Tag Archives: blobs

Old World Monsters

I went away with some good friends in the September holidays for a long weekend, and began a range of art and craft projects which I promised to post here. I’ve been too busy until now to look at them further but now it’s Christmas holiday time, and I had a great time the other day, getting things out to play with in the studio! Hooray!

As part of my continuing fascination with vintage cabinet card portraits, I had drawn at  some children from old photos and added shadowy blob shapes of old world beasts and imaginary creatures into their formal poses. I hadn’t by any means fully thought out the ideas I was exploring, and I still haven’t. But I added some watercolour detail with a fine brush the other day and scanned them. So here they are.

I will probably do some more with this, and see where it goes. I think monsters take time to form properly. These are only partly menacing, and it’s unclear whether the children are aware of them or not. They may be allies, or the monsters may even be generated by the children themselves.

old world new world wolf boy JudyWatsonArt

old world new world hat JudyWatsonArtold world new world bench beast JudyWatsonArtold world new world chair and hat JudyWatsonArt

Book Signing Phobia

Here’s a lesser known part of the job of being a drawing machine. When we sign books for people, it  is a nice thing for them if the signature comes with a little doodle, drawn for them, right before their very own eyes. And it’s nice to be able to do that for them. It makes us happy too. If it works.

But the inscription is done in pen and can’t be rubbed out or corrected.

And when we draw during the usual course of our day, we usually do many drafts of any illustration before we get it right.

And if we mess up our inscription doodle we have the problem of either sending a deplorable doodle out into the world defacing the otherwise pristine title page of a newly purchased book, or replacing the book with a new one… which we might also mess up.

Now remember that some of us are very temperamental drawing machines, the kind whose engines won’t start unless the key is turned in just the right particular way, may never run very well on a Tuesday, and if the oil runs low we are likely to smoke. You will now realise that the aforementioned anxieties at the back of our minds can cause a little fumble in the fingers; a wobble in the wrist; a twitch in the felt-tip… and then…

Doom!

That is why I am practising my book signatures today.

With Best Fishes

With Best Fishes – practising my book signing today and this is page four. Ahem. 

I have spoken to illustrators who say they won’t do it any more. They will write anything but won’t draw. (And I’m not even going to discuss the issue of spelling difficult names correctly… or easy names for that matter.)

I have spoken to illustrators who say ‘it’s important to make the mark.’

I have watched with awe, some illustrators who sign and doodle with ease.

I have watched with awe, one illustrator who was CLEVER enough to get a rubber stamp made up in advance! (Yes, OtherJude, that was very clever!)

And I have used my bookmark giveaways to circumvent this problem with some success. (It’s much less stressful to draw on a bookmark, than a $25 book.)

photo 1

Anyway, see you at the next book signing!

I’m ready.

I think.

Enjoy your bookmark!

Enjoy your bookmark!

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.

MMDinoColBk_FRONT.jpg

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.

 

 

 

Experiments with Blobs in a Moving Vehicle (part 2)

This is the second page of blobs that I worked on in the train last Friday. In this case, I was deliberately turning them all into dogs. I think that if I draw enough blob dogs, one of them will begin to emerge as a repeating character who could star in his own world. The nature of blobs is that none do exactly repeat themselves… they are new and special in their own blobby way, but there are recognisable types and that is enough for my purposes.

Only about half of the blobs on this page were in a state worth posting. Two were accidentally sacrificed on the McCrae Beach on Saturday as I tried to colour them with borrowed art materials and sea water. The results were worse than you are imagining now.

Yes, they were.

As far as repeating types go, one thing is apparent already. I have a fondness for whiskers.

