Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 3

Week 3: Retro
Week 3: Retro

Retro robot. Black ink Sharpie (both Stained and finepoint) and acrylic sketch on pre-cut blank jigsaw. Revealed retro television test pattern has been sepia-toned in iPhoto before printing out.


Pattern created on black "scratch paper", which comes in a pack of five sheets (plus tool) for $4.00 from a toy shop.

Week 3: Retro II

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 2

Week 2 Italy
Week 2: Italy

Fashion vs Football. Mixed media collage, using coloured card, gift wrap, pre-printed paper kitchen towel, brown paper bag, a chenille stick and laserprinted Italian emblem and soccer ticket graphics. Highlights in watercolour and Sharpie inks.


All You Can Eat at The Leaning Tower of Pizza. Cartoon in black Sharpie (no pencil lines!) on watercolour paper, cut out and glued onto card. Painted in watercolour. Signage in "Pages" word processing and then laserprinted.

Week 2 Italy II
Week 2: Italy II

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 1

Week 1 Fairy tale
Week 1: Fairy Tale

Facebook Friend Tania McCartney is running the 52-Week Illustration Challenge again in 2015. My first effort (above) is Little Red Riding Hood: a watercoloured artwork on dampened watercolour paper. Outlined in black Sharpie - freehand with no pencil lines.

I shall be adding the artworks to this Flickr slideshow each week. Enjoy!

I did the Challenge in its inaugural year, which saw its membership surpass 2500 members! (2728 at last count!) Last year, I got into a fairly good routine of painting on a Sunday afternoon (and perhaps a little tinkering the next night), then creating the scan or digital photo so I'd be ready to post to the Challenge's Facebook page at midnight on the Tuesday. Of course, originally, I had no intention of doing a second artwork each week. I started getting intensely jealous of people putting up multiple works of a theme... so now, if inspiration strikes, I'll alway do more. I'm looking forward to seeing who's still here - and how artistic we all feel - in another year's time!


Week 1 Fairy tale II
Week 1: Fairy Tale II

Peter Pan. Charcoal sketch of my Chicago actor pal, James Edward Dauphin, from a publicity shot of his featured stage role. In a costume he designed himself. Highlights in green oil pastel.

Week 1 Fairy Tale III
Week 1: Fairy Tale III

The Witch - of numerous fairy tales - as portrayed by Meryl Streep in 'Into the Woods'. Charcoal over watercolour wash on A3 watercolour paper. Based on a publicity photo.

I saw the movie, Into the Woods, on Sunday night and that particular image of Meryl Streep as The Witch has been haunting me ever since. I did exaggerate her nose because she was looking too pretty. I was excited by the randomness of the watercolour wash. Just as it was close to drying, I patted off excess green in the centre, with a scrunched paper towel, guessing where the face needed to be. Then I kept reorienting the paper, trying to decide which way was "up". Working with charcoal takes me back to the late 70s/early 80s. Nostalgia plus!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Bonus Week

Lettering in Pages word processing program, printed onto photocopy paper. Cartoon animals drawn freehand (no pencil lines!) and detailed in watercolour.

Bonus Week Alphabet
Bonus Week: Alphabet

The concept for this came to my mind's eye several months ago and it drew itself in my head until the other night when I did it for real. I think originally, I imagined all the creatures interacting more. The snake was supposed to have consumed his letter, but it didn't work out that way, so the mouse has nibbled on the "M" to reflect that intention. Animals represented are: anteater, bat, camel, dog, elephant, fox, giraffe, hippopotamus, iguana, jellyfish, koala, lion, mouse, numbat, octopus, pig, quail, rabbit, snake, tiger, unicorn, vulture, whale, x-ray tetra, yak and zebra.

And the Challenge is complete... until 2015, when it all happens again.

... my watercolour from Week 11, entitled "Architecture: Number 96", has been shortlisted, with the possibility of being part of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge exhibition, to be held in Perth in March 2015. Still early days yet (results aren't disclosed until the day of the exhibition's opening), but so wonderful to be ever closer! Will keep you posted on my progress!

