Monday, March 27, 2006

Monster for Illustration Friday 

This isn't a generic three-eyed monster. It's a cartoony portrayal of my impression of an Ezwal, from AE Van Vogt's scifi novel, The War Against the Rull. I originally read the first part of this book in a compilation of stories from Astounding science-fiction magazine (where Jamieson, the human hero is stranded with an ezwal on a strange planet). The compiled book collects together five parts, but I prefer the original ending to the first part, where the Ezwal gets the last line.

I made a big cardboard Ezwal (and lots of other stuff) for a public Library display many years ago. That one was a lot more figured out, with six legs that were an anatomical compromise between front and back legs, etc. This one is an extreme quickie - about 5 minutes to draw, then very quick Photoshop with loads of mistakes (I'm working on a RNRFs episode and took a break to do this). I wasn't going to post it, but oh well...

Originally, for this subject I thought about drawing some traditional big beast that preys on people, along with a commentary about David Quammen's fascinating book, The Monster of God. The book deals with the few remaining big predators and how they barely manage to survive, in perilous co-existence with humanity.

In either case the "Monster" is a large scary beast, but only monstrous by perception.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Moth & Tanuki in OzTAKU 1.1 

My contributor copy of the latest OzTAKU - issue 1.1 - arrived today! It's not generally released just yet, but look out for it soon in your local Borders, etc. The cover features Mark Withington's Rocksalt.

Image hosting by PhotobucketThis issue reprints the second Moth & Tanuki episode ("Trouble in the Pizza Shop"), which originally appeared in OzTAKU #3 (first series).

While it's only a short 4 pager, this episode fills in a lot of what I wanted to say about Moth & Tanuki at this stage - the way they relate to each other, and the way their stories work. Although the M&Ts are basically standalone stories, there is an overall narrative underpinning the episodes, so they need to be read in order.

That said, I thought I'd put up a page from the current episode. It's probably a bit darker in tone than some of the M&T material, but the baddies (in all the episodes I've written and drawn thus far) are non-superheroey - just average small-time criminals. The crime-fighting is only ever intended to be one level of the story, but it's important to this particular episode. I doubt Mothy's up to fighting superbaddies in any case.

By the way, the word "superhero" may no longer be public domain or freely available for use in our language, with Marvel and DC comics having trademarked it! Oh well, I'm not planning to use it in any case :).

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Feet for Illustration Friday 

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This is a variation on a cartoon I'm currently working on, with the words and gag part of it removed - it seemed relevant :). There are some tacky bits that won't show in the finished cartoon and the colours have been converted (from print CYMK to RGB), as I had to use Paintshop to resize it to post online.

J has often suggested spins on the IF theme that involve sharks, so she should enjoy this one!


Friday, March 17, 2006

Recent animal album covers 

Okay, I admit I'm a sucker for a pretty album cover. Indulge me - today's my birthday :). Here's four recent album covers that feature beasties of various sorts, and they're all beautiful and well though out pieces of art on albums by reputable artists.

They are:
  • Lookaftering - by the legendary Vashti Bunyan
  • The Brave and the Bold - by Bonny "Prince" Charlie & (progressiveish band) Tortoise
  • Feeding the Wolves - a mini-album by fine local singer/songwriter, Josh Pyke
  • Fox Confessor Brings the Flood - by Neko Case

  • Any opinions/reviews welcomed - help me decide which one I should purchase first. If anyone needs album artwork featuring animals designed, I'd definitely be interested in giving it a go!


    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    Tattoo for Illustration Friday 

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    These designs were used on some large circular mirrors made for a small company called Wild Iron, back around 1999.

    The way I first came back to drawing (after 10-15 years) was: our neighbour, Karol, came over one day and happened to complain to Jill that she'd hired a graphic artist to draw a cat for her for a sign, and he'd done a picture that was okay, but completely useless for her purposes. He hadn't listened to the brief at all! Anyway, Jill told her I could draw and to come over later when I was home. Karol told me what she wanted and I sat down, drew it, and she used it (on a sign over a shop in Prahran).

    Karol was doing all kinds of metalwork in a workshop in her backyard and had moved into making mirrors, candlebras and various other sculptures, and getting dishes painted with designs, so I started churning out pictures for. Even though I soon after lapsed into one of the worst depression periods of my life, having begun to draw again made an inexplicable difference and helped me get through it.

    The major things I designed for Karol's Wild Iron were metal mirrors with dragons and sea creatures. The initial design was inspired by the patterns of a tattoo, and I then thought of a range of different sea creatures (real and imaginary), which I worked up as patterns and swirls. These were laid out between two circles to form the pattern surrounding a round mirror (if I had a digital camera, I'd put up a picture). I was really pleased with these designs and have used one of them again recently in another picture, but that's another story :).

    If by chance anyone actually ends up wanting to commit one of these to their skin, please let me know! I don't have any tattoos myself (the permanence and lack of lasting quality worry me), but I do appreciate the design.


    Friday, March 10, 2006

    RNRFairies, Part 8, Moth & Tanuki guest appearance! 

    As featured in the March 2006 issue of Total Girl magazine (out now!), here's some frames from the latest episode of Dillon's Rock 'N' Roll Fairies drawn by me. Can anyone name what sort of bird that is? Originally, I was going to draw a blue wren, but due to scale (and not wanting to malign a native bird), I chose one of these characters. And yes, they do eat blackberries :).

    I know Moth & Tanuki have a full on life of their own that doesn't stop just because I get too tired to draw them.

    Here they are again, putting in a guest appearance lurking in the background to the poster for the upcoming OzTAKU Doujinshi Short Course at the Japanese Studies Centre, Monash University Clayton. I won't be there (I hate public speaking), but I'm pretty sure Kenneth Chan will be one of the teachers, so consider it recommended!

    The pics are from the "Trouble in the Pizza Shop" episode seen in OzTAKU #3 (original series), and about to run in 1.1 of the new series. More on that sometime soon...

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    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    Insect for Illustration Friday 

    This topic had me going through the cupboards looking for Albert, the dead cicada, the dead dragonfly and other entomological oddities we've collected over the years. I found him in a shoebox full of junk.

    Cicadas are cute appealing creatures, with their froggy faces and musical habits. They always remind me of something out of Hayao Miyazaki's extraordinary manga saga, Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind (yeah, I know there's also a film, but it's one of the few Miyazaki's I haven't yet seen).

    A lot of Summers up along the Murray, J and L collect bucketfuls of cicada skins off the sides of trees. The hollow skins are fascinating things (Jill's older sister is irrationally terrified of them) - if I'd had one I would've drawn that as well. Albert's different though - he's actually a whole dead cicada, perfect and green - I don't know how he died. Cicadas live most of their lives underground, though they're far more familiar in their noisy form, after they've emerged, shed their skins and flown off.

    When we first moved in to our current house a couple of newly hatched cicadas turned up, sitting around until they felt motivated to move on. Most were green, but one was a bright orange and black (I'm sorry I didn't draw it), and I ended up taking it into the bush and getting it to fly off, as it seemed to really be losing the plot.

    I had planned to colour this black and white drawing in Photoshop, but with a morning that began with a broken zipper and burst radiator hose (on the car), and continued with some guys turning up to look for climbing galaxids in our creek, it was not to be :). In colour, the lines of the transparent wings would be green trimmed with yellow, the body a darker green, and gold trim on various edges. On a live cicada the legs wouldn't be folded up either.

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