This is Angelina the Bearded Lady. (Miniature Schnauzer) She has been looking for circus work for a while, but so far has only been offered work as a rat catcher.

bearded dog lady judywatsonart lores

 

This is Hamish. (Border Terrier x Dandie Dinmont Terrier) Hamish is going to let the chickens out on a blustery spring morning. He never chases them, because he knows they don’t like it. HIs favourite hen is a Light Sussex named Leonora Carrington.

blustery boanket dog judywatsonart lores

 

 

This is Toby. (mostly Foxhound but his great grandmother was a Poodle) He’s a country dog. He left the foxhound pack when the others made fun of his moustache. Now he wanders the hedgerows and picks up a bit of work here and there. He is courteous to passing foxes, and they are sometimes courteous to him.

country dog judywatsonart lores

 

This is Theo. (Wire-haired Fox Terrier) Theo is in a hurry to pull on his coat as he has to pick up the kids from puppy school. There are 14 in the litter so he is taking a truck.

dressing dog judywatsonart lores

 

This is Gabriel. (Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier x English Pointer) Gabriel runs a delicatessen, and is renowned locally for his skill with making tarts. Once a fortnight he goes fishing and takes a picnic lunch with him which is made by his partner Phil. He enjoys taking a little time off cooking on those days. But if he catches a fish, he returns home with renewed vigour and invents a new fish dish every time. All of them are simply delicious. fishing dog judywatsonart lores

 

This is Phil. (Irish Water Spaniel) Phil lives with Gabriel and is an indifferent cook as he gets very little practice. However he is a keen gardener and drives a lorry during the week. He’s also a bird fancier, but sometimes when he is watching birds too closely he has an irresistible urge to yap, which he finds mortifying. garden gate dog judywatsonart lores

 

This is Madison. (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Cardigan Welsh Corgi) Madison lost her tail in an accident when she was only 3 months old, but she is wagging on the inside. girly dog judywatsonart lores

 

 

This is Adrian (Scottish Terrier) Adrian loves listening to Jazz FM on his new radio and has been known to bite the vet. radio dog judywatsonart lores

 

This is Jean-Paul. (Irish Wolfhound x Cairn Terrier. His parents separated due to irreconcilable differences.)  You needn’t be alarmed for Jean-Paul because he is demonstrating for 25 young pups at puppy swim school, and is not really in any danger as long as he stays in the water. SOS dog judywatsonart lores

 

This is one of the puppies at Swim School. I can’t remember his name. He has just smelled a fart and is checking to see if it is his.

spooked dog judywatsonart lores

Experiments with Blobs in a Moving Vehicle

Don’t try this at home.

It must be done on the train or, if you are really brave, in a moving car.

1. Take some freshly painted blobs. (see my earlier tutorial here)

2. Now sit down in a crowded location, preferably with somebody looking over your shoulder.

3. Take a fine point felt tip and turn the blobs into creatures. Do not wibble-wobble!

train blobs judywatsonart lores

Page 1. I added the watercolour later. I will give 20 extra points to anyone who can do the watercolour bit on the train as well. (I am stingy with my points.)

Hot Tips: 

• Don’t worry too much about the person looking over your shoulder. Jiggle your page sideways until it nearly bumps them in the face. They may lose interest. Probably not.

• Do the fiddly bits when the train is on the straight and not about to pull into a station. This will work best if you know your railway line.

• Make your journey a long one. If you are worried about missing your stop, you will lose concentration. Do you have an auntie who lives a long way away in the country? Go and visit her.

Here are some close-ups, because I don’t really have any more to say.

Inspector Dog. (Giant Schnauzer x Greyhound. Possibly could be categorised as a lurcher. But this one only lurches when the train pulls into a station.)

Inspector Dog judywatsonart lores

 

Ernest. (Maltese x Chihuahua x Pug x Papillon)

Ernest judywatsonart lores

 

Noir Dog. (Beagle x Whippet x Wire-haired Fox Terrier)

noir dog judywatsonart lores

 

Muddy Madge. (Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. Yes, really.)

muddy judywatsonart lores

 

This is Finn. It’s always good to have a fish in your repertoire.

Finn Judywatsonart lores

 

This is Foxy. I could have called him Finn too. His friend is Frederica.

foxy judywatsonart lores

 

This is Dodette. She is uncomfortable with publicity.

dodette judywatsonart lores

 

This is Herman.

hummer judywatsonart lores

 

This is Gene.

chirpy judywatsonart lores

 

This is a Woman of Mystery. She has laddered her tights escaping… what? No. No. You’ve got it completely wrong. She carries a pistol in her pocket and is dodging out of the glow of a streetlight while she trails a criminal. You’ll have to imagine the gloomy alleyway.

noir lady judywatsonart lores

 

This is Alberto. He likes pancakes and reading detective novels, but only if he can read them in a boat.

