Tuesday, June 30, 2009


"Don't you dare call me pretty!"

One of AC Warrilow's "rainbow crested" lorikeets from his book, "The Familiar's Tale".

Apparently, I was the first person to point out that they're called "rainbow lorikeets" and thus these two characters got a bit of a mohawk-makeover. It rather suits him, don't you think?

I also drew a Californian Quail before work this morning. It strikes me as a tad ironic that my most popular art cards seem to be the ones that are the quickest to draw. This wee chap took me about 20 mins. I'm hoping he'll be popular!

He's flying into the home of Carole Cadek.

And lastly, for an 8-year boy that likes dinosaurs and birds, well, I hope he likes this wwee fellow:

It's my "Dragon" character Pippit, in his revised, feathered dinosaur form.

Not bad for a tuesday night when I'm suffering a mild headache!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another Pick-A-Theme Completed

Posted off four letters on their long journeys around the world today. And finished up another three cards, thus completing another PAT (only the hostess card to go).

Firstly, the theme listed was "CATS". I'm not sure if she meant the stage play or was just extremely enthusiastic, but decided better safe than sorry and present you with The mysterious, the marvellous...

... Mr Mistofelees:

Second theme was hot air balloons. I was considering being quirky - drawing a flying pig balloon or something twisted and weird, but I kinda felt like jsut going for the whimsical:

And finally - the theme was "purple". Well, many things are purple, but I needed an emotion for the page in my book so I did a little research - what emotion is represented by the colour purple?

Well, "spite" was one of them, but I already drew spite and besides, I didn't want to give a negative card.

so I decided on "Wisdom".

Wisdom is usually represented by an owl. But owls are actually not as bright as one might think. And for some reason, I got to thinking tortoise. So... I hybridised the two:

I hope it's not too weird for her!
For the latest PAT on Illustrated ATCs I chose as my theme for two gruops "caricatures of Tim and I" - Tim being my DF.

Today my returns arrived and here's the awesome results:

Artists are: Lagaz, Canucksdes, Eraserqueen
Purplerealm, Amerasu, Adriayna
Artyiagirl (x2 - we were in both groups together) and Tlouey.

Aren't we a cute couple?

Here's the real us:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Colourful Landscapes

It has been a quiet few days as the evenings have been too cold for art, and the days I've been at work. Today, however, was the first day of the weekend. However, as our international postal rates increase next tuesday, I'm in a bit of a rush to get as muich out as I can.

Now I don't draw a lot of landscapes - usually because my use of saturated colour tends to make them look artifical and fake.

However, this is for the "Colourful Landscapes" swap. I signed up for this because I need to practise landscapes and you seriously cannot get any more colourful than Hawaii.

These colours ARE NOT exaggerated (much). Some of you may recognise these places.

Red Rocks at Waimea Canyon

Kalalau Valley

Hawaii (the island)
Devastation Trail (Volcanic stones)

Onomea Bay (east coast, near the Botanic Gardens)

Also today I worked on a new "favourite artist" piece. This time doing a parody/pastiche of Frida Kahlo's work.

I present to you: Lemur Kahlo

To work on ASAP:
May PAT (July 24th):
* Purple
* Hot Air Balloons
* (hostess gift for Carol)

June PAT (August 18th):
* Hippoes
* Cute Male Gnomes
* Potted Plants
*(hostess gift for Tamrantula)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The 13-min Marathon

Okay, so I decided to see how many 13 minutes (or so) cards I could manage during the final of "Lost".

Three and a half, as it turns out.

So here's the three (the half will be recycled):

Black Capped Lorikeet (18 mins)
Wood Duck (20 mins)
Caracara (17 mins)

Not sure I like the Woodduck. I think the beak is too big. This is the one that I tried to draw again but made it even worse.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Klassic Kiwiana Kitsch

My challenge this weekend:
As my most popular cards recently appear to be my "birds in 13 minutes" (people keep asking me for them, but they've already flown the coop), I have resolved this weekend to see how many bird portraits I can rustle up within 2 hours.
So keep watching to see my progress!
Species I must draw - duck or owl for Jake, a parrot for Timeinmyhands and something for Wrick.

Today I bring to you Klassic Kiwiana Kitsch

Three cards for Artree/Ahtree. Two are based on classic Kiwiana - little quirky things that symbolise the essence of New Zealand, the other is a fruit. She asked for fruit that was uniquely ours - well, we don't really have anything interesting like pineapples or what not and even kiwifruit (which ARE kiwiana) are actually from China. So what we have here is:

Happy Takahe Hen and tussock grass
Happy Hens are folk art ceramic hens that are made in Dunedin, NZ and are one of those popular, iconic, souvenirs, the takahe is a particularly rare flightless rail that spent 40 years being extinct until found in an isolated Fiordland valley by a dedicated conservationalist. There are two species of tussock grass featured here and one tussock flower - all good takahe food.

