Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 52

Week 52: World

"He's got the whole world in his hand". Collage using numerous disparate elements: acrylic wash and sponging over a circle of Quill "marbletone" cream card; giant hand in charcoal pencil on primed canvas sheet; gold glitter on black card.


Week 52: World II

"Alexander was sure that the world used to be much bigger." Cartoon drawn in white Signo pigment ink on black card. Highlights added with copper Kindy Glitz glitter glue and metallic gold Sharpie.

And that's a wrap... until next year, and the 2016 Challenge. Which is in a few days' time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 51

Week 51: Family

"Family tree". Collage of wrapping paper, light card and coloured cartridge papers, on corrugated cardboard. Characters (only partially glued to cause natural shadows when photographed) sketched in finepoint black Sharpie - no pencil lines - with highlights in watercolour and white Signo ink.


Week 51: Family II

"Nativity family". Freehand cut silhouettes in red and gold Quill Metallique cards, with some deliberate shading from the directed lighting. Collaged onto Quill glitter-finish Galaxy card.

Week 51: Family III

"Mr Minotaur & son". Black Biro and watercolour "family tree" portrait miniatures in plaster frames.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 50

Week 50: Party

"Surprise!" Sketch in finepoint and metallic Sharpies on watercolour paper, with highlights in watercolour and dayglo yellow marker.


Week 50: Party II

Party balloons in coloured cartridge papers, collaged onto Quill glitter-finish Galaxy card.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 49

Week 49: History

I checked Google for some Australian history quotes and one of the first items to appear was Kevin Rudd's "Sorry Speech" to the Aboriginal Stolen Generations. Created on black "scratch paper" (which comes in a pack of five sheets plus tool for $4.00 from a toy shop) with collaged pale yellow cartridge paper.


Week 49: History II

A very early historical event; collage of freecut snake and apple, with some deliberate shading from the directed lighting, mounted on Quill glitter-finish Galaxy card.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 48

Week 48: Warm

Cartoon in finepoint black Sharpie on watercolour paper. Highlights in watercolours and dayglo yellow marker.


Week 48: Warm II

"The art of toasting marshmallows." Sketch in finepoint black Sharpie on watercolour paper. Flames are collaged.

Week 48: Warm III

Freehand cut symmetrical silhouettes using various folded cartridge papers, collaged onto black card. No guidelines!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 47

Week 47: Play

Collage with characters drawn in black finepoint Sharpie on white linenbond card, collaged onto grey paper, with pleated paper curtains decorated in bronze Sharpie.


Week 47: Play II

"No rabbits up my sleeve, just a few hares." Drawing in finepoint black Sharpie. Highlights in watercolour and white Puffy paint on white Quill linenbond card. Rabbit add-ons are dayglo orange stickers that scan pale.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 46

Week 46: Endangered

Freehand composite sketch in waterproof black laundry marker on watercolour paper, with painted watercolour highlights. References were photographs found in Google Image searches.


Week 46: Endangered II

"New Zealand Kakapo." Sketch from a photo, found in a Google Image search. Drawn freehand (no pencil lines!) with a black laundry marker on green card. Background is watercolour spatters (around a temporary paper mask). Highlights in watercolours.

Week 46: Endangered III

"Count them while you can." Lions in gold Quill Metallique card, cut "paper doll" style, initially with two tails each, then elements removed and added to break up the symmetry. Details in black Sharpie and white Puffy paint. Count them while you can, 'cos they are disappearing!

Week 46: Endangered IV

"Mr Minotaur thinks about organising a snack." Drawing in finepoint black Sharpie. Highlights in watercolour on white Quill linenbond, collaged onto cream "marbletone" card.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 45

Week 45: Peace

Freehand dove in watercolour on white Quill Linenbond card. Olive branch cut from green paper and collaged into place.


Week 45: Peace II

"Peace of pie." Collaged watercolour paper and textured card on mauve Quill Metallique paper, extending a concept I tried out during last year's Abstract Week.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 44

Week 44: Scandinavian

"Moominpapa." Collage in white Quill Linenbond and black card onto a text quote in "Word" on mounted card, and based on my own stuffed toy, bought in London, UK. The Moomins are the central characters in a series of books (and a comic strip) by Swedish-speaking Finnish illustrator and writer, Tove Jansson, Her beloved stories were originally published in Finland, in the Swedish language, by Schildts (from 1945).


