Wednesday, December 31, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Bonus Week

Lettering in Pages word processing program, printed onto photocopy paper. Cartoon animals drawn freehand (no pencil lines!) and detailed in watercolour.

Bonus Week Alphabet
Bonus Week: Alphabet

The concept for this came to my mind's eye several months ago and it drew itself in my head until the other night when I did it for real. I think originally, I imagined all the creatures interacting more. The snake was supposed to have consumed his letter, but it didn't work out that way, so the mouse has nibbled on the "M" to reflect that intention. Animals represented are: anteater, bat, camel, dog, elephant, fox, giraffe, hippopotamus, iguana, jellyfish, koala, lion, mouse, numbat, octopus, pig, quail, rabbit, snake, tiger, unicorn, vulture, whale, x-ray tetra, yak and zebra.

And the Challenge is complete... until 2015, when it all happens again.

... my watercolour from Week 11, entitled "Architecture: Number 96", has been shortlisted, with the possibility of being part of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge exhibition, to be held in Perth in March 2015. Still early days yet (results aren't disclosed until the day of the exhibition's opening), but so wonderful to be ever closer! Will keep you posted on my progress!

Week 11 Architecture
Week 11: Architecture

Exhibition poster by Penny Fisher
Exhibition poster of Tania McCartney by Penny Fisher

Photobook 2014

I've created a 2014 Challenge photobook (and it was ready next morning!). I had coded the titles of several jpegs with "aaa" and "zzz" to force them to appear in a certain order on the USB, but basically I accepted OfficeWorks' program to decide the layout, just switching a few bigger-for-smaller images, sometimes to separate same colours, and removing just a few images that were more photo than art. About 130 pieces of art. I opted not to add captions (beyond the date on the title page), 'cos I've seen way too many photobooks with typos in recent years... and I wanted to eat dinner at some point.

Awful typos are so easy to make, so I think that letting the images talk for themselves can be sensible and safe. OfficeWorks have plain covers, but titles can always be added later. For the image I used for the title page, I simply added "2014" in blue font with their caption maker, and Tania's pink Challenge logo served as a title. This is the deluxe option (and the program said I needed ten pages added to each book for my number of images), but for speed and beauty, well worth it. This was $30 each (plus the extra pages at $1.80 per page). You can do it with cheaper options and people who made only 52 pieces of art in 2014 would have it much easier, but I highly recommend this culminating activity to fellow Challengees.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 52

Created on black "scratch paper", which comes in a pack of five sheets (plus tool) for $4.00 from a toy shop.

Week 52 Fireworks
Week 52: Fireworks


Oil pastel resist and watercolour wash on wet watercolour paper, with black Sharpie silhouettes and gold metallic Sharpie sparks on the sparkler.

Week 52 Fireworks II
Week 52: Fireworks II

This is how my brothers and I spent several Cracker Nights in the 60s and 70s. We had no awareness that we couldn't always afford to have fireworks bought for us, so we pressed our noses against the back screen door. Or had sparklers and a few throw-downs only, if we were lucky. (Or got invited to next door's bonfire if we were *really* lucky.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 51

The Minotaur in his labyrinth. Collage of black card over red "bricks", textured with sponged watercolour.

Week 51 Silhouette
Week 51: Silhouette


"Lions of Taronga, 1960s". Based on a friend's photograph and my own childhood memories. Background in watercolour and double-ended black Sharpie; lion and lioness silhouettes cut freehand from textured, handmade paper. So many times in the 60s, 70s and 80s did I lean on the fence staring into the lion pit. The pit is still there at Taronga Zoo, but totally remodeled so that it is viewed from the side at the lions' level. The wall depicted at the back is now glass and the public can't access the rim of the pit. This particular enclosure, which used to have a large map of Australia painted on its concrete floor(?) in the 50s and early 60s, now houses a tiger family.

Week 51 Silhouette II
Week 51: Silhouette II

There is a version of this b/w background sketched in pencil onto a canvas frame for "Black + White" week but, at the last minute, I realised the canvas was treated to repel water! I then tried to replicate it onto white watercolour paper, but totally ran out of time to finish the detailing (not to mention the lions). Then I realised I should just save it for "Silhouette" week, so I completed it tonight... after many weeks mulling it over in my head.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 50

Inspired by an egg carton sleigh (with eight reindeer) I saw at a craft ideas website (The Well Nourished Nest) a few weeks ago, here's my own reinterpretation: Santa's sleigh being pulled by the Six White Boomers! Uses an egg carton, card, handmade and watercolour paper, some star stickers and wiggly eyes. Each kangaroo has different facial features, but it was hard featuring all their tails. Maybe that's why reindeer have small tails?

