Tales of Quahnarren: Spacers

Tales of Quahnarren: Spacers

A selection of the small black & white spot illustrations recently created for my Tales of Quahnarren gamebook. These small pieces are known as ‘spacers’ as they are used to fill or create space when formatting the pages of a gamebook. They are frequently utilised to prevent widows and orphans from appearing in the text layout, and also to help with the placement of written sections that are accompanied by a full-page illustration and therefore must fall at a particular point in the document.

Tales of Quahnarren: Spacers

My Blue-tongued mate

Blue-tongue LizardHere’s a photo of my new neighbour – a Blue-tongue Lizard. He’s recently moved into the garden area near the rainwater tank outside my front door, a spot where I’ve unfortunately often intruded on his outdoor sunbathing. Today he was out sunning himself on the stone steps and decided to stay put when I arrived, so I grabbed the camera and got a few shots off before he lazily took his leave into the shadows and safety of the garden.

Year of the Snake

2013: Year of the Snake

The Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, begins on February 1oth 2013 and will continue until January 30th 2014. This follows the Year of the (Black) Dragon in 2012, a year which was predicted to be unpredictable.

2013 is the Year of the Snake – or, more accurately, the Year of the Black Water Snake – a year to show caution, plan diligently, act responsibly, and work towards your greater goals.

The snake is the 6th of the 12 animal signs in the Chinese zodiac. Snakes are considered to be a good omen, and people born in the Year of the Snake are considered to bring good luck and prosperity to a household; it is said that having a snake in the house will never see you short of food on the table. Beware though – for all their financial thoughtfulness, careful planning, charm and intuition, snakes can also be somewhat devious, materialistic and greedy.

The snake mainly contains the fire element from the 5 elements (Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth) in Chinese Astrology, and is therefore in the fire group. As 2013 is a water year and the snake is a fire element, it is possible that both good and bad fortune may be experienced – so, what else is new!

My illustration celebrating the New Year is a coiled snake symbol, created with an ink brush pen on Canson Pastel paper. This sketched design was scanned into Photoshop, where I used various layer styles to highlight the ink effects of the original sketch (areas of wetter, heavier ink coverage showed as a separate tone on the scan), and I also added additional textures to create the finished effect I desired.

Also included in this design were references to two of the lucky components for the snake: the colours of yellow and red, and the directions of southwest and northeast (as seen in the background texture patterns).

Monkeybomb: identity design

MONKEYBOMB interactiveMONKEYBOMB logotypeMONKEYBOMB splash screens

Personal identity design project for games developer MONKEYBOMB. Above are shown the main logo (full version) and secondary logotype, along with splash screens for mobile devices.

This idea formed whilst working on a creative solution for another project, and is easily one of my quickest ever logo designs! The key for this identity was to produce a bold and direct icon, from which all other elements would follow in structure and style, to create a high impact, strongly contrasting, casually informal appearance.

Palm Oil Kills

Palm Oil Kills poster

A follow-up idea based on my earlier post regarding Siamang gibbons and the human threats they face for survival. Palm Oil deforestation is a major reason for habitat loss in South-East Asia, and current projections predict that demand for Palm Oil produced by unsustainable plantations will continue to increase in coming years.

Animal photography with added Flare

White-Cheeked Gibbon

White-Cheeked Gibbon

Meerkat

Meerkat

Oriental Small-Clawed Otter

Oriental Small-Clawed Otter

I recently purchased a copy of the Mac App Flare – a great little program, which through the use of photographic effects and filters allows you to easily apply a range of stylistic alterations to your imported images, and then save those setting combinations as a collective preset. Any of the existing application presets can also be altered or added to, plus there’s a growing community of people creating and sharing their own presets via the web community – neat!

I’ve selected some of my recent photographs taken at the Adelaide Zoo, and after checking out options, have happily added a bit of life into a number of images that needed a little spark. It’s a lot like my familiar Photoshop process for editing and enhancing images, just handily assembled all within one easy to use interface, with a variety of options just one click away. Many of the rather funky effects that are available don’t work for these types of images, but there are a lot of visually bold directions to take your photo in, if you wish to do so.

Enjoy the pics!

Siamang

Siamang

Brazilian Tapir

Brazilian Tapir

Giraffe

Giraffe

Barbary Sheep

Barbary Sheep

baby White-Cheeked Gibbon

baby White-Cheeked Gibbon

Sketch of the day: Southeast Asian siamang gibbon

siamang gibbon

A siamang gibbon eating at the Adelaide Zoo. An oil pastel sketch completed on textured Canson paper.

These tree-dwelling gibbons are a threatened species, facing severe habitat loss in Malaysia and Sumatra due to the palm oil industry, illegal logging, human encroachment, forest fire, poaching and hunting. The siamang possess a large throat sac which allows them to make very loud and distinctive calls – check out this BBC Nature site if you’ve not seen or heard these amazing performances.

The Urbane Toad

The Urbane Toad

Visual ideas for a wide range of illustrations regularly pop into my head, particularly when out for a walk – just as this concept did on a sunny day a few weeks ago. I decided that a ‘dandy’ gentleman toad would fit the bill, and look quite suitable, as per my original idea, which desired a portrait pose combined with a loose hand-lettered title, and just a little bit of fancy detailing.

I had already been researching and looking for helpful toad and frog images some time back, for what will be a reasonably detailed multiple animal characters piece – that one is still to be worked out and started. I’d also had a good look at The Wind In The Willows illustrations (by many different artists) for useful inspiration, so after finding a small collection of images of 1800’s gentlemen attired in the required clothing, I started to sketch out a rough character and then move into Adobe Illustrator to create the artwork. I trialled quite a number of colour options along the way, before settling on this combination of earthy greens and reddish browns. Hope you like my sophisticated and refined amphibian friend!

Cantankerous Baastard

Cantankerous Baastard

Another new identity and branding project – this time working with a playful word-based concept, and some vintage distressed type. The creation of the silhouette-style icon of the big horn sheep was an exercise in deleting detail, but still retaining some ‘attitude’ in both the stance and the limited facial features, to represent the brand style successfully.

Red dog, blue dog

BArk!A new fenced play area has been constructed in park lands nearby to where I live, for dogs to run freely in. It’s divided into two areas: one for large dogs, and another for smaller dogs. Outline illustrations for the dogs and overall composition were created in Illustrator, and the bark texture and final editing completed in Photoshop. BArk! baRK!