Week 44: Scandinavian II

"Viking." Freehand-cut symmetrical collage, using coloured papers and black card on white Quill Linenbond, with watercolour and black Sharpie details. Inspiration from several Viking designs found in a Google Image search.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 43

Week 43: Monster

"Can't sleep." Cartoon in black Sharpie, coloured with watercolours and highlighter marker.


Week 43: Monster II

Sketch of oblivious Granny, in black Sharpie on white Quill linenbond card, and freehand-cut black silhouette collaged onto green card.

Week 43: Monster III

Charcoal and watercolour wash sketch of actor Reggie Nalder as Mr Barlow the Vampire in "Salem's Lot". Highlights in white fabric paint, black ballpoint and collaged yellow paper eyes. Based on a publicity photo from the TV mini-series.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 42

Week 42: Instrument

"Air guitar". Cartridge papers of various colours, with some brown Sharpie shading, collaged onto black card. Inspiration from a Google Image search.


Week 42: Instrument II

"Spock angel with Vulcan lyrette." Coloured cartridge papers, Metallique gold paper and photocopied fabric textures collaged onto watercolour paper, with details in black ballpoint, black Sharpie and watercolour. I almost wrecked this one about five times, then today I salvaged it from the bin and had one more go at it.

Week 42: Instrument III

"Guitar solo." Cartoon in black Sharpie, doodled on a Post-It Note and mounted. Coloured with pencils.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 41

Week 41: Sweets

"Gingerbread house". White and yellow Puffy Paint on recycled brown paper. Details in watercolour and black finepoint Sharpie, with collaged roof and witch.


Week 41: Sweets II

Watercolour and collage with white opaque paint pen.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 40

Week 40: Carnival

Luna Park Sydney's "Crazy Crooner" carnival sideshow heads. Cut from white Quill linenbond card, and collaged onto a background of mounted "scratch paper", with watercolour and marker highlights.


Week 40: Carnival II

Watercolours over masking fluid, with collaged masks and a horizon of carnival buildings. Accents in black finepoint Sharpie, white Puffy paint and various highlighter pens.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 39

Week 39: Melbourne

"Luna Park, St Kilda". Sketched in black finepoint Sharpie (no pencil, no eraser) on A4 gold Quill Metallique card, with highlights in white opaque marker and black watercolour. Based on my own photograph.

I am always in awe watching pro cartoonists and carnival silhouette artists creating art without pencils and erasers, so I think I (almost) enjoy the danger. I learned in "Dance Week", with my Batgirl collage, that you can't really erase anything on the gorgeous Quill Metallique card without causing damage anyway, so... I had to be brave.


Week 39: Melbourne II

"Cole's 'Little Men', Cole's Book Arcade". Mechanised advertising amusement, now permanently located in Museum Victoria. Sketch in black fineline Sharpie, highlights in watercolour, and gold and white opaque markers. Based on several photos found in a Google Image search, plus the rainbow logo of the former book arcade.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 38

Week 38: Fauna

Seal cub in watercolour, based on my own photo of a tiny, furry toy. A little detail in finepoint black Sharpie and white opaque Signo. (The toy is a childhood favourite, but I didn't get to own one till a few years ago.)


Week 38: Fauna II

White Unipaint opaque marker and oil pastels on black card. Halved "dayglo" orange stickers for eyes (which strangely scanned very pale, so I had to take this shot with my iPhone).

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 37

Week 37: Geometric

Collage of geometric honeycomb hexagons, with bee drawn on white Quill linenbond card, outlined in black and silver Sharpies and highlighted in watercolours. Wings cut from ovenproof baking tray mesh.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 36

Week 36: Dance

"Tap dancer". Sketched in finepoint black Sharpie on white Quill linenbond card, with highlights of green and metallic silver Sharpie, a little watercolour, and collaged onto textured orange card. Inspiration from two photos on a Google Image search.


Week 36: Dance II

"Ballerina Batgirl". The late Yvonne Craig incorporated ballet moves into her weekly batfights in the 1960s' "Batman" television series. Silhouette cut from Quill Metallique and linenbond textured cards, collaged onto black card. Lettering in brown and blue Sharpie. Several photos used for reference from Google Images.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 35

Week 35: Botany

Watercolour of Botany Bay, New South Wales, featuring the Cook's Landing obelisk, and Australian wattle and banksia plants in the foreground. Details in black finepoint Sharpie, watercolour pencils, Puffy paint and yellow cellophane.


