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other people's fab stuff

Whooie! Look at this picture painted for me by Douglas Frey! (That's darkwaterfrey.)

Doug's been taking commissions and everyone's been falling over themselves to nab a picture before he realises he can charge about five times more and still get away with it. He asked for some subject matter, and I gave him a whole list of different ideas. Here's the one he chose:
Something nautical, maybe a ship's botanist back on board in her cabin, drawing the specimens she's found in the newly explored land, like on the voyage of Cook's Endeavour. The light through the ship window/windows could be interesting.

The subject emerged from a long chat I once had with a guy named David Floyd while I was bartending at the gallery Stuart and I used to run with some friends. Dave had me spellbound with his account of sailing on a recreation of one of Cook's voyages, on a replica ship, for a BBC Two documentary. He'd done his uni degree in astronomy, so he got to travel as ship's astronomer, using all the old tools to calculate the ship's position. I found a BBC book about the trip in a shop in Greenwich, and was struck by this woman on board who had the job of 'ship's botanist'. Basically, every time they docked somewhere, she would run around finding cool plant specimens, then spend the next few days of the voyage drawing them in her cabin studio. So I'd found my dream job.

I notice Doug's slipped in Vern and Lettuce, and a red phone box, which featured in another idea I gave him, but here looks like it's been dug up from the sea bed. Thanks so much, Doug!

More news: Oxford's Kate Brown (who creates the DFC's beautiful Spider Moon) just set up a new sketch blog here!

The postman just delivered a great comic, What I Drew: Pictures in boxes that are true and made up, Volume One, by Joe Decie (joedecie). I've been following Joe's work for a long time on Live Journal and I love the way he draws and uses watercolour washes to show really intimate little moments from daily life. Go have a look at his stuff if you haven't seen it!

Yesterday, the neighbour kid dropped by after school and managed to make a whole book in the time it took me to draw less than one page of the book I'm working on. I was a little unhelpful. She kept coming up and asking me to help her draw stuff (can you show me how to draw a dragon?) and I kept sending her to my book collection to find the stuff herself. So you can probably spot some David McKee and Mo Willem influence going on there. Here is a little taster of her nifty book, which I promised I would sell alongside my stuff at the Alternative Press Fair on 1 Feb.

Heh heh... she thinks I am famous and her book will sell millions, so please help me not disappoint her. (Although I think I am going to have a word with her about the delights of limited editions.)

Kevin kar2nist from the Savannah College of Art & Design radio programme, Sequalab, just wrote to let me know he'd featured my list of top UK mini comics on their latest podcast. I must confess that when I wrote back, I dashed them off fairly quickly and I have a horrible feeling I left out some important names (including Joe's), but there you go.
Edit: I've been listening to the podcast while working, and the bit with my list is near the end, after the first hour at 01:01:25....Not to keep you from listening to the whole thing, of course.

And thanks to the Comics Reporter and Journalista for profiling my recent letter comic to David Lasky. I wasn't expecting that!


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:55 am (UTC)
Aww, I love the lady botanist! She's got some arthropods going on in there too, maybe she's an all-round naturalist type, kickin' it Darwin-style?
Jan. 22nd, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
Absolutely! I recently bought 'The Voyage of the Beagle', which I've been meaning to read forever! I visited his house museum awhile back, which was cool, and the pub nearby's not bad either. ;-)
Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:57 am (UTC)
you could spend hours looking at that pic. It's great - and I watched the programmes about re-enacting Cook's voyage. How funny! I would have so loved to have been on that ship
Jan. 22nd, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
I can tell, from your book! Yeah, I would've done an AWFUL LOT to get on that ship if I'd know about it before it sailed.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 12:00 pm (UTC)
That drawing is beautiful! I'm really inspired now!
Jan. 22nd, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
I thought you'd like it! :-D
Jan. 22nd, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
lovely botany!
This is great. I used to share a house with a marine biologist. Every morning when I would come downstairs I would be greeted by huge photos of fish projected onto the wall. One of his jobs was to identify if any changes in markings or features were significant enough to be deemed a new species. It was a great start to the day. (The seaweed in the shower was the flip side of the deal though...was always afraid i would accidently shampoo them.) sending x, bridget
Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)
Re: lovely botany!
Hi, Bridget, that's fascinating! Did your house smell sort of fishy? Waking up to big fish on the wall sounds like good fun.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
Oooooo, nice botanist! The light at the windows is great.

Which reminds me, I have been reading all the Puddle and Toot books, following your recent recommendation, and my daughter loves them. For me, the best thing is the way H.H. handles the lovely warm wood interior of the pigs' house, particularly the way the light hits the floorboards and creates the painterly equivalent of lens flare at the tops of the windows. Total watercolour porn.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)
Haha, I'm pretty sure that's sure that's the first time it's ever been called that! Glad to hear you're both liking it, though.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, they're fun books -- I like how they all seem to discuss the pleasures of traveling, but balanced against the pleasures of not traveling. And I think Ian Falconer (creator of the Olivia the pig books) owes HH more than a little debt of influence, character-design-wise...
Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, right! Which books came first?
Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
My hasty web search shows the first Toot & Puddle book dating back to 1997, while Olivia is 2000.

[strokes chin]

Ver-r-r-r-ry interesting...
Jan. 22nd, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
I saw that on Doug's LJ yesterday, and noticed Vern's fuzzy hide among the wrack, but didn't comment.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:06 pm (UTC)
Vern looks so small next to a human - funny! He always looks so tall and bulky when he's hanging out with the moles and rabbits.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
Once again, ta muchly for the links.

Spidermoon was one of my favourite DFC strips, so I'm glad it's coming back.

In fact I think that Spidermoon, Vern and Lettuce, and Fish Head Steve are probably my top three, and now you all have sketchblogs. Yay!
Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:06 pm (UTC)
Yay! And you're welcome. :-)
Jan. 22nd, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks Sarah!
Thanks so much for giving me a "shout-out" on your LJ page, I'm so very flattered!

Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks Sarah!
Very glad to, thanks for the beautiful painting!
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah McIntyre

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