Showing posts with label animal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label animal. Show all posts

illustration of a decorated cat skull

illustration of a decorated cat skull

Illustrators Australia and Redbubble
have collaborated with a gallery show of t-shirt art called Wear Art Thou.

As a member of Illustrators Australia I was invited to join in on the fun. The invitation came in May, but being distracted by work I only remembered the show when there was just 10 days left to think up a design, create the artwork and enter. Ahhh, pressure!

In a lunch break at work I scribbled a quick list of ideas then discarded most for being unsuitable for a t-shirt, or simply being too tacky. The idea remaining was to illustrate a skull.

The thought process went - Skulls are always popular on clothing, but skulls on t-shirts have been done to death (pun!) so it would need a point of difference. How about a cat skull? Cats are always popular on the inter-web, and I am super fond of them too. Might turn out a bit nasty looking, better soften it up with some sort of whimsy. Flowers would be ideal. Our last cat was called Wasabi, I could use flowers and leaves from a wasabi plant, making the image into a tribute for her. Awww, how sweet. So now the skull won't be scary, it will be poignant. Yep, lots of boxes ticked.

In a way it is actually two paintings: the first an airbrush style illustration of a cat skull, the second a naive painting of leaves and flowers appearing to wrap around the skull. The texture in the background is a photograph of the cement floor in my studio space.

This artwork was created to sell on line on a variety of products, so here comes the sales pitch...

Cat skull decorated with wasabi flowers is available to purchase on line via Redbubble 
on t-shirts, throw cushions, tote bags, posters, prints, stickers and gift cards.
Easy to order and delivered to your door

aardvarks and flying saucers

illustration of aardvark and UFOs

We have here yet another cover illustration for Ethel the Aardvark

Forward Aardvarkia is loosely based on an example of British wartime propaganda, but features a mysterious, suit wearing aardvark and a fleet of flying saucers.

It looks like an acrylic painting but is actually rendered with the mixer brush tool in Photoshop.
Just in case you are interested, this is the rough sketch. I scanned it and 'painted' over the top.

I like the juicy brush stroke detail the mixer brush tool can make, however it is not as intuitive or as fun as using a real paintbrush

Christmas aardvark

Christmas Aardvark
Cover art for another Ethel zine. This one features an aardvark in a Santa hat, packing a box of books.

Ethel the Aardvark is the bi monthly fan-zine which goes out to members of the Melbourne Science Fiction Club. I am one of the two editors.

It is by far the nerdiest publication I have ever had anything to do with, which I have to say is something I enjoy.

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?

zoomorph animal cards and t-shirts

Deer cat

A cat with deer antlers

deer cat stencildeer cat

Horned dachshund

Dachshund with the horns of an oryx.

horned dachshundhorned dachshund

Moose mouse

A mouse with moose antlers
moose mouseMoose Mouse

Winged rabbit

A rabbit with bird wings

   winged rabbit stencil


A pug with the body and tentacles of an octopus
octopug stenciloctopug stencil

vigilant panda

vigilant panda illustration

Vigilant panda possesses incredible powers of vision and insight. It is ever alert and prepared for adventures and mighty deeds. An unusual commission from a few months ago.

He wears an Inverness cape, in homage to the super sleuth Sherlock Holmes. Prior to this commission I would not have known what an Inverness cape was. Oh the things you learn as an illustrator.

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

spuds and staffies

I know it is a bit cheesy doing faux stencil and splatter images, but digital art is usually the quicker and simpler way to do a freelance illustration gig. The customer wanted grungy street art styled images so I created vector images which look like hand painted stencil art.

These images are part of a range of graphics for a fish and chip shop.

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

found in local shop

Today while checking out the local second hand shops I was surprised to spot a couple of familiar faces.  Designed these little toys years ago as characters for collectable ranges.
I immediately bought them of course, but what am I going to do with them now? Dunno. Cool to find them all the same.

toy designs by Richard Morden

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 :)

cartoon megafauna t-shirts and kid's clothes

Megatherium tshirt

This 8 ton prehistoric American ground sloth gives very big hugs.

Glyptodon tshirt

A Glyptodon (South American giant armadillo) plonks itself down on a hapless Pudu (a tiny deer).

Thylacoleo tshirt

Thylacoleo, the Australian marsupial lion and one time terror of the outback, assails a moth.

Mammoth adventure tshirt

This Mammoth has its motor started, it is out and on the highway, it is looking for adventure. Oh yeah, whatever comes its way.

Zygomaturus tshirt

Zygomaturus, a prehistoric Australian marsupial swamp-cow takes ownership of the letter Z.

These t-shirts feature megafauna, a fancy name for large animals. All these particular megafauna have become extinct during the time modern humans have been around. Chances are you have ancestors who saw, ran away from or ate some of the following prehistoric beasties!

These designs are available via my Redbubble page where they can be ordered online and delivered to you. They are available as men's or women's t-shirts and hoodies and as kids sized t-shirts and clothes.

Original hand painted brush-and-ink artwork, scanned and coloured.
I designed these with kids in mind, but hey, if you are an adult and want to wear one that's okay too!

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 :)