Alberto judywatsonart lores

 

This is Cymbidium Night Angel. She is rescuing a puppy from Gene. Gene was going to feed the puppy to his wife and family. Now Gene and his family will go hungry. But the puppy is very happy.

Cymbidium Night Angel judywatsonart lores

I did another page of blob dogs, but perhaps I’ll save that for another time. I was on the train to go to the HarperCollins Inaugural Author Workshop Day, which was very good. It’s good to meet some of the other people in the large team who make books, and it’s always great to talk with other book authors and illustrators.

 

 

Blob Doodles in Bed

I took some blobs to bed with me last night and a black felt tip. It being bed time when I painted my blobs, I wasn’t quite on the ball enough to remember to do them on watercolour paper so the paper has buckled and they lack the nice gravelly edges.

But it was a meditative and relaxing (but also kind of stimulating) thing to do, propped up by pillows in bed. Turning my page this way and that trying to find the hidden creature in each blob.

doodles composite levels judywatson lores

I found a few dogs who weren’t pleased with either their hairstyles or with each other. And one that has slipped on a banana skin.

wolfhound x poodle - whoodle judywatsonart lores

Whoodle (poodle x wolfhound)

beehive dog judywatsonart lores

Beehive Hound

bouffant dog judywatsonart lores

Bouffant des Flandres

bulldog judywatsonart lores

Bulldog

cranky dog judywatsonart lores

Bulldog’s buddy

wiry dog judywatsonart lores

Schnighlander – (Giant Schnauzer x West Highland White Terrier)

oops

oops

I found an overexcited squirrel.

Didn't quite work

Didn’t quite work

I found a princess escaping a fate worse than death, cloaked and riding on the back of a miniature elephant in the dead of night. (with faithful wire-haired miniature dachshund x schipperke – also known as a Whipperke-Dipperke)

princess on tiny elephant judywatsonart lores

I found a very surprised budgie on the head of a cranky sheep.

surprised budgie

surprised budgie

I found a frisbee catching dog who needs to see an orthopaedic surgeon about his front legs.

This will not end well

This will not end well

I found a pug in a bad mood. I think he’s trying to tell me something.

grrrr

grrrr

And I found a range of the usual birds and monstrosities.

rabbit-elephant judywatsonart lores

What the? Elephant x rabbit…

deer thing judywatsonart lores

So normal! What are you doing here?

bird of woe judywatsonart lores

Bird of Woe

bad tempered chick judywatsonart lores

This is the unmentioned chick from  ‘Owl Babies’   (‘I Want My Mummy… NOW!!!’)

goosy dodo bird judywatsonart lores goosey bird judywatsonart lores

And I found an overweight chick eating play lunch in the school yard.

munch, munch

munch, munch…. munch.

That reminds me, it’s lunch time.

I’ll add colour to some of these when I get a chance.

 

 

 

Last-day-of-the-holidays Doodles (experiments with blobs part 9)

Here are some final blob doodles to mark the end of the school holidays and back to work tomorrow (not to mention the piles of washing). I painted some more spiky blobs this time thinking that they might do well for some more birds, just for fun. The curvy spikes have served well in most cases as wings and beaks.

baby carnivore bird judywatsonart lores

The colours did not work very beautifully on this one. But here is a little Carnivore Bird Thing finding his legs… or his dinner.

baby carnivore thing judywatsonart lores

This is another Little Carnivore. I like his colours much better.

little duck thing judywatsonart lores

Little Duck Thing with Big Feet. (This blob is really very small.)

parent trouserbird judywatsonart lores

With all those babies, it’s only fitting to have a Mumsy kind of bird. This is a Mummy Trouserbird. She is waiting for her babies to catch up, but they are not very quick on their feet.

pyjama bird judywatsonart lores

This is a Daddy Pyjamabird. He’s getting up for a midnight snack. (note: At night a Trouserbird is called Pyjamabird.)

parachute trouserbird judywatsonart lores

This is a Trouserbird wearing a parachute.

preposterous thing judywatsonart lores

This is a Preposterous Thing. what can I say? He is lucky to be anything, considering that not long ago, he was merely a blob.

walrussy thing judywatsonart loresThis is a walrussy thing. He may be depressed due to the fact that his tusk is coming out of the wrong place and causes him discomfort.