Saturday, December 30, 2006


This is a drawing I did in brush texta, metallic pen and colour pencil. I always like to mix my media.

The second one is the same drawing through a Photoshop filter (I think it was "Film Grain"). My husband liked the "burnt" quality of it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I have the perfect piece for this topic. It's a piece I did for my art exam at high school...oooh, more years ago than I care to remember - but the subject is King Tutankhamun's funerary mask and tomb items. Because I am a nerd, I had drew items which were actually found in the tomb with King Tut.

Unfortunately, I framed the piece a few years ago, so I got my husband to take a photo of it in its frame. He had to slope the picture backwards so as not to appear in the reflection. So it doesn't quite do justice to the piece. It was done in oil pastel.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Illustration Friday - Might

My cousin had a project in which he had to write propaganda for Macbeth. We were trying to think of a good image to represent Macbeth's reign, and the gauntleted fist is what we came up with. For some reason, that's what came into my head when I saw this week's topic.

I don't know what exactly this next cartoon is about. That's the other image that came into my head. The soldier is so focussed on his mission that he doesn't see the flower in front of him.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Illustration Friday - Invention

The Tyger

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes!
On what wings dare he aspire
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

-William Blake

I love this topic: invention. The drawings above and below are ones I did some time ago, inspired by that William Blake poem above. The top one is like a draftsperson's "design" of a tiger, hence the link with "invention".

I hope to do another drawing this week. I haven't had much time lately. I've been flat out marking exams. I like teaching, but I really don't like marking.

I didn't get a chance to do a drawing for "Thanksgiving", although I'm glad of the topic, because it made me go and find out what exactly what Thanksgiving is. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia. I'd heard of it in American sitcoms, and knew that it involved eating turkey in some way, but that was about it. I didn't realise that it was celebrated in Canada too, or that it was based on the Harvest Festival. And yes, it involves eating turkey (I got that right).

I had an idea for a cartoon of some sad turkeys called Hank and Jed talking in a Southern American drawl (or my Australian interpretation thereof):
Hank: "Well, Jed, I don't know what we're giving thanks for?"
Jed: "Hank, it sure beats me."
But I never got around to drawing it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Illustration Friday - Clear

I haven't been very good at art blogging lately. Unfortunately, work stress and a sick baby have been taking up most of my time. My poor little girl has had gastro, but she's a lot better today, so hopefully she will be all better soon.

Anyway, I thought I'd just do a really quick pencil sketch, just so I could do something. I feel miserable if I don't get to draw at least once a week.

I drew a glass of water on the coffee table with a pen and a piece of paper behind it. I didn't realise until I sat down to draw that the water not only bent the image of the pen and the paper, but it reflected it as well. It was quite hard to draw. Obviously, both the glass and the water are "clear". I was thinking as I drew how precious water is. We have a drought here in Australia at the moment: clean and clear water should never be taken for granted.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Illustration Friday - Wind

This sketch was done in ball point pen, then coloured and adjusted in Photoshop. The other day when I went into work, I made the mistake of wearing a short flippy little skirt (and I didn't look at the weather report that closely). This is a little drawing of me as I walk to work...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Illustration Friday - Ghost

I haven't done a post for the last two Illustration Friday topics. I haven't even had a chance to look at anyone else's site. It's pretty sad when life gets in the way of art. Unfortunately, I was swamped by marking (114 essays for the university subject I teach). Then my poor old husband had to have a sinus operation last week. Fortunately, my husband is now fine, and I finished all my marking this afternoon (finally!).

Anyway, I've got a couple of different pictures for Ghost. The first one is a drawing of the phantom hounds of the Wild Hunt. I've decided my dogs are Welsh and belong to Gwyn ap Nudd. I remember reading a charming story about a family finding one of the hounds left over from the Wild Hunt, so they rescued it and took it in. The dog was white as snow, but had red eyes and ears, and a bell-like bark. They had to tie it up every Halloween lest it escape and rejoin the pack.

The second two pictures are derived from a Japanese ghost story I read once about a giant ghost cat. Somehow it just seemed really creepy to me. I think Japanese ghosts are much creepier than Western ghosts. My Japanese isn't crash hot these days, but I have attempted to write over the cat is "Dream of a ghost cat" in Japanese.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Illustration Friday - Quiet

My take on quiet this week is to draw "Hear-No-Evil", one of the three wise monkeys. He's enjoying a quiet bath in a natural hot spring.

