Around the edges

Today I went to see an exhibition and talk from one of Australia's most amazing illustrators Graeme Base. I got to see the original art for his new book The Legend of the Golden Snail at Melbourne Arts Rooms and my, are they breathtaking. The detail is so incredible, and his rendering is top notch. He uses a blend of watercolours, airbrushes acrylic inks and coloured pencil to great effect. so very inspiring.

I TOTALLY forgot to take my books of his to sign (doi) so I got him to sign my notebook instead :)
In other news, I've been working on a few illustratory things around the edges which I can't share with you yet, so instead here is something I was involved in as part of the Melbourne Festival last weekend - a flash mob dance! (SO FUN!) See if you can pick me out, ha ha. There were a total of 5 dances done throughout downtown Melbourne that day (I did two), but so far this is the only one I can find...

wise words

"If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams."

Yann Martel in Life of Pi

Cover pains

I'm drawing to the end of my current book project (pun intended!) -- except that we still don't have a cover! I've just submitted my 9th and 10th sketches for it.

I think a cover design is always fraught - it's so difficult to find one image which sums up the book, plus there are lots of people to keep happy: editor, author, marketing, publicity, etc. oh, and yeah yourself in there somewhere too. In my experience I've found I usually need to relinquish control of the cover, and just be happy with the rest of the book to myself. Hard to do though, I still have to put my two cents in even if it's ignored sometimes ;)

I'm reminded of when I heard David Weisner speak at the SCBWI conference, and he told how he went through about 20 cover ideas for Flotsam. He showed us many of them, and they weren't all good! It doesn't make me feel so bad, seeing as he won the Caldecott and all...

Pixar: 20 years of animation

We went to see the Pixar exhibition today at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) - the last day - phew! It was mostly about the preliminary stages of creating their films, so more about the character development and general look and feel than the computer side of things. So very inspiring naturally. such talented people they are. the way they can visualise an object/person from any angle, get across a certain feeling with minimal lines or make an incredibly detailed painting. I think above all Pixar is great at creating (or emulating and romanticizing) worlds. They make underwater so magical or an ant's perspective beautiful.

it makes me realize that my work could really have so much more dimension - i really need to work on lighting and perspective to give them more feeling. Naturally there is always something to work on! I guess seeing an exhibition like that helps you look at your own work with a bit more perspective...

Chin up

I'm a bit down tonight because we just found out we didn't get a house we've been looking at and picturing ourselves in and planning renovations for in our heads. It had this fantastic sunroom at the back which would have been my studio. we were outbid by someone. so now it's back to the drawing board - trolling the internet, house inspections every saturday, haggling with estate agents, etc. etc. etc.

it's a very competitive market here, unlike the one in america at the moment. I wonder if what is happening there will happen here eventually and maybe we should just wait, and house prices will start going DOWN. if we weren't getting kicked out of our rental place I would probably do that. But for now I have just drawn myself a little chin up giraffe, and will sit down with some red wine and a movie and commiserate with my hubby. at least i have someone to go through all this with. that's the one thing i keep coming back to that always makes me feel okay. :-)

a few more in the series

Here are some more in a new series of acrylic paintings:

This one is heading off to my new little niece who was born on the 23rd of August. Her name is Claire and she lives in Boston with her mother and father and big sister.

These are heading up to Brisbane with the other two.

and this one was for a friend who's been going through a tough time...

and I'm quite happy today because since being back from travelling I haven't had any (paid) illustration work, but just this week the phone has started ringing again. so hooray for that! more deposit for the house I'm sure we'll find very soon. ;-)


I've been terrible lately. I've let househunting eclipse everything in my life for the past few weeks, including doing art. No more! We had major trials last week -- we actually bought a house, yes, signed on the dotted line, then got back an extremely negative building inspection (the words "money pit" were thrown around), so we pulled out of the sale. It was very disappointing because the house was everything we wanted and more in terms of space, location, price, everything, and now we are back to the drawing board (sorta speak). but I'm sure something else will turn up and it will be even BETTER!

so no more obsessive trolling of the internet looking over house ads 2, 3, 47 times. now i'm tempering life with a healthy dose of creation. and as I write I have paint smeared all over my arms and clothes- i'm just taking a break from a new painting adventure. i'll be posting about that very soon (hopefully tomorrow) and hope to do I-F's "Visitor" this week too.

but until then, here is some old stuff.

i did these before I went away. the first one is for the 'walking school bus' an initiative where kids walk to school together in 'bus' formation led by an adult - promoting community, socialisation and you guessed it, WALKING! I was happy to contribute to such a great idea and cause!

and this is one I did for Sydney's Child Magazine, i really like how this one turned out.

see you soon! xx

I-F: Citrus

It's been nice to have a bit of down time in the middle of the trip to do things like... Illustration Friday! the word this week is Citrus. This technically is still a travel sketch, but from another trip...

and here's a bonus one I drew while waiting for my laundry. (I came home to paint it though) I'm enjoying playing with crazy textures with the paint and then having bold and detailed linework on top.


another new header

Well i've had enough giraffes for the moment (though I do still love them!) - so here's a header of a different ilk. I've been drawing things like this for my latest and LAST illustration project before I go overseas, and it got me inspired to create something nice for me blog. i'm much happier with this one.
hooray for bloggy goodness!

Jungle rhythms

(this isn't a great reproduction because it's too big for my scanner so I had to photograph it)

A friend of my husband's saw my website and loved my giraffes, so asked me to do a painting for him. It evolved from a giraffe into a four piece jungle band! I had sooo much fun doing this. Also it is bigger than I usually paint (it is about 320mm x 450mm, and I normally don't do much bigger than A4 - 210mm x 297mm) so it was a challenge that way too. i really enjoyed painting larger - it gives you so much more room to play and to add little details.

I took a few photos along the way:

lines traced onto 300lb Arches watercolour paper

base wash of yellow and starting to put in the greens with some fun drips & spatters

shadows on the greens and add in reds/browns

all the colouring done!

painted ink lines to finish it off.

Art & Design

I've just joined Art & Design Online. It's not really targeted at the right markets for me, but i figure getting out there in any way possible on the web is a good thing. Plus, it's free!

It looks like it might be a good community of 'arty' people, but I haven't really had time to check that out yet. So for the time being, you can find me here. :-)

A little spruce up

Well I've updated my website to link to my blog so I thought it was maybe time for a bit of a spruce up here. I was going to switch over to the new blogger templates but it seemed like a lot of work for not much gain, so I have remained old school.

I hope you like my new masthead! unfortunately I painted it the absolute wrong dimensions, so it has ended up a bit bigger than I intended, but it'll do for now I think...