November Calendar: Unicorns

November Calendar detail 2

Days early, it’s the November calendar! I was going to do something complicated with hands, but then I thought: you know what would be easier than something for which I have reference on the ends of my own arms? Unicorns. Unicorns would be easier.

November Calendar detail 1

Then it deteriorated into reportage on rampant unicorn-theft, and here we are. (Unicorn… foal? unicornlet? corncub? I suppose it depends on the design).

November calendar art

You can download the design to print pre-coloured or to colour yourself by clicking on the images below. It’s also up as a print on Redbubble: Unicorn Thieves.

I’d like to keep doing these calendars and similar extra art next year, because I love them and hope you do, but they do take time out of my paying deadlines. I’m considering starting a Patreon, hoping to keep a version of the main calendar design free but to give supporters extra behind-the-scenes details, input and material. More detail in due course!

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novemberlines

The Bush Bride illustrations – for Angie Rega


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Before I went overseas, I mentioned I was working on some illustrations to accompany a live reading Angie Rega was to give at the Australian Fairy Tale Convention.

That went very well, and I can now show the finished illustrations. I cut them as one continuous image: the back, with pencil lines, is shown here. It was very tiny. I did not cut myself. I cut myself pretty badly trimming green beans in New York, but this is safer than cooking.

Bush Bride - work in progress

This I scanned in and tidied up.

Bush Bride - monochrome

Because it was to be projected behind Angie while she read, we decided on a fairly clear, strong colour palette. Here is the first of the three slides the image was divided into. The background goes from dawn to day to night.

Bush Bride - Frame 1

And here is the whole series as one image. If you click on it, you should go through to its Flickr page where you will have the option to view it at a larger size.

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Bush Bride - coloured

Illustration Friday: Nostalgia

Once

Once

The beginnings of fairytales (historic or galactic) are freighted with nostalgia, bearing endlessly back into a past that may not have existed and yet always has been long gone. It’s part of the logic of fairytales that I love, a clear warning that they happen on a plane of myth and symbol. “Outside, over there… Maybe it did and maybe it didn’t… Now hear o my best beloved, and listen, and attend… A long time ago…

These two sketches are from fairytales-in-development, at the point where I was finding my way into that tone. Pencil and watercolour above, ballpoint pen below.

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And here’s another, the cover of a sketchbook for a project with Angela Slatter. This is just for me, but here, too, I aiming to strike the note that will let me enter the mood and story when I sit down to draw (along with a key to the colours I’ve used).

SkinSketchbook

Illustration Friday: Prince

Illustration Friday: Prince

Life has been somewhat fragmentary lately (more or less under control, but more commuting than usual). So here are some sketches working towards the Illustration Friday topic. I keep a separate little sketchbook for working through ideas, just playing around and chasing associations, crown angles, etc.

Chickens and stories

This is where ideas come from:

You mention on Twitter that you don’t know how you started following the local Hereford Breeders society but that you find it soothing. A friend asks for recommendations for chicken fancier accounts.

The search is unsuccessful, but when you sit down to warm up for some other projects with some watercolour painting, you have chickens on the brain.

Fancy chickens.

Fury Road but with chickens

 

You are taken by the idea of Fury-Road-but-with-chickens. But also you were thinking about eighteenth century dresses, because of Tremontaine, so you give a fancy lady a chicken.

Lady with hen

But you aren’t sure you got the jacket quite right, although you want those sleeves, so you get into bodice construction and bowls of eggs because those are also hard to paint pleasingly. Since this is clearly a Cinderella-type, she gets a fancy dress too. You are quite pleased with these Daniel Smith colours and also with that shoe.

Cinderella with chickens

It seems likely Reynolds would have painted her godmother at some point, so another dress happens. Your dad was watching Pride and Prejudice in the next room so a bit of Catherine de Bourgh gets in there.

Godmother

She’s a little too straightforward, and also accidentally stepping on her hem, although that is an effect you might go for deliberately another time. You like her skirts, however.

You are now enamoured of two half-seen fabric designs, and decide to sketch them out in more detail. A costumer friend would like to make one of the dresses, so these plans may coincide. You have the beginnings of a chickenful fairytale idea, and also that first dress just about captures the feeling of a story idea you had last night when you started transplanting the bits you like of Supergirl into assorted historical contexts. This is now half-outlined and has about 1000 words of test-scenes.

An author friend points out that the first lady should be wearing clogs, which leads to a discussion about pretend chicken farmers, and although you meant to refer to Le Petit Trianon, somehow you are led astray into talking about “fake cheep girls” and everyone agrees you should stop talking for the day.

May calendar: all the stars in the sky

May calendar - stars

The calendar for May is here! It is inhabited by various favourite starry folk.

May calendar starscape

You can download it to print pre-coloured or for colouring-in by clicking on the images below.

May calendar - colour

May calendar - lines

The main image is also up on Redbubble as a print, scarf, and so on.

Illustration Friday: Sparkle

Some star-folk for this week’s topic.

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I’ve earmarked them for May’s calendar, so check back to see that  soon!

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And here’s a bonus gown, as I was playing with Daniel Smith watercolours for several projects.

And another, which isn’t sparkly at all, but for which I have schemes.

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And in other news, Monsters is 46% funded, and many of the comics have been uploaded. If you’d like to preorder and/or support, that would be wondeful – and you can get a poster of a map drawn by me as one of the rewards!

MapExtractWeb

April Calendar

Scratching Dragons

A bewildering variety of dragons for April’s calendar. The ones above are possibly my favourite of all my drawings.

April Dragons

You can download and print it pre-coloured, or to colour it yourself.

Flying Dragon

If you click on the images below, the full-size image should open.

April Calendar - coloured April Calendar - linesThank you for your patience with monosyllabism. Am in the middle of a convention.

Illustration Friday: Hat & Month of Love: Weapon

Illustration Friday: Hat

A cut paper silhouette, combining Illustration Friday topic “Hat” and Month of Love challenge “weapons” (i.e., words, letters, gossip, flowers and dissembling).

Shadows

 

Illustration Friday: Hat in progress

Illustration Friday: Smart

Illustration Friday: Smart

Due to circumstances I am temporarily parted from some of my art materials, so here, for Illustration Friday topic Smart and the Australian Fairy Tale Society‘s fairytale-of-the-month “Bluebeard” are pencil sketches of Lady Mary and The Girl Who Got Up the Tree: two of the clever heroines of Bluebeard-class (or slasher-fairytale) tales, who reveal through riddles their lovers’ perfidy. (You can see a larger version on Flickr here).

(There’s an A on the handkerchief with the severed finger because I misremembered the heroine of “Mr Fox” as Lady Alice).