Tuesday, October 20, 2009

G'Day! The Sun is shining and all seems right with the world - at least in my little corner at any rate. Our first illustration is a play on words - a pun - of the title of the poem which the image accompanies -: The Platypus's Duck-Bill. I hope that you can see it...if not, I haven't done a very good job of the humour and it's a failure on that score.

Next we have the kangaroo and emu come to life from Australia's Coat of Arms - the rest of it is in the background. From memory I think I placed them on the Old Parliment House building in our capital, Canberra.The roof is aged copper -- I love that green of oxidized metal.

Hope ya like em.

Cheers for now.RWS

Monday, October 12, 2009

Decorative Bits - Endpapers and Half Title Page

G'day folks! Been a while I know...busy paintin', drawin' an' givin' the house a coat or two of paint too...I have also been visiting my newest Grandchild...Chloe. Born 1805 hours, 2nd October 2009...and of course...She is absolutely gorgeous! Her Mum and Dad are over the moon as are her Nan and Pop. Noah and Sian, my first two Grandchildren, are also gorgeous...I could be biased of course...

Well, now that the birth notices are out of the way, on with the pictures. The title of this entry is really all the explanation that's needed...endpapers and half-title page decoration...(Just had a thought, related to births in a way...what is only known these days as the half-title page was once called - in the19th early 20th century - the bastard page...why? Because, like a Bastard child, the half title page has a name,(title) but no Father's name,(Author)...and as MIchael Caine would say, "Not many people know that."

Cheers. RWS

Friday, September 11, 2009

More Furries and a Fish - okay, a Dolphin

G'day. Here, as promised weeks ago, the next set of Aussie animals - this is the fulfilment of my John Howard, "non-core promise" by the way; I broke it as he did several times...never trust a politician or an Aussie illustrator, eh? 

Top pic is a long-tailed Great Glider, a sort of cross between a possum and ... er...a possum that glides? They dwell in eucalypt trees and eat their leaves, much like a koala I should imagine - don't quote me, I just paint the bleedin' things.

Next we have a half title page decoration featuring our hero, Bill Bilby. Yes he looks a little miffed and a bit cute but don't let the cute fool you. Bilbies are part of the bandicoot family and as such are nasty little blighters. That long mouth houses two rows of very sharp teeth...get in the way of a bilby's lunch and he'll tear your trousers to shreds, and should you be another bilby, you might very well need bandaging after some extensive suturing to your wounds. (I'm fibbing about your trousers, of course. When it comes to humans, bilbies shy away or take cover quick...cowards!)  

No real need to tell you what the next pic contains - a dolphin and koala... sorry, couldn't help myself I'm afraid. (Oh by the way, a koala is not a bear but a unique species of its own). The true focus of this illustration is the dolphin - that's why he's at the front doing dolphin stuff, swimming, laughing and helping a stranger type thing. The title of the poem - the text, written by, Roger Tulloch, was humorous poetry originally written to entertain his Grandchildren - If You Chance To See A Dolphin. It's a conversation between author and reader concerning the habits of the species...I added the koala for fun...fun for me and for the reader.

Enjoy. Cheers. RWS

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Marsupial Gastronome (or Mulgara)

Gday! Here we have a Mulgara, or marsupial mouse. Don't ask me, I've never seen one and until I had to search out reference photos of the little fella for the commission, I'd never heard of it either - there must be many creatures that dwell on this continent that most Australians are unaware of I should think. (I - as most Aussies were - was unaware of the existence of the Bilby until I did this book back in the late 1990s. It was only when the Bilby, as an endagered species, was being promoted as an alternative to the Easter Bunny, that most of us became aware of its existence.)

Back to our Mulgara. This little species is to be found in the desert areas of Australia -most of Australia is desert, so I would imagine that it has a wide range to wander about in ; wonder where they go on their holidays? The Gold Coast probably. - it lives on insects and what it does for water I haven't the foggiest - probably buys it in plastic bottles like the rest of the world seems to be doing these days.(?)

So you see, not only is it fun to be an illustrator - being paid to draw and paint pretty pictures, what a life! - but I also gain knowledge while doing research...most of it useless and hardly likely to impress that blonde at the party...but...oh well...never was any good at chatting up the ladies, so I'll just continue to stand in the corner with my Indian Tonic Water and mutter, like Michael Caine, "Not many people know that," to the standard lamp.

Cheers. RWS

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Will the real Ed Burra please laugh

Gday!  'Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree...eee...' Actually the photo shows him/her sitting in our Claret Ash in the back garden. This bird - and it's mate - the first Kookaburras to be seen here in almost five years. Australia's last drought, of almost as many years, had driven many birds and other fauna to seek water and shelter...somewhere else Where? Dunno. Where would they have found a decent source of water in this, the driest state, on the driest continent in the world? Murray River, as low as it still is, would have been the only reliable source I can think of. Speaking of that scarce liquid, there's water in our local river for the first time in the same number of years, and this, it seems, has drawn our feathered visitors back. It's also the first Winter for some time that I haven't had the need to water our garden - fancy having to water the garden in Winter. But, at last, we've had rain!
Cheers, RWS.

Lew Wombati (Singer ordinary)

Gday! Lew was modelled on a well known operatic personality and singer...apart from the name, the pose and handkerchief should be a dead give away. For those of you from outside of Australia, and who have not seen a wombat, they are large sturdy fellows that live in burrows. To give you an idea of a wombat's size and weight, cars have been known to overturn when hitting the poor creatures on our country highways and outback roads. No, they are not sturdy enough to suffer such impacts unscathed...does the term, 'road kill', give you an idea of the outcome? Road kill usually ends up being nibbled at by our native bird of prey, the wedge-tailed- eagle, the second largest feathered predator in the world...the first being the South American condor. (A wedge-tailed-eagle will feature in a future post.)

Oh, the little Lego pieces and the odd marble at the bottom of each illustration page of this book, are part of a little visual story I created as a bonus for the reader. These items are left behind as evidence of Petal's journey through the book. Petal, is Bill Bilby's little sister - I invented her too. Enjoy and cheers. RWS.