Thursday, November 27, 2008

children's book illustrations - hank and the hurricane

i'm back to working on my illustrations for an author in the U.S., after a little hiatus. among all my personal hiccups, including moving from the U.S. to australia and trying to get settled sans all my "stuff", there were problems on the author's end with the publisher...

so, we're now back at it again!! i thought i'd start posting them as i finish them, and i have completed 10 to date.

the story line is about hurricane katrina, and how so many families were separated from their beloved pets. now, a little background here: 

the author, william riggan, was the chief editor at a publishing company i used to work for in college - it was a small operation, and the quarterly journal dealt strictly with international book reviews. i loved it! back then, i had my black labrador retriever, hank, who used to come up to work with me on occasion. and of course, all my co-workers loved him!! what was not to love? he was adorable. and so, when bill retired, he wrote this children's book, using hank as the main character, and he chose me to be the illustrator!! how cool is that?

this is the first color image in the book - where henry and hank are walking through the park on a nice sunny day... and i'll post more later...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

100 drawings in 100 days - SOLD OUT!!!

I SOLD OUT!! all the drawings sold within 1 1/2 weeks of the show opening! 

i am most definitely making this an annual event! not only did i manage to stay focused and disciplined, i improved my drawing skills dramatically - a win-win for all!

if you would like to be on the mailing list for the "100 drawings in 100 days" show for 2009, please visit the Studio de Shan website sign-up and contact page.

thanks again go to Variety of Queensland Charity for Children, who were so helpful during the event and the donation process.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

100 drawings in 100 days - the show


what a great evening!! thanks so much to Watt for having the event at their premises, and Variety Queensland, a Children's Charity, and my amazing checkout girls for a job well done. it was crazy at the close of the sale, and they handled it all so well! 

thinking this is going to be an annual event... 


let's get the show on the road!




well, this is what it looked like during the hanging process... we JUST BARELY had enough room for all 100 drawings!!! i was afraid that with the mats, they might be so much bigger that they wouldn't all fit, but they did. a little squishy, but it still looked awesome! i think it actually added to the visual impact, and the gravity of the whole event (100 drawings in 100 days?? are you MAD??)


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

100 drawings in 100 days - preparing for the show


i have been delegating jobs out to friends to help me get ready for my show. tomorrow morning we hang it! i will be really relieved to get it up and on the walls. here is the stack of stuff to take, and my work bench where i did all the mounting... whew! i'll take lots of pics at the show for you all to see.

Monday, October 27, 2008

the polar bear, the jack-in-a-box, and the ringleader


FINISHED!!!! I DID IT!! I ACTUALLY DID IT!!! 100 DRAWINGS COMPLETED!!!! wow, how excited i am that i had the opportunity to do this, and how amazing it is that i find myself drawing a lot easier now.

the 98th and 99th drawings were still circus animals, one of which is a jack-in-a-box. i have always loved jack-in-a-boxes, and a dear friend gave me a vintage one for christmas a few years ago. it still works, and is just gorgeous, even though it's a little tatty, it's still a wonderful toy. i have called these two, "the fortune teller" for the polar bear, and "the cow-in-a-box".

now the last drawing is kind of a self-portrait, using my face but the pose of a different woman, so it's not terribly precise, but i was too anxious to get it done to get a great picture taken. and seeing as how it was the last drawing, and most of the drawings have some sort of circus inspiration, it only makes sense that i be the ringleader... so that is what i have called it, "the ringleader".



Sunday, October 26, 2008

the snake lady - 100 drawings in 100 days

i'm still in a mad rush to get all the drawings scanned, and uploaded onto my website, still having some issues with all of the devices, so... this will have to be brief.

after watching "carnivale" about 78 times, i think i know all the lines that each actor has, but i just love the imagery, and the characters. one of them is a snake charmer, and her arms and back are covered in snake tattoos which i find visually intriguing, but the snakes are pretty wild too!

i once was drawn by a tattoo artist, whilst i had two baby albino pythons wrapped around each arm - it was oddly enough a very thrilling experience!

this drawing is called "the snake charmer".

