July Calendar: Strolling

 

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A selection of fair pedestrians for July’s calendar.

I have been in England for three weeks, and many of the details are from events that have happened here: flowers from fields and the Blenheim Flower Show, keys from cathedral libraries, damselflies and English magpies, Regency soirees and Tolkien exhibits, tea and Old Weird Britain.

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The colours and offset colouring style are drawn from old advertisements and the ironwork in the Oxford Natural History Museum.

As ever, these are brought to you with the help of patrons on patreon.com/tanaudel, who also get the calendar early and other extras, should you wish to help support it!

You can print the calendar, pre-coloured or to colour, by clicking on the images below.July calendar - colourJuly calendar - lines

Book cover: Mountains of the Mind

I’ve known Gillian Polack ever since, having read Diana Wynne Jones’s Deep Secret, I decided to go to a science fiction convention in Canberra. So I was honoured when Shooting Star, a brand new press, asked me to illustrate the cover for her collection of short stories, Mountains of the Mind, launched at Continuum earlier this month.

Here is the first round of thumbnails sketches (with colour inverted for ease of visualising possible treatments). I enjoy the challenge, with collections, of trying to get in thematic references to most if not all the stories.

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We went with the first design at top left. Some details, however, required refinement — attempting to combine readability with some degree of historical accuracy, a nuanced line when illustrating stories by a historian. Here are some of those further notes.

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After a full pencil sketch was approved, I transferred the design to a larger than usual sheet of black paper: A3 instead of A4 — there’s a lot going on here and I couldn’t quite fit it inside the usual dimensions. I also forgot to flip the design before tracing it, so the original now runs the opposite way to the final design.

Cut, cut, cut.

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Then I have to lift the design out without breaking any delicate bits.

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There’s a pure satisfaction in working the design out of the scrap paper and leaving the offcuts entire.

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Here is the image cut out and scanned in, waiting for a few minor tweaks where corners folded or joined, and general tidying. The grey overlay is to show the crop lines for the cover.

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And here is the final cover, designed by Wolfgang Bylsma of Gestalt Comics, art by me, book by Gillian Polack!

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(And if you like regular behind-the-scenes process glimpses, I show them (along with calendar designs, etc) to patrons on patreon.com/tanaudel).

June Calendar: Firebirds (feed the stars)

Firebirds for June! A few white ones in there, as a nod to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. 

‘m working on a series of bird illustrations for my MPhil novella “Flyaway”, so it was practice for that, as well. You’ll see one or two Australians in there.

The asymmetrical shape is to allow the design to fit into a repeating pattern. Here’s a glimpse (dodgy late-night photo!) of how it was constructed (Julia Rothman’s introduction to repeat patterns is a useful explanation).

As ever, the calendar is brought to you with the help of my excellent patrons, who get previews, process shots and stationery, among other things, from $1/month – if you’d like to join and support the calendar (and the soon-to-return Dalek Game!), it would be a lovely birthday present:)

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April Calendar: Magic Mirrors

The April calendar is brought to you, as ever, by my delightful patrons, who keep art in my life when the exegesis is nearly due. (Patrons also get the calendar early).

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This month I decided for magic mirrors. I don’t quite remember why, but here we are. I had several ideas, but they kept turning into Dissertations Requiring Comprehensive Research on Aarne-Thompson Classification Systems. So I stripped this back, kept it pretty multi-purpose (there are a few specific references, of course), and tried to add a hint of Gorey. I particularly like the bat.

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It is in two colourways: a nice wine/plum, and a horrible peasoup green which is one of my favourite colours because it reminds me of Ruth Park’s Playing Beatie Bow. (By the way, if you like Ruth Park, Australian literature, creativity, writing history, etc, I highly recommend Ann-Marie’ Priest’s small, delighted, indignant book A Free Flame – and there’s a podcast episode here with the interview that made me buy it: Avid Reader Podcast).

So here they are, printable for personal use, whether pre-coloured or to colour yourself.

 

The Creature Court returns…

Here is the finished banner illustration I made for Tansy Rayner Robert’s Creature Court Kickstarter campaign, which is now live!

The campaign is to fund the reprint of her previously published Creature Court trilogy (full of flappers, Rome-esque cities, animal magic and vicious skies), along with a new novella. I will be designing the new covers, as well as this banner and an enamel pin.

This Art Is Not By Me (but the story is)

Art by Audrey Benjaminsen

In all Owl Abbas, before it burned (after the Falling but before the Cartographer’s War and the Recurrence of Owls), there were among its many windows only two that need concern us

This is the illustration reveal for Audrey Benjaminsen‘s beautiful charred, byzantine illustration for my story “The Heart of Owl Abbas”, which is to be published by Tor.com in April. It’s the first time (as far as I recall!) that a story of mine has been illustrated for publication by someone else, and I am so happy with it. Look at all those tiny engraved details, and the little lace cuffs, and that muscular, visceral heart.

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Cover art: Arcanos Unraveled

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Meet Anya Winter, junior professor of magical textiles at Arcanos Hall. She spends her days designing invisibility cloaks and teaching reluctant sophomores to knit. If she can avoid her conniving ex-boyfriend and steer clear of campus politics, that’s a plus. But everything changes when her secret university is unshielded by a saboteur, placing the entire magical community at risk. Joining forces with a rebellious princess and a mysterious engineer, Anya must save her school—and her reputation—before it’s too late. But can she really change the world with just a ball of yarn?

This are the covers (e- and print) which I illustrated and Stewart Williams designed for Jonna Gjevre‘s novel of magic, knitting and computers, Arcanos Unraveled. (Print, Kindle).

Stewart did a splendid job, and if any of you are looking for a cover designer (and you should be, they are worth their weight in gold), his website is: Stewart A. Williams Design.

Every so often a project comes along which forces me to dust off my needles and knit a swatch for art-reference. I couldn’t find the needles this time, so ended up knitting with a pencil and the handle of a paintbrush.

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In the end it was decided to do a design that could function as two covers or a wraparound – there was some refinement, with boots.

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And sheep were cut out. They have these beautifully, misleadingly patrician faces. For scale, those are half-inch squares on the cutting board.

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I cut the illustrations out as two separate images which could be joined over the spine if so decided (although in the end they were framed by blue).

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Then I tidied these up, and sent the files away to be turned by Stewart Williams into something marvellous and blue.

And if you want to get early sneak-peeks and process details on projects like this, I post those for supporters on Patreon.

Arcanos cover art - sheep

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