A New Drawing

Here's a new drawing I've just finished and framed, and it will be for sale in my online shop when I open (hopefully!) next week. I've been drawing with technical pencils lately. I just love the super-fine, delicate lines. They're not easy to shade and blend with the eraser, so I use a regular 1H pencil too.

I've made a few collaged picture frames for some new drawings. I've been experimenting with different finishes for a long time because I like paper to retain as much of its patina as possible when I seal it; I'm not a fan of glossy sealants like Mod Podge. These frames have a really lovely, tactile finish that is smooth and waxy. I really love making them! The paper I used to collage the collar is one of the patterns I've designed, and it's also on the back of the frame, so it's all matchy-matchy! I think her name is Milly, she looks like a Milly doesn't she?

Violet and Gracie

I've already posted these drawings on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, but why have I neglected my blog?! Reading this article provides yet another wake up call about which baskets to put your eggs in, and makes me feel renewed appreciation for my own little corner of the internet here on magicjelly.com.au, as well as eternal gratitude to the people who still read my blog and newsletter. I think one of the reasons I don't post on my blog as often as I should is because I always want everything to be perfect, which takes time, where as posting on Facebook or Instagram is just so quick and easy. But I think it's important that new content is posted here first, as well as posting content that isn't featured elsewhere. Happily, I finally sorted out my blog feed woes too, so now, whether you subscribe in a reader or by email, all of my graphics appear (in living technicolour!). Hooray!

Gracie.jpg

So anyway, here are two of my drawings you might not have seen before. The pink lady is called Gracie (once my new shop is open, she'll be for sale, along with other mixed media drawings in a similar vein, and assorted new drawings, collages and gocco prints). I just love drawing on tinted papers using white charcoal for highlights. The other is a drawing called Violet. I thought I'd show you a close up detail too. Some people like to shade using the edge of the pencil, and blend by rubbing, and achieve some lovely effects too, especially on textured papers. I prefer to draw on relatively smooth papers and just use the point of a sharpened pencil, which is basically a build up of tiny lines creating a blended effect. That way you get a fairly fine looking drawing. It means I tend to stay down the hard end of the pencil spectrum, favouring 2b-2h, with only touches of the softer, darker pencils like 6b. Drawing like this is very time-consuming, but it suits the way I like to work, which is quite finicky and fuss-budgety.

Violet.jpg

When doing portraits, I try to hit a spot somewhere between lifelike and stylised, so that I'm bringing something of myself to each drawing, and I try to imbue each subject with a unique character and to convey emotion. That's what I try to do anyway! It's amazing how tiny changes can totally change the expression and attitude on your subject's face. I also really love drawing hair, as you might be able to tell. :)

I've pretty much finished my new site, which includes a new shop and gallery, but have a few little technical issues to work out. I'm lucky to have my old friend Julian working on it for me (who built my blog for me), so it shouldn't be too long before everything's up and running. Next I'd like to spruce up my blog a little - perhaps a new header?

Capturing a Likeness

I made this sketch of a young Jessica Mitford for my sister Cass's partner Dave who had a birthday recently - Jessica Mitford is a hero of his. Overall I'm happy with the way it turned out (especially the frame) but she does look a little like Nicole Kidman in my portrait, which was not deliberate!  I recently scrapped a sketch of F Scott Fitzgerald I was doing because he looked way too much like Dick Van Dyke for my liking! I think it's important to do your best to capture a likeness when you're drawing a specific person, but for me, I also like to stylise my subject somewhat - I guess it's all about achieving that balance.

Jessica-Mitford-01.jpg

I'm totally hooked on white charcoal and tinted paper at the moment. Speaking of white charcoal...does anyone know how to sharpen the General's pencils to a nice point without them breaking? If so, please let me know! At the moment I just sharpen them to a dull point and use a sandpaper block, but you can never get a really fine point that way. This paper's made from recycled sugar cane pulp and I really love it; lots of colours and beautiful textures. I wanted to decorate the frame and echo the design in the collaged part of the drawing. I'm really happy with the way it turned out and would like to do some more of these to sell in my shop before the year's out.

Jessica-Mitford-04.jpg

Finders Keepers

I've just finished working on a poster & postcard design for The Finders Keepers' Melbourne Art & Design Market being held in April. As sometimes happens, the direction I initially took was shelved, in this case it was in favour of a collage-based design. I'm rather fond of my first attempt. As I was working on it, I realised that it reminded me of the spine & endpapers of a Little Golden Book, which inspired me to write a post about them a few weeks ago. In other news, I'd like to thank all the lovely people who've been emailing me via my new contact page lately. Firstly, thank you for helping me test the contact form, but also, thank you so much for writing such nice emails - they've been so encouraging & inspiring!

