Saturday 28 June 2014

New Prints

I've created three new large-format (65 x 55cm) giclee prints of Rules of Summer images, as signed limited editions, as faithful as possible to the original oil-on-canvas paintings thanks to high-resolution photography and fussy colour matching on a beautiful matte stock. For info and queries about these, please contact Books Illustrated,, or to find a little more about prints in general, visit their site

Never leave a red sock on the clothesline

Never be late for a parade

Never give your keys to a stranger

Friday 27 June 2014

One green mini waiting in the night, oil on board, 20 x 25cm

Saturday 21 June 2014

Scraps of Summer

'Not invited', pencil, 2009

An early concept sketch for the book that eventually became Rules of Summer five years later. Most of my stories begin as sketches with unfocused narratives (if any at all) and often don't progress much further than this. But they can sometimes evolve: the image here ended up splitting into a few different paintings such as 'Never forget the password' (below, as a rough colour sketch - you can see the compositional similarity) all of which deal with themes of exclusion and longing.

While I really like the concept of this original drawing, it didn't quite fit into the structure of the final book, something that often happens, and so needed to be sacrificed. The phrase 'kill your darlings' – removing favourites – applies to illustration as much as writing.  However, there's no reason why I wouldn't revisit this again in a different context, and a sketchbook is always handy this way, a literal scrapbook open to all kinds of recycling and adaptation.

'Never forget the password' colour sketch, pastel 2013

Friday 20 June 2014

Thursday 12 June 2014

Sunday 8 June 2014

Grimm Fandango

'A witch taken to the gallows on the back of a wildcat', clay, paint, string, 15cm tall

One of several new sculptures inspired by Grimm's Fairy Tales, this one for a the story 'The Blue Light', about a solider taking revenge against those who have wronged him (including the witch above). I began this series as a set of illustrations for the German edition of Philip Pullman's Grimm Tales published last year, and have since continued to create additional works for other stories that I found particularly intriguing outside of that collection. By 1850, the Grimm Brothers included over 200 tales in Children's and Household Tales, so there's certainly no shortage of inspiration; as Margaret Atwood notes, 'no emotion is unrepresented'.

Monday 2 June 2014

Rules of Summer App Commentary

High-res canvas: a detail from the Rules of Summer App

With the recent release of the Rules of Summer App in the US and many parts of Europe, I've updated my website to include a profile of this version of the book, which you can find here. Many people might think the app is just an ebook, but it's actually a lot more than that, and a unique work which took months of development. Among other things, it introduces a novel way of presenting  paintings at extremely high resolution through very clever image compression, something that could be of interest to many other artists, particularly those who (like me) prefer the mess of traditional materials, but also keep one foot in the digital realm.

3RRR Interview - on books and animals

I recently chatted with friend and fellow author and illustrator Sally Rippin about the use of animal characters in fiction and other things, together with presenter Kulja Coulston of RRR, a local Melbourne radio station. You can listen to the on demand segment here:

Sunday 1 June 2014