This kind of monkey (Japanese macaque) watched humans having hot baths and decided it looked like a good idea, so now they like to have a dip too.

The other idea that came into my head with this topic is the way in which we're besieged by noise - so I thought I'd draw an oasis of quiet in the middle of the noise. Unfortunately, it couldn't all fit on my scanner, but it was fun to draw.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Illustration Friday - Phobia

I have an unusual phobia: coulrophobia, or fear of clowns. Seriously, I am coming out in a sweat as I type. I hate them. Clowns are not fun for me. When I was little, I rejected a chocolate icecream from a clown. It takes a lot to make me reject an item of free food, particularly one which is (a) ice-cream and (b) chocolate flavoured. My mother, my sister, my grandmother and my cousins also suffer from this phobia. We are wondering if it is genetic? We are not alone: there is a website called "I hate clowns".

It's actually quite difficult to draw one's phobia; the unfortunate thing is that I felt sick when drawing this week's artwork. I drew a normal man's face from a magazine (a perfectly acceptable looking person) and then coloured him in pencil with clown make-up. Yuk. It really is my worst nightmare.

My friend Tim and I have written a cartoon. In the second episode (still in the pipeworks) there is going to be an evil clown, called "Knuckles" for short. He's a nasty specimen (see below).

The final clown image I did was a horrible image which I then distorted using Photoshop.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Illustration Friday - Change

The chameleon came into my head when I thought about change. They are amazing lizards. Apparently they have both brown skin cells and green skin cells. When they are standing on a brown tree trunk, they dilate the brown cells (so they look brown) and contract the green ones (so the green skin can't be seen). When they are standing on a green leaf, they dilate the green cells and contract the brown ones. We saw some in Malaysia when we went there a few years ago.

I did a pen and ink drawing and then went a bit crazy with Photoshop and some coloured pencils.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Drawing - Powerpoint presentation...?

I teach Property Law at university two days a week. The students have asked me to produce a weekly Powerpoint presentation.

I had lunch with some friends last week, and I was telling them how I put a different photo or drawing on the first page of my presentation every week, just for my own amusement. The funny thing is that no one has really asked me about them yet. "Why not do picture of a powerpoint - your very own special "powerpoint presentation"?" suggested my friends, who have the same gloriously sick sense of humour as me. We got quite hysterical imagining a Powerpoint presentation entitled "Powerpoints of the World"...hmm, guess you had to be there.

So I drew the powerpoint in our loungeroom this morning. Now I'm looking forward to my lecture tomorrow. That's the good thing about being a lecturer - I've got a captive audience who has to put up with my sick sense of humour!!! Heh heh heh.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Illustration Friday - Farm

I was at a bit of a loss for this week's topic. Then I thought about those ant farms - you know the ones, where you have a thin glass walled case filled with earth and the ants make their tunnels in the case. So you can see all the ants going about their ant-y business, wandering around their tunnels. That's the kind of thing which would keep me transfixed for hours as a child.

This sketch was done with pen, ink and brush. I just bought some new vermillion ink this week so I thought I'd have a play with it. I looked at electron microscope pictures of ants on the net to see what they looked like close up. They look pretty alien. The amazing thing is that they have lots of "fur" on their legs and mandibles. Once when I had a really bad fever I hallucinated that a giant ant had come through the wall and looked at me. Looking at this picture, I'm glad that it was just a fever dream!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Illustration Friday - Safe

After I had my little girl, I was struck by how much I wanted to keep her safe. I understood my own parents' actions so much better.

In the first week after my baby was born, I would just have to look at her to be overwhelmed by tears. The tears arose both from the depth of my love for her, and the sure knowledge that I couldn't keep my child safe forever. In order to live and grow, people have to be allowed to make their own mistakes and hurt themselves sometimes, no matter how painful that is for a parent to watch.

I guess this drawing was inspired by Pietas of Madonna and Child, but it's more personal than that. I am trying to convey the way I want to surround my child with my love and keep her safe. But already she's managed to get an arm out to explore the world...both inevitable and necessary. Hopefully when she grows up, she will have the strength to explore the world, secure in the knowledge that her parents love her and will always be there for her.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Illustration Friday - Run

I'm afraid that in my present state, the thing that came into my head with the topic "Run" was runny noses. My husband, baby and I have all had terrible colds this week. Fortunately our baby is mostly better, but my husband and I are still sick. So this is a cartoon of me blowing my nose.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Illustration Friday - Match

I was mucking around trying to draw burning matches with oil pastel and chalk pastel, but it wasn't really working. So, I thought I might do something a bit different, and did this sketch on a bit of newspaper. I liked it much better than my pastel efforts.

