Friday, August 26, 2005

Off with the Fairies - the Rock 'N' Roll Fairies, that is! 

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Yesterday I picked up the latest issue of Total Girl magazine, and there's the first episode of a new story for Dillon's Rock 'N' Roll Fairies... drawn by me!

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI remember we first became aware of the Rock 'N' Roll Fairies about three years ago, when J was reading one of the first episodes to L.

A year or so later I interviewed the Fairies' creator, Dillon Naylor for OzComics Magazine and we found we had a lot in common, being fans of many of the same obscure artists and sharing a similar creative outlook.

When Dillon offered me the Rock 'N' Roll Fairies to draw I was delighted! They're wonderful, well-designed characters, present great active girl role models and I love band stories and miniature worlds!

So with this new Fairies adventure, I've started doing the artwork, though it's really a team effort - Dillon is still writing, and the colours are being added by Tamara Wighton. Grab a copy of the September issue at your newsagent (or Supermarket) now!

More information on the Rock 'N' Roll Fairies can be found at: Total Girl Rock 'N' Roll Fairies page, and you can check out their continuing new adventures every month in Total Girl magazine itself.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Reflection for Illustration Friday 

Another esoteric subject for Illustration Friday :). When I got this topic I immediately thought of my reflected zebras for "Black and White," much as I thought of my "Aging" illo for "Wisdom" (which I skipped).

The topic of "Reflection" does bring up a lot of poignant ideas, but I decided to go for something real and tangible instead.

A lot of male birds seem to like fighting their reflections (which is poignant enough, when you think about it). Initially, I was going to draw a raven pecking its image reflected in a window. This happens a lot at one place I work: after screening was put on the windows to hold back the brightness the ravens spend whole days pecking at their reflections (even to pulling out the seals around the windows). The "solution" has been to install "bird spikes" - nasty, but non-lethal rows of prodding wires installed in front of the windows. Now the ravens peck a bit and get poked a lot, but it hasn't deterred them :(.

I've seen a lot of other birds exhibit this behaviour as well - mudlarks (or peewees) at the railway station, and this persistent male superb blue wren, who used to wake us up every morning buzzing the glass, when we were housesitting in Warrandyte. We have blue wrens in our own garden as well, but the light on the windows must not work well enough to conjure an imaginary rival.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Australian comics 

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Here's the possible cover design for Operation Funnybone, the huge upcoming benefit anthology book for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. It looks like we reached the 100 artist target! There's Moth & Tanuki on the cover! This is a really exciting, inclusive project. All going well, I'll be proofreading a lot of it over the weekend.

In case anyone's wondering, I'm skipping Illustration Friday this week - this is not a picture by me! As the theme is "Wisdom," I started thinking about Anthony Phillip's album, Wise After the Event (the cover at left). It brought back to mind a cover concept I had a long time ago - a gravestone with "I knew this would happen" written on it. That's probably what I would've drawn but I've been busy. If you haven't read my blog before and really want a picture for "Wisdom," you could just check out Aging, as that also kind of covers it :).

At present I'm working on another episode of a strip and a couple of potential cover designs. One of these is presenting me with some ethical difficulties, as some of the content from other artists actually offends my sensibilities quite a bit in its views of women. Not that I'm actually responsible for anyone else's work, I guess, but I have gone for an inclusive cover approach that could imply my endorsement. A dilemma...

It's looking like things are bleak for OzTAKU too - as international distribution through Diamond looks like it won't be happening. I'm not sure if this means its demise at this stage, but hopefully not. It does mean more of my work on the "unpublished" heap, at least for the time being. Whatever happens, I plan to try to keep Moth & Tanuki going in some form.

While nothing much appears to be happening on the Australian comics front in general, there are a number of graphic novel solo artist works in progress. Interestingly, two of these that are coming up soon - Golgotha by Jules Faber and Withheld by Bobby (Bluetoaster) Nenadovic - are set in prisons of one form or another. Maybe Australian comics are slow this year because everyone is working on a long masterpiece!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Horse and His Boy / The Dark is Rising films! 