Week 35: Botany II

"Hedges trained by Bark's Backyard". Out the back of Mr Minotaur's famous labyrinth, of course, was his lesser-known, but just as complicated, hedge maze. Collage of watercolour on textured cards, with details in black finepoint Sharpie, a little oil pastel, and some yellow Puffy paint.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Success at the Penrith District Show

This year, after years of encouraging school students to enter arts and crafts into the local Penrith District Show, I finally submitted five pieces of my own work. A few weeks ago, I had six pieces of my past 52-Week Illustration Challenge art professionally framed, and another ten secured into custom-cut mounts, with the idea that I might exhibit them somewhere. Well, suddenly the Penrith District Show was imminent - but the competition categories offered for adult artists were a little disappointing for what I had to hand. Most of my framed pieces were the more fragile (often slightly-3D) collages, to protect them - and, alas, there was no adult "Collage" class in the 2015 rules! Drat! So I had to scrounge some extra frames, and steal mounts from other artworks, to get my five "legal" entries (the rules were also strictly limiting entries to five per person, and there was no guarantee that all entries would be displayed). Luckily, "Portraiture" was open as to choice of media, so I hoped that two collages with faces in them might work?

Above is: "Week 17: Fluffy" (2015, entered in "Watercolour" class), "Week 14: Whimsy" (2015, entered in "Portraiture, any medium" class), "Week 31: Shakespeare" (2015, entered in "Drawing, charcoal" class), "Week 19: Eat II" (2015, entered in "Portraiture, any medium" class) and "Week 7: Watercolour" (2014, entered in "Australian landscape" class).

"Whimsy" was successful! An Encouragement Award yellow ribbon and a cheque for $100.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 34

Week 34: Japan

Sketch of an Origami folded-paper man holding a real flapping bird. Freehand outline in black finepoint marker, coloured with Faber-Castell watercolour pencils.


Week 34: Japan II

Collage of Mount Fuji using a range of coloured cards and translucent and cartridge papers, with highlights in watercolour and markers, intensified in Photo. Inspired by several photos found in a Google Image search.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 33

Week 33: Mythology

"Icarus flies too high..." Drawing of Icarus with finepoint black Sharpie. Highlights in watercolour on white Quill linenbond paper, collaged onto a yellow paper Origami circle and blue felt background. Cloud formations created with cotton wool unwound from a cotton bud. Several photos of Pygar the angel from Barbarella used as reference.


Week 33: Mythology II

"Behind every successful Minotaur is a clever publicist." Drawing of Mr Minotaur and his aide, Mini Taur, in finepoint black Sharpie. Highlights in watercolour on Quill papers: white linenbond collaged onto cream "marbletone".

Week 33: Mythology III

The dugong, origin of the mythological mermaids. Charcoal sketch on blue card with metallic silver Sharpie and opaque white Signo highlights. Based on my own photograph of Wuru, the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium's female dugong.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 32

Week 32: Fabric

"Boo!" Torn paper collage ghost over brown fabric, with black ballpoint pen detailing. (Created on the hop at the Lyric Theatre, Star Casino.)


Week 32: Fabric II

Cartoon in black medium-point Sharpie, coloured in watercolour, with a little brown Sharpie and white opaque finepoint Signo.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 31

Week 31: Shakespeare

Charcoal sketch of Wil'yam Sheq'spir (and yorIq) on orange La Carta Weave textured paper. Detail in black and metallic gold finepoint Sharpie and opaque white Signo, using two Shakespeare images (found in a Google Image search), and enhanced by me with Klingon features. Klingon Chancellor Gorkon once stated, "You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon..." ["Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country".]


Week 31: Shakespeare II

"Shakespeare's Globe, London." Watercolour and brown and black Sharpies, with white Puffy Paint and opaque Signo ink highlights. Based on my own photograph.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 30

Week 30: Portrait

"Mr Minotaur's Portrait Gallery". A3 collage using Quill "marbletone" cream paper, with details in black finepoint Sharpie, watercolours and white opaque Signo.

And in closeup:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 29

Week 29: Love

"African lovebirds". Watercolours, black Sharpie, opaque white Signo and satin leaves in a circular border of salted watercolour. Based on a photograph found in a Google Image search. No pencil lines, no eraser!


Week 29: Love II

"Thumbody loves you." Quick thumbprint cartoons with stamp pad ink over tiny hand templates. Detail in various markers.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 28

Week 28: Winter

Cartoon in black Sharpie on watercolour paper, with highlights in watercolour, white opaque Signo ink and white Puffy paint, collaged onto crushed white cartridge paper.


