Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What's your Totem?

If your Totem is the Platypus...
You are something of a conundrum, a contradiction. You do not fit well into mainstream society and tend to be viewed as an eccentric or possibly an outcast. You seek the deeper meaning in any situation and are sensitive to emotions around you.

If your Totem is the Seahorse ...
You are patient and mild-mannered, happy to idle your way through life. Alas, this means you have difficulty adjusting change and can be quite stubborn in your resistance against it.

If your Totem is the Deer ...
You live for variety and loathe routine. Any challenge, you will hurdle with ease, and take it by the horns. This can lead to some wild and radical decisions, made without due consideration.

If your Totem is the Crab ....
You are of sensitive nature. Devoted to your family and friends, you put the needs of others ahead of yourself and make for a generous friend. However, you can turn bitter and snappy if things do not go your way (or if you feel underappreciated), and prone to withdraw into your shell.

If your Totem is the Goose...
You have a positive outlook on the future, and consider it often. This means that you have your goals clear in your sight and you will work hard to achieve them. You are a perfectionist, and thus take any sort of failure or setback to heart.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lizards and Beetles

One thing you will notice if you visit my website is that the "In Cold Blood" section is rather lacking in the contributions department. To rectify this alarming oversight, I paid a visit to the library and acquired a beautiful photographic book entitled "Rare Wildlife of New Zealand". From its pages I selected two of the more dramatically coloured lizards of our fine country.

The first is the Sinbad Skink, endemic to Sinbad Valley in Fiordland. It remained undiscovered until 2004 and grows to nearly 20 cm in length. It is beautifully patterned and may be extremely rare - its habitat is difficult and dangerous to work in and its wild behaviour has thus not been recorded.
This one has flown off to a new home in Russia.

The second is the Harlequin Gecko. It is also limited in its range - being only found in southern Steward Island and was not discovered until 1969. They lead a more ground-dwelling lifestyle than most NZ geckos and are thus vulnerable to mammalian predation. This combined with their slow breeding behaviour, has led to them being regarded as rare and on a gradual decline.
And this one is destined for a new life with Itti.

A slightly modified VW drived through the wooded countryside. Perhaps it's taking Girlnouveau on a camping trip?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Treefrog Convention

A collection of Poison Dartfrogs and a Red-eyed Tree frog gather deep in the heart of the Amazonian rainforest to discuss climate change and deforestation and what the future holds for their kind. Despite the big smiles (there was a bug buffet preceeding it), the outlook is grim. All over the world, their kin are dying, many from diseases, others just... vanishing from the face of the earth.

This 6x6 piece was done with prismacolor, polychromos, tombow markers and assorted other art products that come to hand. All the frogs are photo-referenced from a variety of sources.

It will be submitted to for inclusion into their booklet (technically speaking, it's supposed to be 8x8 inches, but I think it will size up the additional 20% or so okay).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Postcards to Eastern Europe

This cheetah, inspired by a photograph by Macropus Rufus, is a postcard sized piece that is flying off to Poland.

This was mainly drawn for Million Dandelions who is collecting a book of bear illustrations in memory of her beautiful husband, murdered just after last Christmas. The tragedy of her story haunted me. Please, if you feel you wish to contribute, visit her deviantart - it's mentioned in the journal.

Because she is Russian, I decided to research Russian fables for this piece. I selected the Cat and the Fox, which also features a bear. You can read it here

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A multitude of Mutants

Sadlebilled Stork + Colobus Monkey + Zebra

Mongoose + Dragonfly + Hedgehog
(#1 winner of the Chimera Poll as to which ones to colour)

Fantailed Goldfish + Lion

Apaloosa Horse + Carolina Parakeet + Fancy Goldfish

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Colourful Cast of Crazy Characters

I've been sitting on these for a while now, well, two of them anyhow, waiting until I had completed the third. Three quirky and funky characters, all for the Winter PAT.

First, the Mad Hatter attempts to awaken the dormouse:

Secondly, the Pied Piper leads the cockroaches away from his village:

And thirdly, it's John Lennon of the Beetles!

Yellow Submarine Style.

hope you enjoy this colourful cast!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Colouring and Counting in Shona

Why have I been quiet of late? While, as I noted last time, my latest ATC efforts have been insipid to say the least - although I do have two rather better ones I have yet to "show off" in this blog.

