Thursday, November 15, 2012


Magpie season is well and truly under way, and as a service to Honzablog readers, I have produced this handy guide to Magpie safety for you to print out, laminate and print. May it serve ye well!

Here is a video of an actual Magpie attack. Keep safe on those streets, dear reader!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I used  to live in a town that was famous for having four seasons in one day. But now I live in a town that every day seems to be warm and sunny. But summer's coming, then the weather gets interesting!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Drawvember 1 - HOPE

What does hope look like? It is not mere wishful thinking, but the sure expectation of something better, unseen as yet, but coming. The bird sings in the pre-dawn dark in the certain hope that the sun will hear her singing and arise. Hope does not disapoint.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 

 I have a little challenge happening on Facebook where for the month of November, or Drawvember as I have rather cleverly (in my own mind at least) renamed it, I will attempt a drawing a day based on one word suggestions of facebook friends. The first word suggested, and indeed chosen is 'hope'.   At the end of the month, I might get the image with the most 'likes' and develop it further into a painting or other more substantial artwork. Perhaps then I could auction it off as a fundraiser for some worthy cause. Use my art to bring real hope, not just a drawing of it!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

work in progress

And, in a continuing theme of 'things with wings', here's something else I've been working on in the last little bit. Pencil, Canson coloured paper, lots of cutting out of shapes, and some balsa for spacing and mounting. Nearly finished!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Sky Shall Not Defeat Me!

The Sky Shall Not Defeat Me!

Last Thursday, my local library hosted illustrator and writer Gus Gordon as he talked about producing picture books. Mostly he showed us his new book, 'Herman and Rosie' and gave us a very interesting talk into what made up that book. It's a great book about music and being alone in a big city, and very evocative of New York. He made a lot of use of collage to enhance his crayon and wash illustrations, and so I thought I'd play around with adding textures to a drawing.

This is a recent sketch I've being working on, so I thought it would be ideal, as this week's challenge for Illustration Friday is 'Sky'. Our intrepid Aviator is ready to take on the sky on his own terms, determined and resolute, the Sky shall not defeat him this time...

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Contraption v

Way back here I posted a sketch of a mechanical butterfly. And now, here are pictures of a prototype model of it!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Suspend - Contraption iv

Suspended Seventeen Stories above the Street, the Spider man serenades his sweetheart with his Sack-but.

Illustration Friday old-timers may remember the contraptions topic of last year. I submitted two illo's for that, firstly of a mechanical butterfly , still my most visited post, followed by some sketches for this idea, including the background story of a man and his Arachnoflyvver. In that post I mentioned I had actually made a model at some point of the device, an eight legged mechanical abseiling device which actually worked, but had got lost somewhere along the the line.

Well, a month or so back I found that model, fixed it up a bit, made some scenery, and then photographed it and videoed it in action. You may find it here! Check it out, it's a bit of fun! In fact it was the last post I did. Been a bit slack lately (although I have been making a model of the mechanical butterfly mentioned above. Wait for that one!)

But now, this week's Illustration Friday topic is Suspend, and as the Arachnoflyvver is vehicle that relies on being suspended to work, it seemed imperative that I do an illustration of it. But yes, please check out my last post to see it in action.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Contraptions iii

Back in October 2011 I posted about contraptions and discussed this idea I had for a mechanical eight-legged abseiling device which I named the Arachnoflyvver. A few years ago I had built a working model of the device, but it had gone missing on my travels. However, not long ago, I found most of it, and decided to do a quick tidy up of it and present it here to to the loyal readers of Honzablog.

Note the streamlined teardrop, or egg shape, and the three stylish chrome strips on the side. The pilot, and his trombone, is probably in another state, so the e-plus wooden block bloke was pushed into service as a stand-in pilot. Slightly out of scale, but you get the idea. 

The cityscape is made up of photos of sections of old buildings from around Rockhampton which were printed out and tiled together to make tallish buildings. We don't have that many of your actual Artdeco Skyscrapers here in Rocky, its not New York, y'know!

Also, check out the video to see how it all actually works! And it Does! Sort of... Something had gone wrong with the electrics, so the device had to be manually lifted, unfortunately its on-board winch was not working. 

The feet are made from pencil erasers, but I think next time I would make proper articulated and sprung, self leveling mechanical feet, maybe a bit like the prosthetic feet used by amputee runners. Even so, the rubber feet weren't quite gripping on my printed building facade, so, just for the video, I had to put a towel on the surface to give it some traction. Funny, I'm sure it used to work okay just on the bare wooden legs. Perhaps because they were linked and not independently rotating as they are now...   

