Sunday, December 31, 2017

Festive Kitties

It's my last blog post for 2017 and I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy new year. If you read my blog, I'd really like to thank you, your support means such a lot to me!

It's fitting that I now post this Colour Collective kitty that I did for the last Colour Collective of 2017. The colour was 'white' and I had to do something special for the New Year!

Let's all make this a really good year. I'm feeling energised and ready for it - I want to make big things happen!

And here are two more cats I did for Colour Collective during December. I was so busy it was black cats or nothing (they're quicker to draw)

For the colour 'sugarplum' I eschewed the obvious sugarplum fairy and featured gingerbread and sweet pink icing. This kitty has just been BUSTED.

And then for Venetian Red, I did, as someone on Instragram so wonderfully put it, 'a cat flossing a fang' on some Christmas wrapping.

These were done in Adobe Photoshop cc 2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro.

Lapphund Christmas Cards 2017

Every year I do custom Christmas cards for some lovely friends. We started in 2013, when they had just got their first dog, so she was the subject of the cards. In 2014 they had a second dog, so I added her in, and by 2015 they had a gorgeous little boy, who naturally had to be included too!  This year marks the 5th year of this card series, their little boy is now two and a half, and most of their card recipients have now tumbled to the fact that these are custom commissioned cards, they aren't just super-good at finding cards with dogs that look like theirs!

Back when they only had dogs, I used to do two separate designs for them, but now I just do one, with a traditional Christmassy red-green-gold colour scheme, and another with a blue-gold-grey colour scheme. Here's that second colourway:

You'll notice that the icecream in this one doesn't match the rest of the colours - that's because strawberry icecream is his favourite and we wanted to feature that. The red card has a choc-mint icecream, (because strawberry doesn't match red) and let me tell you, I got very hungry while painting it!

We got them printed at Moo, and they of course did a wonderful job:

These were done in Adobe Photoshop cc 2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro.

Go below the cut to see all the previous years' cards:

Floral Christmas Cards

Here's a commissioned Christmas card I did this year. I always love these projects! I've been doing cards for these lovely people for a few years now, and they usually feature birds in a woodcut style, but this year we did something different (much to the consternation of my parents, who would look over my shoulder and demand if I was sure this is what they'd asked for. Not sure if they actually expected me to say 'no, actually, I decided to do whatever I liked' or what...) 

The commissioners had done some work in their garden this year, removing a large pine tree and planting lots of paper daisies. They like natives to bring the birds to their garden. The new yard has been attracting a lot of attention, so they wanted their cards to feature paper daisies. I did up a few concepts, including one based on the floral cards I do myself every now and then, and that's the design they chose:

I added a few extra natives - pink bottle brushes and swan river myrtle - to keep things interesting. They came out very clean and modern and I like them a lot!

We were printing via Moo, of course, so I did a dark version as well, to take advantage of the printfinity option at Moo. I like the way the colours glow against this dark background:

They printed very nicely:

It was such fun to do a Christmas card with such non-traditional colours!

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro

Under the Christmas Tree

A slightly more polished Colour Collective, from after the deadlines had been met. This was the last CC before Christmas, so I definitely had to continue my Christmassy themes. I chose to do Myrna again. She doesn't, fortunately, eat the baubles off the tree (or the presents), but it's a good image. 

I used this for my thank you cards this year. It's good to find multiple uses for something!

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro. It took about three hours or so.

Illo Advent 2017

I'd made my plans for Illo Advent before I suddenly acquired a lot of extra deadlines, so while I struggled on to keep it going, I ended up missing quite a few days. We can't have everything, and I'm actually quite proud of myself for managing as many days as I did, considering the amount of work I was doing at the same time!

My theme this year was a school nativity play, one character a day. I knew I'd only be able to be really rough with it, but later on I may work it up into a proper illustration, treating this as the draft. Then again, I may not. You never know!

I managed 20 of the 25 days, which isn't bad. There was originally going to be a girl dressed up a the star, and some more animals, but I had to cut my losses. There was also going to be more scenery. Best laid plans.... 

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro. I kept it down to well under half an hour per kid. 

Bark the Herald Angels Sing

A quick little Colour Collective that I threw together. Most of December was full of deadlines and I was working absolutely flat tack, but it's important to carve out a little time to not work, so I kept up with my Colour Collective pieces, albeit very quick ones!

This was inspired by the way you get barks heralding Christmas visitors if you have a dog in the house. If in doubt, I draw Myrna!

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Cards 2017

I was pretty busy when it came time to design this year's Christmas cards, so rather than come up with a new theme, I recycled last year's theme - I had several unused concept thumbnails all ready to go, which made it very simple. I chose to change the colours, so the cards really belong to the same series, but not the same set - they compliment each other well though:

See more below the cut:

Christmas Mayhem

I had grand plans for Colour Collective's 'Alice Blue' prompt, but as so often happens, deadlines got in the way. So I threw together a quick little illustration to use as my Twitter header for this festive season.

