Thursday 30 June 2016

Home-made pet parade, pencil A4
A very early sketch from 2004, which later evolved into a scene in Rules of Summer by 2013.

Monday 27 June 2016

Chameleon, scraperboard, c.1997

A drawing I produced for my own letterhead in my early years as a freelance illustrator, but never ended up using (I just didn't write that many letters). The idea was that to be a freelancer you needed to be somewhat chameleonic, ready to adopt a variety of styles and processes, ready to catch any good ideas too. 

I'm often asked by new illustrators, is it better to be diverse or have one particular, signature style? I'm still not sure, but starting out I had no real choice, in Perth at that time I needed to be diverse just to survive: paintings for galleries, murals, scientific illustration, architectural, product labels, concert posters, children's books, SF, horror, political cartoons; you name it, I tried it. Over time it morphed into something like a singular style anyway. Two good quotes by painters on style that I often think about: 

Georges Braque: 'Style is the inability to do otherwise' 

Frank Auerbach: 'Style is what you do in a crisis.'

Sunday 26 June 2016

Unmasking the Wild

June 30th is your final chance to bid on your favourite mask!

A unique collection of masks collectively titled Unmasking the Wild, created by 22 Australian illustrators celebrate the end of the 30 year journey for Isobelle Carmody and her legion of faithful readers, that was The Red Queen, the last in the Obernewtyn Chronicles.

My own contribution: Cypress Trickster, paper, clay, acylic and oil paint.

All of the masks are available for sale by auction online to raise funds for two charities: Crisis Fund, run by IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) and the Moon Bear Sanctuary in Chengdu, China.

View this terrific collection on display at the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, Ground Floor. Until 3 July.Geelong Regional Library - What's On Page
Bid on your favourite mask here!
Matchbox backyards, pencil

Thursday 23 June 2016

2016 Book Week Poster - Australia: Story Country!

Poster for Children's Book Week 2016: Australia: Story Country

Earlier this year I completed designs for poster, badges, bookmarks and stickers commissioned by the Children's Book Council of Australia, who coordinate Book Week every year in late August. It's customary that the winner of the picture book award from a previous year (Rules of Summer in my case) be invited to create visual materials for the next celebration. And 2016 is a special anniversary year for the CBCA, celebrating 70 years. That's a lot of reading! Given the theme 'Australia: Story Country' my idea was to try and include as many characters from Australia classics as possible into one landscape, which leaves me feeling immediately apologetic for the vast majority of iconic figures not included. Too many! On the other hand, I'm grateful to all the authors and publishers who granted permission to reference their creations, and the CBCA for supporting this. I hope the poster captures the overall feeling of vibrancy and sheer fun that comes to mind when thinking about all the great books published in this country over the years.

Book Week poster detail, showing a mix of both classic and invented characters

I also created a version of the same poster as a colouring-in exercise for school students (below), but of course anyone else is welcome to have a crack at it. You can find out more about Book Week here, and also buy posters and other decorations here. The CBCA is a non-profit organisation with all proceeds going back to the running of book awards, conferences and other activities that promote reading. 

CBCA poster as a colouring-in exercise for kids (and adults)