Cover art: Arcanos Unraveled

Arcanos covers

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.

Arcanos cover thumbnails 1

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.

Arcanos cover thumbnails 2

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

Arcanos cover art - sheep

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).

Arcanos cover art

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




Illustration Friday: Tension

Illustration Friday: Tension

A little handwork for this week’s Illustration Friday – partly a test, making myself do all (save the biro sketch) from my phone, a task which combines brilliant ease with abject frustration.

Kinds of Blue

I think this is the last of my recent projects to be completed. Not the last to be posted, but I may have managed to clear the decks in time for November. This project was the artwork for two comics in Kinds of Blue, an anthology of 14 short (5 page) comics on the theme of depression. It was originated by friends in Sydney and is currently looking for a home, but all the art is now finished!

Nihilo - skyscrapers

This view from a city street is one of my favourite images from “Nihilo” – a very powerful piece and therefore not one I would recommend reading as many times as I did while doing (and fixing and changing) the art and lettering for it. I came late to “Nihilo” and the idea for the treatment came with the script. It was to be heavily based on altered photos. In the end, I drew it all in a Vector program (a fiddly and frustrating experience, but light on computer memory and I learned a great deal). Some panels were freehand, some loosely based on supplied photo reference.

Nihilo - textured rough

This is a preliminary rough, with texture added because the style reminded me of stencil graffiti. The final art kept the same style but smooth and untextured. I still like this piece.

The other, and first, comic in this anthology for which I drew was “Knitting Therapy” – about knitting as a means of coping with depression:

Knitting Therapy - order

I drew this one with blue pencil, then scanned and cleaned up the line work and added colour and texture digitally. It made HUGE files. For comparison, all the artwork for “Nihilo” exists in a single 1.53MB SVG file (it was easier to make changes and colours consistent across pages that way).  A single page of “Knitting Therapy”, with all its layers flattened, is a 41MB PSD file (apples and oranges, I know, but it nearly did my computer in).

I will put up more details as they become available.

Illustration Friday: Pattern

Illustration Friday: Pattern

For the record, it is very difficult to photograph yourself knitting, especially when you don’t enjoy knitting, had to spend half an hour doing it to remember how, it takes you more than 12 seconds to look convincing so you can’t use the timer, your camera is out of batteries so you have to use your phone, but because you can’t use your hands you have to put the phone on video and balance on your collarbone and the neck of your tshirt and try and knit within its line of sight, and then drop the phone, and then upload it, draw a still from the phone and try to work out what it must look like from the other side.

Pen and sepia ink with colour added in Photoshop.


Knitting at the Con

Originally uploaded by tanaudel
Quick sketch of an attendee knitting at Conflux 4. This is a biro sketch from the border of a page of notes in my sketchbook.

I was thinking of Illustration Friday while I made this series of sketches. Ballpoint pens have been the tool for many of my drawings – mostly thanks to 7 years in uni drawing in the margins of my lecture notes.  So, this is my Illustration Friday contribution for the theme “Blue”.