Thursday, August 28, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 35

The beautiful art nouveau Métro entrance to Abbesses Station in the Montmartre district, Paris, France. In winter. Green and black Sharpies, opaque white Signo and watercolours on Mont Marte watercolour paper.

Week 35 Paris
Week 35: Paris


In the style of Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen's iconic poster for Rodolphe Salis' Le Chat Noir, here is my interpretation of le Chien Blanc, created in collage, black Sharpie, opaque white Signo and watercolours. Model: Jack Russell McLean.

Week 35 Paris II
Week 35: Paris II

My muse struck at about 10pm and I finally posted the pic after finishing at 2.30am and was too pumped to sleep. I hate it when my brain wants to keep being creative! In 1974, when studying French at high school, I used to wear a T-shirt with "le Chat Noir" printed on it, having originally bought it because it had French language on it, and having no idea how famous it was, nor its relevance to Montmartre! Last year, visiting Paris for the first time, the image was everywhere: in every Parisian gift store and souvenir shop and almost every cafe. Plus little white dogs (and dog poo) just as ubiquitous! Made me miss my Jack Russell so much seeing copies of him everywhere!

Is the tennis ball supposed to remind us of the "The French Open", aka in Paris as "Roland Garros"? Mais oui, but it is also there to hide a blemish in the background paper that was exaggerated by the scan. I came back from Paris last year all fired up with ideas for a story about a little white dog in Paris but, a few weeks later, my writer friend, Natalie Jane Prior, bought out her new picture book: of a little white dog in Paris (Pom Pom, where are you?).

L'escargot et la grenouille. Collage of painted watercolour paper, black Sharpie, coloured card and a downloadable, online, 3D menu:

Week 35 Paris III
Week 35: Paris III

I was trying to get the frog to look more shocked. But frogs are already so wide-eyed! The tiny print on the crumpled hors d'oeuvres menu actually lists both snails and frogs' legs. I found a free customizable menu template on the web! The sample already had a snails dish listed and I quickly altered the title of a different dish to include la cuisses de grenouille. (Just in case it's not "Paris" enough, it has an address card for the site of my cousin-in-law's first taste of snails. Much happier with it now. The shadows from the menu were all wrong last night, and I realised that the snail was seemingly falling off the table in the first version, but I'd stuck him down too firmly.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 34

Metamorphosis roulette: cocoons often look alike. Will I get a butterfly, or just a moth? Collage of torn card, crumpled brown paper bag and watercolour paper, black Sharpie, lettering in Word, and a light watercolour wash.

Week 34 Butterfly
Week 34: Butterfly


Black ballpoint, watercolours, opaque white Signo. Childhood poem recreated in Word. From an era when all children's poetry had to rhyme. The poem was selected for a book that my primary school teacher-librarian, Janette McKenny (later Mrs Mercer) created the old fashioned way - and had bound in leather. "Just One More". I have enquired of the school and it seems to no longer exist. The original artwork pages for each poem were coated in egg-wash and I suspect it may not have withstood the decades. The butterfly above, of course, was painted this week!

Week 34 Butterfly II
Week 34: Butterfly II

Stained-glass window butterfly (in black card and cellophane layers - four original pastel colours of pink, yellow, red and blue) flies over my back garden - near the tree that inspired Tree Week. The result is way more subtle (and better) than originally intended. I was on my way to the newsagents to buy traditional sheets of cellophane giftwrap (with its vivid translucent colours) but ended up at the Chinese bargain store, buying four rolls of cello. But the unrolled portion was revealed as being so pale as to be almost transparent - and it took four layers to reach any kind of intensity of colour!

Week 34 Butterfly III
Week 34: Butterfly III

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 33

My beloved Kooky Spookys, ghostly glow-in-the-dark finger puppets from Hasbro (1969), at the height of popularity for luminous toys. Included are two characters that never went past the prototype stage. Collage of card, watercolour, black Sharpie and glitter stars.

Week 33 Toy
Week 33: Toy


Week 33 Toy II
Week 33: Toy II

"Portrait of the Artist as an Action Figure". 3D assemblage art using textured card, printed in Pages, with collage, black Sharpie, twist ties, photographs, etc.

Okay, I was encouraged to add more Book Week accessories! Note that the male teacher-librarian action figure is always the "shortpack" and thus highly collectible.

Week 33 Toy IIa

And one more:
3D papier mache teddy bear, painted with Tamiya acrylic paints and highlighted with black and silver Sharpie and wiggly eyes. I fancied the idea of a bear who could change his fur colour by simply unzipping layers.

Week 33 Toy III
Week 33: Toy III

Friday, August 08, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 32

Now in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, and supposedly on my way home tomorrow - two hurricanes (Iselle and Julio) permitting!

I'm working with very limited materials here, holed up in my hotel room in Honolulu as two hurricanes bear down their fury, probably delaying my return to Australia tomorrow. Not too sure what I've made. More a repressed fear breaking through for my travel buddy and me. Oil pastels and metallic ink Sharpies on Ingres paper.

Week 32 Psychedelic
Week 32: Psychedelic

Probably needs a wash, but all I have is decaf coffee and green tea.


Back from my overseas travels! While trawling through some online examples of "psychedelic" this week, I came across a reference to the villain Louie the Lilac, who appeared in the 60s TV series, "Batman". Here is my miniature psychedelic wooden fairy door, which will be located to the base of a tree in my garden in the morning. Decorated with Tamiya acrylic paint lilacs, and details in puffy fabric paint, Signo pen white opaque paint and black Sharpie.

Week 32 Psychedelic II
Week 32: Psychedelic II
Week 32 Psychedelic fairy door

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 31

Still in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, inspired this week by Winnie-the-Pooh and the poetry of AA Milne.

Inspired by AA Milne's poem, "Lines and Squares" which, as a child, I thought was called "Lions and Squares". During a poetry show at teachers' college, we reinterpreted this poem as a game of Hopscotch. So here is my collage of lions and bears - using paper, oil pastel, crayon, white Tulip "puffy dimensional fabric paint" and Scotch Expressions patterned "washi tape". Also featuring chalk lines, parallel lines and written punishment lines. The shapes were all cut freehand.

Week 31 Lines
Week 31: Lines

"Whenever I walk in a London street,
I'm ever so careful to watch my feet;
And I keep in the squares,
And the masses of bears,
Who wait at the corners all ready to eat
The sillies who tread on the lines of the street
Go back to their lairs,
And I say to them, 'Bears,
Just look how I'm walking in all the squares!'"
(AA Milne.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 30

My US holiday continues! Ironically, this Sydneysider is still reporting live from Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, as my US holiday continues. This week, I spent about four extended sessions (sketching, outlining, painting, final touches) on a project that bounced into my head the moment I saw an ArtiCrafti brand moulded "koala canvas mask" in a Dollar King bargain store - for just $2.50 - a few months ago. I had to carefully pack and bring it OS with me, much to my penpal host's delight, who enjoyed watching the artwork emerge from my brain! The mask is decorated with images of Sydney in black ball-point ink and watercolour.

Week 30 Sydney, angle 1
Week 30: Sydney

Week 30 Sydney, angle 2

Week 30 Sydney, angle 3

Week 30 Sydney, angle 4

The mask is decorated with 3D detail, which includes yellow pompons for wattle flowers, white Tulip brand "puffy dimensional fabric paint" for seagulls and wave crests, and a toothpick flag.


Week 30 Sydney with Olivia
Above: As modelled by my Ann Arbor penpal, Olivia!

Week 30 Sydney in shadow box
Framed in a shadowbox