November 2022 calendar — iconographies

A design of yellow motifs of skulls, mushrooms, cats, foxes, goblets, pomegranates, etc on a blue ground.

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

For November, and my sore elbow, here is a set of tiny motifs — I drew them half-size with a different pen than usual (a Kuretake Zig Mangaka flexible pen, instead of a Hunt Crowquill 102 dip pen), to spare my arm.

My heart is still with the dip pen, and I will return to it as soon as my elbow mends, but I do enjoy the graphic qualities of these images.

Sketch for a design of yellow motifs of skulls, mushrooms, cats, foxes, goblets, pomegranates, etc.

I was also trying to use a different colour scheme, but managed to circle back around to my old favourite blue and gold.

Patrons also got a bubble-gum and raspberry version.

Cropped section of design of bubble-gum-pink motifs of skulls, mushrooms, cats, foxes, goblets, pomegranates, etc on a raspberry ground.

I’m planning a repeating pattern, but I’m also in transit at the moment, so that will probably be a little while away.

Below (for personal use) are the printable versions — one pre-coloured and one to colour in yourself.

If you like these and/or like supporting artists, 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 tip me a few dollars through Ko-Fi: ko-fi.com/tanaudel. Either is greatly appreciated! And of course many previous designs are available as prints etc on Redbubble and Spoonflower.

Also, I have a very occasional mailing list (not a newsletter), if you’d like to keep up with any major announcements: Mailing List Sign-Up

November 2022 calendar with a design of yellow motifs of skulls, mushrooms, cats, foxes, goblets, pomegranates, etc on a blue ground.
November 2022 calendar lineart with a design of motifs of skulls, mushrooms, cats, foxes, goblets, pomegranates, etc.

September Calendar: Faces in the leaves

Design of faces peering through leaves

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

Still on the enchanted forest theme, September is brought to you by the feeling of being watched among the trees.

Other influences included: hunting for green-man roof bosses in Devon, and admiring Iris Compiet’s astonishing sculptures, browsing Oakapple Designs‘ replicas of cathedral carvings, attending the Once and Future Fantasies festival in Glasgow, and drawing acanthus leaves (these aren’t acanthus leaves anymore, but Bearbell’s workshop got me thinking about scrolling longer leaves, and generally drawing too many of them).

Here’s a first test of the idea, using a fine brush pen (the final image was loosely inked with an actual brush). I still like the clusters of berries, the hints of woodgrain, and the little fox-ish face, although it isn’t in quite the right style. I’d like to approach this design again, with these additional elements. And I can think of some other takes that would be fun.

hand holding early, very detailed, version of design of faces among leaves, including a fox-ish face

Then sketches and layout and making sure it would plausibly repeat. However, I quite like these yellow and black sketches — they remind me of the covers of 1970s Shakespeare paperbacks. They make me want to write a little nonfiction text on characterisation in fairy tales, or something.

Sketches for faces and leaves — yellow picking out the faces

I have begun the repeating design, but it isn’t quite finished yet, due to me becoming abruptly and vilely ill earlier this week. I’ve put up the single image as prints/cards/shirts on Redbubble, and will update this post when the all-over design is available. In the meantime, many other designs can be found as prints, cases, fabric etc on Redbubble and Spoonflower.

Below (for personal use) are the printable versions — one pre-coloured and one to colour in yourself.

If you like them and/or like supporting artists, 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 tip me a few dollars through Ko-Fi: ko-fi.com/tanaudel. Either is greatly appreciated! And of course many previous designs are available as prints etc on Redbubble and Spoonflower.

Also, I have a very occasional mailing list (not a newsletter), if you’d like to keep up with any major announcements: Mailing List Sign-Up

September 2022 calendar with design of faces peering through leaves
September 2022 calendar with design of faces peering through leaves

May 2022 Calendar — small treasures

Note: Want to support the arts? This calendar is made possible by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with alternative colourways, and other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art (patron levels start from US$1): patreon.com/tanaudel. It is also supported by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it via the tip jar: ko-fi.com/tanaudel.

Here, for May, is a calendar of small fairy-tale treasures, variously defined.

Pattern of leaves and small treasures. Pink background.

Here’s a glimpse of the sketch I used as a base. It’s drawn on an iPad in Procreate, which is proving very useful for adjusting sketches, moving components, and checking that repeats will work.

