Tag Archives: altered book

Federation Square drawing and chatting tomorrow (13th June)

I might see you at Federation Square, if you are Melbourne based. Please say hi, if you are in the area. I’d love to see you.

I’m bringing a small number of limited edition prints to sell at the book stall along with signed books.

Below are some prints from the actual book, that will be for sale. And following them you’ll see some altered book prints which show the inspiration for the medium that was used in the book. But they also show the difference between the artificially created cream and the natural vintage book parchment.

My chance to sing lores JudyWatsonArt Ready Set Go lores JudyWatsonArt Thunder imprint page boat lores JudyWatsonArt Thunder opening spread seascape lores JudyWatsonArt

The parchment is naturally a much dirtier colour… which appeals to my inky nature, but the Allen & Unwin book designer Sandra Nobes very rightly recommended a clean cream for the book itself, and this is where PhotoShop was my ally. Thanks Sandra and PhotoShop.

tabby kitten lores JudyWatsonArt Cornish library tick cat lores JudyWatsonArt

Flying by the Seat of my Pants

A Fleering Cat, painted in the bath

Fleering … Shakespearian for grinning. Who would have thought? Do you know that you can paint in the bath using your ArtGraf water-soluble graphite block in its handy tin and a brush. Just add bathwater. 

My apologies for my long absence from posting. I have been flying, not fleering.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair was an eye-opening and fabulous experience. More on that later.

Elizabeth Honey, Ann Haddon and Judy Watson enter The Fair

Elizabeth Honey, Ann Haddon and Judy Watson enter The Fair

Puglia was beautiful, and the trulli were as lovely as I could wish them to be. More on that later too.

trullo with red doors and grapevines

trullo with red doors and grapevines

While I was flying to Italy, my husband Scott bought a house for us at auction and when I returned home two weeks later, I was thrown into a whirlwind of preparation for the sale of our current house. Whirlwind notwithstanding and with our auction two weeks away, it’s back to work today. And this is a marker post!

Leonard here I come.

Catching up

Hello! I’ve been a bit absent! Thunder is finished and off to the printers! I’m looking forward to seeing an advance copy in early January. It’s taken a few weeks to just get myself into drawing again. That’s not something I anticipated. And there are a lot of other things that I need to catch up with now that I’ve finished that mammoth project… including Christmas!

I had a great day with Ann James and Justine Alltimes last Monday, designing a poster for Jackie French, our Australian Children’s Laureate. Her project Share a Story will revolve around the ideas on the poster/calendar which will be available for free download by Christmas.

Ann James is a well known and skilled Australian children’s illustrator. Justine Alltimes is one of the hardworking and capable Laureate Project Managers. When the three of us get together, the ideas ping about like pinballs. After Ann had drawn and painted some images, I was able to alter them digitally to make new, and hopefully intriguing combinations, that will work well together on the poster and spark the storytelling imaginations of children, teachers and parents. The challenge was to avoid the literal interpretations of words like Slurp a Story and instead to come up with images that were open-ended or suggestive. We want starting points for stories, not stories in themselves.

More on Share a Story when the poster is released.

Other work in progress includes an illustration of Phar Lap for the front cover of a colouring book for the Melbourne Museum to match the dinosaur one I did a couple of years ago. As always with work done for Museum Victoria, I learn heaps along the way as I research the topic! Glad to find out that Phar Lap was probably not deliberately or even accidentally poisoned. Not that it made much difference to the poor horse, but he most likely died of colic related to a rare disease of the intestinal tract.


The 52 Week Illustration Challenge forges on towards the finish, but will return next year. I wasn’t feeling like drawing for this either, for a couple of weeks. So I’ve missed Week 47 New York, but I may go back to that. Although drawing New York itself holds little attraction for me, the New Yorker and its famous cartoons hold enormous appeal for me. So I think I need to do a New Yorker style cartoon. But of what?…

Tim and Tig New Yorker

A page from ‘Tim and Tig’

Above is an illustration I did for Aussie Nibble – Tim & Tig many years ago. I illustrated Tim and Tig just after receiving a copy of the Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker; a fantastic book that had a powerful influence on my drawing! Many of the illos in Tim and Tig, I’d wish to do again and much better, but this one I still like.