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

deer in drag - 100 drawings in 100 days


not too long ago, i was at an antique store and saw a deer head on the wall for sale. it made me think about the history behind the head, and what it's life would have been like, who hunted it, what the house where it was hung was like, and why it was here in an antique store, etc. and then, as it does so often, my mind wandered to having a deer in drag on the wall...

now, i definitely do NOT condone hunting and killing a deer or any animal for it to become a trophy on a wall, nor would i ever WANT one. however, if i were to come across one that was already for sale (such as the one at the antique store) and i could afford it (far too expensive at that store), i would like to get it and dress it up in drag. i think that would be a discussion piece...

so, this one is called "deer in drag".

the jester - 100 drawings in 100 days

when i was living in oklahoma city, i had a mama raccoon that would frequent my back porch each night for food, as the upstairs neighbor would leave a bowl of dog food for her and her babies. now, granted, they do carry rabies and other nasty things, but they are just so cute with their little "bank-robber" masks on!

and what makes them even more interesting, is that they have opposable thumbs, so they can get into things like doors, and drawers, and carry plastic bags of food away from your back door (i know, because it happened to me - fortunately it was just a sack full of bagels, so no big deal).

so i decided to make this raccoon into a jester, and thus, i have called it "the jester".

Monday, October 20, 2008

the bird-watcher and the viking - 100 drawings in 100 days


i cannot believe how many ink pens i am going through!!! and i cannot believe how much the price varies from place to place on the exact same pen! sometimes almost 1 1/2 times the difference... fortunately for them, this pushy american lets them know that the newsagent around the corner charges a lot less than they do for the same pen... i'm sure they really don't care what i have to say...

anyway, here i have started with an ibis, a bird that is quite common here in brisbane. they are actually quite ugly, the black-headed ones we have here, if you look closely (however this particular white ibis is quite pretty). they can be found in the park or in the front yard, or sidewalk, merrily picking up scraps of food people have left behind. i heard someone sarcastically refer to them as "dump chooks" (in other countries, that would be a "trash chicken"). but here, i have him bird watching, so i called this one "the bird-watcher".

then on the bottom, i have a brahma bull posing in a striped cap, with his striped horns, and looking very much like a viking i think. this one is called "circus viking".

Sunday, October 19, 2008

see no, hear no, speak no evil - 100 drawings in 100 days


it's been a few days since my last post (sounds like a confession...), but i really wanted to post these three together, as they are a set in a way.

i started this series of drawings back in 2000, but i never finished them. they were all three, 22" x 30" in size, and graphite with charcoal and red pencil. they were slightly different, but i think i like these three women better! 

so from the top we have "speak no evil", "hear no evil" and "see no evil" - a different take on the three monkeys...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

scuba bird and the fox - 100 drawings in 100 days


as i am nearing the end of my amazing drawing journey, i am finding it a bit more difficult to cultivate ideas. however, the ones i do get seem to be the most interesting so far!!

i have only 13 drawings left to complete, and the show is in 15 days - but the ideas are still trickling in. it has been my experience that the creative process here has been an ebb and flow, which is unlike any other body of work i have created. usually i have a rush of ideas, frantically sketching or painting them as i think of them, and then it dries up completely. i think the concept of having to really search for 100 ideas has changed the way i approach my inspirations - a lot of it depends on mood, but if you press on, they are still there, and the energy keeps flowing.

i wasn't sure about the crow in the antique scuba apparatus at first, but once i finished it, i loved it. the title of the top drawing is "circus scuba crow". and the lower image of the fox is called, "andy you're a star".

Monday, October 13, 2008

the two falcons - 100 drawings in 100 days

while i was surfing the net the other day, i found a site for birds of prey, namely, falcons. there is such a marvelous history behind falconry, and it spans many countries, but primarily the middle east.

but, from a creative point of view, the hoods that they use on these magnificent birds are just amazing!! so many and varied, and some quite ornate, some not.

these two guys had the most beautiful hoods that i saw, and in a way, they remind me of WWII bomber helmets, sans the top-notch. i have called this drawing, "circus falcons".