Week 11 Architecture
Week 11: Architecture

Exhibition poster by Penny Fisher
Exhibition poster of Tania McCartney by Penny Fisher

Photobook 2014

I've created a 2014 Challenge photobook (and it was ready next morning!). I had coded the titles of several jpegs with "aaa" and "zzz" to force them to appear in a certain order on the USB, but basically I accepted OfficeWorks' program to decide the layout, just switching a few bigger-for-smaller images, sometimes to separate same colours, and removing just a few images that were more photo than art. About 130 pieces of art. I opted not to add captions (beyond the date on the title page), 'cos I've seen way too many photobooks with typos in recent years... and I wanted to eat dinner at some point.

Awful typos are so easy to make, so I think that letting the images talk for themselves can be sensible and safe. OfficeWorks have plain covers, but titles can always be added later. For the image I used for the title page, I simply added "2014" in blue font with their caption maker, and Tania's pink Challenge logo served as a title. This is the deluxe option (and the program said I needed ten pages added to each book for my number of images), but for speed and beauty, well worth it. This was $30 each (plus the extra pages at $1.80 per page). You can do it with cheaper options and people who made only 52 pieces of art in 2014 would have it much easier, but I highly recommend this culminating activity to fellow Challengees.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 52

Created on black "scratch paper", which comes in a pack of five sheets (plus tool) for $4.00 from a toy shop.

Week 52 Fireworks
Week 52: Fireworks


Oil pastel resist and watercolour wash on wet watercolour paper, with black Sharpie silhouettes and gold metallic Sharpie sparks on the sparkler.

Week 52 Fireworks II
Week 52: Fireworks II

This is how my brothers and I spent several Cracker Nights in the 60s and 70s. We had no awareness that we couldn't always afford to have fireworks bought for us, so we pressed our noses against the back screen door. Or had sparklers and a few throw-downs only, if we were lucky. (Or got invited to next door's bonfire if we were *really* lucky.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 51

The Minotaur in his labyrinth. Collage of black card over red "bricks", textured with sponged watercolour.

Week 51 Silhouette
Week 51: Silhouette


"Lions of Taronga, 1960s". Based on a friend's photograph and my own childhood memories. Background in watercolour and double-ended black Sharpie; lion and lioness silhouettes cut freehand from textured, handmade paper. So many times in the 60s, 70s and 80s did I lean on the fence staring into the lion pit. The pit is still there at Taronga Zoo, but totally remodeled so that it is viewed from the side at the lions' level. The wall depicted at the back is now glass and the public can't access the rim of the pit. This particular enclosure, which used to have a large map of Australia painted on its concrete floor(?) in the 50s and early 60s, now houses a tiger family.

Week 51 Silhouette II
Week 51: Silhouette II

There is a version of this b/w background sketched in pencil onto a canvas frame for "Black + White" week but, at the last minute, I realised the canvas was treated to repel water! I then tried to replicate it onto white watercolour paper, but totally ran out of time to finish the detailing (not to mention the lions). Then I realised I should just save it for "Silhouette" week, so I completed it tonight... after many weeks mulling it over in my head.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 50

Inspired by an egg carton sleigh (with eight reindeer) I saw at a craft ideas website (The Well Nourished Nest) a few weeks ago, here's my own reinterpretation: Santa's sleigh being pulled by the Six White Boomers! Uses an egg carton, card, handmade and watercolour paper, some star stickers and wiggly eyes. Each kangaroo has different facial features, but it was hard featuring all their tails. Maybe that's why reindeer have small tails?

Week 50 Christmas
Week 50: Christmas

And as a table decoration:

Week 50 Christmas boomers


Quick and silly cartoon, in Sharpie inks and watercolour pencils. "He was pining, so I suggested he decorate for Christmas."

Week 50 Christmas II
Week 50: Christmas II

I drew the broken bauble's outline in black Sharpie, with no idea what creature would inhabit it. I'm still not sure exactly what it is. Watercolour on cartridge paper. Pine tree needles in green and red Sharpie ink, with white Signo highlights.

Week 50 Christmas III
Week 50: Christmas III

My friend Santa holding my naughty Christmas elves, based on my Santa photo I had taken last year. (Long story). Green, red, black, gold and silver Sharpies, white Signo pigment ink and watercolour pencil on green Origami paper.

Week 50 Christmas IV
Week 50: Christmas IV