 The device would be transfer to the climbing site on the back of a truck, the grappling hook launched from a harpoon gun mounted on the truck's roof.

And, of course, as well as our romantic hero's use of this machine to facilitate his trombone serenading to his girl in the penthouse suite, it may also be used for window washing, and removing stray kittens precariously perched on high ledges.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I haven't put anything up for Illustration Friday for a few weeks, so here is Lollipop the cat and his kangaroo friend springing into action and having a bit of a jump. Ideal for this week's topic. I painted these two on a wall in one of the party rooms at Lollipops play centre in Narre Warren using acrylic house paint, mostly applied flat, but with some airbrushed details and highlights. Hmm, I must pull out my old air brush again some time! 

Monday, April 09, 2012


I've never had formal vocal training, but I do know that the secret to good singing is using your diaphragm to support the air. The diaphragm is a muscle (apparently) beneath the lungs, which is used by singers, and players of wind instruments to get full value for the air in their lungs. If your tummy goes IN when you breath in, you're doing it wrong. Make sense, if you thing about it. When you breath in a full load of air, your tummy, should, by rights, expand. And then when you breath out, you'll find you can breath out longer by squeezing your tummy in, forcing the diaphragm to push much more air out of your lungs. This will result in longer notes that sound less strained. The tenor in this illustration is demonstrating an artificial means of enhancing the diaphragm and producing beautiful, sustained notes by using my latest invention, the hand-operated Diaphragm Augmenter.

Please be in touch if you would be interested in beta-testing this device, once I make up a working prototype!  

Monday, April 02, 2012


Farewell, my love. One day I will return to Stromlemov, the pearl of the North...
From my sketch book, and, as an experiment, scanned via the Camscanner app on my smartphone. It really boosts the linework, ups the contrast, which would be helpful for scanning text, but it tends to make things a little harsh for subtle illustration. The colours are quite contrasty...

And on Saturday I returned to the Swamp Store (subject of last week's sketch) to see how it was coping with the expected flood. Fortunately the river peaked at 7.2m, well below the worst fears, which had water up to 8m. The Swamp Store is on the right of the photo, you can see how close the waters actually came. In the end, very few houses in town were affected, the one in the foreground was the worst I saw with water right through the yard, but, like many houses in the area, it was built on stilts, raised well above the ground. This is not only for flood relief, but keeps the house cooler in the warmer months.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


In my town of Rockhampton there is a suburb rather ironically named Depot Hill. Ironic, because it is the first place to go under when the Fitzroy river bursts its banks. Actually there is a small rise in the centre of the area that becomes an island during major flood events. One place that does tend to get damp floor boards is the slightly less ironically named Swamp Store. I went there today to sketch it for Illo Friday’s current challenge ‘swamp’, I thought it would fit the bill nicely.

Today is a beautiful, warm clear summery day, but by this time next week, I might have a more swampy version of this drawing. You see, there has been a heap of rain in the last week or so in the Fitzroy River catchment area (second biggest river catchment in Australia), and in about four days time, they predict that the river will reach flood levels of around 8 metres. That’s not enough to cut off the town and flood the airport like last year’s 9.2m but it will turn Depot Hill into an island, and the swamp store will again get its floor boards wet. Most houses in that part of town are on stilts, as they are through most of Rocky, but the store isn’t… if you look carefully you will see the tide marks on the power pole from last year.

To put last year’s flood into context, it was the fourth worst since they started keeping records and isolated the town for two or three weeks. That won’t happen next week, but again the Swamp Store and the surrounding houses will be swamped!

Monday, March 19, 2012


He looked across the crowded room,
Her radiance struck his eye,
    Love's arrow struck within his heart...
But he wasn't supposed to DIE!

   The power surged, the sparks: they arced.
One glance, and he was dead.
    The Doctor came and saw the scene

E-cupid. The bringer of love in a post-modern age? This started as a doodle in my note-book, which spawned a nonsense poem. Then came the idea of animating it using Macromedia Flash, but who'd've thought that 8 short lines would be such an epic to produce. One day, I'll get around to it, but in the meantime, on the top is an embossed aluminium, brass and plastic representation, mounted on Jarrah timber.
The lower one is an illustration of the same character done originally in Flash. Is this the nature of creation? An idea can be brought to life in various ways, it's up to the artist to explore which way is best for their particular creation. Maybe this could be the basis for a sit-com, or a hot-air baloon...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

hanging out - Threadless T-shirts, Nude No More

Well, Here goes! I have sent a T-shirt design in to Threadless, and people are voting on it as I type. If I get a high enough score, they'll print it and send me a nice cheque. But I need all my friends to gather around, vote early, vote high, vote often! There might be a T-shirt in it for you...