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

the fish and the girl - 100 drawings in 100 days


a friend of mine was just looking at this drawing, and made the comment, "it looks like 'a fish called wanda'!". now, it's been a long time since i saw that movie, but she really doesn't look anything like jamie lee curtis, or the fish. it's a fish-girl.
so, just go with me on this one - you take the face of an attractive woman and begin drawing it. after about 30 minutes of drawing, the idea comes to you that she should have a fishtail for her hair. no, better still, she IS a a fish, and not just any fish, but a koi fish. and the fish has, not a fish head, but a woman's head. right.
and that's exactly how it goes...
this drawing is called "koi girl".

the kangaroo and a bowtie - 100 drawings in 100 days

it's been exactly one year since i arrived in australia on the 5th october, 2007! and what a year!

to celebrate, i thought i'd throw in a drawing of something very australian, but with the de Shan twist - a circus/birthday party kangaroo wearing a gigantic bowtie!

i noticed that this particular kangaroo had one ear forward and one back, and i was trying to make the ears look like horns with stripes - however, he didn't look much like a kangaroo then, so i left the one ear forward as it was in the photograph. i have noticed that kangaroos and llama, and sometimes dogs, all have the same type of face when you cover the ears, or alter the ears. this is why i left one ear looking very kangaroo-like.

so happy anniversary to me, and this guy is called "the kangaroo and the bowtie".

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

the turtleneck sweater - 100 drawings in 100 days


ok, we all know how uncomfortable an itchy turtleneck sweater is... and this one looks particularly so.
i saw this really alert-looking pup the other day during lunch at a local cafe, and just had to snap him up! i never really know what i'm going to do with the subjects until i see the photo enlarged. only then, and sometimes not until i start drawing, do i know what kind of costume or background will accompany them.
so, here we have a dog in a very long-necked sweater, and i have called it "the long turtleneck".

Saturday, October 4, 2008

bat in a poncho - 100 drawings in 100 days

there are thousands of flying fox (bats) near where my mom lives on the sunshine coast in queensland. every time we drive down the motorway, i see them. on the east side of the road there is one spot amongst the palm trees where all these critters sleep.
occasionally, it appears that the trees are bearing a bumper crop of black pears!! i know people have mixed feelings about these cute little guys - some people hate them, yet they are a protected species, so somebody loves them!
this little guy is seen wearing the striped poncho that zorro the canary wore last week, and therefore this drawing is called, "the striped poncho makes its rounds".

Thursday, October 2, 2008

harlequin girl - 100 drawings in 100 days

in a way, this girl reminds me a little bit of a nun... i guess it's the way the hat frames her face, which is very similar to a habit.

ok, so this drawing is called, "harlequin girl". and now i'm going to keep drawing!

the tango dancer and the stork - 100 drawings in 100 days



ok, i'm all caught up!!! yay! i have this amazing sense of lightness now...
it is officially DAY 81 today! only 19 days left!! i cannot believe how fast this has gone, and how, for the most part, it has been relatively pain-free. the rewards of having an increased sense of artist-self and a better feel for drawing than when i started (i was very, very rusty!) are immense!
so, i have drawn here a stork over the circus tent canopy - and in true spirit to the common thread in a lot of my works, i have thrown in the 'strings attached' from my series "girl on a string" in 2000. i would link this series, however i cannot, as i did have to be prudent and edit my website down a lot to keep it under control!! they were a series of paper dolls and puppets, of which i am also rather fond... so, this one is titled "circus stork".
while i was researching images for my drawings, i came across this lovely woman dancing the tango, and everything about her was elegant and poised and ripe for drawing! not to mention the difficult angle of her face and jaw, so it was quite a challenge! i have always found the tango to be the sexiest dance on earth, and i have added it to my list of 100 things i must do before i die - i must learn to tango. this one is called " the tango dancer".

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

half-cocked and a silo - 100 drawings in 100 days


i've never really been good at drawing hands, unless they are from a photograph, where the hand is perfectly still and i can zoom in to see it more closely.


hands are one of those things that i never really pay attention to, mainly because i never used to have pretty hands (i do now - nice nails, etc.) and therefore i used to dismiss them all the time. but i saw this hand, and it was perfectly clear and large enough to see all the details. and of course, it had to belong to a rooster, right? even though it's holding a revolver, i thought it should belong to a fowl. this drawing is called "rooster roulette".


and as for the silo, i've just always loved silos. they are usually so lonely out in the middle of wherever, and yet each one is distinctively attractive in its own way. this one looks like an italian cathedral in a way, with its domed roof, so i've called it "cathedral silo".

