Brisbane Writers Festival 2021

The Brisbane Writers Festival is back — and done for the year (it’s staying in May, now, and next year is the 60th anniversary). It was lovely to see people again, and sketch in the cafe, and listen to talks on history and life, poetry and family.

Of course, sketching in the SLQ cafe mostly means sketching ibises

I (with Flyaway, although I got in a tangential reference to Travelogues!) was on the “Magic and Myth” panel with Krissy Kneen (The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen) + Tabitha Bird (The Emporium of the Imagination) + Melissa Ashley (The Bee and the Orange Tree).

The Three Burials of Lotty KneenFlyawayThe Emporium of the ImaginationThe Bee and the Orange Tree

Krissy ran a great discussion on three very different books (a novel of murder trials and fairy tale salons in 1699 Paris; a tale of a magical store that arrives by night in a Queensland town and heals sorrow; an Australian Gothic story of secrets and things in the trees; and Krissy’s memoir of searching through Australia, Slovenia, and Egypt for the true history of her grandmother). But there were many common elements too — secrets and generations, loss and what we cling to instead, and stories told and believed in different ways.

I usually have difficulty remembering what happened on a panel, but many people said lovely things about it afterwards, and there were some excellent questions.

I do remember one question on how you judge the parameters of magic/myth when writing it into a ‘real-world’ story. We all had different answers, of course — the fairytales in Melissa’s novel were specifically contained and retold within a historical, non-fantastic setting; Tabitha followed a theme and let the elements grow; I talked about (a) developing an ear for certain types of stories, so you can hear when you strike a false note, and (b) letting the magical elements sit in the setting/story until they start to change each other — and following the consequences.

There was another question, too, on the purpose/use of myth and fairytale. Melissa was specifically dealing with the way fairytales were used to communicate and argue around the restrictions of a society and royal censorship. Tabitha was using them as a way to allow the processing of grief and loss, and the preservation of what is mourned. I spoke about their usefulness as a template, because I find it more organic to use a fairy tale as a structural key than to think about acts and arcs — that’s a matter of familiarity and ease. But I also got onto another favourite topic, about how there are points in time where people sort of agree on how certain stories are to be told (you see it when artists agree what the basic cat should look like, which makes medieval cat drawings look implausible, until you meet cats who look just like them). I find that having a sheaf of alternative templates (fairy tales, for me) lets me shake those ideas loose, and look at them in a different light. So, for example, people are starting to tell post-lockdown stories, and those are starting to converge. But you could pick any number of fairy tales and retell the story through that: “Rapunzel” is an obvious one, but “Little Red Riding Hood” would work just as well (the year that was eaten by a wolf), or even Cinderella — I had just broken new shoes in at the start of 2020, and now I’m having all sorts of problems wearing them again.

I did make it to a few other panels! A few standouts were the First and Last Word bookends, Ellen van Neerven‘s talks, “The World’s Biggest Survival Story” (Melissa LucashenkoBruce PascoeLisa Fuller and Thomas Mayor). And then of course so many wonderful conversations in the green room and the cafe, at signing tables and over drinks.

A particularly memorable panel I went to was “Out of the Wreckage”, in which Kelly Higgins-Devine interviewed Margaret Cook’s A River with a City Problem: A History of Brisbane Floods and Jamie Simmonds’ Rising from the Flood: Moving the Town of Grantham. I still have very vivid memories of the 2011 floods (as well as being cut off, I’d started at the Department of Transport and Main Roads just days before they happened, and since something like 95% of the state’s transport networks were affected by that year’s rains, it was a crash course in the department’s responsibilities!), and was tangentially involved with some of the Grantham relocation. It was a vivid and compelling discussion (and surprisingly entertaining), so I am looking forward to reading these two.

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.

Storied Imaginarium — fairy tale salon

The Storied Imaginarium is launching its new fairy tale salon series this month. On Friday (September 25 in the U.S. & Canada)/Saturday (September 26 in Australia), Edit: Friday October 9 in the US and Saturday October 10 in Australia I’ll be joining salon facilitators Carina Bissett and Nike Sulway for their first online fairy tale salon!

The salon includes a reading from Flyaway, an interview, a Q&A session, and a writing game. The salon is strictly limited to 20 guests, and is $US30.00 ($US25.00 for members of The Storied Imaginarium). You can sign up on their site today!

The Beauty and Horror of Fairy Tales

Olivia Brown of the University of Queensland’s School of Communication & Arts interviewed me about my writing (including but not limited to Flyaway), illustration, and research, and wrote this lovely long article (with lots of pictures):

The Beauty and Horror of Fairy Tales

February Foxes

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Welcome to February, and a busy crew of librarian foxes, foxes in libraries, and general bookishness!

This calendar is brought to you, as usual, with the support of patrons on patreon.com/tanaudel, and if you’d care to see art and calendars early through that and help them happen, please feel very free to check out patreon or toss a few coins in the jar through paypal.me/tanaudel.

