Monday, 18 September 2017


It's been a real struggle lately. So many things 'pending'. I'm venting my frustration here via this artwork and a general whinge, so if you aren't in the mood you'd better stop reading now.

I'm desperate to get off the damn hill where I live but the block we had lined up has fallen through. We didn't sell our house in time - real estate is very sluggish at the moment and it's a buyer's market.

I keep submitting illustration work to various businesses/agents but so far no joy. Some don't even reply to my e-mails. To be fair it's probably a bit premature for me to be doing this but I'm keen to get going.

My job is exhausting and stressful but I can't afford to chuck it in - I don't have many options. I feel as though I am providing something worthwhile to my students but working for the government really is pushing a huge pile of poo up a very steep hill. Bureacracy is anathema to creatives - raging against the machine is absolutely pointless but you can only work so long in a vice before you lose the will to live.

On a positive note: I am making headway honing my illustration style, however I'm feeling so deflated that even drawing is a chore at the moment - so I keep stalling there too. I am creating a new website but need to get some more illustrations finished before I launch it. It's a vicious circle.

Life is a relentless routine at the moment. This old hampster is very tired and needs to step off the wheel. SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE!!! And soon - or I'm simply going to fall off.

Friday, 8 September 2017

'house portraits'

This is one of the drawings I am working on at the moment - a sample piece for a framer on the east coast who found me on Illustrator's Australia. We've negotiated a price and he will add this 'product' to his other framing services. I've called them 'house portraits' but I don't know how he will market them. He wanted the lines to be more 'wobbley' so I'm redrawing it on my light table, but it will probably be a compromise in the end. 

I'm not expecting to get a lot of work out of it - if any at all - but you have to put stuff out there. And sometimes it's just good to be drawing - anything!

Monday, 31 July 2017

developing 'style(s)'

As I impatiently await official confirmation that I've finished my concept illustration course - results, feedback and/or congratulations please - I've been feeling quite lost. This is nothing new. It's an awkward feeling you get when one big thing in your life has ended but the new big thing hasn't quite revealed itself - although there are strong indications. Being involved in study means dancing to someone else's tune (even when you are doing a PhD!) At the end of it you are thrown out into the real world with a whole lot of new ideas and nobody to guide you through the transition. I don't like being in a state of suspension like this but unfortunately I accept I will have to hover for a while until I can clarify what the next step is.

My long time-fantasy plan is to get the occasional job doing illustration work. But it's a competitive field and very difficult to get your first break. I did my research and joined Illustrators Australia but because I am unpublished, can only get a student membership. Which - when you've been drawing forever - kind of sucks. On the other hand, I can understand it because I haven't really consolidated my style as an illustrator. I've had 2 enquiries via this website already so it's well worth the membership fee. One enquiry may lead to some work in the future. It seems that getting published is the second biggest hurdle for an illustrator, the first is developing and refining a style.

The Association of Illustrators is another organisation I will join when I have more pieces in my illustration folio. I think they are located in Britain. AOI don't discriminate between published and unpublished illustrators, but they want 8 pieces and they probably should be in the same style. I will also contact the Style File at some stage too, though they seem to stick to a limited style of work.

The illustration course really helped hone my skills in representational digital drawing as the image below should testify. I love doing this type of illustration but it is probably more suited to the 3D game industry. That's not to say book publishers wouldn't use it, but they do seem to favour less modelled, more stylised illustrations - like the image below it.  

Both 'potential' clients had responded favourably to the style above. The feedback I got from Illustrators Australia was very helpful: 

I think your work is strong, though it is interesting to see two distinct styles that (to my eyes) seem so unalike - there certainly is an argument that showing diversity is important, though I think it is equally important to show the kind of work you would like to be commissioned to do. Personally I find the flat / outlined / coloured work to be quite vibrant and fun and could imagine it attracting a lot of attention. The more tonal painting style is, on the other hand, something that is widely done by others so you might have some trouble "standing out", but of course if you are interested in working in gaming etc, then this is the type of work you should show....Your work has psychedelic elements - perhaps that could be an underlying factor that brings your work together when working with the different styles.

I remember battling a similar 'style-war' while I was writing my thesis. There came a point at which my supervisor started talking about 'voice'. It was time to commit. I tried out a couple of different writing styles which she critiqued harshly, and finally settled on something that was natural and unforced - which is what she was after of course (she certainly was a brilliant 'no bullshhit, take no prisoners' kind of academic). I have also reverted to some advice I give my own students - follow the passion, that is, find out what it is you love doing, and what feels right, because the love of what you do keeps you going through the tough times.

But what if you love 2 things at the same time? I love line and flat colour, but I also love indulging my newfound honing of chiaroscuro. Especially because I think it would be a great way to do some satirical works, like this, which I really need to get back to, but I'm distracted by other concerns at the moment.

At this point I can still see the value in developing the 2 styles, but I've confirmed what I suspected (from Googling other illustrators of course): I need to keep them separate on my website so as not to confuse people, and display them separately on different online forums. I'll keep my Artstation folio for the 3D modelled stuff, and pursue other forums for the linework and flat colour.

This self analysing has made me realise I haven't really done enough work in developing my linear style, so that's what I'll do first so I can get my portfolio together - stuff like the first image, and this one below:

But I will also develop some more 'positive', dreamlike images, like this reworking of an old oil painting, because a lot of the work on Artstation is quite heavy and depressing.
Redoing this one is a clear indicator of just how much I have learnt in 18 years, and how, although I've officially stopped studying, I'll never really stop learning.

Friday, 30 June 2017

folio time

Finishing up my digital drawing course in the next couple of weeks. I'm adding pieces to my Artstation folio as I finish them. This was a prop paintover.

I'm pretty happy with my final folio, though some I had hoped to include won't be finished in time.

Monday, 15 May 2017

'visual development' thumbnails

This is our final assignment before we take a week long break. And then only 8 weeks left of the course to finish 13 pieces for my portfolio. Eeeeeek!

For this exercise we had to create 5 thumbnails based on a script, choose one and develop it as a background for a scene. Tossing up between 2, 3 or 4.

I won't be taking on any more courses after this - I've been studying for 16 years non-stop. 10 of those were for my PhD. I'll keep developing my digital drawing - but probably just focus on random video tutorials and have fun with the skills I have learned.

Friday, 10 February 2017


'In my experience, everyone will say they want to discover the Truth, right up until they realize that the Truth will rob them of their deepest held ideas, beliefs, hopes, and dreams. The freedom of enlightenment means much more than the experience of love and peace. It means discovering a Truth that will turn your view of self and life upside-down. 

For one who is truly ready, this will be unimaginably liberating. But for one who is still clinging in any way, this will be extremely challenging indeed. How does one know if they are ready? One is ready when they are willing to be absolutely consumed, when they are willing to be fuel for a fire without end.'