But here is the project that has kept me occupied for the last two days. Ever since I received this message in my inbox:

This year the Lotus-Heart is inaugurating an annual "Gift of Love" Christmas project. Staff and customers are invited to bring a gift for the children of Zimbabwe living in poverty and place it under the Christmas Trees at the Restaurant or Cafe before Christmas Day. The gifts will be sent to Africa and delivered directly to the children in Zimbabwe by two New Zealand volunteers.

As the Lotus Heart is a restaurant I enjoy and this furthers my plans to get my art into as many countries as possible, I racked my brains for inspiration. What could I do for them? Research proved that two important things they were missing out on were food and education. Well, I am hoping the volunteer charity will be dealing with the food thing, but the education... now that was something I can do:

Using the reference of this site on the Shona Language as a reference, I have drawn up the first 10 pages of a 60 page sketch book with numbers, words and native animals (to Zimbabwe - but don't ask me what the butterflies, fish and lizards are!). The rest of the book is blank and I shall be including a pencilcase containing colouring pencils, regular pencils, erasers and a sharpener. I hope they find it useful.

Meanwhile, if any of you want to learn to read and count to ten in the Zimbabwe language of Shona, I may well upload a pdf to my website for public useage.

Monday, December 7, 2009

More Insipid Art Cards

I'm struggling my way through these Winter PAT cards. It's not that the themes aren't interesting, it's that my motivation is at an all time low.

A Halcyon, the legendary bird who becalms the raging sea. Admittedly usually in winter, when it is nesting. This one needs some more work, I think. Maybe a bit more texture added to the ocean? This theme was "Weather Spirit".

Baby Cthulhu, for the theme "Cute Cthulhu". TheMuppet, whom selected the theme, seems to like the card but I can't help but feel afraid about what the Old One himself might think... I suppose nightmares and madness, here I come!

And keeping with the dark and gothic and the old horror writers, this piece was inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's "The Black Cat". Here the one eyed feline casually mocks the narrator. the brick wall and the silhouette also have significance in the tale, even if they do not necessarily all fit int he same scene like this.

A whimsical Steam train, which I am sure Veterok will hate. But at least I checked her profile page before I coloured it in whimsical colours too. This image was more-or-less derived from one I found on zazzle which I suppose goes to show how totally unoriginal I am.

Three left to complete - Mad Hatter, Pied Piper and Beatle/Beetle. They should all be fun enough and I have ideas for all of them, just have to find the oomph to do them.

My motivation is not aided, I expect, by the fact that it has now been two weeks since I posted my Secret Santa box of Goodness to Canada and it has not arrived. When I think of all the time and effort that went into what I put in it, it makes me feel sick and sad inside and wonder a little about what the point is in it all. I do have a back-up plan if it completely fails to arrive and has wound up in the hands of some unscrupulous art collector. But there were 35 Original ATCs in that package (along with a bunch of other goodies I'd acquired along the way). And the sad thing is, that since it was a Secret Santa, the lovely lass whom it was intended for is going to miss out on a special Christmas present from New Zealand this year :(

So, with that in mind, I believe I shall soon be taking a hiatus from the ATC creation, until my spark is restored. I still have to finish up some Chimeras for the lovely Skyjules (3), make my SparklePets (but they'll be fun)(3), complete the choose-a-theme (4 Aesops Fable postcards, 4 Totem ArtCards) and send my art into Russia, but after that I'm done.

Maybe I shall embark on my children's book.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pain and Passion

I'm doing another Pick-a-Theme and this one is really giving me issues. I am having trouble finding motivation to work on the pieces... I thought I would tackle the most awkward theme first - "Pain and Passion".

My initial thought for this one, was to do a hand clasping a razor blade (black inkwork) with the only colour being the red of the spilt blood. But that seemed just a little too dark and depressing for me.

So I looked at Frida Kahlo's work, as she had been suggested as a link to the theme.

No motivation there.

Finally, I decided to draw this:

It's an Earwig (pain) on a Passionflower.

I do hope she likes it!

Chimera Challenge - the Conclusion

DAY THREE etc...

To celebrate the completion of my Creating Chimerical Critters Tutorial and to fill in what would otherwise be a quiet weekend (Tim's away, so my muse can play, although she should also do some housework) I have made a idle boast:

I do not believe that there are any two animals I cannot hybridise.

As there were only three suggestions I had not completed, I thought I had better in the off-chance that someone thought I would not be able to do them.

