Wednesday 11 December 2013

The final hours!

Things have gone terrifically with the kickstarter, and for that I am astounded and amazed and utterly overwhelmed. The support coming from so many different sources has been tremendous and really inspiring.

So inspiring, in fact, that despite being ill for the better part of a week I managed to recover enough to do this drawing in celebration of the last 24 hours. I had hoped to colour it, but right now I'm utterly exhausted and really just want a nap. Black and white it is!

Monday 2 December 2013

Kickstarter Stretch Goals!

My first goal is close! So close I can almost see the confetti and hear the trumpeting fanfare! With a week and a half left and only 8% remaining, I think it's about time I revealed my stretch goals... 

Audiobooks for everyone!

$7,500: A professionally recorded audiobook, spoken word only, will be distributed with every contribution of $15 and above. Free stuff!
$8,500: The same audiobook will feature music from the incredibly awesome Crooked Fiddle Band, who will generously contribute as much music as I wish to include from their current (and substantial) body of work.
$11,500Crooked Fiddle Band will write and record a song especially for the audiobook. I am hoping it will be the song as described in the chapter "Piper at the Gates of Dawn", ie: the greatest and most magical song ever heard, as played by the god Pan. No pressure.
I am very excited at the prospect of having music by The Crooked Fiddle Band for this audiobook. A group of exceptionally talented musicians, they blend the past and the present with traditional folk sounds and modern rock to produce music that is exciting, emotive and inspiring; a perfect addition to this project.
For the recording and producing of the spoken word audio I have Alex O'Toole on board, who is experienced both as a musician and as a producer. He also happens to be an extremely awesome person. I will be doing the reading myself, with the hope that my dulcet tones will be pleasant and enjoyable to hear.
Here is a very rough sample of how the audiobook might sound, to whet your ear whistles. The final, professional recording will undoubtedly be much, much better.

Thursday 28 November 2013

The passing of a legend.

It was with great sadness that I read yesterday about the passing of one of the great makers and steampunks, Richard "Doc" Nagy, known as the Datamancer. 

His creations were some of the most inspiring and beautiful artifacts produced in the name of retrofuturism, useful and elegant pieces that would last a lifetime. His attitude towards making totally encapsulates everything I want to celebrate and commemorate with this project.

Although the only character in my book with a physical likeness drawn from the steampunk community is Badger (based on Jake von Slatt), Mole was always in my mind something like Doc. A tinkerer and experimental builder, I saw his home filled with strange and wonderful brass and wood creations, his hands always busily working on the next project.

I began working on an illustration shortly after I read the news of his passing. It's from the first chapter of the book, the very first paragraph, when Mole throws down his whitewash brush and scrambles out of his cosy home and into a new world.

I'd like to dedicate it to Doc's memory. I'm sorry I was never able to meet him, and I mourn for the great loss so many must be feeling, but I know the legacy of his works and enthusiasm will continue to inspire makers for many years to come.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Kickstarter Update

As of this morning the project is at 65% funded, which is awesome and very exciting.

I'm sure everyone is wondering what I've been doing over the last week and a bit, so I made a video showing how hard I've been working. Enjoy!

Sunday 17 November 2013


With my Kickstarter at just under 50% funded (the sort of thing that tends to make one a bit fixated and crazy), I've been given a lovely sort of distraction in the form of an interview for a writing/illustrating blog.

Ever wondered about the weird world inside my head, my creative process, inspirations or why I seem to have so many top-hats in my art? Here's your chance to find out!

Illustrious interview

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Kickstarter is GO!

As I may have mentioned rather enthusiastically a couple of days ago, my Kickstarter is ready to launch. And now it has! If you like what you see, please support the project and spread the word with anyone you think might be interested.

Steam in the Willows on Kickstarter

Thank you!

Sunday 3 November 2013

Kickstarter incoming!

Kickstarter is launching in Australia in two weeks, so I've been busily putting together my proposal. There are so many details and tiny things to think about! It is all coming together, though, and after some refinements with feedback I'm feeling pretty good about my pitch.
To celebrate, let's have some art!

Wednesday 30 October 2013

The Stoats and Weasels

This was one of the first designs I did, way back in February of 2012. Although there may eventually be some refining of the final design, I am still rather fond of these two and think they will sit comfortably next to the rest. Or, rather, will shoot guns and generally act like cads to Toady.

In fitting into the maker theme, although they are rowdy and unruly I imagine the stoats and weasels to be quite the ingenious makers. They would be low-tech, greasy, street-urchin style makers, but I think they would produce some of the most clever and devious tools to achieve their ends. And, to paraphrase Ratty, you can't trust them, but they are all right in their own way.

Sunday 4 August 2013

The characters

I've just added a new page about the character designs in my book, which is also now a fancy menu tab.
I'll be periodically adding new character designs as they are finished, so stay tuned!

Wednesday 31 July 2013

A story for our time...

For many years now I have wanted to illustrate a children's classic, to create something beautiful that will resonate with a modern audience whilst preserving the classical charm of the text.

 When considering stories for this project, I found none that had greater relevance to our age than Wind in the Willows. Just over 100 years after it was first published, ours is a mirror and the legacy of Kenneth Grahame's time. His story speaks of social connection, environmental preservation, the huge divide between the wealthy and the poor and the thoughtless over-consumption that comes from cheap mass-production. Ratty, Mole and Badger are set in contrast to Toad: three solid, useful creatures who have crafted their own tools, built boats and dug homes, trying to reason with a feckless and boastful animal who flits from one fad to the next, recklessly wasting his inheritance.

Today there are Toads everywhere: good animals at heart perhaps, but wasteful and careless. Yet in the last few years there has been a surge of demand for the hand-crafted, the artisan made and the unique, lasting artifact. From farmers markets, artisan bakers and micro-breweries to maker spaces, co-op galleries and communal gardens, people are creating, building, recycling, repurposing, crafting and growing. 

 My illustrations are a love-letter to all of these folk, an homage to the artisans, makers and Steampunks, everyone who crafts or bakes, brews or builds, who pulls apart and reimagines, chooses hand-crafted over mass-produced, who wants long-lasting and beautiful artifacts that can be handed down over generations. As someone who has always built, crafted, repurposed and reimagined, whether it be sewing clothing, crafting stained glass windows or just playing around with found objects, I feel a strong connection to both this story and the people I believe it was written for.

My ultimate goal is to publish a book, a physical artifact that has been laboured over with care and devotion. On this blog I will be posting my progress, and I hope you enjoy seeing the work come together.