Thumbing through a copy of The Bookseller, in a news item about HarperCollins push to promote reprints of the Narnia books ahead of the films, there was this interesting mention: "Filming of a second Narnia title, The Horse and His Boy, is believed to be underway, although it has not been confirmed by Disney." (C. Horn - "HC starts Narnia push early" - The Bookseller, Aug 5 2005, p. 8). As I've just reread this book, I think they're jumping the gun in going on to this one (rather than say, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), but the talking horse thing may have proved an irresistable attraction to the producers. I personally feel that it brings the series near to its end thematically, though the current chronological ordering of the series (where it's number 3) would disagree. An interesting rumour though!

Another diverting rumour is this one, Walden Media Acquire 'The Dark is Rising' Sequence". I'm not sure how a film of any of Susan Cooper's five book series would go: the first book, Over Sea Under Stone reads like a much more traditional children's mystery tale of the time and the series doesn't hit its stride until the title book. It will be essential for the makers of these films to preserve the British feel of the characters, mythology and landscape. For more information on Susan Cooper and her work, please see The Lost Land.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Empty for Illustration Friday 

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When I considered "Empty" this is what came into my head. It's from a fantasy novel by Poul Anderson - Three Hearts and Three Lions - an empty suit of armour lying in a field of asphodels, that was a lively unearthly warrior shortly before. The book blazes along and is a great pulp fantasy adventure that I read in my teens. It refers to Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court at points. The empty suit of armour is an image used in quite a few books and films - please mention any you can think of below!

The picture was drawn in black pencil, then painted in watercolour washes, with acrylics (and a little coloured pencil) for the details.

My other ideas for "Empty" were seashells - I remember painting some sea animal designs to be painted onto dinnerware, and I drew them all with live beasties in them, to the consternation of some :).

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Trigan Empire collected editions! 

One of my all-time favourite comics, The Trigan Empire (which originally appeared in the British children's magazine Look & Learn) is now being made available - all the Don Lawrence illustrated years - in a beautifully presented Collector's Edition, from original artwork or production slides. Unfortunately, it's completely unaffordable for me, and all the other TE fans that I know of.

See: The Trigan Empire, or for more details (in case you might be able to get a second mortgage and buy them) see: Don Lawrence Trigan Empire Collection. Production-wise, these books look like an object lesson in how these kinds of collections should be done - it's a pity they're so out of reach to so many fans!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Logging to Extinction 

In weekend news, there was a report on how loggers in the Barmah State Forest have devastated over half the nesting ground of the endangered superb parrot. There are now fewer than 150 superb parrots breeding in Victoria, and they already have problems with illegal capture by collectors. As this logging has destroyed 60 per cent of their nesting colonies it severely compromises their chance of survival as a species.

The felling of 6000 tonnes of river red gums has destroyed one of the best remaining stands of old growth red gums in the protected zone, with large numbers of the gums still lying on the ground. This "blunder" is being blamed on the Department forgetting to check maps (and the sick leave absence of a forestry officer) before approving a logging coupe.

There is something uncomfortably familiar about this. In 1994 the habitat of our State emblem, the critically endangered Leadbeater's possum - five hectares of prime habitat forest near Marysville - was also logged after a mapping error. As in the recent case this ecological disaster was discovered accidently, in Barmah by a botanical consultant, and in Marysville by the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria.

I'm not a cynic, but a cynic might say that the logging industry finds it necessary to log major conservation value areas whenever the opportunity presents itself and it may be possible to get away with it.


  • Superb Parrot from the Save the Murray page

  • Leadbeater's Possum from Museum Victoria's The Leadbeater's Possum page.
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    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Aging for Illustration Friday 

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    This was a challenge! J said, "You could just draw a pile of dust." :)

    Jill suggested that the books should start off smaller (good idea, but it was too late) and also that maybe the last book could be more decaying, but I replied that "It's aging, not death."

    Jill and J both thought that I should use real book titles, but I resisted as I thought that kind of restricted the idea (and they'd probably be unreadable in the online version anyway. J says they look like they're written in Chinese - maybe they are...

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