Buzzy Bee and Tomato Sauce Bottle
Buzzy Bees are bright, cheerful wooden pull-along toys that are one of our most well known icons. Most Kiwi kids had them. The squeezable Tomato bottle in the shape of... a tomato ... is found in most Kiwi kitchens. NZ flag is one of the unofficial "lets redesign the NZ flag so it's less English and more us) Thei s the Jeffy James style.

Bush Snowberry (Takapo)
Like most of our native fruit, NZ snowberry is small and realatively unexciting. I'm not even sure you can eat them, but the birds did, before we killed off nearly all of the fruit-dispersing birds leaving only the kaka and kereru common enough to disperse them.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Big Bunch of Hemlock

I have been collecting artistic renditions of several of my characters, encouraging people to work off of a written description. My faovourite to request at present is Hemlock the goblin.

Here is the description I have been giving people:
"Standing no more than ten inches tall, he rather resembled an upright, naked rat with a pot-belly. His back was hunched, his legs bowed. Dull grey-green scales covered his body. A red tongue flicked across gleaming white teeth." He has spines running down his back and a three-pronged fork at the end of his tail.

And here are the ones I have collected so far:


Cards are by:
Kreationkween, Captnklaus, HmmNBird , Ncalkins ("adult" form)
Icekat, Silverhermit, Meow2000, Miss
Moonfairy, Al Fresco Girl, Merlinprincess, Bubblecup

And I have a couple of cards to share:

The final of my "Reading Group" cards for this round - "The Ship that Flew".

And Menanna, a Native American mermaid inspired by this tale here

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another two pieces completed today:

A Chinese Fisherman for my "portraits" page. I felt the urge to draw someone old and wrinkly and remembered this segment from "Wild China" where comorants were used to assist in fishing. They have rings around their neck so they cannot swallow their catches.

Roadrunner and Coyote - semi realistic. For DADAlogy

Now for some brainstorming - to complete my book I need:

1-2 x portraits
1x crypto critters (for HmmNbird?)
1x landscapes (Hawaii for landscapes swap)
2x folklore - whimsical mermaid and ???
2-3 x fantasy novels - "13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear", maybe "Perdido Street Station" or "Mortal Engines" (Steampunk for DADAlogy??), and ??? Need to think of a GREAT fantasy novel.
1 x literary fiction - "Oryx and Crake"
1 x Emotionally Weird (personified emotions) - "purple" for PAT? Purple = wisdom, grief?
1 x Cultural Cats (The Cat from .... *insert country here*) - not really necessary, but would be nice
1 x New Zealand wildlife (non urgent as can find something in archives if necessary)

Suggestions and requests for the above graciously accepted!

Need to draw:
June PAT - Hippo, Mermaid (See above), potted plant, cute male gnome
May PAT - purple (see above), CATS, Hot Air Balloon
Summer PAT- insect, dragons, Bast, weird sea creatures and skeletons, Icecat, Muppets, Siren, Crows/insect
Also, two cards for Artree.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cute and Quirky...

I made my first ATC ever on August 3rd, 2005.

This year, to celebrate 4 years of ATCs I will be releasing my book "Cute and Quirky: The art of LemurKat" by Angela Kestrel. It will feature a selection of some of the 2086 ATCs I have created since then.

You do the maths - I have been making - on average 1.5 ATCs per day.

How's that for prolific?

Anyhow, some of the featured pieces will be familiar to you, others will not.

Here's a sneak preview of the cover as I've currently designed it (may change of course):

And for todays art, here is a Nene:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Only one piece today - another bibliofiles one. This is for my Reading Group and features howl, Calcifer and the castle.

What's it from? Howl's Moving Castle, of course! The book NOT the movie.

Howl's moving castle by Diana Wynne Jones
I adore Wynne Jones for her quirky characters, curious plots and crazy twists. Some of it doesn't make a lot of sense, but that's half the charm! "Howl's..." is no exception. It's delightful, intriguing and great fun to read.
In the compiling of my Portfolio book I have an entire page entitled "the Book Group" and it was a little lean on pieces. Thus I decided to illustrate some more literary fictions that I have thoroughly enjoyed. The first is "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel:

This is a strange and interesting book and I found the Meerkat island particularly intriguing. If the story is a metaphoric one, then this could be perceived in many ways. I chose to take it at a literal sense.