Myrna is always a good choice for when I'm low on time!
Of course, I scrambled to finish something for Colour Collective, and then Twitter decided to hide my post from the hashtag search. Thanks Twitter, that's all I need. >.<

Here's a look at how it fits into my Twitter page. It's tricky to design something that will work across all devices and screen sizes. I used a template I found somewhere - but it does not work on Twitter's Mac app. Which I don't think has been updated in years, so that's probably why...

Last year my Twitter header was Myrna as well. This time in Christmassy red:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Cruise Kittens

I'm feeling a bit overworked, and dreaming of lazy holidays of the sort that I normally don't even like (you know, sitting on lounge chairs by the beach or pool, while someone brings you drinks. Usually I prefer to be out and about seeing stuff on holiday!) so when Colour Collective came up with 'Battery Charged Blue' for their prompt, I decided to do something with a holiday vibe. I went with the Mediterranean rather than South East Asia, for the very simple reason that I didn't feel like drawing tricky palm trees.

Any colour with a name like 'Battery Charged Blue' needs the zing of a contrasting colour, so I kept my palette very limited, with marmalade cats and terracotta roofs, and kept the saturation high. I've never actually been to the Mediterranean, but the photos always have gloriously saturated colours. 

This took 2 hours, tops. And as usual, I did it in Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. Apart from the clouds, the whole thing was done using Kyle Webster's 'Gouache Extra Dry' brush (the clouds were a watercolour brush).

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Shakespearean Kitty

"The breaking of so great a thing should make a greater crack."

A quick little piece for Colour Collective - for the 'Old Lace' prompt. Obviously this really required a detailed treatment of an Elizabethan ruff.... but I required not to spend too long on it. So this is what we have. 

The quote is from Anthony and Cleopatra, and I have no idea what it's referring to, never having read that play. I just searched for a quote that would work with the image. My knowledge of Shakespeare is patchy. I'm good on the tragedies, from highschool, and from proof-reading my friend Makenzi's various theses, from Bachelors all the way up to PhD. And I'm good on a few comedies, because I like the comedies. But histories.... nope. I got nothin'.   

Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.
A couple of hours. I was not having a good drawing day. Sometimes you get a day like that!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Gosnells Writers Circle Self-Publishing Expo 2017

This year I was again invited to take part in the Gosnells Writers Circle Self Publishing Expo. (I also attended it last year and in 2015) It's very nice of them, as I don't live in Gosnells and I'm not a member of the circle - but I have done several projects with members. This year I was tabling with my lovely author, Sioban Timmer - we have done two books together so far. Toughen Up, Princess and Feral Fergus.

Here's my set-up. I made sure to bring along a lot of different things to sell, as you never know what people will decide to buy. I had my banner up behind me, and an iPad running a slideshow of illustrations and timelapse videos of me working.

Here is the full table. Sioban (who is organiser for the Expo as well) wasn't at her seat when these photos were kindly taken by Jane Hilton, and I didn't call her over because she hates having her photo taken.

I took a little video of my side of the table to post to my Instagram Story:

Part of my task is to advise anyone who is looking to self-publish and needs an illustrator (quite a low number this year, unless I look too terrifying to approach. I don't, do I??) but I also bring along things to sell, especially things that might make good gifts. 

Last year there were a lot of kids at the Expo, so this year I made lots of stickers and magnets, small items with small price points (last year my bookmarks went well). However, this year the Expo was in a different venue, and less people came in off the street, so the only two kids were there to receive awards for their writing. So that backfired a little. I sold a couple of magnets and one sticker pack, but the single stickers remained entirely unloved. I like them, I think I will start sticking them around my desk. =P

(all the stickers were handmade, printed out on matte paper, Modge-Podged, stuck to double-sided adhesive paper and cut out.)

As usual, I was offering cards and my Literary Romance Colouring Book (Buy it here! Perfect for the literature-lover in your life), and I also had six Expo Special slots open for discounted watercolour and pet portraits, but the price point was still too high for the venue, really. But it's good to offer these things on the off-chance. And in a way, it's fortunate, because I'm horrendously busy this coming month!) I had a couple of pieces of handmade jewellery, and this year I also made felted baubles. I sold a few of those, so I don't have photos of all of them: 

Several of my beaded ones went, along with a mouse and a koala in Christmas hats. 


I think the blue beaded one is my favourite...

The baubles were felted in the washing machine, with balls of leftover wool scraps from my mother's hoard inside, and then I embellished them with needle felting and beads.

All in all, it was a good morning! We had two interesting guest speakers, teaching us how to write in technicolour instead of monochrome (Lee Battersby), and how to stay inspired no matter what (Karen McDermott from Serenity Press). The Gosnells Writers Circle was also launching it's Bi-Annual Anthology. Lots going on! Thanks for having me, Gosnells Writers Circle!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

After several days of not drawing at all, being sick, I couldn't miss Colour Collective's 'Deep Saffron' prompt. I picked something very quick and very easy, of course, let's not bite off more than we can chew when unwell. But it was fun to do. I played with Photoshop's new symmetry drawing tool to speed up the pumpkin a bit, and also downloaded some more of Kyle Webster's watercolour brushes and played with them too. Gotta get some fun out of the extortionate fee I pay for Creative Cloud!!

