first time around (still, better at all than never).

Painting Ghandi
The other parts:

And the journal itself is up as a set on Flickr: USA 2007 Moleskine.