This piece is available for trade.

Next Literary fiction to receive this treatment is "Oryx and Crake" by Margaret Atwood. Just have to re-obtain a copy first.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Artistic Licence

The Cat from Savannah drank too much Guarana (now with added bottle, don't know why i've decided this particular Guarana drink is green. Maybe because that looks pretty artificial!

And I finally finished up the Mona Lemur (with paddy fields):

She's available for trade.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Exciting News!

I achieved quite a lot of art today, despite the fact that I am busily working on my second book through Blurb.com. This one is entitled "Cute and Quirky" and is a selection of my ATCs and other art created over the last four years. Like the Illustrated ATCs book, except less diverse talents. It should be pretty exciting and is coming along nicely. I ADORE the new additions to the Booksmart program.

So with all this, you might be fooled into thinking I would get no drawing done today.


It's a bit of a random assortment, however:

Caruso for his owner, Shirley

Postal Pets "Stout Legged Wren" my first collaged piece in a while. Tbh, the coloured lineart has been lying around for weeks, so it didn't exactly take me too long. This one will be flying out to Janet. If she wants it!

Two IUCN "Red List" species - the Scimitar Horned Oryx which is extinct in the wild but can be purchased by personal breeders for around $1800 and apparently has very tasty meat. The other is the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Which sadly IS probably extinct.

And lastly, it's that crazy Ostrich card I promised you.

An Avian Alphabet in the Making

Some time ago now I drew this card and I figured it was high time I started work on the rest of the alphabet. I've a letter "O" coming along neatly, but just thought I would explore some concepts here. Feel free to offer suggestions.

Elegant Egret Entertains Elaborate Engagements
F - see above
Garrulous Gulls Gather Gory Gossip
O - to come today
Pretentious Pigeon(?) Plays Perfect Piano
Vile Vultures Violate Vulnerable Voles
Xenophilic Xenops eXpects X-files eXamination
Zany Zosterops Zappily Zig-Zaps

In other news, I am currently designing a portfolio with a selection of my art for the last 4 years. It will be available on Blurb, like my Mammalian Alphabet (of which I have sold a whole 3 copies!!!)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Endangered Species alert

Black footed ferret and Namdaphu Flying squirrel. Two Critically endangered critters. Would write more but it's late and I'm tired and I'm not overly proud of these pieces.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just a Lone Tit

That's all I have to show off today. One Yellow Brested Tit. I hope you like it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Reading Groups and Bizarre Creatures

There is a science known as Cryptozoology - the study of creatures that do not - or perhaps SHOULD not exist. It is a branch of science that I am most sceptical about but one cannot argue that there are still large tracts of the world where things have never been discovered and that maybe somewhere out there are creatures unknown to science or believed to be extinct. That is not what these pictures depict. I have sought out the more outlandish, the more bizarre of the Cryptids for the "Unknown Creatures" swap. Then I drew them based on written descriptions.

We have here:

The Dingonek of Africa, but for no real reason, I've made him blue -
"... he was a sight—fourteen or fifteen feet long, head big as that of a lioness but shaped and marked like a leopard, two long white fangs sticking down straight out of his upper jaw, back broad as a hippo, scaled like an armadillo, but colored and marked like a leopard, and a broad fin tail..."

The Sigbin of the Philippines (cousin to the chucapbra, perhaps?)
"...It resembles a hornless goat, emits a very nauseating smell and possess a pair of very large ears which are capable of clapping like a pair of hands and a very long flexible tail that can be used as a whio..."

Also the good ol' Bunyip of Australia -
"...Common features in Aboriginal descriptions include a dog-like face, dark fur, a horse-like tail, flippers and walrus-like tusks or horns or a duck like bill..."

And Caddy (Cadborosaurus Willsi) of British Columbia -
"...as some sort of a mammal, long, slender, and with a bifurcated tail. ... the head of the creature is described as a camels or a horses..."

Also, a couple of pieces for my Reading Group (complete with my reviews)

Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson
"Tanglewreck" is a bit of a trainwreck of a book. The plot tries very hard to be clever, with name dropping and insertation of scientific theories. This makes the plot rather confuluted and the science highly flawed. It tries to be sensible and scientific, throwing in a bit of magic and then having the "speed of love" rescue someone from a black hole. Some moments are downright creepy, others merely random and weird. It feels to me like the author has just shoved a random bunch of ideas together and tried to come up with a fairly lame plot to connect them. Not particularly recommended.