Week 28: Winter II

Salted watercolour collage with black ballpoint and Sharpie detailing.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 27

Week 27: Style

"Steampunk style." Self-portrait sketch in red, black, silver and gold Sharpie markers, with watercolour highlights. No pencil, no eraser!


Week 27: Style II

Freehand cut silhouette and lettering collaged to an Origami paper circle and A3 black card. Gold foil highlight. No guidelines, some silhouette inspiration from a Google Image search.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 26

Week 26: Land

"Tetraptych of Uluru". Based on photographs found in a Google Image search. Watercolours on watercolour paper, with some detailing in white Signo opaque marker and black Sharpie.


Week 26: Land II

"The Eagle has landed." Collage of salted watercolours on watercolour paper and gold foil on black card, with highlights of white Signo opaque marker and black Sharpie.

Week 26: Land III

"When land runs out..." Cartoon in black Sharpie, painted in watercolours on watercolour paper, with highlights of white opaque Signo.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 25

Week 25: Africa

Freehand-cut silhouettes in black card (having glanced at a full page of thumbnail photos on Google Images using the terms "Africa sunset"). Collaged over sunset coloured paper strips: red, orange, goldenrod, metallic bronze and white on yellow card, skewed slightly in iPhoto. Detail in black finepoint marker.


Week 25: Africa II

"Rhinoceros cosplay." Cartoon in black Sharpie on watercolour paper, painted in watercolours. (Okay, I couldn't stand it any longer: one party hat added... to make the joke better.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 24

Week 24: Calendar

This is "Calendar Man", one of the lesser-known Batman villains. Sketched (without pencil or eraser) in black and red Sharpie and white opaque Uni Paint marker on red car, mounted on black card. Based on several panels from DC Comics.

I had a Batman board game in the 60s, a tie-in to the 60s TV series, but which drew heavily from the comics of an earlier decade. The villains were the usual Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman, but also Mr Zero (who had became Mr Freeze before the TV series), Blockbuster and the Calendar Man, whom I'd never heard of! Poor Calendar Man is ridiculed by the other villains for his fascination with calendars.


Week 24: Calendar II

Freehand-cut symmetrical heart in red card, with watercolour highlights on a sketch in black Sharpie.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 23

Week 23: Rain

With inspiration from Bert's pavement drawings in chalk of a merry-go-round (in the feature film, Mary Poppins), this pavement drawing is replicated across several sheets of "scratch paper" (with the supplied tool) and glued onto grey card. Rain drops and puddles created from black card, and decorated with blurred white opaque Uni Posca ink and coloured crayons.


Week 23: Rain II

"Raining cats and dogs - or hailing buses?" Black ballpoint pen on blue paper, umbrella shape freehand-cut to create a silhouette, highlighter pens, signage in Word on yellow paper, mounted onto black and beige card.

Week 23 Rain III
Week 23: Rain III

A solitary raindrop takes The Big Plunge. Originally, he was going to have little black shoes but - suddenly! - gum boots were more appropriate. Watercolour with black and blue Sharpie inks and white opaque Signo.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 22

Week 22: Childhood

Watercolour with black and gold Sharpie markers and white opaque Signo. Some beloved items from my childhood in the 1960s, all still with me into adulthood: a Grandma Macreak "Kooky Spooky" glow-in-the-dark finger puppet (with paper cocktail umbrella, from my grandmother, when the original umbrella accessory broke); a "Yukk" from a favourite souvenir and giftware shop in the former Imperial Arcade, Sydney; and my "Sunday Mirror Minors Club" badge, featuring the editor, Mimi.

My PhotoPeach slideshow about Kooky Spookys is HERE!


Week 22: Childhood II

My mother would have loved this one. Inspired by my first words at the beach ("Big bath!"), and my first words in a cinema ("Big TV!"). Black ballpoint pen, coloured pencils, cotton wool and white opaque Signo on mauve A4 card.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 21

Week 21: Stripes

"Pinguins". Pinstripe tuxedo penguins, freehand-cut from photocopied pinstriped material, collaged onto a salted watercolour background, with handmade paper ice mounds, white Puffy paint eyes, and black finepoint Sharpie details. Adjusted to grey tones in Photo.

It actually felt like one of my simpler collages. Glad I went with photocopied fabric and not actual fabric, as I think the edges would have frayed. The sky was my second attempt at salting (didn't realise it had to be rock salt, but this time I raided my salt cellar and it worked quit well!) Turning the blue section to monochrome was actually an accident in my new Photo app, but I liked the effect. The original sky is a gentle blue.