February-Calendar-Detail1

I’m hoping these sketches will turn into a bigger project, and I’ll put a repeating pattern up on Redbubble and Spoonflower as soon as I can (I’ve been out of action for a few weeks and am now scrambling to deal wth deadlines). I have put it up on Redbubble as a printLibrary Foxes, but there’s a bit of tinkering involved to make it repeat pleasantly.

In the meantime, below for your personal February-planning purposes, are the printable pre-coloured and colour-sheet versions of the calendar. (And of course, a tip through patreon or paypal.me never goes astray).

February Calendar Colour blogFebruary Calendar Lines blog

November calendar: Scissors

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Greetings from LA, where I have gone for the World Fantasy Convention. I have been heavily focussed on catching up for the last month (I was laid up with a very painful hip in September, which threw all my plans awry). But I am better, and here, with art for the art show, and even the November calendar! Brought to you with the invaluable support of my patrons.

This is sort of also a Halloween calendar, in part because of Morticia Addams snipping the heads off roses, but mostly because one of the scariest moments to stick with me from a childhood book is in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when the ship reaches the Dark Island and Eustace hears the giant scissors opening and shutting.

But ultimately, of course, it is about fairytales, and all the things that are shorn or cut or clipped away.

NovemberCalendarDetail

There is no repeating pattern yet (there will be!), but it is up as a print on a few items on Redbubble: Snip Snip.

The files below are for personal use and — as I mentioned — are done with the help of my wonderful supporters on Patreon (who also get sneak-peeks, variant colours, stationery, new Daleks, etc). If you’d like to join as a patron (from $1!) or otherwise throw a few coins in the tip jar to help the calendar keep happening, that would be very welcome — the calendar is fun, but takes a lot of time.

NovemberCalendar-ColourNovemberCalendar-lines

April Calendar: Bears

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Bears!

The April calendar is here, in printable coloured, greenish and to-colour-yourself formats (see the end of the post). It is brought to you, as ever, with the invaluable support of my wonderful patrons over on Patreon.com/tanaudel.

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This began as a series of ideas about transformation. “Snow White and Rose Red” was briefly the leading fairy tale in my mind, which is how the bears got in. But roses mean “Beauty and the Beast”, and then the hinted tales began wandering further afield.

Here’s a quick glimpse at the process. I’m playing around with these negative silhouettes at the moment.

WIP

Then scanned, arranged and coloured on the computer, and bears, everywhere.

KJenningsCloseUp2

The downloadable files, for you to print at home and use for the April calendar, are below. And if you’d like to support the calendar, and see more behind the scenes, please do consider supporting them through Patreon.

April Calendar-ColourApril Calendar-Colour-GreenApril Calendar-Lines

Dancing Shoes

I have big giant feet, so any love I have for shoes must be limited to the fairytale variety. So the September calendar features an assortment thereof. As usual, this is brought to you by my very dear patrons on patreon.com/tanaudel — you are very welcome to join us, and get the calendar early(ish) and other things. (Also, anyone who has signed up at the $15+ supporter level before the end of August also gets an enamel pin, while stocks last).

Feet and shoes are not something I naturally find easy to draw, so I used to sit in cafes and draw people’s feet as they queued. Hot tip.

(Also, August’s deer design is now a repeating pattern on Redbubble, with Spoonflower fabric to follow).

And here are the printable files — pre-coloured or to colour yourself (for personal use only).

(for personal use only)

March Calendar – Be Bold, Be Bold…

This month’s calendar, brought to you with the support of my patrons (who get it early, and you can too!) is for the folktale “The Story of Mr Fox“: “Be bold, be bold, but not too bold, lest that thy heart’s blood should run cold”.

Mr Fox has no actual foxes in it, a feature in common with one of my other favourite folktales-with-a-rhyme (“the bough did bend, my heart did break, to see the hole the fox did make”). That one is about murderous university students, at least as I heard it, although there are many variations on the theme. But it had been a while since I drew foxes, and I wanted to update my fox-and-flowers designs. I’ll add some of these to my Redbubble store once uni deadlines ebb a little.

March 2018 Calendar - art

The picture is also, of course, an homage to the authors who do such marvellous versions of this school of stories, such as Angela Carter and Angela Slatter.

The full, printable calendar images are at the bottom of this post – pre-coloured, or to colour in.

In other news:

Patreon support has just crept into New Dalek Territory, which means I’m restarting the Dalek Game! It’s just for supporters on Patreon (at all levels) for now, until I build up a reserve.

Also! The clockwork birds from February’s calendar are up on Redbubble, with the original version, one with a dark background, and a blue and white variation. They are in my queue to add to my Spoonflower shop, too, but…  I have an MPhil to finish.

UPDATE: This “Be Bold, Be Bold” is now up on Redbubble as well, as a print, journal, etc.

And here is the calendar!

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Inktober: Furious

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A Rumpelstiltskin in pen, brush and ink, with a little imitation gold leaf, for Inktober prompt “Furious”.