Whimsy and Woe!

August 21 2017 saw the release of my latest illustrated book ‘Whimsy and Woe’ , written by Rebecca McRitchie and published by Harper Collins Australia. This book took quite a while in the making, so I’m happy to see it out and about in beautiful hardcover presentation.

Funnily enough, though, it was the decision to go hard cover that actually hastened my deadline. I thought I would have a couple of months to complete the 50+ illustrations; in the end I had about 4 weeks! Luckily I had most of the rough sketches sorted by that stage, so the process of completing the pen + ink drawings turned into a bit of a production line.

(Before + after: L: digital rough sketch  / R: finished art / pen and ink)

Some notes: All of the internal  illustrations are pen and ink on paper, scanned digitally; in some cases the images were edited digitally after completion. Interestingly, my rough sketches were primarily done on an iPad Pro, using Procreate.I decided to go with pen and ink for the finished art  to reflect the ambiguous ‘Victoriana’ era of the text. Hopefully after the next book I will have enough images for an exhibition as well.


The ‘Victoriana’ theme is also reflected in the layout of full page images with borders, referencing old chapbooks / illustrated novellas of the era. An interesting throw back in these digital times 🙂

All in all, given that the story doesn’t sit in a defined moment in history, some modern embellishments (e.g.. car / style of dress) are used, but generally is meant to be around the turn of the century before last (1895-1910).

Whimsy and Woe!

40 artists for the 40 hour famine

Poster for 2017 40 hour Famine

World Vision Australia contacted my agaency, the Jacky Winter Group, with an ambitious project for this year’s 40 hour famine – could they muster up 40 artists to create A2 poster images to raise awareness of the displacement of communities that is happening around the world at the moment? Having watched the horrors of the various conflicts in front of the comfort of a screen a far, far way away, of course I feel helpless; but as an Australian I also feel horror at the lack of understanding / empathy that our country displays on an official level, as well as the more ‘grass roots’ hatred shown by “nationalist” groups, so I was happy to make my small contribution.

Artist statement as follows:

When thinking of displacement, I couldn’t help but think of the loss of a place to call “home”, and small reminders such as a child’s slippers. The central figure is clutching a sprig of Jasmine, the national flower of Syria, in the hope that one day she can return in peace.

See the full suite of posters here: http://40artists.40hourfamine.com.au/

40 artists for the 40 hour famine

Chante’s Story – an animation for Radio National

A still from ‘Chante’s Story’

Recently I was contacted by Gretchen Miller, a producer at Radio National, with an all too rare request: could I create a short animation based on an audio story about her friend Tansy and her experiences with her disabled child Chanté? I wasn’t sure how to approach such a sensitive topic, but I tentatively said ‘yes’. When I saw the photos of Chanté, my apprehensions diminished somewhat – here was a gorgeous, happy, girl with lots of personality, which made my job a lot easier.

Gretchen gave me a rough breakdown of suggested shots and timings, and I set about to bring this story to life. I was a little rusty with my animation skills, but I went back to my favoured method of animating my digital images in After Effects. The project was completed in a month or so, in a square format to enhance sharing on social media. It was great to get back into animating my work!

Chante’s Story – an animation for Radio National

Dragonkeeper 6 – Bronze Bird Tower

When author Carole Wilkinson planned ‘Bronze Bird Tower’, the sixth book in her ‘Dragonkeeper series’, she also announced the end of the popular title. I enjoyed working on this piece, and I hope I was able to bring a non-traditional interpretation to the series as a hole (because who really does know what a dragon looks like?)

Dragonkeeper 6 – Bronze Bird Tower

Greetings from Australia!

Produced in conjunction with the Jacky Winter Group and Thames and Hudson, I got to interpret the iconic emu for this ‘Greetings from Australia’ sticker book- in a scene inspired from trips through Woomera and further into Western Australia. I used a combination of collage (cut up newspapers), paint, and digital brushes and textures.

Greetings from Australia!