Very excited that my "pinguins" (above) were reposted by the TOFOP gang, the Facebook page for Wil Anderson and Charlie Clausen's hilarious "Thirty-Odd Foot of Podcast"! (Charlie once revealed, in an early episode, that he couldn't say "pinguins", and it became a running gag.)

Week 21: Stripes II

Here's "The leopard who changed his spots". Freehand-cut tiger (from the patterned paper cover of an old sketch pad), decorated in black Sharpie and white UniPaint opaque markers, watercolours, and then collaged onto red handmade paper with some fur fabric remnants.

I finally glued down all the elements. I was so scared I'd wreck something! Sometimes collage has a mind of its own. I must say, S. John Ross, the late Silhouette Man of Luna Park Sydney, is my inspiration when I'm freehand cutting shapes out of paper. It's very empowering to create with only scissors - and no pencil guidelines or erasers!

Week 21: Stripes III

"Barber shop, Ann Arbor, Michigan". Watercolour with black and red Sharpie markers and white opaque Signo. I photographed this traditional, rotating, striped barber pole in winter, during a vacation to my penpal's home town in USA. Loved the row of outdoor chairs for waiting customers - rain, hail, sleet or snow.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 20

Week 20: Melancholy

"Why the long face, Melan-collie?" Sketch using red Sharpie, white UniPaint and black fineline markers and coloured pencils on goldenrod paper. Based on a Google Images photo and childhood memories.


Week 20: Melancholy II

Morticia's perpetually sad Cousin Melancholia, "The Addams Family". Black and blue Sharpie and Signo white inks, and watercolours on corrugated cardboard. Based on a publicity photo of actress Hazel Shermet. (The hat looks great on my iPhone. Looks like I collaged it from straw, but just tan watercolour over black and white ink lines! I was a little disappointed, when researching Cousin Melancholia's likeness, that she was the least bizarre of all the Addams and Frumps! But I'd never forgotten her name. I really love how the purple wash worked out. The moon had been too-stark white until I added the purple.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 19

Week 19: Eat

Symmetrical whale and fish templates freehand-cut and fringed from folded watercolour paper, mounted onto textured black card. Decorated in watercolours, black Sharpie ink and white Puffy paint.


Week 19: Eat II

Luna Park - Just for Indigestion. I know people who refuse to walk through the Luna Park Sydney entrance because they imagine this might happen! Outlined in thick black Sharpie, coloured with watercolour, silver Sharpie and white opaque Signo ink, and collaged onto word-processed card.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 18

Week 18: Art Deco

"RT-Deco". It seemed appropriate for Star Wars Day ("May the 4th be with you") this week. Art Deco-inspired droid, sketched in blue and black Sharpie inks on textured white card, with watercolour highlights.


Week 18: Art Deco II

Diana Lamp base in silver and black Sharpie and white Signo pigment ink on textured black card.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 17

Week 17: Fluffy

"The Trouble With Tribbles". Sketched in black Sharpie, with metallic gold highlights, on watercolour paper. Based on the famous publicity still from "Star Trek". Coloured in watercolours.


Week 17: Fluffy II

"Gossamer". Character from the Warner Bros' "Looney Tunes" cartoons. Finepoint black Sharpie and watercolour, mounted on flint paper background.

Week 17: Fluffy III

Based on two photos, taken by me, of a poodle being readied for Best in Show. White UniPaint marker on black card, with black, blue and red finepoint Sharpies and white Signo pigment ink.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 16

Week 16: Structure

Each time I did a Google Image search on this week's theme, there were always a few sets of robotic diagrams. Collage of the most structured materials in my grab bag of remnants: corrugated, metallic cardboard, recycled US Post envelope (complete with cancellation marks and automated zipcode markings), toothpicks, random robot instructions and labels in Pages, plus mini-headphones.


Great Court of the British Museum. Sketched (from a personal photograph) in green and black Sharpie inks on watercolour paper, with watercolour highlights.

Week 16: Structure II

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 15

Week 15: Vietnam

Sketch in black Sharpie on art canvas sheet, coloured with crayons. Original photo found via Google Images.


Thanh the moonbear. Paper collage, watercolour and black Sharpie on "calm" blue flint paper. Photo located on Google images.

