Artist’s Books

 For centuries artists have been involved in printing and the production of books. But, the Artist’s Book, intended as a work of art in itself, is essentially a late 20th century form of artwork. Realised in the form of a book or book-like object, it may be constructed as a one of a kind art piece or as a small edition.

The artist has a large amount of control over the finished work. Artist’s books have been constructed in many forms: the traditional bound book, a concertina layout, the scroll, the folded form, a box containing loose pages….In all of its various guises Artist’s Books are creative, aesthetic and tactile.

The  roll-up Artist’s Book below, is of a fictional street, Homestead Avenue, part of my ‘Mapping Ithaka’ project. I’ve  treated each section of the street a little differently. Some parts are represented in pencil, other sections in ink, and others in paint, some are colourful, others toned down in sepia. After joining the sections together the whole book rolls up to a very compact ‘baton’ size, and rolls out to be several metres long.And, a concertina version of my pencil sketches:


Midsummer Night–the animation

“… this is very midsummer madness” – William Shakespeare

To play the animated .gif, double click on the smaller image below right.

At one time in the past, new to Australia, I remember thinking bats were exotic, hanging like monster black cocoons during the day from the Fig trees in Darwin. But my response to this week’s “Illustration Friday” topic is inspired by a recent summer in the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales, when thousands of bats discovered an abundant food source in a nearby mangrove swamp and took up residence for the season.

Summer in this part of Australia is unbelievably hot and humid, but evening walks were out of the question with the risk of being hit by a swooping bat. The sky was black and alive. And the noise! Sleep was elusive. Bats are considered endangered, and enjoy protected status within Australia.

Animation enthusiasts may be interested in Brett Bean’s Art Blog, a great blog site with useful information, tutorials and links.

Launch – an animation

The idea behind the image above (one frame of an animation) is to illustrate a group of birds launching themselves en masse from a leafy tree. To play the animated .gif, double click on the image to the right.
Medium: Watercolor, Ink, Pencil, Photoshop, Adobe Flash
For animation enthusiasts: an illustration Friday artist, Leah Palmer Preiss, who does beautiful book illustrations on collaged maps and text, is just beginning some studies in Flash animation, and is giving us the opportunity to follow her progress and experiments via  her curiousillumination blog.

Windswept – a radically edited animation

This week I assembled an animation to try out as many features of Flash as I could within the one file, which would still make sense as windswept chaos when played. A wind-blown beach umbrella, deck chair, sun hat, thong, grass and flower……were pulled together using motion tweens, shape tweens, fades and rotations. And I experimented with importing various types of files: .gif, .png, .psd, and .ai. But finally, at 550px X 400px, 144 frames, 12 frames per second, the exported animated .gif amounted to 11 mb, a bit large to upload. But it was fun. I did learn a lot. And I like the result. My journal pages show the scheme. (Double click to enlarge)

I have radically edited the Flash file to post a few frames. The image below looks uninteresting as a static frame, but double click on the image and I hope the animated .gif will give you the basic idea.

Medium: Watercolor, Ink, Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe Flash

The Shadow

Shadow and light give visual depth to an image, help to shape a character, illuminate time and tell a story. This is one of those images where the story could be anything, if I just add one more element: another shadow beginning to enter the image from the top, something, maybe another character, or an insect…. in the path of the main character, within his shadow, or the character holding something, visible only in his shadowed form…….. there are many possibilities. One of my favourite works of art is Toulouse Lautrec’s Ambassadeurs, Aristide Bruant dans son Cabaret where the shadow in the background forms the atmosphere in the artwork.
Medium: Solar Print, Photoshop

Friday June 10 – An Update to this Post: I’ve modified a previous animation – a jumping character – by giving him the shadow. Visit my next post to see the animated shadow.  

Asleep – or, maybe not. The animation

Double click on the image and the animated .gif will play for you. 

If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.’ ~J.M. Power
I’ve given myself the task of brushing up on Adobe Flash techniques, and also, to get back into mapping again, using my ‘Location’ map from a previous project completed under the direction of Harry Williamson, to design a promotional booklet for Kingscliff Graphic Design School .

This allowed plenty of scope for various Flash features: tweening, importing files, making shapes, blending…..The final result works more smoothly as a .swf, but you get the idea from the animated .gif I’ve uploaded here. I stayed close to Flash’s default size for quick loading on the web, but its still over 2 mb. It’s all an experiment.I have a lot more practice to enjoy – ghost typing, masking, audio……….
Medium: Ink, Paint, Adobe Photoshop & Flash