So here are the final three:

Pig + Turkey + Cranberries
Parakeet (horned) + Kangaroo Rat + Rattlesnake
And my most popular (According to the poll that has now been running for 5 days):

Panda + Asian Dragon + Phoenix

Ironcially, thisi s the one I almost didn't do. not because I couldn't (As you can see, I could!) but because the asian dragons are so complicated on their own so as to pratically BE chimeras. I decided not to include all the frills (horns, whiskers etc) however, or it would confuse matters.

Also, for Julie who has been a HUGE heklp and support (and joined in my Chimera challenge), this handsome fellow:

Lion + Fantailed Goldfish
He WILL be coloured in and posted out to her.

These may be available as a colouring book in the not-too-distant future.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Great Chimerathon! DAY 2


To celebrate the completion of my Creating Chimerical Critters Tutorial and to fill in what would otherwise be a quiet weekend (Tim's away, so my muse can play, although she should also do some housework) I have made a idle boast:

I do not believe that there are any two animals I cannot hybridise.

Now entering Day Two. Yesterday I completed a grand total of NINE weird Chimerical Critters. Today I am working on at least a dozen. Yesterday I also cooked and weeded the garden, today it is miserable and wet and thus I have every excuse to stay indoors and draw.

Wild boar + Turtle + Woolly MammothVelociraptor + Sugar Glider
Venus Flytrap + Mantis + Squid
Camel + Flamingo
Meerkat + Giraffe + Violet
Coelacanth + mouse lemur + death's head moth
English bulldog + Sunflower + Rockhopper Penguin

Tasmanian devil + crocodile + zebra

alligator + wild boar + rattlesnakeDung Beetle + Cherry Shrimp

And Suggestions for later in the week if I feel so inclined:
Phoenix + Panda + Dragon
Pig + Turkey + Cranberries (The Thanksgiving chimera)
Lion + Fantailed Goldfish

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Great Chimarathon!

To celebrate the completion of my Creating Chimerical Critters Tutorial and to fill in what would otherwise be a quiet weekend (Tim's away, so my muse can play, although she should also do some housework) I have made a idle boast:

I do not believe that there are any two animals I cannot hybridise.

This weekend, starting tomorrow, I shall be embaring upon a Chimerathon - mainly sketches, although some may make it into completed ATCs in the not-to-distant future.

And you're welcome to participate. There are two ways in which you can do this:

1. You can throw me your wildest suggestions. No more than two-three animals please. And flora is acceptable too. I shall sketch up the most interesting combinations. If you come up with something that I just CANNOT draw, I shall send you some art prints or something equally nifty.

All flora/fauna MUST exist and I must be able to find photographic references of it! Extinct and prehistoric animals permitted.

2. You can join me! You can make sketches too! If you want help conceptualising your chimeras or want more information on what the heck they are, check out my tutorial:

Here's what has been done so far (images will be uploaded regularly throughout the day)

Axolotyl + Hippopotamus
Quetzal + Octopus
Apaloosa + fancy goldfish + Carolina Parakeet

Labrodite + Peacock + Dahlia
T-Rex + Mouse + Porcupine
Elephant Seal + Condor
Hedgehog + Mongoose + Dragonfly
Giraffe + Peacock
Leafy Sea Dragon + Capybara + Red Disa Other Suggestions:
velociraptor + sugar glider (proving a conceptual challenge)
camel + flamingo
wild boar + turtle + woolly mammoth (also something of a challenge)
meerkat + giraffe + violet
Dung Beetle + Cherry Shrimp
Coelacanth + mouse lemur + death's head moth
English bulldog + sunflower + rock hopper penguin
Tasmanian devil + crocodile + zebra

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Shadow in the Night

On silent wings, these two monstrosities make their way through the darkness. One, the Horned CatBat favours the dry deserts, where it hunts flying insects and the occasional small rodent. The other, the Moonaguar, flies on silent wings through the lush and verdant rainforests, preying on sleeping birds and pouncing on nocturnal mammals.

Horned Lizard + Tabby Cat + Fruit Bat
Madagascar Moon Moth + Jaguar
Two more chimerical hybrid ATCs.

Prismacolors and polychromos pencils, with some gel pens and fineliners for emphasis.

This Black horse (with a white mane, a rare but sometime occurance), is going to trot her way into Russia! She's clearly a prize winner already. Although I'm not sure what a blue and red ribbon means.