Week 15: Vietnam II

Originally, the moonbear looked like this, but the image was deemed too 3D for the Challenge:

Week 15: Vietnam IIa

Thanh the moonbear has calmly caught her lunch. Assemblage art using chopsticks, long grain rice, sultana pieces, cashews and plastic "fish" soy sauce dispensers placed upon "calm" blue flint paper. (Of course, with further research, I discovered that the only fish moonbears might eat are ones they find dead and spent after spawning season.)

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 14

Week 14: Whimsy

"Only ten hares left on his head." Green handmade paper rabbits collaged onto a watercolour, mounted onto red flint paper. Tails added in white, three-dimensional, Tulip "Puffy" paint. Shading on the rabbits in graphite pencil. (I've been dying to make use of the little freehand-cut rabbits - from Week 9's Texture - and yesterday I suddenly realised how whimsical they might be, especially being green.)


Freehand-cut, whimsical giraffe collage using handmade papers, plus a chenille stick mane and a necklace of "Jila" mints.

Week 14: Whimsy II

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 13

Week 13: Transport

"Taxee! Er, taxi!" Sketch in pencil over a light wash of pink and blue. Inked in black Sharpie and coloured with watercolours. What I enjoyed about doing this is that I splashed the diluted pink and blue paint onto the wet paper first, as a wash (then accidentally left it in the rain), so the dried background ended up being rather like a Mr Squiggle "squiggle" that I allowed to inform me just where the various elements would fall: ie. the placement of the box, the wheels, the girl's feet, the signpost, and even the teddy. It felt like the paper was telling me where to put everything.


"Transporter Room to Landing Party, one to beam down." A four-part piece of an Andorian from "Star Trek" beaming down to a planet. Drawn in black Sharpie onto watercolour paper, coloured with watercolours, two collaged paper templates, and silver glitter.

Week 13: Transport II

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Bonus Challenge

Tickle the Imagination magazine is running a bonus challenge this week, on the theme of "Cocoon". The upcoming winter issue will have a home focus, and 20 of the editor's favourite illustrations will be included in the issue.

Bonus Challenge: Cocoon

Cartoon sketched in black Sharpie, painted in watercolours. Brown paper and watercolour paper collaged onto handmade paper.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 12

Week 12 Costume
Week 12: Costume

"Science fiction media convention costume parade". All of these entrants are me - Tellarites, Andorians and Robin the Boy Wonder - based on photos from several decades of costume parades, drawn and painted in a Perth hotel room. Sketch inked in black Sharpie on watercolour paper, coloured in watercolours and metallic Signo.


"The Not-So-Happy Dragon." Based on an actual event - when I walked into a dressing room at a charity fundraiser, to put on my superhero costume, and met half a naked dragon! No one is supposed to see who's inside the St George Bank's Happy Dragon mascot. But I did - and now... so have you! Black and green Sharpie markers with watercolour on watercolour paper, collaged onto purple handmade paper.

Week 12: Costume II

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 11

Week 11 Green
Week 11: Green

"It's not easy being green!" A green frog desperately attempts to be environmentally green. Cartoon in black Sharpie ink and watercolour on watercolour paper.


Week 11 Green II
Week 11: Green II

Here's a green gremlin. I caught him sneaking into my hotel room looking for lollies. Luckily for me, I'd eaten all the evidence. Assemblage art with a green supermarket "green bag" as background. Hey, I'm working with limited materials here, you know!

Week 11 Green III
Week 11: Green III

My paternal grandmother was born on St Patrick's Day. She always wore green on that day, and carried a small leprechaun charm on a green ribbon. This watercolour of a leprechaun, with black Sharpie details, is based on that charm's pose.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 10

Week 10: Night

Watercolours on white watercolour paper. Permanent black Sharpie inked outline, with silver Sharpie highlights.


"Mr Minotaur prepares for bed after a hard day's night in the Labyrinth." Freehand sketch in black permanent Sharpie, with watercolours on watercolour paper. Live from my hotel room!

Week 10: Night II

Monday, March 09, 2015

Opening Night: 52-Week Illustration Challenge Exhibition!

Exhibition pre-publicity poster of Tania McCartney by Penny Fisher

Opening Night for the "52-Week Illustration Challenge" exhibition at Arts Brookfield Gallery, Perth, Australia, was on Monday night, so the embargo is finally lifted. My shortlisted entry for "Week 11: Architecture" (for which I did an architectural caricature watercolour of the infamous Number 96 building) is on the wall! Number 96, of course, was the popular/naughty TV soap opera in Australia in the 70s, and a major part of this blog's origins.

Flickr slideshow of Opening Night.

