25 July, 2010

Black and white illustration

I've always enjoyed drawing with pen and ink in my sketchbooks and my finished art. It's a good idea for artists to sketch straight in pen sometimes, and not always rely on the trusty pencil.  If you are not worried by mistakes in your sketchbooks, and of course, you shouldn't be, then your hand-eye co-ordination will improve in leaps and bounds and you will acquire a confidence in quick sketching.
There are many styles and techniques artists use in monochrome art.  Some of my favourite artists are Gustave Dore, Leonardo da Vinci, Honore Daumier, Peter Bruegel, Hans Holbein and so many others.
Some favourite illustrators are William Heath Robinson, Edward Gorey, Aubrey Beardsley, Robert Crumb, Alan Stamaty, the list goes on.
My illustrations below have been taken from a variety of my previously published books.

Garden goat

Jubilant gnome

Gnome concentration

Giraffes in knots

Irate fortune teller Madame Fratlin

A conference of elephants

18 July, 2010

Favourite books from childhood

I have long treasured books from my own childhood.  I don't know how much of the style of certain illustrators influences other people's work, but in my case, I'm sure each artist, whose works I appreciate, is going to be an influence, however subtle.
Back in my childhood, I read and re-read collections of fairy tales.  Sometimes these books were given as gifts and I still have them with me today.

The artist, Libico Maraja (1912- 1983) illustrated a number of fine books.  The work below is from a version of The Wizard of Oz. This edition is dated 1958 and published in Australia by Golden Press, Sydney.
I loved then, as I do now, that Maraja's illustrations are well drawn with a straight-forward approach to the subject.  He does not cute-ify his images, so in my mind as a child, they were totally believable.

I'll show more great illustrations from my books in the next few months.

11 July, 2010

New book release...

It's Bedtime, William! is the title of my new book, published in June 2010.  This picture book looks into the world-wide occurrence of kids not wanting to go to bed as opposed to the parent who knows the sleeping hour has definitely arrived.
A battle of wills can develop but with some negotiation and some strategic thinking, a child can usually buy some more precious time. In this story William has played his last card and reluctantly trudges up to his room only to find his bed is already occupied by a huge uninvited lion.
After the initial shock of this unexpected discovery, it is William who tries to persuade the now energetic and wide-awake lion to stop fooling about and go to sleep.
Does William succeed and will his parents find out?

I had a lovely time working on this book, creating the characters and writing the story.  Nowadays I tend to keep the design and format of the layout quite simple and direct.  I can then concentrate on the rapport between the main characters, their expressions, and vitality of the book as a whole.

These illustrations were drawn on a Wacom tablet using Photoshop.

Its Bedtime, William! is published by Viking, Penguin Australia.


04 July, 2010

Margaret Clark

Margaret Clark was an Australian painter and illustrator who was born in 1901. She grew up in Sydney and attended Julian Ashton Art School for a short period.
In 1918 she was commissioned to paint pictures of fairies to decorate confectionery boxes for the firm of Sweetacres.
Margaret Clark had a short but successful career as an artist. She exhibited five fairy paintings with the Sydney Society of Women Painters in 1924 and held a solo exhibition at the Sydney Art Salon in 1926.

The painting shown here is from the 1924 or 1926 exhibition. Margaret Clark's work is influenced by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, but nevertheless is well executed and skillfully painted. Despite her exhibitions of work being highly successful for such a young artist, her output after this was minimal.
After her marriage in 1929, she disappeared from the public art scene.
Some of her existing work is apparently now in the possession of the State Library of NSW.