Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

Stencil print - Rufous Songlark Sings

stencil art of a Rufous Songlark

Rufous Songlark is singing about the good things of Summer.

The Rufous Songlark is a small bird native to grasslands of Eastern Australia. Each Summer the male bird sings almost constantly.

This 2 colour stencil design was originally cut and hand printed to be part of the Bimblebox 153 Birds Project. 153 printmakers have each represented one of the 153 birds known to use the Bimblebox nature refuge. This nature refuge in central Western Queensland, Australia, is to be destroyed as it is in the path of a mega coal mine.

The prints contributed to the 153 Birds Project now form a touring exhibition raising awareness about the plight of the nature refuge and the potential threat these vast coal mines represent to the biodiversity of the region.

Visit Pixbyrichard on Redbubble 
to shop for Rufous Songlark Sings on gift cards, giclee art prints and home decor

wee wish you a merry Christmas

wee wish you a merry Christmas card art

Wee wish you a merry Christmas
available as printed Christmas cards

I have an artwork in... the Illustrators Australia Annual 9x5 Exhibition 

The exhibition is at St Helliers Gallery, Abbotsford Convent
From October the 19th to November the 3rd

The theme is 'FLOURISH'
Each artwork has been done on a 9x5 inch piece of plywood

If you happen to be in the vicinity of the Abbotsford Convent over the next couple of weeks this exhibition is worth popping in to have a look at. I promise most of the works are more tasteful than mine.

For further details and to see previews of the artworks
see the Illustrators Australia page about the exhibition

Responding to the theme 'Flourish'

Illustrators Australia like to give us a tough theme each year for this group show. Flourish was no exception to this rule. I struggled for weeks with what to do.

I decided if I was to spend hours doing an artwork it may as well have some sort of practical application. A Christmas design I can sell as cards fits the bill pretty well. Great idea but I still didn't know exactly what I should be painting.

Three days before the deadline, exasperated, I commented flippantly to my partner "Why don't I just paint some kid peeing a flourishing Christmas message into the snow".

A concept of questionable taste.

Painting process

I tried a painting technique I have seen others use to great effect - starting with a dark background and painting light shapes over this to create form, leaving gaps to make outlines. Sounds easy, but nothing is ever easy. Especially painting.

And snow, what made me think painting snow would be a good idea? Snow is a bugger to paint, especially in acrylics which dry substantially darker then when you apply them. I now hate snow.




I wasn't totally unhappy with the end result, but it was an exasperating journey with brushes not acting as expected and colours not looking as intended. I don't do much painting. Maybe these vexations are just part of the deal.

Any painters out there, what say you? Painting always tricky, or does it get easier with practice?

more Beautiful Soup

Silly me, I didn't think to post any images of the print I created for the Beautiful Soup exhibition. So here are some pics.

back foot of a Northern hairy-nosed wombat
lino cut, block ink, kitakata paper

lino cut of a wombats back foot
wombat foot linocuts drying
linocuts drying

Northern hairy-nosed wombats are critically endangered. Their footprint on this world is a tiny one indeed.

The exhibition is still on for a while and the wombat's foot is only one of the 56 prints in the show, so if you are in the area do go have a look. There is so much beautiful, original artwork there and it is all for sale.

St Heliers Street Gallery
10 October – 4 November 2012
The Abbotsford Convent
1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford, VIC 3067
open: Mon – Sun 8am – 4pm

devil prints

tasmanian devil stencil
Spent this morning printing some devils. No, not demon figures with horns, but the furry marsupial variety. Tasmanian Devil - marsupial carnivore the size of a small dog with a large mouth and big teeth. They are facing extinction in the wild because of Devil Facial Tumour Disease.

I designed this stencil as one of two options for a joint show I am involved with. I ended up going with the other option, a linocut of a wombat's foot, but now I am unsure of my decision. Such nagging doubts.

The stencil is based on a photo I took ages ago.

stencil paper
acrylic paint
elephant dung paper

tasmanian devil stencil

tasmanian devil stencil

tasmanian devil stencil

tasmanian devil stencil

tasmanian devil stencil

Dinosaurs asleep - poster illustration

illustration of sleeping dinosaurs under a city

The Illustrators Australia A3 print show is over and I have picked up my prints.

And a big surprise, I recieved the A3 Show Peoples Choice Award with my print 'Dinosaurs Asleep' :)

There was a little box people could drop their People's Choice votes into and somehow an image of sleeping dinosaurs under a city caught enough peoples attention.

So thank you to Illustrators Australia for organising the fine event, and thank you to fine art printers Image Science for sponsoring the award - the print voucher and monitor calibrator will both be very handy. I had Image Science print my A3 artwork for the show - they did a high quality, fast and friendly job, as always.

My Peoples Choice vote actually went towards Gregory Roberts' piece Life in the paddock. A clever beautiful image and totally right-now.

At the opening I found an abundance of excellent work to admire and loads of friendly, talented illustrators to talk to and be quietly in awe of. In particular I had a great time chatting to fellow illustrators Tali Gal-on and Nicole Onslow.

