Sunday 31 May 2009

Sandra's Awards Board

I am writing a gallery application today and choosing examples of completed work to use as a visual back-up to my case. Sandra's Awards Board is definitely not something that I completed recently, having shown it as part of the exhibition at Bus a couple of years ago. However I realised this morning that I had not documented it on my blog. When I look back on my work now, I definitely don't like all of it, and even more cruelly, can automatically see why. Fortunately, I am still quite fond of this one. At the time of the exhibition I sold it to a lovely young artist called Nicola. I hope that she still likes it too.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Working 9 - 5: a French truck and an air balloon

Cars are never far from my mind when I am coming up with ideas for Seed boys' t-shirts. They are usually a guaranteed hot seller, but that's only part of why I like them. Maybe it's in my genes? After all, my brother works as an automotive designer. Occasionally I even get to enlist the master's help. When Seed's head designer suggested that "an old French truck" would go well with the nostalgic European theme she was working on, I called my brother and asked which car models would fit the bill. I then scoured the net for photos. He tweaked the most decent shot that I could find into something that would be suitable to re-draw in the sharp side-angle that is a trademark of Seed.
Above: the finished product, which can also be seen here.

Above: speaking of hot sellers, this is a current one. I have always wanted to do an air balloon: I love watching them fly over my house in the mornings and have always dreamt of actually spotting my house from one. Besides, as a designer you can make them look so decorative. I also thought it might be mildly funny to have a bird hitching a ride in it.

Friday 15 May 2009

Monster Competition Entry

My entries for an illustration competition for a book of monsters to be published next year by Murdoch. The winner gets to illustrate around 70 creatures dreamt up by the writer Peter Macinnis. I must say that I found doing just the three set monsters quite challenging: I assume that by the time the winner gets to monster number 69 it will get easier. I have learnt from this experience that I just don't exercise my drawing and sketching skills often enough, particularly when it comes to animals. A study trip to the zoo, or the Collingwood Children's Farm, is long overdue.

Above: my favourite, probably because I am very fond of pigs and because I like the colour palette. Actually, it's because I think I succeeded in making the Long Legged Underbed Pig look slightly annoyed by the little Aunt-eater running along its back. I wouldn't want my lunch interrupted, either.

Above: The Quarking Duck. Before I received the author's descriptions, I had thought that the monsters would resemble alien creatures, or at least something from recent films and cartoons with 'monster' in the title. Instead, Macinnis has concentrated on variations on the familiar, possibly to reassure his young readers that monsters aren't that scary after all. As a result, I am not sure that my pictures look like monsters. Perhaps that alien element was meant to come from me? Maybe that's why I couldn't help making the "trained shoe-lace monster" (not described beyond that) look a bit more strange.
Above: The Nose Ghoul, which I am least happy with. The monsters are not meant to be 'in-situ', but rather in a "static pose" with optional props. In this case, the fact that he is actually meant to be inside a person's nose gets lost. Perhaps another entrant came up with a better solution.

[Character descriptions copyright Peter Macinnis.]

Friday 8 May 2009

Some Anthropomorphic Symbols

All images in this post are from the wonderful Symbols of Australia by Mimmo Cozzolino and Fysh Rutherford, first published in 1980. It has since been re-issued several times and is still available, including here. I don't own a copy, but I borrow it from the library time to time. Interestingly, each time I am drawn to different symbols. Above: Happy Foot: a foot powder symbol from 1925. The Keene Co., London.

Above: The lovely moustached Edwardian man seems to have been plonked onto the duck's body, but it works: he makes rather a handsome mandrake. Label dated 1919. B. Herbert, Sydney.

Above: Toppy Toppa. Toppa Ice Creams Ltd., Melbourne, 1952. Now that is a clever use for a "ribbon device".

Above: The Cricket Match. Sweden, c.1903. Double wordplay there: clearly it takes a non-cricket playing, non English speaking culture to note that. This one is for my cricket loving friend Kate Constable.

Above: This is where the anthropomorphic thing doesn't quite work. Art director asks "Could you please do that fashionable anthropomorphic thing with this box, and turn it into a lady?" Even Handy Ann looks bemused by her pathetic little square chest. Lever Bros. Ltd, Sydney. Perfumed soap, 1910.

This is where it does work. Above: 'Screw Man': the symbol that must have sparked my interest in these strange little anthropomorphic beings. I was so terrified of him when I was a kid that every time I would see him in my father's workshop on that little blue box, I would make a run for it. (Ditto that scary Michelin Man.) Funny how the things that you fear end up taking over your life. Sidney Cooke Pty. Ltd. Melbourne. Metal fasteners; 1940 version. Designed by Paton Advertising Services.