Finders-Keepers-01.jpg

One more thing before I go... I'm working on a new project called 2by4 to get the creative juices flowing. Every day (or maybe most days - no pressure!) I'm going to make at least one little image on paper measuring 2x4 inches. I want to be totally free in terms of the kind of paper I use, as well as the subject matter, media, style & technique. Sometimes it can be rather daunting to start work on a big blank page or wood panel or canvas, but a little 2x4" snippet is a much friendlier prospect. Then, when I have a whole stack of them, I'll make collages from them - it should be fun! I'll make sure to post some of my little 2by4 piccies on my blog as I go along.

Top: Poster design. Bottom Left: Postcard design. Bottom right: First version of poster.

Messy Desk

I've just popped by to say hi! Things might be a little quiet 'round these parts for the next couple of weeks as I'm busy preparing for my shop opening, but I shall be back soon, blogging like there's no tomorrow. What are you doing this week? Do you have any creative projects messing up your work desk? Urgh...children's party next door. Lots of high-pitched squealing going on. Time for a walk I think!

Remember Me?

It's been a long time between drinks, as they say...about 5 months in fact. I've been cloistered away for so long, working on design projects, that I feel like I've dropped off the face of the earth as an artist & that Magic Jelly has faded into obscurity. Possibly, biannual blog posts aren't helping my cause!

I really miss doodling & daubing & goccoing & steel rulers & x-acto knives & bits of old paper & glue when I'm stuck at the computer all day! In my spare moments I've been working on some new stuff - the little collages you see above are among the new pieces I have on the Magic Jelly production line. These are about 85% complete. They're collaged on canvas (8x8x1-3/8") & I still have to design a pattern for the edges (similar to my Iris collages) & then print them, stain them with tea, glue them, & then give everything a couple of coats of matte acrylic varnish. Then, I can finally stick them in my Etsy shop, & hopefully by then, my brand spanking new online shop that I'm setting up too!

I have a couple of gocco print designs at the sketch stage, a couple of half-done paintings, and a new piece that's going to be part of a series that I hope I can get finished for the holiday season (the packaging for this series is very exciting!).

Argh...feeling overwhelmed... I guess I'd better roll up my sleeves & get back to work! Just wanted to pop in & say "Hi, how're you doing? I'm still here." I'll leave you today with a little treat for all the Film Noir lovers out there...this montage has been so skillfully put together, it's fab!

It's the Little Things...

Way back in '07 I blogged about my childhood tin of plastic treasures that I called my Little Things Box. I had an old toffee tin crammed with tiny trinkets that I treasured & traded - much like the tin Amelie finds. I still collect little toys & keep them in vintage cigar boxes.

Imagine my surprise & pleasure to be approached last year by the beautiful Chinese magazine Little Thing to do an interview for their section called Little Paper Magic in the very first issue. They kindly sent me a copy late last year, & I've only just taken a few pics to show you - particularly timely because the theme of this post is all things tiny...

Giveaway Time!

I'm holding a little giveaway of the collages on canvas you see above. They're seriously small - about 2.25 x 3.25" each & come with their own miniature easels.

If you'd like to win the collage on the right, featuring my little illustration of a Death's Head Moth, all you have to do is be a subscriber to my Mailing List - I'll be drawing a name randomly - & to win the collage on the left, featuring Li'l Mary, puffin' on a giant stogie, I have devised a little contest...

Just leave a comment here on my blog letting me know you'd like to enter, & provide a link to a picture of something intriguingly small - something little, tiny, miniature, diminutive, eensy-weensy - you get the idea! If it's a photo or artwork of your own, great, but it can also be a link to something you found tinily appealing whilst browsing the internet, that's fine as well. I'll pick a favourite next Monday, & the winner gets the mini-collage! I'll draw the name of the Mailing List winner the same day too.

Can't wait to see your pics of little things!

New Gocco Work

EDIT: Last Wednesday was my 1 year bloggiversary! Yay me! Here's the new work I've just finished for the Gocco Exhibition at the Here Gallery in October. It's all been bundled up & shipped off now. I made the Favourite Shoes print in an edition of 50 & it will be available in a boxed portfolio with prints from all of the other participating artists too. I get a set myself - can't wait! I think I might make a second edition of this design in different colours - I'm quite happy with how it turned out!

And here's the girl from a few posts ago that started as a sketch in my Moleskine. I've made two mixed media pieces on 6x12x1.5" canvas. I printed up a few extras on various types of paper to incorporate into some future pieces I'll be selling in my Etsy shop.

Iris-1&2.jpg

In other news, I was featured on Design Sponge last week as part of their Regional Roundup series on Australian designers. Hooray!

I was also approached by the fabulous ezine Design This Design That to take part in their Illustration issue, but I was so busy I forgot to send back the interview answers! I'm really disappointed that I missed out, because it really is a great issue, but I'm still featured in the Etsy Treasures section, which is nice. Go take a flick through- it's loaded with amazingly talented illustrators.