We don't do much for Halloween in Australia, but you can't be in the kitdlitart social media circles and ignore it. And really, what is the point of Jack-o-Lanterns if we cannot fill them with kitties?

Adobe Photoshop CC2018 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. About two hours, in a desultory fashion.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

So much for the diet...

Really, really quick Colour Collective for the 'Vert Pré' prompt:

When life hands you green, draw caterpillars!

Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. Under an hour.

Inktober 2017: Week 3

I'm afraid I fell off the Inktober bandwagon after week 3 this year: I caught a cold, got a sinus infection and discovered that I had two impacted wisdom teeth that need to be removed (and let me tell you, sinus infection and impacted wisdom teeth is not a good combo. I wouldn't wish that on anyone!). I was really sick for several days (and now I am still in pain and my productivity is suffering) so I gave up on completing Inktober. I gave it a good shot and got all the way to Day 21.

I started out the week with no very clear idea about what I was going to be doing, so I did a vaguely 20s-inspired witch, but she doesn't look very 20s...

I also made a sped-up video of this, testing out the old camcorder that I suddenly remembered we had. Unfortunately it's way too old to actually have a timelapse function, so I sped it up in Adobe Premiere Pro:

Then I did a sketchy little piece revisiting my little witch with the goose:

After that I switched to drawing my dog, Myrna. She's always a good subject:

Day 17:

More below the cut:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Please let me in...

...It's wet out here!

Continuing my theme of quick-cat-because-I-don't-have-time-for-a-Colour-Collective-but-I'm-doing-one-anyway pics. And I'm branching out - this cat is not black!

The colour was 'timberwolf' this time around.

I really love how much expression you can get into two white circles with dots in!

This was very quick, about 1.5 hours, in Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2

Inktober 2017: Week 2

Despite being horrendously busy, I decided that I would take some time for Inktober this year. If you don't know what that is, it's an October challenge on social media, where you draw something in ink every day. Some of the artwork is amazing, go check it out! There is an official prompt list, and a number of people write their own prompt lists - but there are no real rules, and I'm not following any prompts.

I decided to draw really little images each day - just so I can have ten to twenty minutes working with a nice traditional brush pen, on actual paper, on something that doesn't have to be perfect. I'm not pretending to be up there with the people who do a full-blown, amazing illustration every day. I'm too busy for that, for a start! =P

For my second week, my character was a black raven:

See more below the cut:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Inktober 2017: Week 1

Despite being horrendously busy, I decided that I would take some time for Inktober this year. If you don't know what that is, it's an October challenge on social media, where you draw something in ink every day. Some of the artwork is amazing, go check it out! There is an official prompt list, and a number of people write their own prompt lists - but there are no real rules, and I'm not following any prompts.

I decided to draw really little images each day - just so I can have ten to twenty minutes working with a nice traditional brush pen, on actual paper, on something that doesn't have to be perfect. I'm not pretending to be up there with the people who do a full-blown, amazing illustration every day. I'm too busy for that, for a start! =P

My first week was devoted to this little black kitten:

More under the cut, including a timelapse!

Training new Familiars

Back to the cats for Colour Collective. The colour was 'Pewter Blue'. I'm still pressed for time, so I reused an old concept from last year, and updated it to fit with my current cat series:

I had rather less than two hours to work on this, so it was a bit rushed, but there we go.

Here's the original use of this frightened kitty-cat, from a Halloween witch I did in October 2016 (that's a year ago, how did that happen??):

Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Pretty as a Picture...

... and Planning the Hit List.

It had to be a really quick Colour Collective for the 'Shocking Pink' prompt. I'm taking overflowing to-do lists to whole new levels.

So this was the quickest thing I could think of!

About 1 hour in Adobe Photoshop CC on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Feral Fergus Book Launch

Finally getting around to blogging about the book launch for Feral Fergus, my newest picture book with Sioban Timmer. We worked together on Toughen Up, Princess a couple of years ago, and now we're back with a new book in full colour!

Sioban and Moi:

The launch was held on September 2nd at the Amherst Community Hall in Gosnells. We had quite a crowd!

Our publisher, Cate Rocci of Jasper Books, spoke first, then I did a presentation about the creation of Fergus as a character, starting with my initial meeting with Sioban, where she told me she envisaged a cross between Alfred Newman of MAD Magazine, Ginger Meggs and Fido Dido, though various character sketches right through to the final character:


(My father took this photo, he is a master at catching me in weird expressions :P)

Sioban then took to the stage to discuss her role as the writer, while I provided some entertainment and drew Fergus on the whiteboard behind her:

After that we signed books:

We also had a colouring table set up for the kids, with some colouring pages of Fergus. You can download the pages to colour yourself from my website here. The colouring page pack also features the Feral Name Generator that is included in the book. You'll see from the photos that everyone is wearing a name badge - not with their real-world name, but with their feral name. If you're curious as to yours, go download the pack!

Thanks to Ken Mutton, Jane Hilton and Sioban Timmer for the photos.

I'll blog more about Fergus in the near future. I've been so busy with various projects it's been difficult to find time to blog about anything!


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