So if you did not catch the fun this year then make sure you drop in for a wine and a squiz next year!

R :)

Puzzle illustration - bush rangers in the fish and chip shop

puzzle illustration of bushrangers in the fish and chip shop

These puzzled bushrangers are from Puzzles Down Under, a book of mine which was published long, long ago in 2008. It featured puzzles, spot-the-items and mazes with an Australian theme and was written for 6 to 10 year old children.

Recently the rights for this book were reverted back to me. This is quite exciting as it means I can republish the book or publish individual images from the book without treading on the original publisher's toes. The artwork and text are once again mine to do with as I choose - I can sell the images as prints, put them on t shirts or post them on-line. 

Obviously there is the potential to use the existing artwork to make a fun puzzle ebook. 

Now it is my turn to be puzzled! I have never made an interactive ebook before so I am a little unsure where to start. I am hoping I can do most of it with Flash and Indesign.

Does anybody have suggestions, tips or thoughts about how to make an interactive ebook out of existing art? Any and all ideas are welcome!

R :)

Tutorial - How to stencil print gift cards

stencil printed christmas beetle cards

A thorough step-by-step description
of how I print stencil art gift cards

People appreciate it when you hand make cards to give out for birthdays and Christmas time, but there just aren't enough hours in the day to make personalised cards for everybody. So as a happy compromise I hand print cards in batches.

Stencil art is simple, fun, inexpensive, and creates unique art with a lovely hand crafted finished result, so is a great print method to use for making cards. There are three parts to the process: making the stencil, preparing materials and surface for printing cards and printing the cards.

*WARNING* stencil art is addictive! Once you start painting it's hard to know when to stop. You might just start stencil painting every available surface at hand - wrapping paper, walls, pets, vehicles, family members, and so on.

What you will need to design and cut out a stencil
  • a pencil
  • paper to sketch on
  • a design concept! - a star, a fish, a face, what-ever takes your fancy.
  • some 'ezy cut stencil paper' and a ball point pen or acetate and a fine permanent marker
  • a sharp craft knife or good scissors
  • cutting mat

What you will need to print the stencil design onto gift cards
  • your beautifully cut out stencil design
  • nice thick card to print the design onto
  • paint - acrylic dries quickly, which is good
  • some water
  • a sponge or rag to paint with
  • a bench or table surface to print upon
  • old news paper or large sheets of waste paper to protect the bench or table
  • paper towel to keep things clean
  • somewhere safe the cards can sit undisturbed while the paint dries
  • envelopes for your cards

Designing and cutting out the stencil

Use the pencil and paper to sketch your design. It can be anything you like - a star, a word, a flower, a fish, a robot, a face, what ever you like. For my cards I designed a Christmas beetle, as it's a little seasonal without being religious or tacky.

christmas beetle sketch

Important!  Make sure you don't design any 'islands'. For instance, if you are cutting out a stencil of the letter 'A' you can't cut out the entire outside shape and then leave the middle bit of the 'A' remaining, as the middle bit will just drop out. That's an island folks! Instead, join the centre shape to the outside shape with bridges. The same applies to all stencil images, not just letters. Have a go, you will see what I mean.

When you are happy with your design, trace it onto some ezy cut stencil paper with a ball point pen (or onto acetate with a permanent marker). Trace using a lightbox, or tape the design onto a window and use the outside light to trace. You want your stencil paper to be bigger than the card you are printing on to, so you don't get paint on your card where you don't want it.

Now with your stencil paper on the cutting mat, slowly and carefully cut following your traced design, turning the stencil paper around as you go to make the cutting easier. Be sure to cut the corners cleanly, don't just wrench out the almost-cut shape.

A simple shape will take only a couple of minutes to cut out, a complex one can take an hours - seriously!

So now you have your beautiful shape cut out of stencil paper (or acetate) and are ready to start printing.

Preparing to print your stencil design

There are a few things to prepare before you start printing.

Make sure you have your cards ready to print on. A5 sheets of thick paper work well as they fold in half to make A6 cards, a common size easy to find envelopes for (use C6 envelopes). To make the folding bit neater and easier I 'score' or put a crease in the cards where they should fold by running the edge of a tea spoon firmly along the edge of a ruler.

Put down some newspaper or scrap paper to protect the bench/table surface you will be working on.

If you want the print to be in exactly the same place on each card you need to draw a placement guide on scrap paper to help you position your card and stencil during the printing process. The technical term for this is print registration. On top of a large sheet of scrap paper, line up your stencil design on one of the cards exactly where you think it should go. Trace around the edges of the card and then the edges of the stencil paper. You will now have two overlapping rectangles drawn on your scrap paper. Use this as a guide and every print will be in the same place.

Put a big glob of paint on a palette. For paint I use acrylic, as it dries quickly. Fabric paint works well too and comes in sparkly colours! For a palette I use a plate covered with tin foil, making it easy to clean up when you are finished.

Dampen your sponge with water so it is soft and malleable, but squeeze out as much of the water as possible. You don't want the water in the sponge watering your paint down as it will run under the stencil paper when printing.

Put your first sheet of card in place, and lay the stencil design over the top. Get it all lined up to print.


