25 July 2010

Two by Sea, One Not

My latest tiny illustrations (artist trading cards) include a reworking of one of the reindeer/caribou silhouettes I used in my holiday cards:

I had blocked out the deer shape with masking fluid in order to paint the background, and when I went to peel it off, it started pulling the top layer of paper off. Eek! I didn't leave it on that long, but it was rather thick. And maybe the humidity we've been having lately contributed to the problem. Anyway, some carefully applied rice paste saved the day, and even stayed put when I painted the deer. Phew!

Next, I tried to do something much more sketchy than I usually end up doing, both in the inks and in the watercolours. Sometimes I like my pencil drawings better than the finished inks, and I think it may be partly due to the sketchy quality.

This one seems to be the favourite over at Illustrated ATCs, where the swap I made it for is.

And finally, I used an old sketch of one of the daughters of the Sea King I did back when I'd just seen a fantastic Discovery Channel special on sharks--Great Whites that leap out of the water like dolphins in an aquarium show. It had a profound effect on me, and I wrote "Daughters of the Sea King" (a short story connected to my Frisland stories) and I drew the sketch I based this on. I'm thinking of drawing a illustration of all seven sisters, and maybe even doing an artists book with the illustration and the story. Or an illustrated story chapbook. I wonder if anyone would buy a little illustrated story for $5 or $10?

I may be a bit scarce for a while to come, as tomorrow I start teaching a week-long (well, 5-day) summer camp in printmaking for 12- to 14-year-olds, followed by one for 10- to 12-year-olds, followed by one for 15 and up. So yeah, three straight weeks of teaching, while still doing my regular writing gig. Should be fun, but intense. I'll try to remember to take some pictures of my classes at work.

21 July 2010

Little Fictions: Full Moon

"Oh, what big teeth you have, grandmother," said Red.

"Ah, yes," the old woman replied. "There's something I've been meaning to tell you about your ancestors."

[A slightly edited version of this story was used in the Dawson Printshop NightTwitters project at Nocturne 2010 in Halifax, NS. It is available for purchase from the Dawson Letterpress Gang, handprinted on a small poster.]

Little Fictions are tiny stories. I originally posted them on another blog (also called Little Fictions), but decided I have too many separate projects/blogs on the go. These stories will eventually be hand letterpress printed on postcards, book marks and little posters.

20 July 2010

Pop-Up Birthday: Super Secret Project Revealed!

If you follow me on Twitter (I'm anagramforink), or are a friend on Facebook (if you want to friend me and I don't recognize you, I will probably ignore your request, so include a note saying who you are), you might have noticed my notes about the super secret project I was working on last night. Well, it's finished and I can reveal it: a pop-up birthday card for BillyZee, who catches up to me in age today.

Happy birthday, BillyZee!

I originally had a completely different birthday card idea in mind, so it took me a while to get started on it, which is why I was still working on it at the last minute, late last night. In fact, I just completed it as the Boy Himself pulled into the driveway, home from work at about 1:30 am this morning. Phew!

And, in case you couldn't tell, that is a self-portait (though the green hair, giant eyebrows, gappy teeth and bare toes should make it obvious to anyone who's met me).

[BFG] What is it about Doctor Who?

I was thinking, the other day, that Doctor Who really shouldn't work. I mean, one of the most important rules of science fiction is that explanations must be plausible. That's not to say they have to be possible, but they do have to make sense at the time they crop up and they have to be believable in their context.

Explanations of things in Doctor Who are very, very frequently totally implausible. But maybe DW isn't science fiction, despite the space (and time) travel, the aliens, the ray guns, etc. Maybe what it really is is fantasy with the trappings of science fiction. And yeah, I agree with that. I do think DW is more science fantasy than science fiction. But one of the most important rules of fantasy is that fantasy settings have their own rules, and everything that happens has to adhere to those rules. In other words, fantasy has to be internally consistent. If it isn't, then the viewer/reader gets jarred out of the fiction and becomes aware of it as fiction, and that's to be avoided in an immersive story.

And Doctor Who isn't internally consistent. It contradicts its own rules all the time. And yet it still works. OK, maybe it doesn't work for everyone, but it still works for an awful lot of us. So why the heck am I not bothered by sciencey-sounding explanations that don't make sense and world-building that contradicts itself? Why is it that the DW creators can get away with things that almost no other fiction--written or filmed--can?

I don't really have an answer, but I think it might have something to do with the fact the show is just having too much fun, and we the viewers are having fun right along with it, to the point that logic and consistency and plausibility somehow don't matter anymore and don't pull us out of the glorious fiction. Or maybe it's because we already know there will be no logical consistency, so when inconsistencies show up they're expected and don't pull us out of the experience.

Doctor Who: The Complete Specials (The Next Doctor / Planet of the Dead / The Waters of Mars / The End of Time Parts 1 and 2) Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver Flashlight Doctor Who: The Complete First Series

19 July 2010

Deer (and Antelope) Girls

I drew people! I avoid drawing people, but that's a bad habit I'm trying to break. These ones are mythological people, but people notheless. Oh, and if you're offended by naked boobs, you don't want to look at these.

Queen of the Forest

The Magician

Qi Lin

Antelope Woman

All of them are ATCs--2.5 by 3.5 inches, drawn with india ink and a crowquill nib pen, and coloured with watercolours. These ones are for my very first swap on Illustrated ATCs, a juried ATC and mail art swap site.