"When children's author Tania McCartney challenged herself to produce an image per week for 52 weeks, to reconnect with her long-lost love of illustration (and hopefully illustrate her own books), she never imagined her tiny seed of an idea would become a mighty oak. Now in its second year, and with over 3000 members from around the globe, the weekly Facebook group has spawned connections and reconnections with decades of lost creativity. Friendships have been formed, collaborations forged, contracts signed, books produced, careers redirected, lives changed. And yes, Tania has realised her dream of illustrating her own books. Dare to dream.
"The exhibition features one carefully selected piece from each of the 52 themes in 2014." [From the entry poster.]

A great introduction to the 52-Week Illustration Challenge Exhibition is this video clip by The West Australian newspaper:

Challenging creativity: Illustration challenge unites artists around the world

Towards the conclusion of the 2014 Challenge, we were asked to submit our thoughts, perhaps to be compiled as testimonials:


What I immediately latched onto with the Challenge was an opportunity to, once again, accept a series of external hard and fast dates (this time 52 of them!). The deadlines to complete something were invaluable. This seems to be how I get the best out of myself. In my daily life, I will happily postpone and ignore self-imposed deadlines, and rarely get things done as getting through the days just swamps me and keeps me distracted. I do seem to be able to meet externally applied deadlines, though, and I happily achieved the individual 365 Photos Challenge a few years ago (which lasted a whole year), and I was then bemused/disappointed when a group of enthusiastic teacher colleagues starting dropping like flies during a month-long 30 Photos Challenge a few years later.

So Tania's initial list of 52 weekly art deadlines, the already-assigned topics, was just the Challenge I'd been waiting for. I remembered back to an adult evening college art collective I joined in 1980, and had continued with until moving house in late 1984. The weekly two-hour art-making sessions made me quite productive. In that focused time, amid the happy banter of people relaxing and being creative, I could often achieve a finished piece - so very satisfying! Upon reexamining it the next morning, there would sometimes be a few finishing touches (a schedule that has become a great yardstick for the 2014 Challenge, too, actually). But the enforced discipline to complete something was invaluable.

Week 25: Dots - Fairy Fatality Bread


Knowing the 52 topics ahead of time, and being exposed to the daily uploads from all the other group members, helps to get ideas percolating in my head. Without the Challenge, these ideas might often flash through my head, but I don't usually act upon them. Or I simply never put aside the time and another once-great idea fades away. With the Challenge sitting in a corner of my brain, a mere stroll through a $2 bargain store, a new art supply store, the local Bunnings, the dog park, a cloud formation, or a classroom at school (I'm a primary school teacher-librarian), ideas for possible ways to marry certain themes and art media can merge - and emerge - resulting in singularly clever and innovative artworks. Without a doubt, some of my favourite pieces I've shared in the Challenge have been physically created in just minutes - sometimes seconds! - but the thought processes may have evolved in my head over many days, or weeks, and sometimes months.

So the cello bags of feathers I bought months ago (just before "Feather" week) were also on hand for "Black + White" and "Bird" weeks. The papier mâché koala mask I bought on a whim went with me to the USA so I could be prepared to paint it up at my penpal's house in Michigan for "Sydney" week. I knew that the cupcake patty pan cases in my pantry were destined to make it into "Under the Sea" week the moment I saw some child craft creations in a Kindergarten classroom months earlier.

Week 11: Architecture - Number 96 Lindsay Street, Paddington


I have been deliberately eclectic when approaching the theme each week and have been inspired by the many ideas and techniques displayed (and sometimes explained) on the Facebook page and the blog that Tania set up. It has been rewarding to share my own little tricks I've picked up over the years, and then to see what people do with them! Squinting to see the negative shapes, the "rules" for painting authentic skies, clouds and horizons, paper weaving, "drawing on the right side of the brain", long-forgotten kids' art from people's own childhoods, such as crayon resist... So much fun to share!

Because of this Challenge, I tried watercolour for the first time (beyond those frustrating Boxing Day memories of childhood, trying to use a giant Christmas gift tin of watercolour paint cakes and totally messing up a colouring book, and then going back to one's reliable, predictable pencils and Textas). Due to my success with that first watercolour scene, I've now done many more. with a long row of recently framed watercolours in my lounge room.

I think I've found new respect for collage. Several artworks created by me for this Challenge have surprised me by evolving into 3D collages just before the deadline. A few times it has been to repair an accidental splodge. A few times the artwork begged for some signage, or a naturally-cast shadow. And sometimes the 2D artwork simply refused to remain two-dimensional.