Photo of sketch of curled cat on iPad screen

This is what it looked like when I was checking that it will join up as a pattern, in due course.

Rough sketch of repeating pattern with motifs roughly coloured

Then I printed the sketch and inked it, as usual, with a dip pen, while listening to the Disaster Girls podcast.

Photo of hand with dip pen inking branches

I do want to work it up as a repeating pattern, but I need to jostle a few leaves around and time has been slightly compressed by events. I’ll update this post when I get the repeating design up — in the meantime, there are many other calendar designs available as prints, scarves, cases etc on Redbubble: tanaudel.redbubble.com.

Snippet of calendar art with black and white images (toy horse, ring, key) on deep rose background
An alternative colourway, for patrons

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 artists, 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 tip me a few dollars through Ko-Fi: ko-fi.com/tanaudel. Either is greatly appreciated!

Also, I’ve started a mailing list (not a newsletter), if you’d like to keep up with any major announcements: Mailing List Sign-Up

Printable calendar page. May 2022 calendar on left. Pattern of leaves and small treasures on right. Pink background.

Observation Journal — rearranging scenes

On these observation journal pages, I was playing again with “Cinderella” — see previously: Mapping movements in stories.

(Noting the observations on the right: it was a windy, glinting-winged spring week, and my first copies of Travelogues had arrived.)

I was giving feedback on and marking creative writing assignments for a creative writing subject in the UQ Doctor of Medicine program (such a great subject) so I was sitting in on the lectures. Charlotte Nash gave a lecture on classic story structures (beginning/middle/end) — more or less the classic three-act structure.

I’ve mentioned before that while I find this sort of approach to structure very useful for editing — especially for diagnosing problems I suspect exist — I don’t find it particularly intuitive or organic. So I wanted to play around with this structure on a story I knew well (see: the usefulness of template stories).

First, I fitted that structure onto “Cinderella” — more or less the version with three nights of dancing, and the birds attacking the sisters at the wedding.

Next, I scrambled the scenes, and forced them to fit that structure in their new order.

On the right, notes on scene placement in Cinderella, with some coloured sketches.

I wanted to see how the scenes would need to change if they appeared in a different position — not necessarily in the internal chronology of the story, but in the order in which they were told. E.g., if the story opened on the delight of the prince rediscovering Cinderella, what introductory work would that scene need to do?

Here’s the randomised list of scenes, with the turning points between the acts (beginning, middle, end) marked.

delight of discovery — godmother’s appearance — to the ball — [gear change — story really gets going] mystery of identity after the second ball — the shoe — the wedding — the search — the mystery of identity after the first ball — [central tipping point] final revenge on step-sisters — the third ball — Cinderella reveals herself — attempts by the step-sisters to mislead the prince — [gear change — end becomes inevitable] the first dance — the early mistreatment of Cinderella — happily ever after — the second ball — Cinderella’s initial bereavement

But it was also interesting to see how it changed the emphasis of the story itself — in this case, a concentration on vengeance and/or filling a loss.

Ballpoint drawing with pastel marker colours of women in elaborate cloaks and hats.

I repeated the exercise a week later.

On the right, notes on scene placement in Cinderella, with some coloured sketches.

Here is how the scenes fell out this time:

dance #1 — misleading by step-sisters — dance #3 — turning point: initial mistreatment — you shall go to the ball — wedding — reveal identity — mystery after second dance — [central tipping point — happy ever after — initial loss — the prince’s search — dance #2 — turning point: delight of being found — revenge — appearance of godmother — shoe! — mystery after first dance.

Breaking “Cinderella” down this way suggested a story that went: joy! –> oh no! bad things behind it –> sense good things in the future –> fight for good things (in knowledge will get them) –> gentler fairy-tale business to wrap it all up.

That is, a story told in the confidence that evil will overcome, but in the knowledge that goodness must still fight in the meantime.

Breaking the story down this way highlighted a clearer separation between the character‘s journey and the reader’s journey — whether the two experiences run in harness, and where they play off each other.

Ballpoint drawing with faint watercolours of two people dancing over bones, and a girl in a ballgown rubbing a sore foot

I also kept a little sketched list of events and lines that occurred to me as a result of the exercise, for a story, if not for this one.