Now that I think of it, I did do some quick doodles for Week 46 Circus. (Oh dear. What a rambling post.)

The Twisted Princess tidies her tresses

The Twisted Princess tidies her tresses

This doodle was on the bottom of a Thunder illustration. You may see a wee peek of the washy water top right, and it ran completely off the page. It started as a doodle and then I got mesmerised by the leotard pattern. Actually, this led my mind off in the direction of a series of paintings I’d like to do…

This brings me to last week’s theme. Week 48 Fox. In a shocking twist of fate, I found that the topic had long ago been changed from Chicken to Fox! Horrors!

I did some fox doodles while I was waiting for the kids to get out of drama class and below you can see them.

Deadly Maggie

Deadly Maggie

This was a fennec sketch in an old book. I added some digital colour experimentally (even though fennecs are creamy in colour). It’s not entirely successful but there are elements of it that I like, including the scratching into top layers of colour; a Thunder habit that may continue for some time. Perhaps lead into interesting new areas.

fox cub judywatsonart lores

A very innocent young blob fox.

By contrast, this little blob fox is not deadly. This was my protest on behalf of my chickens.

Contortionist fox

Contortionist fox

I liked the tail hatching on this one, and also the two tone retro feel, but it was certainly rushed. Not what you’d call finished work.

The Fox with the No.6 Tattoo

The Fox with the No.6 Tattoo

Lastly, this fellow. The fox with the No. 6 Tattoo. I liked his eyes and expression. He seems to have a canny and sophisticated air about him. I added some very flat colour panels in Photoshop trying to keep it sympathetic to his stylised and simple form and I like the result.




Monotypes with Dad in the garden on a Sunday

Lovely to have a day off yesterday, and to spend it with Dad and the boys, (as well as Scott when he wasn’t on board his yacht admiring seals in the bay). Dad suggested we do some monotypes, and we finally got around to it in the late afternoon.  It was really pleasant in the garden, and we could use the hose to easily clean off our plates without messing up the bath as I usually do at home. Boy, you should see it after a printing session!

We didn’t get too fussed about what we drew, and we were mostly messing about trying to find a paper that would take the monotype process and a bit of ink added afterwards.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of Dad’s pictures, but he probably wouldn’t have let me post them anyway!

little dark girl monotype lores

This little dark girl was taken from a photo and was an experiment in drawing with big, angular shapes and using high contrast. It’s so tricky to draw children without the results looking sentimental, because the subject of children is so heavily laden with very strong human emotion, and many pictures of children actively seek to communicate those emotions. This drawing probably looks sentimental too, just because the child is thoughtful or pensive. She certainly wasn’t meant to look like she’d left her favourite teddy in the park. I just loved her blocky haircut and the shapes her interlocking arms made. Oh, and the reason I was drawing a child (on my day off, ha ha!) was because I decided to join in a Facebook group with a weekly illustration topic, just for fun. This week’s topic was ‘children’.

The paper was medium weight, and was fine with the monotype process, but didn’t cope with the ink wash afterwards. Buckled all over the place. Earlier, we tried with 300 gsm watercolour paper and couldn’t get an ink impression because it was too stiff. Wetting the paper didn’t work too well either, because our block printing ink is water based. (I think the ink used in intaglio printing onto wet paper is oil based. Somebody tell me if I’m wrong.)

monotype altered book cat lores

The cat was a bit of fun for me as I suddenly had the happy thought that I could combine altered book art with monotype. Although the page was rudely removed from the book, as you can see, it did cope perfectly with the ink, and also coped rather well with the wash afterwards. Strangely, it has a fine, sparkly thing happening in the dark areas when I hold it to the light. It must be to do with the paper, as it isn’t the ink, I’m sure.

monotype blue boy lores

This little guy was done on very lightweight paper and the monotype line is rather delicate because there was not a heavy load of ink on the plate. I added chinese ink, Prismacolour artstick and soft pastel afterwards to give him a bit of contrast, and the original monotype line is barely there. The paper of course, buckled.