Week 50 Christmas
Week 50: Christmas

And as a table decoration:

Week 50 Christmas boomers


Quick and silly cartoon, in Sharpie inks and watercolour pencils. "He was pining, so I suggested he decorate for Christmas."

Week 50 Christmas II
Week 50: Christmas II

I drew the broken bauble's outline in black Sharpie, with no idea what creature would inhabit it. I'm still not sure exactly what it is. Watercolour on cartridge paper. Pine tree needles in green and red Sharpie ink, with white Signo highlights.

Week 50 Christmas III
Week 50: Christmas III

My friend Santa holding my naughty Christmas elves, based on my Santa photo I had taken last year. (Long story). Green, red, black, gold and silver Sharpies, white Signo pigment ink and watercolour pencil on green Origami paper.

Week 50 Christmas IV
Week 50: Christmas IV

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 49

Collage of yellow, orange and red paper strips, white and orange face elements and a lemon sun/circle of handmade paper, mounted onto amber La Carta Weave textured paper and plain blue card. Song lyrics from the musical, "Hair", printed in Word.

Week 49 Sunshine
Week 49: Sunshine


Sunshine observed by a lone sunflower. White acrylic, watercolour pencil, finepoint black Sharpie and handmade paper collage on yellow card.

Week 49 Sunshine II
Week 49: Sunshine II

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 48

"What does the fox say?" (Inspired by the quirky Youtube song by Ylvis.) Freehand-cut white paper collage, glued over song lyrics in Word on red card. Highlights and shadows in yellow, orange and black watercolour pencils and silver Sharpie.

Week 48 Fox
Week 48: Fox


Nobody here but us chickens! Black fine point ink and watercolour cartoon. Drawn without pencil lines!

Week 48 Fox II
Week 48: Fox II

Someone else beat me to this phrase but I decided to go ahead with my concept anyway. Extending an idea from Week 39 "Words", here is "A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog", created in Pages with a little black Stained and finepoint Sharpie, brown pencilling and a touch of yellow acrylic.

Week 48 Fox III
Week 48: Fox III

I had no intention of doing another fox this week, but I encountered an old newspaper ad about two hours ago, and initially had thoughts of a traditional drawing based upon the photo. Suddenly, it demanded to be an assemblage artwork, and I found myself fashioning a fox fur stole from a red chenille stick, cutting an outline of a woman, to give her a 3D effect, from an A3 sheet of yellow quill board, and painting her and the background with instant coffee. Details in red Sharpie and black Stained Sharpie, and the wording is cut from a print-out of the ad. Fox stole's eyes are some polished blue glass beads from a pot in the garden. Face of the model is probably inspired by all those "Redhead Matches" ladies of the 70s. She's propped out from the card by the width of the chenille stick.

Week 48 Fox IV
Week 48: Fox IV

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 47

Approaching Liberty. Watercolour, with green Sharpie ink on the crown spikes. Based on a photo taken by me, in January 1984, just before the torch was replaced.

Week 47 New York
Week 47: New York


John Lennon Memorial in Strawberry Fields, Central Park, New York. With some strawberries and a little magic. Just imagine! I've been mulling this one over all week and strategising. I really wanted to do it, but drawing a mosaic like this, in the detail I wanted originally, could literally have taken months! Instead, it took about 30 minutes. Black Sharpie ink and watercolour. Texture provided by metallic pencil rubbed over my flyscreen wire door, plus a little added glitter.

Week 47 New York II
Week 47: New York II

Monday, November 17, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Bonus Challenge

International Book Giving Day is running a bonus challenge to select four bookmarks that will be made available to online visitors.

Bonus Challenge: Bookmark

My entry for the International Book Giving Day 2015 bookmark competition. Continuing the theme I tinkered with in Leaves Week. Emu in black, silver and gold Sharpie inks and white Signo on green handmade paper.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 46

Emerging from the clown car. Black and red Sharpie ink, watercolour and collage (with various wrapping papers and tiny pompons) on A3 watercolour paper. I made a vague thumbnail sketch at work yesterday afternoon, and it was just going to be a painted sketch. Then I walked home, and passed a bargain store with $1 sheets of wrapping paper - and yet another collage was born. Each outfit was cut out freehand - no pencil lines!

