Monday, December 21, 2009

Jo Blight and the 7 Drawers

After the success of “The Crime of the Agent Mariner”, Pia Santaklaus and I have decided to start on the “Jo Blight and the 7 Drawers” project.
I thought it might be interesting to document the creation of this book on this blog.
As most of you won’t have seen “the Crime of the Agent Mariner” and fewer even fewer will know anything about ‘Jo Blight’. I thought I start by posting some of the original concept sketches for this book. They are from way back in 2005 when Pia and I first started talking about the project. Just goes to show some projects don’t get forgotten they just get older (like the rest of us!).
The image attached (right) is Aviva (Sep 2005), one of four evil mermaids. In the text she is described "Aviva's style was serpentine - so smooth around the edges. Her favourite game was 'frame'n'shame'. Her victims jumped of ledges.
A little bit about me. I have been illustration for about 10 years now on various projects. I have just completed a Master of Visual Communication at the University of tasmania. I live in Hobart with my wife and 2 sons. I
A bit about what I love in the illustration world, a the standard list of influences such as Quentin Blake and Maurice Sendak can be sighted. I would also add will Osamu Tezuka, Frank Miller, Goseki Kojima, David Roberts, Shaun Tan and Norman Lindsay to the list. If anyone is hasn’t seen the illustrations of these amazing artists they should.

Osamu Tezuka, of Astro Boy (Atom) and Kimba (Jungle Emperor Leo) fame.

Frank Miller illustrated (and later produced movies of), 300 and Sin City. His graphic novels on Batman are fantastic. Miller has an amazing ability to control light and shade. I believe he in turn was influenced by the classic comic artist Will Esiner (interestingly Miller went on to direct the recent ‘Spirit’ movie, an Esiner classic)

Goseki Kojima illustrated ‘Lone Wolf and Cub’ (some covers done my Frank Miller). Some of the best action illustrations in black and white that you will ever see.

David Roberts teamed up with Lynn Roberts to product some amazing retellings of classic stories. My favourite is ‘Cinderella – An Art Deco love story’.

Shaun Tan is an incredible Australian illustrator with such great titles as ‘Rabbits’, ‘The Lost Thing’, ‘The Red Tree’ and ‘the Arrival’ to his credit. I would strongly recommend his website ( to anyone interesting in learning more about the thought processes behind illustration. The section on comments and notes is a very good read.

Norman Lindsay was an incredible Australian illustrator, painter and etcher. I love his illustrations in ‘The Magic Pudding”.
For anyone who like to listen to pod casts, I love 'Big Illustration Party Time' with Joshua Kemble and Kevin Cross. or see their blog at
That’s enough from me for now. I will put some more development work up in a few days.

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