My husband also had an idea for a drawing. His idea was to draw a "match made in heaven" - two winged and haloed matches looking lovingly at each other. He particularly likes the idea because we are both red-heads. But he refused to do it himself ("too cute"). He likes to pretend he is very tough. Anyway, on his urging, I drew it for him.

The other idea which came into my head with "match" was this funny little cartoon (only took me a minute to do).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Photo - Mekong Sunrise

This would have to be another of my all time favourite photos. I was standing on a balcony on the Thailand side of the Mekong River, watching the sun rise on the Laotian side. As I took the photo, the sun just glinted off the trellis on the balcony roof. Usually my photos of sunrises and sunsets are disappointing, but this is the exception!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Drawing - The Life Tree

This is a drawing of Yggdrasill, the Life Tree in Norse mythology. The serpent at the base is the Nidhogg. I did this drawing in pencil about 6 or 7 years ago. I'd like to try another version in watercolour pencil.

Illustration Friday - Play 2

I have decided to do a more upbeat interpretation on "Play". My friend Tim and I were going to do a children's book called "Eric and the Woozle", featuring Eric and his dog. We never got around to it, but I had a really clear picture of what the first page would look like. So I decided to draw it. This is the first time I've used computer techniques extensively with a drawing.

It reminds me of the sort of games I used to play with my sister. We were often explorers and I would draw a map of the lands we had to explore. Household objects became extraordinary things and other rooms became other countries inhabited by different beings.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Drawing - Blue woman

I'm still going through all my old stuff - I found this drawing in pencil which I did about a year and a half ago. I have always wanted to improve on the way I put shadow on faces - I think this must have been a practice attempt.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Drawing - My Left Hand

Somehow I haven't liked my last couple of Illo Friday drawings, so I thought I'd try something else. This is a drawing of my left hand which I did last night. As you can see, it's a pretty bony, knuckly old hand with long fingers. One of the first things I noticed about my daughter when she was born was that she has exactly the same long-fingered hands (in minature).

This is a present for my friend Lol, who loves hands and has been trying to persuade me to do a drawing of a hand for years.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Illustration Friday - Play

I didn't feel very inspired by this week's topic, for some reason. When I thought about the word "play", the rather depressing realisation occurred to me that many games are actually a kind of ritualised or disguised combat. I think world news at the moment has seeped into my consciousness. Anyway, I tried not to get too depressing with my drawing, and just did this quick cartoon/sketch. I used fineliners and brush textas and then added in the script with Photoshop afterwards. The boy is modelled on my cousins (avid computer game players, both of them).

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Illustration Friday - Capture

This drawing in pastel is taken from a photo of a tiger I met near Luang Prabang in Laos. Her name is Phet (meaning "jewel" in Laotian). This looks like a very sad drawing, but I'm pleased to say it has a happy ending.

Phet and her two brothers were captured by poachers when they were tiny cubs. The poachers killed their mother. Phet's brothers died, but Phet survived. The local people didn't know what to do with her. So they brought her up like a normal cat to begin with. Then she got BIG. She couldn't just wander around the village any more. They had to put her in a cage (the small cage in this picture). However, they started a fund to raise money to place Phet in a local reserve just for her.

In the picture, Phet is not sad - she is excited because she has seen our tour guide, Wendy. Wendy had known her since she was a small cub. When Wendy approached, Phet let out a yowl of excitement and stretched herself right up to the top of the cage. Then she started to purr, and put her head down for Wendy to scratch behind her ears. That's what she's doing in this drawing.

I did a search on the internet and found that Phet eventually got her reserve and didn't have to stay in the small cage for much longer. That made me very pleased. I see this drawing as capturing the brave and curious spirit of Phet.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Drawing - Zebras

Illustration Friday has inspired me to look back at all my old drawings and artwork. I found this zebra drawing (and an accompanying version in red) the other day - I had totally forgotten about it.

I've been drawing for longer than I thought - I drew this in 1991 when I was living in the UK. Anyway, if I do say so myself, I like it. That doesn't seem like bragging because it was done so long ago that it feels like a different person drew it!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Illustration Friday - Clean

My Dad has been scanning in slides and negatives from our childhood. I went around to my parents' last night and one of the photos Dad was showing me was a baby me sitting in the back garden, up to my shoulders in fallen leaves. I think that's why this image came into my head when I saw the topic "Clean". Also, Dad has always been big on sweeping leaves, even to this day. My sister and I were distinctly less convinced of the need to sweep them up; I think we are intrinsically less neat than Dad.