I've tried to be quite spontaneous. Several of my artworks have been created without pencil guidelines! Sometimes I amaze myself with such bravery (and dumb luck) and, again, those are the pieces that often seem to receive the most praise, which encourages me to be brave (or lucky) more often.

Week 35: Paris - Abbesses, le Métro


I know it's been mentioned on the Challenge page often. So many of us have an obvious "style", but so many of us seem to be searching for one. I know I've now found a few ways to make my own works quirkily unique to me, but have I yet found my style? I think the quest may be ongoing.

I know it's important to embrace serendipity, and of that there has been no shortage in this Challenge. In "Boxes" week, I had to create a display in a box for my school library. I travelled in a plane approaching "Plane" week, and then there was that terrible air disaster that (at first) threatened to shadow our efforts with doom and gloom, but we were triumphant and respectful. I had to create both "Sydney" and "Snow" in Michigan, USA, where I usually see so much snow - but it was the middle of their summer. I loved how "Bird" week happened to fall in National Bird Week, catching Tania by surprise. Serendipity is alive and well and we embrace it!


Speaking of serendipity and wild coincidences:

Above: This is Bettina Dodson, my frame buddy. Her work for "Week 12: Numbers" and mine are right next to one another. Bettina was named after actress Bettina Welch, who (as Maggie Cameron) once blew up the Number 96 deli in my painting with a bomb!

To top off an amazing week, my image Fairy Fatality Bread, created for a different week of the 2014 Challenge, was requested for publication in a new romance fanzine, Trousseau, launched last weekend at the annual Australian Romance Readers' Convention!


And here's the whole thing! The virtual tour of the 52-week Illustration Challenge Exhibition Opening Night​, as blogged by Tania McCartney​ and Nicky Johnston​!

Tania and Nicky have also compiled a report on the exhibition, with more photos and the text of Tania's Opening Night speech: HERE!

Flickr slideshows of my work can be found here: 2014 artworks and 2015 artworks.

Captain's Log: Supplemental: The exhibition has now been extended to Friday 27th March!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 9

Week 9: Texture

Freehand-cut rabbits as negative spaces, using handmade, textured paper with splotches of watercolour. Shapes are backed with fake fur fabric scraps and white nylon wadding, plus tiny pompon tails and black paper burrows.


Collage using contrasting textured art materials found in a bargain store. Squirrels were torn freehand (no pencil lines!). Forgot to bring glue to Perth, so I will have to reassemble it when I get home.

Week 9: Texture II

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 8

Week 8: Coffee

43 beings in every cup! Coffee zombies painted in coffee on watercolour paper, with detail in watercolour, black Stained and green Sharpies.


"Would the last bug to leave the coffee jar please turn off the lights?" Watercolour paper, collaged onto black handmade paper. Details in watercolour and black Stained Sharpie.

Week 8: Coffee II

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 7

Week 7: Farm

Sheeps in the field. Fingerprint art on corrugated cardboard with acrylic paint, crayon, Signo pigment ink and various Sharpie markers.


Fringed paper chickens with black "Stained" Sharpie and white pigment Signo details, collaged to a black background.

Week 7 Farm II
Week 7: Farm II

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 6

Week 6: Magic

Folded and freehand-cut collage pieces in watercolour paper and black card, with watercolour shading. Elements are glued to a backing of yellow card, layered with red and yellow sheets of glitter mesh fabric. One bird is sandwiched between the layers of mesh.


Watercolour cartoon on damp watercolour paper with a black Stained Sharpie outline.

Week 6: Magic II

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 5

Week 5: Kitchen

Cutlery collage of watercolour and "La Carta Weave" textured papers. My "Kitchen" entry might trouble OCD types. I originally had no intention of putting some cutlery in backwards. (I did refrain from putting a knife in the fork drawer.)


Freehand-cut silhouette of a pie and fork, collaged onto a paper kitchen towel, mounted on a brown paper bag.

Week 5: Kitchen II

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Return of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 4

Week 4: Insects

Mixed media collage, with potato printing and sponging in acrylic paints on brown paper bag and black card, decorated with white Signo pigment ink and black, green, silver and gold Sharpies.


Watercolour cartoon on damp watercolour paper with mixed media and black Sharpie.

Week 4: Insects II

Black "Stained" Sharpie ink on dampened watercolour paper, painted in watercolours with white pigment Signo highlights.

Week 4: Insects III

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

52-week Illustration Challenge

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!