Week 46 Circus
Week 46: Circus


Stagefright at the circus. Black Sharpie, watercolours and metallic coloured pencil on A4 amber La Carta Weave textured paper.

Week 46 Circus II
Week 46: Circus II

"Reaching new heights in the spotlight." Collage, watercolour, coloured pencil and black ink. Labels rendered in Word. I love the irony that the box with the messiest contents is the one that got upturned.

Week 46 Circus III
Week 46: Circus III

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 45

Watercolour - with no pencil lines - based on a photograph I took one Autumn in Bright, Victoria. The painting came together very quickly after a night of compiling a big batch of report card marks, but I'd had the composition in my head all last week. Getting into the painting was very therapeutic. My reward!

Week 45 Leaves
Week 45: Leaves


Eucalyptus shape cut from green handmade paper remnant, with koala sketch drawn in white Unibolt Signo pigment ink, metallic silver Pilot marker and fine point black Sharpie. No pencil lines! Mounted on a pre-printed Origami paper square.

Week 45 Leaves II
Week 45: Leaves II

I ended up with a spare eucalyptus leaf shape last night, cut from green handmade paper remnant, so I decided a lyrebird would be the best fit for the available area. Sketched in brown Staedtler Triplus fineliner, white Unibolt Signo pigment ink, metallic silver and gold Pilot markers and fine point black Sharpie. No pencil lines! Mounted on a sheet of black card.

Week 45 Leaves III
Week 45: Leaves III

Assemblage art of a leafy apple tree with torn brown Ingres paper, candy mint leaves, acid drops and Jaffas on a blue piece of nylon fabric.

Week 45 Leaves IV
Week 45: Leaves IV

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 44

A yarn about yarn. Collage with knitted fabric scraps, toothpicks and a glittery star sticker. Decorated with watercolour and Sharpie inks on A3 watercolour paper. Typed word balloon in Pages on La Carta Weave paper. Note how the knitter is already wearing the garment she is making.

Week 44 Yarn
Week 44: Yarn


With my big ball of string [er yarn], I can do anything... Inspired by the Marion Holland book. Design created on black "scratch paper", which comes in a pack of five sheets (plus tool) for $2.50 from a bargain shop.

Week 44 Yarn II
Week 44: Yarn II

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 43

Collage of ingres paper, feathers, ribbon with black Stained Sharpie ink. Weird coincidence that the ribbon had a similar pattern to the feathers!

Week 43 Bird
Week 43: Bird


Sulphur-crested cockatoo in watercolour, on A3 watercolour paper. Feeling very proud as I used confident brushstrokes - and no pencil guidelines!

Week 43 Bird II
Week 43: Bird II

Eastern rosella in watercolour and a few touches of black Sharpie and white Signo ink. No pencil guidelines!

Week 43 Bird III
Week 43: Bird III

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 42

Crayon resist jellyfish and sand, acrylic blue wash and collaged fish (using junk mail pamphlets and paper patty pans).

Week 42 Under the sea
Week 42: Under the sea

I knew I was going to use patty pan cases as scales/fins several weeks ago, and I knew i had several packets and leftovers in the pantry. But most of them turned out to be plain white and a few were silver on the outside and white on the inside. White-spotted red and green cases wouldn't have been my first choice, but who can argue at 11.30 pm? The glossy junk mail pamphlet that became the school of silvery fish was for a set of free chromed boules (if I bought a case of wine). I love the randomness of the lines and reflections!


Black Artline finepoint ink, watercolour, silver-coated chocolate balls and ground pepper for a little extra texture.

Week 42 Under the sea II
Week 42: Under the sea II

I have memories of a breakfast cereal toy (Plonky Piano in the Neptune's Seaweeders band) who looked a little bit like this, but I also caught an interview with comedienne Jenny Slate, on Letterman the other night, talking about her original character, Marcel the Shell with shoes on, and that got my brain ticking over. Plus there's signage, which seems to be an ongoing theme for me recently.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 41

Freehand outline, cut with scissors from black card, and pieces glued down, collage-style, onto A4 white card, to enhance the face's axis of symmetry. This cutting style is called Notan.