Picture depicts Elvis the Robo-dog not quite sure what to make of Bigamist, the psycho bunny spy:

Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge (also known as The Runaways)
Enchanting, delightful, charming and quaint are all words to accurately describe this beautifully written, engrossing classic. The characters are delightfully eccentric, the children charmingly naughty and Uncle Ambrose gruff but loveable. From his one-legged manservant to the reclusive old lady next door, the mysterious artistic hermit and the wicked woman with her equally wicked cat, all of the characters are beautifully described and affectionately developed. The language is lyrical and evocative - you can smell the english country air and the delicious home baking will have you drooling into your book. Overall, exquisite and magical.

Picture depicts Abednego the monkey "manservant" with Gertrude, the lovely doll he is given by the youngest girl. Behind, a trio of bees cluster on the window. Bees played a relatively important role in the tale.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle...

Three cards for the Jungle swap on ATCsfor all:

Spix Macaw - one of only three blue macaw species, the Spix is extinct in the wild and has the rather unfortunate distinction as being one of the world's rarest parrots (I'm not sure whether it is rarer than the Kakapo or not).

Victorian Crowned Pigeon - a beautiful mostly ground-dwelling pigeon found in Papua New Guinea and sporting an impressive crown.

Golden Lion Tamarin - one of the world's rarest primates. These wee fellows are found in Brazil where they are highly threatened by logging.

Also, drawing inspiration* from "mothstorm" by Philip Reeve, we have a steampunk submarine:

*That is to say, copied from one of Wyatt's pictures with a few of my own touches added. Sorry Wyatt, but my imagination is not grand enough to incorporate Steam Punk.

Also drew the robotic dog, Elvis and the psycho-bunny, Bigamist from the book "Tanglewreck" but haven't scanned it yet.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Drawing a Blank on Drawing Day

Today was Drawing Day and my intention was to produce a very fine piece depicting my delightful characters in an artistic mood. Complete Failboat. I could not get them to look right and eventually gave up in frustration and decided instead to loosen up my mind with a couple of 13 minute bird headstudies.

The first, a Victorian Crowned Pigeon (16 mins or so) turned out pretty well, pretty!

The second, a Hammerkop was another complete mess:

And finally, to complete everything nicely, my first "Reading Group" piece. A scene from "Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell - Rontu, Tainor and Lurai. I hazarded a guess and made the birds Western Tanagers.

They turned out okay. But now it is past 11 pm and I need my beauty sleep (although there ain't enough of that to make me a beauty), so it is time to retire to my delightfully warm bed.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A bird in 13 minutes?

Well, not quite - most took slightly longer, but the challenge for this swap was to spend no more than 13 minutes per card. I decided that choosing the subject should not be included in that time! To also cut down time expended, I used my prismas, which are still in their original tray. Thus no fossicking through my large tin trying to find the one inch long terracotta pencil that is "in there somewhere".

The birds are:

Blue Heron, Oriental Bay Owl, Eider Duck
African Skimmer, Hoatzin and Crowned Crane.

I will likely not be sending the Blue Heron as the composition and balance are shocking and thus it just does not look right to me.

Also today my artistic offerings are:

A total failure at drawing something creepy, not cute. Then again, it is hard to deny that aye-aye are intrinsically cute. Especially if you've ever seen a year old youngester at close quarters.

A tropical butterfly perches on a ginger flower. I'm quite pleased with this one, and the effect I am managing to achieve on my flora pieces.

These two cards are for HmmNBird I think her name is. Should she want them!

Do you know that June 6th is DRAWING DAY?

Once more with feeling, err shading

After an honest and a little embarrasing critique of my proudly displayed "tyto alba artistic evolution" piece yesterday, I am humbled and a little shameful. Yes, I was lazy and refrained from shading it (not that she accused me of laziness, being too tactful for that). I have no real excuse (given the other changes I had made to the original piece), except that I was eager to get it uploaded and found it cute, so when I decided it needed a bit of blue shading I threw it on with little thought and any consistency. This is not, I admit, a very good way to learn and improve your art!

So I have reworked it again, but only a little this time - taking into consideration the backlighting
from the moon.

I am still not particularly good at imagining the play of light on fur, feathers or fabric and thus my shading is still most likely off. then again, a backlit subject like this would be almost entirely just a dark shadow with highlights on the head and along the tops of the wings, so I feel a few liberties must be taken.

She also implied it was rather too cuddly - and I agree, Barn Owls should be mysterious and a little creepy. However, I'm guilty as charged - I've become stuck in the saccharine children's book style.

So my challenge to myself today is to draw something dark and creepy and only a little bit cute. I am tempted to redraw this relatively archaic piece:

Also in the "Bluemoon" set, it is one of my early efforts at drawing an aye-aye, and rather a poor one.