Put a swipe of paint on your sponge and dabble it up and down a few times elsewhere on the palette, to spread the paint evenly on the sponge surface.

Printing your stencil design

Let the fun begin! Hold down the stencil design onto the card surface with one hand and, using the sponge in a rocking, padding motion, apply the paint through the stencil and onto the card. Don't push down on the sponge too hard as it will push paint under the edges of the cut stencil shape, creating nasty blobs where you don't want them - just pat the paint on. You will get the hang of this.

When you have filled the cut out area of the stencil design with sponged-on paint, put the sponge aside and gently peel off the stencil paper. There you go, your first print! Now simply repeat until all your cards are done.

During the printing process use the paper towel to keep at least one hand clean of paint, so you can handle printed cards, transferring them to your drying space without finger-pints. I use a clothes drying rack to peg my prints up - keeps them neatly in a small space and out of the way. If using acrylic paint your prints will probably only need about a day to dry.

Once the printed cards are dry remember to photograph your efforts! Photographs of repeating printed artworks always look cool.

Now you only have to fold the cards, write in them (the hardest part of the process) and post them to friends and family - who will all be utterly delighted to receive them.

hand printed christmas beetle card

As you can see I made two-colour cards. This meant I had to print one colour onto all the cards, let them dry and then print the next colour over the top and allow them to dry again. So setting up print registration and allowing lots of drying time was important.

I also used multiple paint colours on the sponge at the same time, allowing the paint to mix on the actual surface of the print - bit arty, eh?!



Remember, this is just how I do it. Have a go, play and experiment, and see what works for you. 

Feel free to send a card to me!

This has been my very first tutorial, so if you like it or even if you hate it please leave a comment and let me know. Thanks.

R :)

Window Frames - art along Sydney Road

Sydney Road shopping guide cover illustration

Sydney Road Brunswick has been turned into an art gallery for a couple of weeks.

If you happen to be wandering along Melbourne's greatest shopping strip in between Albert Street and Brunswick Road have a squiz in the shop windows and you will find an assortment of art works. This is the Window Frames exhibition organised by the Sydney Road Brunswick Association.

I have a piece in Mocca Gigi's window, 165 Sydney road - a reinterpretation of the cover art I did for the Shopping and Visitors  Guide to Sydney Road, Brunswick. As it is presented in the window as an artwork I had to write an artist's statement to be displayed with it. First time I've ever had to do one of those!

'An illustrated response to a commercial brief, intended to appeal to an aesthetically literate Brunswick audience. Hand inked line-work, and confident, optimistic colours combine with the guide's tattoo iconography to present an adventurous visual experience.

Like a modern day Hansel and Gretel, a couple embark on a journey of exploration, seeking fashion, food and fun in an enchanted retail environment. Fortunately they won't need to rely on bread crumb trails to find their way home, thanks to the Shopping and Visitors guide they have a map!'

My favourite art works along the road are:
Lights Out by Brendon Taylor - a timber and resin angler fish in the window of Rommelik 141 Sydney Road
and Crochet Fruit by Cherry Collins in the window of Olive Grove 159 Sydney Road.
Both beautiful, fun pieces, and well worth a look.

There are plenty of other very cool artworks, so well done to all the local artists who participated. And a big thanks to all the traders who gave up some window space for us.

The Window Frames exhibition is on until the 31st of October 2011.

R :)

the Shopping and Visitors Guide to Sydney Road, Brunswick

Sydney Road Shopping Guide art

Recently I had the chance to illustrate two maps and a cover for the Shopping and Visitors Guide to Sydney Road, Brunswick.

The cover and maps are designed to be casual, engaging and informative, to deliver a sense of adventure and excitement, and to appeal to the aesthetically literate Brunswick population. For my fellow font geeks out there, the typefaces used are Singapur Heavy (the tattoo typeface) and Urgent Telegram (the typewriter typeface). Both very sweet typefaces.

The guide was published by The Sydney Road Brunswick Association and laid out by Beyond the Page.

If you are living around the Brunswick area you can expect to have a copy delivered along with the Leader paper sometime in the next few weeks.

They say Sydney Road is the best thing ever to have come out of Sydney (that's a Melbourne joke), so here's hoping the guide inspires some exploring adventures of Melbourne's mightiest and most culturally exciting shopping strip!


Sydney Road Shopping Guide cover illustration
 Sydney Road map art

science fiction homages and aardvarks

illustration of Herbert George Wells and his Martian walking machines

triffid illustrationscience fiction iconography with aardvarks

mad max aardvark illustrationaardvark darthvader

As a member of the Melbourne Science Fiction Club I get to use their magnificent library, listen to author talks, and meet other like minded nerdy sci fi types. In return I like to occasionally contribute art for the club magazine.

Here is a collection the cover art I have contributed.

As the club magazine is called Ethel the Aardvark you will note a recurring theme of aardvarks. I don't know why they named the magazine after a Monty Python sketch (Ethel the aardvark goes quantity surveying), but I suppose it's as good a name as any other and it gives me the opportunity to create absurd science fiction homages with aardvarks.