Australian young adult fantasy author Zara Quentin and I have been partnering on her “Airwoman” trilogy for a few years now. Quentin has released the second installment, “Spiritwoman,” with another Townsend original cover illustration and design. The flyleaf:
A missing dragon. A friend in mortal danger. A young woman’s quest to save them both…
Spirit Woman is the second book in the Airwoman series. If you like being immersed in captivating worlds, compelling characters, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love the latest in Zara Quentin’s action-packed adventures.
I recently completed this approx 24″ by 36″ ink-on-paper work inspired by a trip my wife and I took to Bali in May of 2016.
In addition to a relaxing vacation, the trip was an artist’s sabbatical for me. I was excited to explore the rich visual artistic traditions of the island, now part of Indonesia.
The wood, stone and concrete sculpture especially are incredible and wholly alien to Western eyes, though just as rich and complex as any artistic tradition in the world.
How did I create this Bali poster?
As far as the media and method for this piece, I was inspired by the incredible brush-pen work of the master Korean illustrator Kim Jung gi (see video ).
So for this piece, I tried in my own limited way to ape the expressive, freehand line work Kim Jung gi uses. The only underdrawing I did with a pencil was for the Balinese script (which reads “Monkey Forest; Ubud, Bali) and the checkered pattern at the bottom.
By the way, my friend from the trip Ngurah Widnyana did the translation for me. He runs a tour service on the island, so like his Smile Bali Tours and look him up if you ever go.
The paper I used is from discarded blueprints. Because the paper is designed to be slightly weather/water resistant on construction sites, it doesn’t let the ink bleed too much. An excellent, cheap and green resource!
How did I frame the Bali poster?
For the framing, I developed a novel method. I cut a sheet of plywood to size, then carved out holes through which I inserted standard metal binder clips you can buy at any office supply store. The clips hold the paper without using any glues or adhesives which might corrode the piece or make it inextricable from the plywood if the purchaser wants to change the frame in the future.
Over top of this bolted a piece of plexiglass, held away from touching the paper by several millimeters of washers stacked on the bolt.
What do the symbols in the Bali poster mean?
The image in the upper left is a Barong, depicted based on photo research into parade costumes used during various Balinese festivals. The Barong’s function in the Balinese religion — which borrows from Hinduism to layer on top of tribal animism developed uniquely on the island — is that of a protective spirit of good. His frightening aspect helps ward off demons. Think of the Barong’s function as (very loosely) analogous to a gargoyle in medieval Europe.
The underlying philosophy of Balinese religion focuses on the dichotomy of good and evil, dark and light. That’s why the checkered pattern seen at the base of the poster is ubiquitous at temples throughout the island — it functions to convey the same idea as the yin-yang symbol also seen around Bali.
The folkloric significance of the statue in the middle has me stumped, but I can guarantee you it’s an accurate representation of one of the many sculptures in the Monkey Forest in Ubud, located near the center of the island.
The people are based on photos of local Balinese people I took while touring the island — that and some fictional aspects I added to fit the layout. If you look closely, you may see my wife and I in the background.
I just finished an illustration/cover design assignment this week for Australian fantasy author Zara Quentin‘s debut novel “Airwoman.”
I got to read it early as her illustrator, and it was a super fun read! This will be the first in a series, so I’m already excited for the next installment.
To create this image, I used a combination of traditional and digital media. I used a public domain sunset photo and took the mountains from a different public domain photo and rendered each as vectors in Adobe Illustrator.
Then, once Zara approved the concept, I drew the figure and painted her with acrylic and ink on illustration board.
Then, I photographed the painting and cut her out in Photoshop, then rendered her as a vector graphic as well. The rendering process made the painting look a little bit more like a photo and the photo portion look a little more like a painting, so the piece works together harmoniously.
I’m excited to be working on a preliminary set of illustrations for a children’s book written by Southern California author Gary Schwind.
I can’t reveal all the details, but Gary agreed to let me share a few illustrations on my website here. Some are complete, some I may decide to re-do. Not sure yet, but I’ll have to take a look at the completed work to see which ones need re-done.
The story is about a young manatee who is a super fan of a rock band, and by the end (spoiler alert) he actually gets to meet them and get autographs.
This is the first project I’ve done with a new medium: art markers. These are the same kind used in many graphic novels and comic books, and the colors are rich and solid.
I bought a set for $100 about a year ago and have been fiddling with them off and on, but this is the first project I’ve worked on where I feel comfortable using them. One advantage is that you can turn out finished work really quickly, which is why high-production illustrators like comics artists use them.
My good friend and client Jennifer Blanchard, who is an author and writing coach, commissoned a cover design and illustration from yours truly. The following is a description of her debut novel “Soundcheck” as it appears on the bookcover and on her website:
As a rising star in the music industry, Mandy Simon seems to have it all: a killer knack for spotting talent, a promotion on the horizon, and a secret office romance with Miles Anderson, the marketing director at her company.
But her troubled past causes Mandy to break things off with him. When the decision backfires, she comes up against an ultimatum that puts her dream job at risk. And she finds herself fighting for success–and love–in ways she never imagined.
I’m going to have 600 square feet of wall space, and I’m going to use every last bit to display my artwork and hopefully sell some; it’s been stacking up in my garage and it’s itching to be out in the world.
Most exciting to me are the 10 prints of my painting “Pirate Story” I’ll have for sale. This is one of my most popular works (the original is already sold) and it has been featured in FIND art magazine and gallery. The prints are all full-sized 15”X20” with an additional border, signed and numbered. These are the first 10 of a limited run of 250, and one of them can be yours for $125.
Also available at the show are some 5”x7” greeting/notecards I had printed up featuring my “Day” and “Night” nature illustrations featuring West Coast wildlife. For only $5 a piece, these are great as original Christmas cards, or just to have handy for birthdays or thank-you notes.
I’ve also raided my stash of original pastel nudes, five of which I’ll have on sale with prices ranging from $75 to $125.
My original work will be a little pricier; I spent dozens of hours on each painting and illustration and, well, you’re gonna pay for quality. For example, “Jazz #5” and “Harem Painting” I’ll be selling for $2,500 and $2,000, respectively.
The “Pursuits of Man” pair are on sale for $1,000 each, or $1,800 for both (they kind of go together — shouldn’t be seperated.)
Remember, don’t forget to visit my profile on the RAW art collective website and purchase your ticket for $15 – buy it here.
I’ve always found animals doing people things to be super hilarious. I’ve taken it a step farther than children’s books usually do to have apes and elephants and raccoons doing pretty arbitrary stuff.
I like this idea. If you take all those Disney and Pixar movies and have them take the animals as people metaphor to its logical conclusion, you get Sammy Squirrel the structural engineer or Farrah the Phlebotomist Finch.
Sometimes the effect is just amusing – like a clever joke with raccoons and songbirds.
Other images, like “Ape Surgeon” are hilarious, but really unsettling and pose deeper questions about how much control we really have over the world and our own mortality. (My assertion is “not a ton,” in case you misread that message.)