Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My very first digital painting!!

Lucky me got a wacom tablet fro Christmas....haven't had much time to play, but this is my first digital effort...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Jos at the nature reserve!!!

What do you think Miss Bruce?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

IN which ...things happen

OKay life is very full right now... Went on holiday to Kwa-Zulu Natal with the Muse and another friend which was great. Stayed in Durban for a few days, then drove down the south coast via Bazley and Scotburgh to Port Sheptstone, where we stayed in a beautiful little house on the banks of the Umkimzulu River... really beautiful.

After a night there we drove north again, stopping off at the Oribi Gorge for the boys to jump in (160m!!! Needless to say I just watched...and photographed of course). Stayed that night at a 'tree-house' in Mooi Rivier, then went on to the Karkloof Forest for a canopy tour (which I DID do). That rather exhilarating although I don't know if I would recommend it as a mode of transportation...

On arriving home I discovered another mail from the art director at Baen's Universe, asking if I was interesed in a story. This was a silly question as the story under discussion is by L.E. Modesitt, Jr!!! Hurrah! (One of my favourite authors for those plebs who don't know). ALso this is the first 'proper' fantasy I've illustrated for Baen's Universe - the others have mostly been ghost stories for some reason which I enjoy but aren't quite my forte....

The BIGGEST news I have a the moment is that the Muse has been offered a job in Bermuda... and he wants me to go with him (and I want to go with him) although the concept is a bit scary. Don't knwo any importanant details yet (like when) but it will probably be early nxt year or the end of this year... so its a way off yet and I have a tattoo to dance at and get ready for in the meantime...

So life is busy :)

Top: Tree House and Muse in Mooi Rivier. Bottom: picnic by Kloof Falls, just outside Durban (thanks again, Les!).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More mermaids

Here' s a first concept painting of the Little Mermaid... Hold thumbs I've sent it to the publisher.
Leaving for Natal tomorrow for a weeks hoilday! Hurray ... hoping to find some warmer weather - I'm freezing and it's suppossed to be raining again this afternoon :P

Monday, June 11, 2007

IN which the cold weather inspires a creative frenzy

I only wish it were true. :) Here is one of my illustrations for the latest edition of Baen's Universe. It was for a story called Touching the Dead, about a blind girl who sort of 'absorbed' the organic history of things through the sensitivity of her fingers.

I'm just adding the finishing touches to the first Little Mermaid painting, so I should be able to post that pretty soon. Otherwise I've been quite busy. Not much work in the offing - a small possiblibity of a cover for a fantasy book for a small press but I'm not betting on it as they have a strange system whereby different illurtators send their ideas to the publisher and then the author gets to pick the illustration they like best... All seems a little on the daft side but I guess that's life.

On the upside I've been sending my portfolio to a couple of art agencies in London and a couple of them have expressed what can only be described as cautious interest. This is enough to send me jumping for joy, nonetheless. So everybody hold thumbs for me.

Friday, May 18, 2007

IN which there are cold underwater creatures

The last couple of weeks have been really busy - I finished the two paintings that are to appear in the next Baen's Universe, and now I'm working on an illustrated fairy tale that I'm hoping I might be able to shop to a publisher ...after a lot of thought I've settled on The Little Mermaid by Hans Christain Andersen. It's a story I've always liked and I feel I might be able to do a nice adaptation of it as well.

My friend Antoinette kindly agreed to be my mermaid.This is very very nice of her considering this involved underwater photography in what felt like the sub-zero temporatures of my swimming pool... Next time I have bright ideas about mermaids I will take care to have them in the summer... Still, I got some decent reference shots and here are some preliminary sketches. If anybody has any comments please let me know!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

In which Emily decides she wants to be a Scot

Its official! I am going to dance at this years Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle during the Edinburgh Festival! I am so excited, I think I will cry my eyes out when I walk out onto the esplanade for the first time... There are about 20 (Highland dancers) going from South Africa, I don't know if the pipe band is going this year. There are also Highland dancers going from Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The whole tattoo has over 800 people in it! Wow, I still can't believe I'm really going. The tattoo is on for pretty much the whole of August, after that I'm going to go to London to shop around my portfolio....see what happens.