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

zorro and the pimp - 100 drawings in 100 days


ok, i think i might officially be over my artist's block. after i wrote my last post, i became very inspired - funny how that works!
while i was toying with the idea of the canary, i was trying hard to think of what i could add to him to make him more interesting: a hat, a stripe, a suit? then it hit me, that he needed to be in black and white stripes, like a convict. but, that evolved into a poncho, with the black mask and the zorro-esque hat... and bingo!
then i had to draw an otter - my favorite animal, besides my cat atticus finch. i've always loved the playfulness of otters, although this one looks more like a bouncer at the circus than a fun-loving water-splasher! these two are called "zorro the canary" and "buster".

the white rabbit and the buddha - 100 drawings in 100 days

could it be possible for a crazy girl like me to run out of ideas?? or am i just in an artist's block? i've been there before, and the good news is that it doesn't last forever. and it's usually better on the other side than it was on this side. or, could it be that i'm starting to stress a little about getting the show prepared, ready to pick up the mats, get the titles and numbers organized, chase up the venue manager, the mailing lists, etc... whew! no wonder...
but that's all part of a show! and i should be used to it by now, but i don't know that you ever really do, because each show is so different from all the others. oh well, here goes!
so, here we have a character from my all-time-favorite "alice in wonderland" - the white rabbit (always looking very stressed out and worried!), along with the ever-relaxed and unperturbed buddha, who happens to be at the circus here. both of them are. and why not? it's my favorite place at the moment...
the top image is called, "hiding from the queen", and the other is "buddha goes to the circus".

Saturday, September 27, 2008

the lion tamer - 100 drawings in 100 days

another circus image... this time a lion. don't have too much to say about this one, as i am busy drawing at the moment, so i think i would rather channel my energies toward producing the images for now, rather than write about them!

this drawing is called "the lion tamer".

Thursday, September 25, 2008

allora windmill - 100 drawings in 100 days


when i was a child, we had a quarter horse ranch, as well as a 20 acre plot way out in the middle of nowhere, which we used as "spillover" for the millions of extra horses that my dad just couldn't resist (a gross exaggeration, but you get the idea). it did, however feel that way to my mom, who used to take us kids along with her when we'd have to drive out there (sans dad, who was usually away in a remote location working on a pipeline) to feed the horses.
but i used to, and still do, love the windmill on the property. there's an old-world, clean air, down-home feel about the sturdy old windmill. and they just used to sit there and flail around in the wind (hopefully) and pump water for the horses and the oats that we were attempting to grow for them to eat.
this drawing is called "allora windmill" in honor of the dear old war-horse that helped our family.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

the hat and the flying pig - 100 drawings in 100 days


even though i am most definitely looking at the world differently since i started this project, i sometimes have a hard time finding things to draw. other times, i just cannot stop my camera taking pictures of everything i want to draw!

recently i was at the saturday morning markets, and bought a new sun hat - a beatuiful wide-brimmed black hat, which should come in very handy this summer (hopefully it will be a much sunnier summer than the last one). the dove/girl in the black hat is the model for my beautiful hat (don't ask me where i get these ideas to put a pouty girl's head on a grey dove's body...), and it is titled "miss de's new hat".

i just had to draw a pig, and what better pig to draw than one that flies! hence the title, "pigs can fly".

Saturday, September 20, 2008

the organ grinder and the elephant - 100 drawings in 100 days



have you figured out how much i love the circus? i admit though, that i much prefer circus acts featuring humans, rather than putting these poor animals through a lifestyle not suited to any of them. i really like drawing the animals and personifying them in ways that are a little tongue-in-cheek: the monkey is probably trying to make his great escape while no-one is watching and the elephant looks as though he's either an old man sitting around talking to his grand-kids, or a politician! i didn't give these guys any human bodies, not this time, for their poses were just priceless! call me crazy, but the elephant looks as though he's about to tell a fabulous tale...
the drawing at top is called "circus escape", and the bottom drawing is "so there we were...".

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the prophet - 100 drawings in 100 days

i found this very creepy but cool image of (what was to be) frank-enstein on the web today, and it was so beautifully crisp and perfect for drawing. however, i think that frankenstein might be a little too over-the-top here in the 100's, so i changed him up a little bit, as you should. so, no bolts in the neck or zippers or any dark bells and whistles, just a man's head, closing his eyes. in a way, he looks like a monk, or a prophet in prayer.

so, this drawing is called, "the prophet".

atticus finch white - 100 paintings in 100 days

i'm thinking about trying to do 100 paintings in 100 days when i finish with the 100 drawings... i did this painting as a test to see how long it would take, and with some juggling, i think it's achievable. it will be a bit difficult, but that never bothered me!

anyway, here is my cat, atticus as a white circus cat, "atticus finch".

so, how do you feel since reading this blog?