Thanks for an enjoyable afternoon, Dad!

Sea Lioness secures future plan

I’m sure they’re not called sea lionesses. But they should be. It’s nice.

Investing in her future

Investing in her future – felt tip, indian ink and gouache on book page


This drawing (or is it a painting?) goes with the Bactrian Camel. Both are painted in the same book about financial management. This sea lioness with her pup appears on a page about investment. As with the Bactrian Camel, the photograph that formed the basis of the drawing  comes from The Wonder Book of Animals.

There is a second sea lioness on the drawing board. She’ll have to wait until I’ve finished ‘Poppy is the Thunder’, the current page in progress for Thunderstorm Dancing.

The Wonder Book of Animals: both drawn in and drawn from

The Wonder Book of Animals: drawn in and drawn from. My copy is much more dilapidated than this one taken from an ebay listing.

Dick Russell and Porky Simpkin

This set of four pages will be up for silent auction at the Australian Children’s Laureate Fundraiser.  Consider buying a ticket to what will be a fabulous night of fun with the Australian children’s publishing community and grab a one of a kind gem from the selection of silent auction items. (Soon to be uploaded to the Laureate Website.)


Dick Russell Grinned


Three Tasks for Dick and Porky


A Bone of Contention


A Little Unreal


Set of Four pages


The Cornish Soliloquy or How to Deface a vintage Mills & Boon

Cornish cover

The hero… or is he a villain? of this vintage romance ‘Whispering Winds’, is the mysterious Mr Cornish. I sprang off from there to Cornish Rex cats, and 25 or so drawings later, here we are. With a Cornish Soliloquy. An artist’s book full of Cornish Rex drawings and paintings, tracing the internal conversation I had as I learned how to draw a new thing.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a Cornish Rex in person. I feel I know them a little now, and I’d certainly like to be introduced to one. Apparently they are wonderfully soft, and wonderfully curious. They have simply enormous ears, large eyes, a delicate build, a prominent roman nose and a crinkle cut hairstyle.

I won’t include all of the drawings here. Suffice to say it was an interesting journey. From fussy carefulness, through wild experimentation and daring (I should have been wearing my superhero mask for that bit) to lazy and half-hearted (before afternoon tea) and finally simple ink outlines, which are some of the ones that worked the best.

I’ve put them roughly in their order as they appear in the book. But this is not the order in which they were drawn. I wonder if you can work out which ones I did first and last.

Cornish soliloquy 26

Cornish soliloquy 25

Cornish soliloquy

wet on wet. Good fun.

Cornish for 'welcome'

Cornish for ‘welcome’

mission I set myself

no matter how unpromising resolve second pass

Cornish soliloquy 1

I made a hash of the drawing on this page and in the spirit of challenging myself to ‘save’ every spontaneous picture, I quickly followed Matisse’s example and ‘drew’ another cat with scissors. I was happy with the result, despite the fact that this fellow does not have the required roman nose. Other pictures were ‘saved’ less well.

Cornish soliloquy 24

Nice and simple

Cornish soliloquy 23

This has the cornish character.

brushy and quickbrushy and quick

Cornish soliloquy 21


This is just blatantly cute! I mean really!

This is just blatantly cute! I mean really! There’s simply no excuse for this sort of thing. Ha ha! But seriously, why is it that this looks horribly cheap to me, and the two ink kittens at the front of the book seem to me good? Of course, all is subjective with art. But perhaps some of it is the soft pastel used here, which sometimes has an association with sentimentality. The ink looks vaguely oriental, and perhaps more sure-handed. It’s all conjecture. But these are things that get me pondering. And it’s a constant source of friction when drawing for children’s books. How to make the work feel like genuine art to me, and not fall into any of the several mine shafts that say ‘sentimental’, or ‘cute’ or ‘sugary’ (aaagh!) or ‘mediocre’ (that’s a very easy one to fall into, and let’s face it, by its very definition, most of us will fall into that category much of the time.)… the mine shafts go on forever.