Week 41 Black + White
Week 41: Black + White


People liked my giraffe finger puppet a few weeks ago, so here's a zebra. Cut from two pieces of watercolour paper, markings drawn with a black "Stain" Sharpie. One finger is draped in thin black cloth and becomes the nose:

Week 41 Black + White II
Week 41: Black + White II

Pygar, the blind angel from Barbarella. Black Artline marker and white Signo pigment ink on watercolour paper, with real feathers collaged onto black card:

Week 41 Black + White III
Week 41: Black + White III

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 40

This week is "Abstract". I found a grab bag of handmade paper offcuts in a discount art store, sorted them into colours and sizes, chose colours that would complement the new paint scheme in my lounge room, and then laid out an appealing design. I glued the strips and three circles onto a sheet of corrugated cardboard. The indigo sheets have gold glitter impregnated into the paper, and the yellowish sheets have swirls of a darker colour.

Week 40 Abstract
Week 40: Abstract

What was interesting about gluing down handmade paper: it was very obedient about butting up against its neighbours. I really enjoyed the experience. Therapeutic! When it was finished, the white wood glue had seemingly stained three of the pale cream rectangles. Perhaps the original sheet was much thinner than the rest? Luckily there were three similar pieces still in the bag, so I eventually peeled back two of the circles, inserted new rectangles over the top of the old ones with a regular glue-stick, and refastened the circles. All rather compliant and organic. Only five pieces (and the three circles) actually needed any trimming. Otherwise I simply accepted the lengths as they came out of the bag. You can play forever before committing to glue the pieces down.


Four and twenty abstract blackbirds escape from a pie. Black "Stained" Sharpie (brush tip), watercolours and collaged blackbird silhouette templates. I cut several of each at a time, then trimmed a few to make them a little more individual.

Week 40 Abstract II
Week 40: Abstract II

And I think I shall call this next one... Blue Piles. Oil pastels on watercolour paper. Background created by squirting watercolour-tinted water from a syringe. (I did one background on wet paper and one on dry paper, but the dry worked much better.)

Week 40 Abstract III
Week 40: Abstract III

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 39

3D papier mache squirrel, decoupaged with orange paper printed with the words "squirrel", "paw", "ear", "tail" and "acorn", plus eyes made with "i"s - and an "n" for a nose.

Week 39 Words
Week 39: Words


Black Stained by Sharpie ink (a brushlike tip, supposedly for drawing on fabric, but nice to use on paper, too) on La Carta Weave textured paper.

Week 39 Words II
Week 39: Words II

Week 39 Words III
Week 39: Words III

Words and Pictures: Watercolour over cardboard templates, painted onto the page of movie reviews from Mx newspaper. (Ha! I was cleaning up the work area the next morning. The "audience" template, which I cut like a set of paper dollies from some card and used to mask off sections, looks too pretty to throw away. Into the Odds 'n' Ends box it goes. We may see it again some day.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 38

Oil pastel giraffe wearing a bilby mask - and a bilby wearing a giraffe mask. Signage created in Word, torn edges and painted with coffee.

Week 38 Giraffe
Week 38: Giraffe


Two-part paper finger puppet - one finger forms the neck. Outlined in black Sharpie, coloured with watercolours.

Week 38 Giraffe II
Week 38: Giraffe II

Week 38 Giraffe III
Week 38: Giraffe III

Freehand silhouette in black card collaged to a safari print gift bag. 3D eyelashes cut from white paper, with curls rolled over the end of a paintbrush. I was creating this at lunchtime today when a Facebook message came in announcing the passing of my actor friend, Elaine Lee (Vera in TV's Number 96) and I suddenly realised that my new giraffe needed to have - instead of white cartoon eyes - big white eyelashes. (Many happy memories having drinkies in Elaine's dressing room, after a stage performance, and watching her peel off her huge false eyelashes.)

Week 38 Giraffe IV
Week 38: Giraffe IV

Mixed media collage with chenille sticks (poking through random holes made with a hole punch), torn paper and self-adhesive faux fur safari skin on a quill board background.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

52-Week Illustration Challenge, Week 37

Black and green Sharpie outline with watercolour.

Week 37 Balloons
Week 37: Balloons


Assemblage art with waterbomb balloons (decorated with Sharpie inks), metallic pipe cleaner, Scotch Expressions patterned "washi tape" and coloured card:

Week 37 Balloons II
Week 37: Balloons II