Ballpoint drawing with faint watercolours, of a person clutching a monster with "who transforms" and a fairy-tale wedding with "that's the story we'll tell them"

It was a very interesting exercise for:

  • Understanding classic structures a bit better.
  • Thinking through what scenes do and can do.
  • Approaching a retelling.
  • Shaking up my understanding of a story, even after I’ve put it back into order.
  • Coming up with little stray ideas.

Writing/illustration exercise:

  1. Choose a story you know well (fairy tales are usually quite useful and relatively short). List the scenes.
  2. Pick a common narrative or dramatic structure you want to play with (three-act structure and Freytag’s pyramid get talked about a lot, but if you’ve taken any writing courses, including in school, or read books on narrative, you’ll have been exposed to some version in detail).
  3. Line the structure up against the story. You might have to force it to fit in places. It’s interesting to note what might need to change in the story to make an Official Structure fit neatly, and what lets the story work in spite of not fitting some classic mould.
  4. Now, mix up your scenes randomly — cut them out and shuffle them, or roll a dice, or close your eyes and point.
  5. Again, line the structure up against the new order of scenes. Note what new work some scenes might do, and whether the new order suggests new meanings for the story.
  6. Pick the new first or final scene. Do a quick written or drawn sketch of it, letting it take on the new emphases, and making it do that new work of e.g. opening up the world or introducing characters or closing off the narrative and themes.

Ballpoint sketch of two women — one sitting, one standing — throwing food to a magpie.
Housemates and magpie

Support and/or follow

If you’d like to support art and writing and posts like this about it (particularly welcome at the moment, as I’m still sick with Covid), here are some options!

November 2021 Calendar — Chickens

Note: This calendar is supported by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with alternative colourways, and 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

For November — some chooks/chickens/hens/poultry who have strayed into fairy tales.

Here are my first sketches playing with the motifs for this design.

I wanted to try doing the pencil sketches directly onto the iPad, to see if it would be easier to adjust/move elements. The jury is still out on that, although with practice I can see it would be useful. It was great for at least thinking about some of the colour distribution in advance. I do have a plan for a repeating pattern, which will require bumping around some spacings, but I’ve been away writing so will put the final together later.

Then I printed those lines out for a guide, and inked them the usual way (dip pen).

Then I scanned, cleaned, and coloured them on the computer. Here are some of the colour flats, without lines and texture. I really like this clear clean blue, and might tinker with the textures to brighten the pattern.

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.

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

January calendar — houses running from girls

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

Chicken-legged huts for January! To… open the year with a sense of momentum. I’ll pretend that’s it. Also: HAPPY NEW YEAR, and may it be very much so.

There are two colourways (my favourite is below), or you can colour in your own.

It is not yet up on Redbubble, but it will be soon, 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.

January 2020 calendar! Bees!

January-CalendarArt-Detail

Happy New Year! (Almost but not quite). I’ve hurt my back and am mostly horizontal, which makes drawing tricky, but I clawed my way to the drawing board and there is still a calendar, now, just barely, for January 2020.

January-CalendarArt-lowres

It is bees! So many bees. I thought this would be simpler than earlier, pre bad-back plans I had, but I was extremely wrong. As ever, pre-coloured and to-colour-yourself files are below.

If you would like to support the calendar, and other similarly misguided artistic endeavours, into 2020, it would help your friendly, horizontal local illustrator very much. Patreon is here patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at $1/month!) or there is a tip jar at paypal.me/tanaudel.

January Calendar - ColourJanuary Calendar - Lines

Illustration Friday: Wool

Illustration Friday: Wool

Another cut-paper illustration, to experiment more with shadows and try out some new paper (80gsm – some recent pictures were on something closer to cardboard). It was easier to cut, although not of course as robust.

I’m working on more pen-and-ink illustrations at the moment, too, it isn’t all silhouettes! But I have some possible projects in mind for the cut-paper, and Illustration Friday is always an excellent opportunity to practice techniques and ideas – how much detail and movement can be put into a small image, whether I can draw sheep…

Illustration Friday: Double

Illustration Friday: Double

A little pen illustration for the story of the magic cauldron which doubled everything put into it, and led to marital strife.

And here are four current/recent projects. Top left is for a portrait, top right is for a finished comic, bottom left is for an unfinished comic and bottom right is keeping its fingers crossed for a big announcement.

July projects