Cornish soliloquy 2-2

This was the first one I did and is horribly overworked. In fact, just horrible, full stop. Truly cringe-worthy. Good thing I continued on and improved… he he

collage funcollage fun

Cornish soliloquy 2

I could have improved this I think, with a different background treatment and a little more work with the swirling lines on the cat.

Cornish soliloquy 3

I quite like this one, despite the fact that he looks a little like a panther. At least he goes well with the ominous phrase picked out… ‘Mr Cornish is here, he wants to see you.’ Dum dum daaaaaa!

Cornish soliloquy 4

Corny cornish. Would have been less corny if I’d kept away from the colour highlights. She is ready for the chocolate box lid :-)

What the...?

What the…? Mad, but I don’t mind it. It’s a bit quirky. And I enjoy the effect of the lines across the text.

Cornish soliloquy 6

A mistake to colour the eye. Another corny cornish.

Cornish soliloquy 7

Very rough, but rather soft and expressive. I don’t mind this one.

Cornish soliloquy 8

This cat is lying down. I perhaps should have drawn a shadow. Then he wouldn’t look like a floating phantom. But it would have lost its graphic quality…I quite like him nevertheless. He’s a shape as well as a cat. These last two employ a chinese brush pen with a rubber tip. It’s quite nice to use, dries out quickly though, and the ink is so soluble that it’s rather ‘volatile’ when you add water later on. You can lose all your lines unless you work with care.

Cornish soliloquy 9

Here I used a fine liner pen, way too fine for the job, but it looked interesting once I added the ink with a brush.

Cornish soliloquy 10

DREADFUL. But if you’re experimenting, you’re experimenting. You have to take a risk or you get nowhere.

Cornish soliloquy 11

The cat is more interesting than the drawing. Quite a personality by the looks of him. ” ‘You look wonderful,’ he said. It’s years since I had such a glorious pet’ .”

Deep. Very deep

Deep. Very deep. he he.



Cornish soliloquy 14

Here I used a LARGE conté stick.

One of my faves. Jaunty little fellow.

One of my faves. Jaunty little fellow.



I think this is shorthand.

I think this is shorthand. (This was before my afternoon tea. Did you guess?)

What do you get when you cross a sheep with a cat?

What do you get when you cross a sheep with a Siamese?

This is my favourite. Love the library dates. They go well with the drawing gestures. All flicky!

This is my favourite. I LOVE the library dates. They seem to go well with the drawing gestures. Don’t ask me why. (One day later: Ask me why! Ask me why! I’ve worked it out. It’s the repeating verticals and hook gestures… Of course I did that on purpose. Phew!)

There are many more drawings and writings in the book. Something on nearly every page. I kept coming back to it, as it became quite addictive.

This book is supposed to be on exhibition at the Courthouse Gallery in Camperdown, western Victoria from next week as part of the community exhibition ‘Animalia‘. I’ve missed the post, but I’ll try to get it there in time anyway.

Pool noodle doodles

I guess if I paid my models more they might stay still…

This toddler (holding Mum's hand) stayed still, staring intently into my face for long enough to imprint her eyes upon me. The rest is just modified memory :-)

This toddler (holding Mum’s hand) stayed still, staring intently into my face for long enough to imprint her eyes upon me. The rest is just modified memory :-)

This was a dad with three youngsters. He stayed still just about as long as you might expect of a dad looking after three youngsters. (all boys.)

This was a dad with three youngsters. He stayed still just about as long as you might expect of a dad looking after three youngsters. (all boys.)

Buy ‘The Swimmer’ on Etsy here.


This little fellow stayed still in the way of a goldfish in a very small bowl... moving, but not too far.

This little fellow stayed still like a goldfish in a very small bowl… moving, but not getting very far. By the way, I notice he has two left feet…

Buy ‘The Pool Noodler ‘ on Etsy here.

This little girl was playing ball with her friends

This little girl was playing ball with her friends

This little girl was also in on the ball game. She was moving rather like an octopus at an underwater disco.

This little girl was also in on the ball game. She was moving rather like an octopus at an underwater disco. I think I was drawing a bit like another octopus mixing cocktails at the same underwater disco.