Cole’s Book Arcade

As part of the release/promotion of The Grandest Bookshop in the World, I created two illustrations that, in all honesty, terrified me a fair bit. The premise was brilliant: two illustrations of Cole’s Book Arcade, to go in a window display for Dymocks Sydney. In practise: I marked out, with masking tape on my wall, the actual SIZE of the posters, and then I sat down on the floor and stared at the wall for longer than was healthy. Guys, they are nearly as tall as me! I’m used to creating illustrations for books, magazines, and computer screens!

Anyway, eventually I pulled myself together, and painted these.

TSM Lit Fest

In the depths of Melbourne’s lockdown winter, I was glad to have a distraction in the form of teaching. The School Magazine hosted a Literary Festival in late August, and I was invited to contribute some of my thoughts on illustration.

As always, teaching helps clarify ideas that have been floating in the back of my mind, forcing me to nail them down. And the TSM folk set me some interesting prompts to answer, which led me to question some of the things I do without thinking.

Growing up, I wasn’t one of the kids who was super into drawing, and it’s always really important to me to make sure that kids know it’s not a thing to just be ‘good at drawing’ (or ‘good at maths’ or anything else). You get better at things you spend time working on, and anyone can learn to draw (and do maths) whenever they want. It’s also really important to me that illustration is not simply ‘being good at drawing’. There are so many skills that go into it, and for these videos I found myself focussing on how to be the best illustrator you can be right now, even if you’re not happy with your drawing skills.

Another thing that filtered into my thought process while making the videos is more of a personal reflection. When I was young, and people asked me the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?‘, I never knew what to answer, because mostly I just wanted to read (and climb trees…). But I didn’t really want to edit books, or review them – making judgements seemed horribly difficult – I just wanted to delve into them. I could never have guessed, at nine years old, that drawing would be my pathway to that, but I’m glad I found a way there.

Fan Art for Shipwrecked Comedy

The Case of the Turncoat’s… Coat

When Claudette Knickerbocker discovers corruption in The Force, she calls in the only person she can trust: an old friend from… The War.

Join Private Investigator Ford Phillips and Public Journalist Fig Wineshine as they help their pal untangle this knot of betrayal and intrigue in a deadly serious film noir with absolutely no jokes whatsoever. None.

Congrats on five years @shipwreckedcomedy​, I’m so grateful for all the things you’ve made so far, and excited for everything you’re gonna make in the future.

PS: Shipwrecked are currently fundraising to make a holiday short and you can see donation info here if that’s the kind of thing you wanna see. (It is.)

Singapore Reflections

I had Big Plans for sketching in Singapore. I wanted it to be like my Europe sketchbook (12) but with a way higher pictures to days ratio, and in colour. I had visions of making a beautiful stop-motion video of sketches appearing on a desk, taking you all on a journey through my trip.

As it is I came back with a lot of sketchy scribbles and colour notes and photos and ideas, and things that mean a lot to me.  There were a lot of lessons about materials (crayons melt in the heat) and sketching methods (as above: using memories instead of actual material can help me narrow down a picture to its key elements instead of overworking). And I learned some more about the sorts of things I want to make.

But I didn’t end up with a lot that I really want to share. So I’ll just leave you with this, and a link to my instagram for the two sketches I posted while away.

Singapore Prep

Alert! I am now one of Those People who takes pictures of their art materials. This is what working traditionally has done to me.

Anyway, I’m going to Singapore, and this is the stuff I plan to take. It’s definitely overkill, but that’s okay. We’re only gone for a week, and clothes for Singaporean weather don’t take up much space, so there’s plenty of room in my bag 🙂

Any recs for places to see? Things to do? So far our plans are: eat a lot. Wander around both the Botanic Gardens and the gardens at Marina Bay. Visit the fancy new Art Gallery and the Art+Science Museum. And see the Masjid Sultan and Sri Mariamman Temple.

Editorial Adventures

This fortnight I have jumped wildly from my slow and thoughtful post-Blaugust habits right into work fast!-mode. (Continuing the trend of not-sharing-immediately, though, so some of it won’t be posted for ages.)

But! This piece!

I took Ed J Brown’s Skillshare course. It was really really good. Like, if I had a survey that was asking ‘how likely are you to recommend this course?’ then my answer’d be 5(/5). Because I would and am recommending it to anyone who’s interested in that sort of thing. Useful info, good teacher and just the right level of challenge to stretch you (or me, anyway).

Anyway, this is the result of all my homework. Sketch ideas and alternate finishes can be found on the project page, if you’re into that kind of thing. I had a fun time, and I’m gonna go off and set myself some more editorial assignments in the future 🙂

Royal Show 2018

I went sketching at the Royal Show yesterday and even took my paints. The School Paraders gave me an opportunity to sit down in a peaceful place and sketch some fairly still subjects.

I’m still enjoying not immediately posting my sketchbooks online, but I gave this painting away to the mum of the competitor so I wanted to record it now. Especially because I was proud of my milestone of painting outdoors without a table.

Day 5: In Practice

I hadn’t really intended to blog today. Partly because it’s Sunday and I don’t want to burn out. But mostly because, so far, Blaugust has actually been really really effective. Way too effective, to be honest.

I’d set up a rough plan for the month, including a topic for most days, a few posts half-written here and there, and I’d even started doing ‘homework’ for future posts. But the point is to document a process. And the process is (happily!) taking me to places I couldn’t have anticipated.

I could press on into further topics and I intend to. But I also need to pause and put a few things into practice. So I’m giving myself a day’s breather, and letting you know the things I’m going to do as homework over the next few days.

  1. Do a few roughs for illustrations whose sole purpose is to convey emotions, ideas, moods etc. Do not consider their commercial/portfolio relevance.
  2. Take a few of my favourite one-off illustrations and develop roughs that belong in the same narrative but show different aspects of the story. These should be varied enough that they wouldn’t feel repetitive when put all together.

Happy weekend 🙂