Kiss Me Deer

Kiss Me Deer

Here’s a little gouache painting I did to practice deer (and use up paint!) – it’s ever-so-slightly fanart for the game “Kiss Me Deer” as played by the Bennet sisters in the book of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies).

It was also preparation for another painting I was making as a gift (that one is for slightly more limited circulation, but can be seen at the Duck level & above on my Patreon).

The art of scanning gouache is one which I have yet to study in more detail. Perhaps photography is the way to go.

Kiss Me Deer

Speaking of the Patreon, if you’d like to throw a dollar in the hat towards the monthly calendar, or subscribe at a higher level to get extra printable stationery and behind-the-scene peeks at upcoming projects, this is a great way to do it. You could even put it on your wishlist!

Illustration Friday: Garden

Illustration Friday: Garden

I’m working on a few cut-paper projects at the moment, so of course instead of cutting out a silhouette of Sputnik I stayed up too late the other night cutting out tiny little dioramas of a meeting in a certain ‘prettyish little wilderness’.

Little Daleks (and giveaway)

Little Daleks

This instalment of the Dalek Game is for Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, a book containing one of those scenes which sear themselves into my memory – the death of the bird when the girls are allowed to do as they please on their holidays and forget to take care of it. It was scarring and awful scene, because it was such an obvious, inevitable, unexpected, Lord of the Flies thing to happen. To many readers the book seems to be a hoops-and-bonnets fantasy. But while it taught me to do my chores (as What Katy Did taught me to give explanations for rules), and while I like Little Women much more than Lord of the Flies, and can forgive it a great deal for the collapsing bed and “Rodrigo! Save me!”, I cannot quite consider the novel without that memory, or consider the March girls aside from that momentous, careless cruelty.

An element of gritty reality underlies the charm (the teasing, the burned hair, the lost love). It is absent from (best-beloved) near-contemporary What Katy Did (1872 to Little Women’s 1868-9), for all its squabbles and games, and from the Little House Books (published in the 1930s recollecting the 1870s) where consequences come from outside forces and the best intentions of human effort seem to dissipate in locusts, blizzards, sickness and fire. Absent too from Anne of Green Gables’ cringing embarrassments (1908), and from Seven Little Australians (1894) which contains larger tragedies but which (in spite of laundering) most helpless animals survive. 

This, too, is the reason that I did not care for the latest Pride and Prejudice movie as Pride and Prejudice. P&P is about veneers, manners, appearances and trying to live and love through and in spite of them (oh, that one beautiful sentence about Lizzie and her aunt not talking as they leave Pemberley). The movie showed mud and pigs and sweat and pores, and the fantasy of muslin and carriages and plumes suspended above all that. And I still think, as I said when the first promotional pictures came out, that for Pride and Prejudice it is a very good Little Women! (And for the record: best Lizzie = Jennifer Ehle (that smile!), best Darcy = Laurence Olivier (spoiled boy), best Mrs Bennett = Alex Kingston (darling), best Mr Collins = Nitin Ganatra (no life without wife)).

In other news: Giveaway! Rowena Cory Daniells interviewed me on art and writing, and there is a chance to get a Dalek drawing of your very own.


Illustration Friday: Forward

Illustration Friday: Forward

Lydia Bennett, one of the least reticent of Austen’s characters, is rapidly becoming my favourite to draw. She’s the most appallingly selfish girl, but utterly consistent in her thoughtlessness. I enjoy the variant readings of her character (does she deliberately set out to ruin her sister’s reputations in childish revenge?) and she frustrates me whenever I read Pride and Prejudice (which as it is one of my father’s favourite books I do frequently), but each time I draw her I like her more than before.

So this is a very… pink collection of Lydia sketches. I see Emma and Marianne as being much pinker girls, generally, but these sketches turned out to be a very bubblegum reading of her character, so it seemed apt.

You can see a larger version here on Flickr.

Illustration Friday: Highlight

Illustration Friday: Highlight (and January Header)

When I read aloud to my father, he almost always asks for Pride and Prejudice. “Would you like me to begin at the beginning, or would you like the Best Bits Version?” I always ask, and he says, “Oh, start when they get to Pemberley.”

We have our Best Bits Versions of many novels. This Christmas he also requested The Wind in the Willows, so we read about when the Mole finds his way to his abandoned home and the field mice sing Christmas carols, and also “The Return of Ulysses” (when our heroes chase the stoats and weasels out of Toad Hall). We would have read about Christmas dinner from To Kill A Mockingbird as well, only we couldn’t find the book.

When we all still lived at home, and visitors came, we would set aside our usual reading for a favourite extract – the battle between King Pellinore and Sir Grummore in The Sword in the Stone, Henry Lawson’s “The Loaded Dog”, painting the fence or the beetle in church from Tom Sawyer.

The picture is pen and ink with digital colour and texture. Aimee modelled. The sofa is courtesy of Angela Slatter.

In other news: I am pleased to announce that a calendar was up on 1 January 2012 – it is painted through until May and is in colour. This is January, with a little milk jug I found (along with three sets of cups, saucers and cake plates) in an impenetrable second-hand shop on Ipswich Road.

January Calendar

The Dalek of Sleepy Hollow (with bonus Austen)

The Dalek of Sleepy Hollow

This instalment of the Dalek Game is for Halloween and Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow. There is a lovely edition illustrated by Arthur Rackham, and this Dalek is encountering Rackham’s Ichabod Crane.

Growing up in Australia, Halloween was not an event – my mother, however, had many stories from her childhood in America, so my image of Halloween is in soft nostalgic shades, being made up of those tales, the costumes in E.T. and readings of poor Ichabod Crane’s misadventure with a pumpkin in Sleepy Hollow.

Australian pumpkins are very different from American ones, but I still consider them an unsettling vegetable. In my experience, they climb trees and are often found hiding under the bedclothes – I am not the only visitor to my parents’ house to have had this encounter.

It is 200 years since the first of Jane Austen’s novels was published. I was away from my usual equipment, but drew the following as part of the general spirit of celebration on Twitter this morning (aware that the first published was not P&P):

Dalek and Prejudice

In other news: I did manage to get a picture up for last week’s Illustration Friday: Fuel (because not everything is about Daleks, yet). There have been some lovely reviews of Steampunk!, and this one from Karen Meisner at io9 mentions my comic.

Wuthering Daleks (and Regency Ducks)

Wuthering Daleks

Back to the 19th century with this instalment of the Dalek Game (but not to worry, I have more Gaiman, Adams and waiting others in the wings).

I am sure I first read Wuthering Heights when I was about 7, but I may have been a bit older. Not by much though – I was young enough to find it more accessible than Brave New World and actually get to the end, but frankly, it was no Jane Eyre. I read it again for school in year 12, when everyone was silly enough to think it romantic, and again at uni, when I loathed it. It did, however, give us Kate Bush (alone justification for the book) and a very awkwardly funny scene with some dead rabbits.

In other news: You may have seen the Flash Gordon duck drawing. I am not doing a series of those (yet) but it led to some friends and I sitting in a pew waiting for a wedding to begin and making duck jokes, so when one of those friends had a birthday, this was the obvious choice (pen, brush and coloured inks):

A Duck Universally Acknowledged

Also – look look look! The website for Steampunk! is out, and I’m in it!