[BFG] Latest Reading: Mish Mash of Finishing Things

As you may or may not know, I sometimes start new books before I finish old ones, and while I usually manage to keep the total number of books-on-the-go fairly low, once in a while I need to make a concerted effort to finish things I started before starting new ones. So I'm in the middle of that now, ending up with a bit of a mish-mash this time around. Also, I really need to write these posts more often, as I think I sometimes forget to list books that I finish and put away and they blend back into the shelves. But anyway, here are the things I finished recently.

  1. Animal Skulls: A Guide to North American Species by Mark Elbroch (non-fiction) buy from amazon
  2. The Decorative Illustration of Books by Walter Crane (non-fiction) buy from amazon
  3. The Swiss Family Robinson by Jean Rudolph Wyss (fiction) buy from amazon
  4. Fitcher's Brides by Gregory Frost (fiction) buy from amazon
  5. Sunshine by Robin McKinley (fiction) buy from amazon
  6. The Barnum Museum by Steven Millhauser (fiction) buy from amazon
  7. Good Blood by Aaron Elkins (fiction) buy from amazon
  8. Samurai Crusader: Sunrise over Shanghai story by Hiroi Oji, art by Ryoichi Ikegami (comics/graphic novel) buy from amazon
Actually, looking back at this list, not that many of them are ones I started a while ago and then had to finish. In fact, most of them are ones I picked up and read right through because I didn't feel like reading the ones I'd already started. Which means my to-finish pile isn't getting smaller very fast. Hmmmm.And here are a couple I also read, but which were mostly art, so they don't get counted in the 50 Books thing:
  • The Fantastic Paintings of Charles & William Heath Robinson edited by David Larkin buy from amazon
  • Rackham's Color Illustrations for Wagner's "Ring" introduction by James Spero buy from amazon
Animal Skulls: A Guide to North American Species Of The Decorative Illustration Of Books Old And New (1905) The Swiss Family Robinson (Signet Classics) Fitcher's Brides (Fairy Tales) Sunshine The Barnum Museum Good Blood (A Gideon Oliver Mystery) Samurai Crusader: Sunrise Over Shanghai (Viz Graphic Novel) Rackham's Color Illustrations for Wagner's "Ring"

14 July 2010

Monochrome Spectrum

As promised here's a photo of the spectrum of little monochromatic books I made. The purple one I made a few weeks ago, and the rest I just finished yesterday. I intended to post individual pictures of them all, too, but the light wasn't really good enough for photos today.

I was also going to post some pictures of a prototype book I put together today, but again, bad light. Plus, I think I want to wait until I actually have one ready to sell and listed in my Etsy shop. And for that, I need to order some brass screw posts.

12 July 2010

Same Old Busyness

I see I am not doing so spectacularly well in keeping up with regular blogging. As usual. I am working on about six million things at once (also as usual), and I will have pics soon.

Things currently on my worktable:

  • A pile of little monochromatic books in a rainbow of colours (a monochrome spectrum?). If that makes no sense, it will all be clear once I finish them and post the photos.
  • Four SteamBook blank journals, in a larger size than the previous batch (of which there are now only two left, in my Etsy shop). Two are Quartermaster's Account Books and two are Timekeeper's Journals.
  • Seven ATCs inked, but not yet coloured. Two have masking fluid on. Four are women with antlers (well actually three are women with antlers and one is a woman with antelope horns), one is a shark woman, one is a sea jelly and one is a caribou/reindeer.
  • Some magnets of my art work that need to be cut out, photographed and listed in my Etsy shop. Four sea dragons and four flying fish.
  • A linocut tryptich that I started ages ago and have not yet printed. They will be reductive, with potentially many, many layers of ink. They could take a long time to do.
  • Comic book pages waiting to be re-scanned and re-lettered. I think I am putting this off because I still can't decide if I should letter them by hand or on the computer, and if on the computer, which comic typeface to use.
  • Comic book pages waiting to be drawn.
  • A chapter of White Foxes, Full Moon that needs just another page or two before it gets transcribed from my handwriting into legible type in a word processor.
And I'm going to stop looking around me now, or I will find more things to add to that list and if the list gets any longer I fear I will never finish the things on it.

01 July 2010

[BFG] Busy . . .

Been busy drawing and painting (see my main blog). Also watching a lot of anime again. Playing videogames (see work blog for that). Reading some. Sent out a few stories. Sent novel sample and synopsis to agent. Promise I'll write a proper post very soon.

Little Fictions: Bones

"Well, we've all got skeletons in our closets," she said.

"Maybe you do," the Grim Reaper replied, pulling up the hem of his robe.

Little Fictions are tiny stories. I originally posted them on another blog (also called Little Fictions), but decided I have too many separate projects/blogs on the go. These stories will eventually be hand letterpress printed on postcards, book marks and little posters.

Creatures from Greek Myth

Here are the latest finished cards, from a swap on Creatures of Myth and Fantasy. First, a centaur standing guard:

Not the most exciting image, but I enjoyed drawing his hair.

Next, a hippocampus. This one seems to be the favourite of the set on ATCs for All, where I'm swapping them.

I added some tiny orange spots in a few places, which added a little pop to the image, but they don't really show up in the scan.

And finally, my personal favourite of this trio, a star-gazing satyr.

I plan to make them all available as magnets and greeting cards in my Etsy shop. If there's something you want, let me know and I'll make it happen sooner.