29 March 2014

Numbers week

The topic for Week 12 in the 52 Week Illustration Challenge was Numbers. I found this a very hard topic to come up with something creative. I know I tend to be very literal in my interpretations and have to push myself to come up with something outside the box, so to speak. The other participants did some amazing work, like usual, and were SO creative.

My initial thought was an old fashioned strongman. Not really sure where that idea came from... but the weights were the number aspect. I had some fun and came up with this little character. Painted in watercolour in my handmade sketchbook.


I then was thinking about board games, with numbers and dice. One of my favourite games as a kid was snakes and ladders. Cats are one of my favourite things so here is my Cats and Ribbons version. You climb up the cat and slide down the ribbon. The stretchy cat is your friend. This was created in Illustrator. I think I could have done a better job on the ribbons, they were hard. I need to go back and have another play with this maybe. But it was fun.



28 March 2014

Little Landscapes

Each year Chisholm TAFE holds a Little Landscapes exhibition. As I am a student there I get to participate.

There is a painting camp held early in the year. This year it was at Stony Point. The idea is to paint plein air on 9 x 5 panels or sheets. The 9 x 5 is the size of the cigar box lids the original Heidelberg school painters used to use.

Stony Point is a favourite spot of mine. I have visited there often. It is just a small spot on Western Port Bay at the end of the train line. There is a small (tiny) general store and a huge pier where the ferry across to Philip Island runs from, a boat ramp and caravan park. That's about it. But the scenery is lovely. It is also surrounded by trees, mangrove swamp and the bay looking across to Philip Island.

There is a lot of bird life there too. I especially love the watch the flock of Pelicans that roost there. You never realise how big pelicans are till you see them in person.

My favourite painting medium is watercolour... did you notice :) So I did several pieces to be considered for inclusion in the exhibition. Here they are...







The exhibition is being held at BrightSpace in St Kilda opening on Wed 7 May. If you live in Melbourne I hope you get a chance to drop by and have a look.

24 March 2014

How do you face a challenge?

Sometimes a challenge is really a challenge and sometimes I just can't push myself to meet that challenge. I'm sure you all know what I mean by that.

The topic for this week for the 52 Week Illustration Challenge was architecture. One of the things I find most difficult to draw is buildings. I know they are basically just squares and cubes but I find them really hard and generally just try to avoid them. I truly admire Urban Sketchers who do amazing sketches of buildings. I am just not that type of artist.

I debated all week how I was going to tackle this topic. I kept searching through images of buildings trying to be inspired and find the courage to try them but being busy with other projects just didn't leave me with much time or energy for something that is such a challenge. Well that is my excuse...

I finally settled on something to do with architecture... letterboxes. I think letterboxes are amazing. They come is such different shapes and sizes and somehow you tell what country they come from just by looking at them. So that was my challenge. I did a page of letterboxes of the world in pen and wash.

Near the end of the week I was feeling a bit guilty and that I had let myself down so I made an attempt at this simple drawing in Illustrator. It is a start and something that hopefully I will come back to and develop further.

Next week is numbers... another big challenge. Don't forget to pop over and see all the amazing work this fantastic group of artists are creating in the 52 Week Illustration Challenge.

15 March 2014

52 week Illustration Challenge - Patterns

Last week the topic for the 52 Week Illustration Challenge with Tania McCartney was Patterns. There were some amazing digital patterns created and lots of other inspiring and creative pieces as well. I must admit I had a bit of a personal challenge with this one. I kept trying to look to nature for my inspiration.

Here I was trying to capture the pattern of the waves, and there is the pattern of the footprints in the sand.


Simple idea here from a slice of orange. Created using watercolour pencils.


Pattern of bricks in the wall offset by the flower growing.


A final challenge was this pine cone drawn directly in ink. Wash created with waterbrush.


Nothing like a challenge to push yourself.

My own mythical creature

I was given a brief to create my own mythical creature loosely  based around the jackalope, wolpertinger or skvader. These all have a rabbit body but being an aussie I wanted to change that to start with. I have gone with the marsupial look. He is meant to be a bilby but looks maybe a bit more generic but definitely Australian.

I had some challenges with this once I had decided on the creature. Where to put him? My first attempt was in a rainforest. Maybe it was just the technique I used but really not happy with this one.


I then went back to look at some classic children's book illustrations as they are the look and feel I love and truly want to emulate. After poring over beautiful images from E H Shepard, Beatrix Potter, Ivy Wallace and others I came up with two new ideas.

This one has a pen and ink background inspired by E H Shephard. I am really happy with this but my lovely creature doesn't seem to stand out enough.


This turned out to be my favourite. Classic storybook feel here. The soft colours, nice layout. The creature fits right in. I also gave him a butterfly to play with.


It really works to try different ideas and styles as you never know what you might like in the end. I am always learning new things by doing this. I don't always go back to those ideas, I often forget but it is good to be reminded and just have a go. I really enjoyed this brief. I hope you like my little friend too.

06 March 2014

A week of trees

The theme this week for the 52 week Illustration Challenge was Trees. I love trees. I love being near trees, smelling trees, touching trees and trying to paint and draw them too. It was great to have a reason to focus on them this week.

I tried some realistic studies with watercolour, which turned out pretty well.
 Was aiming to capture the look and feel of a eucalyptus here.


I also went crazy and had some fun with my Family Tree and Tea Tree.



I hope you like them.