working like an iceberg

Character illustration: Vayu from SWEET CG, 2013
Character illustration: Vayu from SWEET, a classic prettyboy
CG, 2013

My worst trouble with being elbow deep in the otherwise most excellent concept design stage of a project is not being able to post things. Also the laze-inducing heatwaves we’ve been having did not exactly help.

January was a rush of writing and heatwaves for me. I’ve written my major project for 2014. I’m almost done with a mini comic I’ll be announcing at the start of March, and about 40% done with another mini comic that’s something a little out of the norm for me. And as some sort of bonus present from the universe, I managed to crank out a front split, which is something I had been working toward for a while. The only thing I’ve really slipped on have been my language study plans.

So this month I plan to bring many more posts full of comic and illustration preview goodness.

Character design for a sci-fi project CG 2014
Character design for a sci-fi project
CG 2014

Also, a big THANK YOU to everyone who read Sweet NV2 (and NV 1!) and gave me feedback.

So far I’ve been told that Train Girls was unexpected, both within the comic and (for more long-term followers of my work) out of my writing style. I’m glad and very flattered that it made such an impact, and I think a lot of that impact came from the story being an important issue for me. Writing-wise, I think I’ll always love whimsy and fluff but it’s been fun writing more serious stories too. If you have something to say, please let me know! <3

The Magpie Bridge

The Magpie Bridge Digital, 2013
The Magpie Bridge
Digital, 2013

Over the weekend, I completed Nathan Fowkes’ Designing with Color and Light course at Schoolism. (Mini review: it was fantastic and I would absolutely do it again – the big thing I’d do differently is save up for the full feedback version, rather than the self-taught!) This is one of the portfolio pieces I completed, working from a value study, through about fifteen different colour iterations and finally to this. One of the best parts was ploughing through the Hubble Telescope space image archive and admiring some beautiful photos of stars and galaxies.

I’ve been busy, plotting for an exhibition o/~

All the excitement since the last post included

A superheroine in a super comic. Digital, 2012. Writer: Ryan K. Lindsay

…the opportunity to work on a fantastic project with a top writer, combining so many things that I love…

Speedy portraits of some lucky friends and their children. Digital, 2012

…several portrait studies…

Experiments in scifi-esque landscapes
Experiments in scifi-esque landscapes. Digital 2012.

…studies, stuff and nonsense and

Work in progress shot of my illustration for the LIEDEKIJN exhibition. Digital, 2012.
Work in progress shot of my illustration for the LIEDEKIJN exhibition. Digital, 2012.

Continued progress on my illustration for the upcoming and fantastic Liedekijn exhibition in Canberra, 2013. I was lucky enough to get the scene where the heroine is slowly breaking out of the murderer’s romantic spell.

Some explanation: Liedekijn is a sequential exhibition telling the story of the murderous spirit Heer Halewijn and the adventurous maiden Machteld. Each artist involved in the project illustrates a different page from the story, and by our powers combined the illustrations all come together to tell one glorious story. It’s a collaborative work of art featuring some amazing artists and managed by the same wonderful ringleader of last year’s Beginnings anthology project (and featuring her lovely watercolours!), so it’s good. 🙂

If you aren’t able to come see the exhibition in person next year, you can always buy a copy of the artbook. And until the end of December 2012, you can pre-order the artbook for the extremely worthy price of $10. (If you’re holding out til 2013 to make sure that $10 won’t be lost to any world-ending disasters, not to worry – throughout Jan 2013 you can still pre-order the artbook for $12, but after that you’ll have to test your luck at the exhibition itself, or hold out for the slim possibility of post-exhibition leftovers!)



Thanks for your support. Here’s to another year, better than the last!


I think I’ve proven with previous posts that I can’t leave well enough alone. This is a strength when I’m fiddling by addressing the weaknesses of a painting, not so much when I’m fiddling for the sake of fiddling.

What started out as what should have been a rushed painting with quick, loose strokes left to the viewer to complete turned into something more, something a little more detailed and still pretty minimalistic. I was pleased enough with that.

Then Squidgey poked and prodded it. Start by showing the environment reacting to the character, show the reflections of the light a little more. Simple things that I should have known, and didn’t do. So I added, here and there. Then I found a couple of places to tweak the composition, to not just present a flat image but apply what I’d learned from deconstructing other pictures, and try to make this painting a little more 3d, give the viewer a better sense of direction, lead the eye. Add a few more things here, fix how this looks there, pull it all together a little more cohesively and…

Well, this one was worth the fiddle 😀