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Intention does not Guarantee Results

Well, that wasn't the reaction I was after! I thought she loved animals, so I showed her my pet rat Ludwig. My intention was that she would see how cute Luddy is, and we could be friends.
Instead she is screaming about disease and smelly, stinky rats, and going 'eeewwww!' and 'gettit away from me.
I'll never understand girls.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

art available on line!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012


 Here is a painting in acrylic that I finished today. Apart from face-painting, I rarely get the paintbrush out, but since doing Painting and Drawing at the Faith and the Arts summer school in Poatina, Tasmania, I've really started to get back in to it! And I'm loving it, you can get so engrossed in painting in all the little details. But also I'd like to get a bit looser, paint with a bit more fluidity. I have ideas for other paintings, but I don't think I'm technically good enough yet to do the ideas justice. Well, that will come with practice, I'm sure...

Saturday, February 18, 2012


 I wish I was a Crocodile,
Wearing green and a Winsome smile,

Not a half, or even quarter,
I'd get to spend ALL day in water!

Last year my local library ran a competition to write a book for 'Children's Book Week' and I thought I'd be up for the challenge and put together a whole book in less than two weeks. The illustrations were pen, pencil and marker cut and pasted (not using crtl C and V but actual scissors and glue! Just like the olden days!) on to coloured card pages. Even the text (which all rhymed) was printed out, cut into strips and pasted onto the pages.
The book was called 'I Wish I was...' and in it various kids discuss what creature they would like to be (butterflies, Orang-utans, Mountain Goats) and what was so appealing to them about that creature. Then in answer a more adult voice (who, for some reason did not have the same extensive vocabulary that the children seemed to display) gave more realistic options that took into account the young persons' passions, ie, helicopter pilot (to fly like a butterfly), eat vegies and exercise (to grow up big and strong like an orang-utan) or mountain climbing.
The future is fluid, no telling what a child can become. But they tell me what you admire in others is inherent in you. Think about the people who are your heroes. What do you admire about them? The qualities that you admire in them is in you too, although maybe not in such a developed way. The children in my story admired certain characteristics in different animals, and this can easily become part of their own character in some way.
Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were five? As I say life is fluid, it ebbs and flows, and does not always run a straight course. But it finds a way...
I wanted to be a Toymaker when I was 5. I still think that would be a very cool thing to do!

A Crocodile's a fine ambition,
but there's better ways to be,
If swimming is to be your mission,
Try Marine Biology!

PS. I won! And that has encouraged me to take my illustration and story telling more seriously, and my other ambition at the age of five - to write a book - is a lot closer to reality now!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


High above the Chengdu streets, The Sichuan Neighbourhood Patrol is keeping an eye out for any misbehaviour or misdemeanor from the people below. They don't want a return of the days of the Boxer Rebellion, but are ready should that event arise. The Patrol ensure that people will sleep safely in their beds tonight, and look forwards to a good night sleep themselves, secure in the knowledge that peace will reign in the land...

I did a tiny sketch of a fighting vehicle which turned out so well that I scanned it and gave it a complete photoshopping, before placing it (and a companion) in the skies above Chengdu. This was the view from my hotel window when I visited the town in 2008. I look forward to returning some day. It was a very interesting city, the landscape in the rural areas was beautiful and the people were so friendly! Now, if only they could do something about the smog and pollution.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


  During the Saturday morning session of 'Faith and the Arts', Josie got up on stage and started painting an amazing portrait of Eric Ajaye, our bass man for the week. As she prepared to paint, she popped on an old shirt, and I was struck by the image of her 'putting on the mantle of an artist'. She had been inspiring me all week with her skills and her being challenged to paint in a much looser style. And as she painted, I did this sketch, also in a slightly looser style than I usually do, trying to capture some of her energy.

  But to paint like this, Josie had to do a certain amount of preparation, preparing her board, preparing her sketch outlines, most of all, preparing herself. As I say, putting on the mantle of an artist...

Definition of MANTLE

a : a loose sleeveless garment worn over other clothes :cloak
b : a figurative cloak symbolizing preeminence or authority, mantle of leadership