Sunday, April 30, 2017


Everywhere I go, I've got into the habit of taking photos of my feet. Occasionally I paint them too. Here are my feet, encased in shoes, on a worn patch of concrete in Tasmania, rendered on paper in Gouache. The painting measures 190x140mm.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Illustration Friday says Illustrate a Punk. I did it twice, Here's one with markers,

 And here's one done in Autodesk Sketchbook

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Flying Kangaroo

I thought I would set myself a little challenge. Last week I had an idea  for an animated sculpture that I would like to make one day - a flying kangaroo. 

Regular readers of this irregular blog know that I have a fascination for automata - figurative kinetic sculptures. I have attempted a few myself in the last couple of years, most successfully my diesel-punk fish which picked up the Highly Commended prize at the 2016 Martin Hanson Awards held at the Gladstone Qld Art Gallery. And then it also won the Peoples' Choice prize, which was not just a certificate, but actual cash!

So late last week I spent time at our local Rockhampton zoo, sketching the kangaroos, who were very obliging. I then started to work out how to mechanized a roo. 

After a few sketches I thought I would try a more finished illustration. I did an A4 pencil sketch, which I then inked and photographed.

 I imported the linework into Autodesk Sketchbook, With the lines on the top layer with a multiply setting (which makes all but the darkest parts - the lines - transparent to lower layers), I went about digitally painting it. There are plenty of chances to experiment with different brushes and try different effects, and you can be a bit less precious about each step because there is the wonderful undo function! A modern aeronautical approach to the design.

Then, for variety, I did a da Vinci-Punk version. In a week or two, the Rockhampton Art Gallery is hosting a display of working models of some of Leonardo's greatest inventions. Our gallery is a little small for the whole collection, so the flying machines will be displayed at the airport, enticing visitors to see the rest in town. I loosely traced over the original lines digitally, used my new grunge brushes and imported an original da Vinci drawing for a bit of added texture.

Finally I took my original sketch and coloured it with markers. It was actually a lot quicker than doing it digitally (although I am still learning the program), but, of course, there is no undo in real life!

So now, when it comes time to build the model, I have a choice of doing a sleek composite metal Airbus Industrie kangaroo, or a wooden and fabric da Vinci-punk version. And I daresay there are other design options to explore. How would an Art Nouveau one look? Or Art Deco/streamlined 1930's industrial design version go? Or a completely natural version, with fur and feathers? The sky, I guess, is the limit.

Monday, February 27, 2017

new Blog title

 Regular as clockwork, every 6 or 7 years, or there about, I update my blog header. I hope I'm not too hasty, some people don't cope well with change. But change happens, deal with it, dear reader! Let's see if this one stands the test of time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Steam Punk

Steam Punk. It is an aesthetic that I quite enjoy, with all that brass and Victorian retro-ness. An alternative view of the late Industrial Revolution, with its Meccano Engineering and delicate Art Nouveau design. Pistons, tubing and Steam power, bring it on! 

The one thing that annoys me a bit is the 'cogs on everything' idea. 

I like cogs, they are a brilliant way of transferring, changing and modifying motion, but I don't like cogs that have no purpose. A cog has to DO something, even if that something is a mystery to the on-looker. A cog whose sole purpose is to sit there and look steam punky is a cog with no direction in life. That is a sad state of affairs. If you look inside and old clock (not a digital one) you will find a lot of cogs and gears, some spinning fast, others barely moving, but they all work together for the one goal, to provide an accurate measurement of time; nothing is superfluous, and everything works by clockwork.

 I mean, a top hat with goggles is pretty cool, but a hat with goggles and gears, that's just a bit weird. Unless those gears and cogs add to the functionality of the hat, even if it's in a fairly obscure way, they really shouldn't be there. Ah, but it's decoration you say. Well, why not use a stylised bronze Art Nouveau Ostrich feather? Save the cogs on your hat for opening a flap on the top to deploy a hidden harpoon gun or some scientific apparatus! Cogs are functional. They are made to do something, let them do it!

Anyway, when I think of steampunk, I picture a bloke with a pink Mohican having a steaming cup of English Breakfast Tea, probably with a scone... 

Illustration produced using Autodesk Sketchbook.