More Decisions!

From fashion to interior design, so many illustrative decisions to make for Simone in France! Here I am trying to colour coordinate the interior of Lilou's home.

Amber

This is an old sketch I did in 2010 for Rob, to remind him of home while he was working overseas. At the end of the path is his family dog Amber. I dug this sketch out because Amber has been on our minds a lot lately as she's been having a rough few weeks.

Extra Challenges

The final illustrations for Simone in France have brought up some new challenges that are taking a bit more time and thought. Unlike my previous two books that featured one or two characters, Simone in France has two main characters and roughly 132 background characters that need to be outfitted (i.e., skin, hair, and wardrobe) and coordinated with their surroundings (e.g., buildings, trees, etc.). Here is my attempt to create some base colours that I can tweak along the way as I begin to bring these background characters to (colourful) life.

Love is in the Air

It only took me more than 4 weeks to come up with a Valentine's Day design. Here it is, my new print design titled Love is in the Air, featuring galahs. I often see these birds in the nearby park and their distinctive pink and grey plumage remind me of the colours and shapes we associate with love.

This print design is dedicate to Alexandra and Mathieu. I think the theme is quite fitting for their wonderful news. Congratulations to you both!

Bonjour Lilou!

Who will Simone be visiting next in her second book? Get ready to meet Lilou in France. Just over 3 years in the making, what adventures will Simone and Lilou get up to?

Stay posted as Simone in France is coming soon...

Koala Spotting

This new print design is inspired by my time down at Apollo Bay, along the Great Ocean Road. If you ever have trouble bird watching in Australia, you can always give koala spotting a go instead. How many koalas can you spot high up in the eucalyptus trees?

Colour Swatches

With the line illustrations for the next Simone adventure complete, I've moved on to creating colour swatches for the different elements that pop up in the story. I have quite a few more to go until I start adding colour to the final illustrations.

In the meantime, a big Thank You! to Virginia Pow for her wonderful book review of Simone in Australia in the The Deakin Review of Children's Literature. You can read it here.

Happy Lunar New Year

To ring in the Year of the Rooster, here are a couple of Greater Prairie-Chickens. Once numbering in the millions across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario, these Greater Prairie-Chickens have unfortunately vanished from the Canadian prairies due to a loss of habitat. There is hope yet for these striking birds, as small populations can still be found in the US.

Fairy Wren Style

People used to think that superb fairy wren groups were composed of a single male with many females. It turns out that the bright blue plumage is only found on mature breeding males, whereas mature non-breeding males have a more similar appearance to the females. This means a group of fairy wrens can be a mix of male and female numbers.

Here in my latest print design (from left to right) is a casual looking mature non-breeding male, a formal looking mature breeding male, and a female, characterised by the bright orange ring of feathers around her eyes, ready for any occasion.

Find this print (and others) at Redbubble.

Trying Out Print-on-Demand

Over the last year, I've found that managing the printing and distribution of my work is eating into my creative time and proving to be a bit of a headache now that I'm branching into bags and apparel. As a result, I've decided to try the print-on-demand marketplace called Redbubble. With an office in Melbourne and featuring artists from all around the world, it's worth a look.

A Hoot!

My first illustration of the year is the endangered burrowing owl in the Canadian prairies. These owls like to nest and roost in old burrows made by prairie dogs.

More Than Just Flat

I recently read that the Canadian Prairies are silently disappearing in the face of agricultural and industrial development. The black-footed ferret, for example, is an endangered prairie species that in being reintroduced into Canada after the wild populations died out from habitat loss and disease. Reading about this has prompted me to start a new illustration of the prairie ecosystem that I'll work on alongside my growing Great Barrier Reef illustration.

Rover and Me

Here is my latest t-shirt design titled "Rover and Me". The design is inspired by the Mars rover and how it's always nice to work, play, and/or hang out with a friend.

A Whale of a Time

I've been slowly building up my illustrated version of the Great Barrier Reef. Today I completed a humpback whale, one of a few species of whale that have been spotted in and around the reef. You can follow along as I continue to add to my collection of reef species on Instagram.

The Gray Jay

Is the gray jay set to become Canada's national bird? Its nickname, "Whiskey Jack", is based on its Cree name "Wisakedjak", referring to a shape-shifting trickster with a big heart and playful spirit. A harbinger of good fortune for the Indigenous people of Canada, the gray jay is a friendly and clever bird that thrives in winter. A true Canadian, no?

Working

A working drawing for the next Simone picture book. One more ink drawing to go and then on to colour!

To the Printers (Again)!

Woah indeed! Simone in Australia is going to reprint! You can now also find Simone and Christophe (from Christophe's Crumbs) at Stoneman's Bookroom in Castlemaine.

Reef Life

It feels like the Great Barrier Reef has been in the news a lot lately. There was the record breaking coral bleaching, the Australian PM talking climate change policy but then backing fossil fuels (again), and more recently, an advisory panel suggesting to the government to open up protected waters in the Coral Sea for industrial fishing and mining. It's inspired me to start a new illustration that I will be building up over the next couple of months. Here's the first drawing to get it all started. It's a Hawksbill turtle, one of six endangered turtles that can be found in and around the reef.

Clue Number 2

Keeping in mind that Simone's adventures are all about discovery, here's another hint of what's to come in her next book. What do you suppose she'll get up to?