Anyway, I dedicate this week's drawing to Dad. And the leaves (which continue to plague him by falling from the trees around about his house).

Friday, July 28, 2006

Book Cover - Mirrors of Casalasandria

I drew this book cover from my friend Tim. He has written a series of books about a cat called Mr. Smith and a girl called Miranda. No prizes for guessing who is who! The nasty two headed monster is an Acid-Gum Worm...he drools acidic bubblegum...

If you're interested in the book, check out this link here. It was fun to have to draw something "to order". I tried to make the characters resemble their descriptions - there's nothing I hate more than cover art where the characters look nothing like their descriptions (the hero with black hair, when in the book he has blond hair, for example). It shows the illustrator didn't even bother to read the book!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Etching - Gnarled tree

I've put this one up at the request of my husband. He really likes it. Certainly, it freaked out my boss at my old workplace - he thought it looked visceral. This imprint was done in black ink.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Poem - Night Flowers

Well, I'm a little nervous about posting poetry, but hey, if I'm daring enough to post artwork I can do anything. I wrote this poem a long time ago after walking home on a warm spring night.
Twelve o'clock; midnight:
It is dark.
The familar street
has become a pool of swimming darkness.
It is silent.
The roar of a car can
be heard breaking the still black night.
As I walk,
the tiny pebbles underfoot
press into the soles of my bare feet.
Then I smell
in the darkness
the heavy, rich scent of flowers filling the still air like a cloud.

Illustration Friday - Opposites

I was daring enough to try watercolour this week, which is not one of the mediums with which I am most comfortable. These fish are yin and yang fish - inspired by koi I saw in Japan. I really wanted to get the ripples to be more striking - I think that's something I'll have to practice.

I don't know why, but when I read the Illo Friday topic, this funny little cartoon popped into my head. I guess I thought of the saying that "opposites attract"!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Photo - Mother and child

I don't know why, but this photo has been in my head lately. Maybe it's because my own baby is about the age of the baby in the photo, and also loves to "stand up" and smile to see new people.

This photo was taken in Laos on the Mekong. I'm not even sure of the name of the place, or if it had a name - it was just a couple of booths by the side of the river. I couldn't speak much Laotian and the mother couldn't speak much English but we nevertheless had a very friendly interaction as I admired her adorable baby.

I gave the tour company with whom I went to Laos a copy of the photo and asked them to try and ensure that the mother got it. I don't think the mother would have a photo of her baby otherwise, and it's so candid and beautiful. I really hope that the mother and baby (now much older) are well and that they did get the copy of the photo.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Illustration Friday - Sacrifice

Well, I'm a total convert to Illustration Friday. Thank you to all the lovely people who left comments on my last drawing. It's great to get an opportunity to see everyone's different interpretations - really inspiring.

This week's theme is Sacrifice. My husband and brother-in-law were suggesting that I draw something bloody, but I thought I'd try for something slightly more subtle. The image which came into my head was the scapegoat...the goat which was sacrificed for the sins of others. So here's the poor old goat.

We've been in Sydney visiting my cousins and aunt and uncle so the drawing is just on a page from my moleskine. Thanks to my cousin Jackson for helping me find some good images of goats so that I could draw my idea!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Etching - Running Horse

My husband put in a special request that I post this etching to my site. It doesn't quite fit on our scanner, but you can still get the idea.

This version was done in green ink; I have another version in brown ink.

I like the "plate tone" in the background - looks like sweat and steam coming from the horse.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Photo - My favourite photo

I think this would be my favourite photo of any I have taken. I took it at Ankor Wat as the sun was setting. I asked the monk if he would mind me taking a photo, and he said that was fine.

As I was taking the photo, I said "Oh, your bag matches your robe, that's cool!" This produced the shy smile in the photo.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Illustration Friday - Skyline

This is my first attempt at Illustration Friday. This week's topic was "Skyline".

I completed this sketch using coloured pencils and fine liner. I'm not totally happy with it (I think I should have made the dragonfly bigger). But it's not too bad for a first effort.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Etching - African Head

This is an etching of a wooden African statue head which I did last year. I used blue-black ink for this imprint. I've also done versions in red and black.