Hey, does anyone have a favourite fairytale or nursery rhyme or children’s story that they’d like to see me do some illustrations of? 

 (I wanna show that I can interpret existing texts for my portfolio. Anything aimed at ages 0-10. People or animals or both. I’m just looking for some inspiration bc apparently all my head can think of right now is the same two stories over and over. And also I like to make things I know you guys will appreciate!)

EDIT: Thank you all for responding. I’m not going to get around to all of them but they /are/ all going on my list of “things to draw when you don’t know what to draw”. And feel free to add more. Like, I’m just going to end up drawing whatever I think will fit nicely into my portfolio/whatever I feel enthusiastic about on the day so the more the merrier, really.

I posted this over on twitter and @matterofawesome wanted to know the story, so I’m reblogging this with a little commentary.

Normally while I’m drawing a piece I create the story and change it as I go, but this one stayed from beginning to end because they’re characters that already exist with loosely pre-defined stories in my head. I was gonna write a webcomic but… I probably won’t. The pirate is the captain of my pirate crew, and the princess is not on the crew, but she’s always been a part of that story too, so here’s how she fits in. (Beware, it gets long.)

When the pirate was young, her parents were servants in the palace. She grew up learning to be a servant too, but she also attended palace lessons with the princess and other children whose parents worked in the palace. As they grew up, the princess and the not-yet-pirate became best friends and then girlfriends. They were happy, sneaking around the palace to kiss in corners and laughing and talking for hours as they watched the ships sail in and out of the port. They kept their relationship a secret, because princesses are meant to marry princes or princesses – not servants – but they still dreamed of a future together. The princess did, anyway. The not-yet-pirate wanted to, but she didn’t really believe it.

When the princess came of age, she wanted to bring the not-yet-pirate to the party as her date, and tell her parents about their relationship. But the not-yet-pirate was scared. She didn’t have fancy clothes, and she was worried she’d be kicked out of the palace if the King and Queen knew of her relationship with the princess. She refused to go to the party as a guest, but reassured the princess that she’d be there anyway, because she’d be serving drinks. The princess was a little sad and confused, but at least the not-yet-pirate would be there to celebrate with her.

As the evening went on, the princess, as she danced with partner after partner, would look over at her girlfriend and smile. She thought the not-yet-pirate would be happy to be celebrating her birthday. But the not-yet-pirate was getting more jealous with each dance, and starting frowning back. At the end of the night, the princess was dragged off to another chamber to sit and talk with some of the princes and princesses from other lands. When the not-yet-pirate looked in, she saw the princess braiding the hair of another girl, and giggling.

The next day, the princess chattered happily about the party, and the not-yet-pirate joined in, putting on a fake smile. The princess knew her well enough to know it was fake, but she didn’t know what to do, so she let it go.

That night, the not-yet-pirate snuck into the princess’ bedroom and left a note on the pillow that just said “Goodbye.” The not-yet pirate hugged her parents, told them she wanted to see the world, and left on the next ship out.

The almost-pirate disembarked at a busy port and walked away from her old life. No one else needed to know she was the daughter of servants. Here, she could be anyone. She knew the ways of the palace. She knew how queens and princesses behaved. Here, she could be royalty. It worked a little. She probably seemed like a runaway merchant kid, she thought, when she was honest with herself. In any case, she was well educated, and she got a position on an old woman’s pirate ship as an interpreter/scribe/map-reader, and they set off.

The now-pirate never told anyone of her past, but she dropped hints, here and there, of her familiarity with palace life. She travelled far and wide, and saw the world, and learned many things and became a trusted member of the crew. 

Several years later, the old captain stopped in her home harbour to pick up a child: her granddaughter. She passed the running of the ship onto the now-pirate, declaring that it was time for a break. The other crew didn’t mind, and the now-pirate was happy. She loved her crew, the sea, the strangers in ports.

But every now and then, she’d catch a familiar smell, or a flash of cloth, see a plant from her home, and she would miss her home, her parents, her princess. 

(NB: This is when the bulk of the main story in my head is set. The pirates have adventures. The captain (our dear now-pirate) is a little quiet, and mysterious, and they do think she’s probably royalty. So before this NB is really backstory, and after this would be the ending and it’s not super thought through.)

One day, her adventures drew her back home. She stopped in to see her parents, and heard news of the princess. When the pirate had left, the princess threw herself into study, and became a respected figure around the world. She was unmarried, though there had been an engagement to another princess that had fallen through and no one knew why.

The princess had remained close to the pirate’s parents through the years and she dropped in unexpectedly while the pirate was sitting with them. They made awkward conversation. The pirate’s parents gently faded into the background, taking the pirate crew with them, and the princess and the pirate were alone.

They caught each other up on their lives, they went wandering through the halls they used to wander years before, and the pirate apologised for running away, and they confessed that they still wanted to be with each other. And they kissed out in the open, and the princess and the pirate lived happily ever after. The end.

Illustration by Pauline Baynes (from The Magician’s Nephew)

Colour by me.

I’ve been realising that I’ve gotten a little scared of colour. Or, I’ve been focussed on drawing/linework, and art is a little like running – you build up your muscles and then your lungs hurt, then you build up your cardio and your legs hurt – as long as you’re improving, there’s always an aspect that is feeling like it’s left behind. And with art there’s more than just muscle vs cardio, there’s line vs shape vs colour, and characters vs environments, and details vs composition.

And in order to practise colouring an environment, you need to start with a drawing. But by the time I’ve finished drawing something, I get all anxious about the colour and I want to do it properly, rather than just for practise. To solve this, I’ve decided to use other people’s drawings so I can jump right into the colouring process and /know/ that it’s not for anything so there’s no pressure and I’m free to learn.

Plus, as an extra bonus, I’m learning from cool artists about their linework.



the haunted mirror.

Carlie didn’t set out to own a haunted mirror.

And she didn’t really own it.

It came with the house. And it didn’t really seem like it could be moved, even if she wanted to.

The phone call had come through on Monday afternoon. Carlie didn’t even know she had a Great Aunt Petunia. It seemed like the punch line of a story. But she hadn’t changed her will in a long time, obviously, because her will still named Carlie’s decade-long dead father as the sole inheritor. And she was his sole inheritor. She looked around her tiny room in a flatshare with a girl obsessed with the tuba, and a guy she was pretty sure was stoned more often than he wasn’t. So she agreed to get on a plane to Whangarei. Well, Auckland, and a bus to Whangarei.

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Look, this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.