I don't have any photos me dancing (becasue I'm usually either on stage or on the other end of the camera) but the first is Hayley's studio performing a traditionally-based choreography for the November Western Cape Celtic dance concert. The other is Sandi and Taryn performing everybodies favourite dance: the Irish Washerwoman's Jig at the Edgemeade Competition in March.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

In which Emily and her Muse declare a truce

So it seems like threre is a truce - my muse declares his undying love, I am yet to be convinced (only time will tell etc) but I feel there may be a little bit of hope for my future happiness.

With this in mind I'm taking a break to let the paint dry on a story I am illustrating for the next edition of Jim Baen's Universe. I'm not allowed to post any of these yet (becasue Universe has first exclusive rights), so instead I decided to post the first images I illustrated for them, last year.

These were painted for a story by Gene Wolfe called The Old Woman in the Young Woman. Gene Wolfe is porbably the most famous person I have ever illustrated for and it was a little intimidating because I had only just begun working in oils (and in colour). Before this all my illustrations were blck and white in pencil. This images are the rough/ value study and the final piece.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

In which it gets worse and worse

Just when you think it can't get worse it does... I really wish I had a crystal ball that told me what to do. But I don't and I don't know anything. I wish I could switch off my head.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

In which Emily discovers aquariums are full of fish

This is one of the first photographs taken by my new camera!! I took it at the Two Ocean’s Aquarium in Cape Town. I am thinking of doing some (or one!) mermaid paintings. I thought the aquarium photos would make grand background references.

Having a camera again makes me feel less hysterical and more in control of my life (I know this is an illusion but it’s a pleasant one so I don’t care). The aquarium was very soothing, even though it was packed full of people on their Easter holidays.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

In which Emily discovers that baboons suck

In continuing the theme of depression and woe, my sister Kate and I were attacked by a baboon as we were hiking through the gorge on the way to Crystals Pools (about 5kms outside Gordon’s Bay, by the Steenbras River Mouth). This monstrosity of a creature was as tall as my shoulder, with muscles to make a gym-fly drool. I don’t think I’ve ever been so terrified in my life. And I really didn’t know that baboons grew that big – but I suppose normally you see them far away up the mountain and there’s no scale comparison. We came round a bend in the river and there he was, half a metre away. Larger than life and REALLY REALLY hairy. And he just came towards us, in slow hairy motion, although it was probably quite fast actually. Anyway, to cut a long story short, he pulled me back by my backpack, which I managed to wriggle out somehow and run for it. I have never seen my sister move so fast. The ranger went back to look for my stuff (I was too scared to go) and I got back my car keys and cell phone but my very beautiful and expensive camera he could n’t find. I had wrapped it in a Pick n’ Pay packet to keep it dry, and I figure the baboon thought it was grub and took it off with him somewhere to munch. L

Needless to say the whole day was a real bummer, and probably the closest I’ve ever come to losing my mind. But as everyone keeps reminding me, it could have been worse, we could have been hurt and we weren’t. It could have been a lot worse. My family are amazing; they are going to help me out towards a new camera.

I can’t really continue with my illustration without one – I use it all the time, for reference and to document the finished paintings if they are too large to scan.
For a while there I thought I was going to have to give up art and become… something office-y… then I really would lose my mind.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

In which Emily begins her blog

Welcome to my blog!

My love life is just so many ashes in a heap, my muse has left me, so I have decided to start a blog in an attempt to rediscover it, or at least as a constructive distraction to the ravages of the heart.

I am a freelance illustrator. I finished my MA (in illustration) at Stellenbosch University a year ago and since then I have been working, on and off.

I love being an illustrator, it’s very exciting never knowing what or when you’re are going to work, rather I imagine like being an actor waiting to hear back from auditions. Sometimes it gets a bit dodgy money wise – hopefully as I get more contacts and more experience this will even out a bit (here’s to hoping!).

What I enjoy most of all is fantasy illustration and art. If I had to choose to be someone else I would be probably pick William Waterhouse … a Pre-Raphaelite definitely. I am working hard to improve my oil painting, and I am going to use this blog to post my sketches and paintings.

The image at the top is a painting I finished a little while ago – my sister Bethany and my friend Shauntel modelled for me and the background is one of the trees at the Second Water Fall in Jonkershoek. I was trying to capture that beautiful light that is only found in mountain gorges in the western cape.