AOI award illustrations

aoi-2017-flowers-dogs-of-war-2-w-text

Over the years I have entered a number of awards around the world. I see these competitions as an opportunity to develop a concept and push my illustration work in new directions. As the entry period for the Association of Illustrators (AOI) awards for 2017 draws to a close. I have been considering entering an illustration for this year. In the past I have entered into the Children’s Books. While I have a few choice illustrations to choose from for that category. I have decided that I could use the competition as a way of pushing myself to produce images for the some of the concepts that I have been playing with over the last 6 or so months.

aoi-2017-flowers-smf

This is my first choice, an ink illustration created with Staedtler pigment liners (0.05 to 0.8). It is for a story concept based on the Nordic legend of Baldur. My version involves Viking Cats. You can see the early pencil sketch versions of this concept on this word press site (17th July 2016)

aoi-2017-flowers-dogs-of-war-1-smf

My next choice is based on some graphic novel images that I have been developing from my Grandfathers World War 1 journal (Private Charles Flowers, 1916). This is one of the concept images that I have been developing on for this project.

I feel that I may have to work on this concept more before I would be happy to submit an image from this project.

AOI awards are held in London each year. The run a couple of award programs that give illustrators an opportunity to hone their skills. For more details follow this link http://www.theaoi.com/awards/enter-info.php

Entries close on the 6th of Febuary.

*** Update on the 30th January 2017 ***

After a quick Facebook poll of 5 to 1 in favour of the new reworked image for a ‘Dogs of War’. The final entry is the image below.

AOI 2017 Flowers Dogs of War 2.jpg

Go Cow Go concept image

“I love it when a plan comes together!” as the 80s TV ‘A’ team would say. Just working on some new concept images for a story that I am writing and illustrating. So far I am very happy with the results and here is a sneak peek at Motor Scooter cow from my draft pile of drawings. I hope to get these images ready to submit very soon.
blog-scooter-process-image

 

Staedtler Mars Lumograph Black

Lumograph Black sample 1

Staedtler pencil title

I recently received a sample pack of Staedtler Mars Lumograph black pencils. The pencil pack came as a tin pencil tray. It contained 2 x 2B, 2x 4B, 1 6B and 1 8B.

Lumograph black test

These pencil leads have been produced with a higher proportion of carbon in the lead than the standard Lumograph pencils. The idea is that the carbon will create a matt black finish. Testing the standard and black pencils side by side, it quickly becomes obvious that the higher the carbon the more matt the finish. While the 2B and 4B pencils in both standard and black produce a shine when applied with a heavy-handed burnish. The black also live up to their name and are noticeably darker than their counterparts. The 6B and 8B have a noticeably more matt finish in black than the standard lead pencils. The tooth on these pencils are also more aggressive. It bites the paper more like charcoal than pencil lead.  I tested on a 300 gsm fine grain cold pressed watercolour paper (Canson, Aquarelle) and 110 gsm smooth cartridge (Quill).

The Pencils are also smudge well, again the higher the carbon content the more they smudge. Excellent if you like to use a smudge stick or a finger tip to blend your pencil work.

I did notice that the 6B and 8B pencils are a little brittle. I had problems sharpening the pencils when I first started using them. I soon realised that the problem was the sharpener not the pencils. As the sharpener was a starting to go blunt and the leads are brittle the pencils were crumbling. Interestingly the standard Lumograph pencils were fine with this sharpener. I switch the sharpener to a newer one (Staedtler Metal double-hole sharpener) and the pencils shaped up to a sharp fine point.

Lumograph Black sample 2

When creating work to test the black pencils I decided to push the pencils to produce darker images. Using a ‘chiaroscuro’ technique I pushed to shadow in the images to take advantage of the black matt finish. Trying to make the character merge into the black background.

Lumograph Black sample 1

While the Matt black finish helps reduce shine when viewing the images. Scanners still pick up some reflection off the surface of the image. Not as much as when using a standard lead pencil at a heavy burnish level.

 

http://www.staedtler.com.au/en/products/pencils-accessories/pencils/mars-lumograph-black-100b-premium-quality-artists-pencil/

Inspiration

PHow to Find Inspiration

People seek inspiration in a wide variety of way. When I had to create a design for ‘Inspiration’ I didn’t look too far from home.

PHow to Find Inspiration

In my latest series with Nick Falk, the “How To…” series (1st book ‘How to stop an alien invasion using Shakespeare’) Inspiration is the Mighty Professor Skeletron’s cat. The Mighty Professor Skeletron is an evil genius (boy) that invents all kind of weird thing. One of these inventions is a pair goggles (Diabolical Prognosticator) that his cat can wear to see into the future. The professors blue print diagrams are always complex, scientific packed blends of the real and the ridiculous. The reality always looks a bit simpler. Mainly because he builds everything out of cardboard boxes, sticky tape ad other household items. His Diabolical Prognosticator are made out of pipe cleaners.

 

When I started to work on the rough sketches for ‘Inspiration’, my cat Daisy jumped onto my lap and demanded attention. The choice for Inspiration was obvious. The cat had to be Daisy.

 

The best thing is that like all cats, she sits around a lot, so she is a great model. She also like to sit onto my drawings when I work. So I can say that she has approved the use of image (otherwise she would scratch them up!).

 

PowerPoint Presentation

Draft covers (spot Daisy)

Book Week 2016 Brisbane

Book week flyer Brisbane 2016

I will be Invading Brisbane Book Week this year (Monday the 22nd to Friday the 26th of August). Demonstrating my approach to illustration, creating narratives, and visual literacy.

I still have a few spots available for school talks, for Book Week bookings contact “Speakers Ink”. If you are interested in attending an illustration session for adults or a visual literacy session for teachers, contact me directly at tony@flowersink.com.au

While I am not available for Book Week session in Sydney this year, for school bookings in Sydney at other times, please contact Paul or Amy at the Children’s Bookshop Speakers Agency.

For all other areas contact me directly at tony@flowersink.com.au

I am currently located in Canberra, as I love a road trip, I am always happy to discuss school talks in any location at anytime of the year.

Speakers Ink

e-mail: info@speakers-ink.com.au

Phone/Fax: 1300-979-465

http://www.speakers-ink.com.au/speakers/tony-flowers

Sydney bookings

The Children’s Bookshop Speakers Agency

telephone.

0407 414 261 (Paul).
9481 8811 and ask to speak to Amy.

http://thechildrensbookshopspeakersagency.com.au/#flowers

Hello!

NLA book cover with blue tongue

 

For the last 2 years I have been working a picture book with the National Library of Australia. ‘Hello!’ my first full colour picture book in many years is out this month.This 68 page book is designed to be a fantastic resource for classroom teacher. It provides a brief (2 x double page spreads) into 12 cultural groups from multicultural Australia. The cultural groups cover 3 Indigenous groups and the 9 of most commonly spoken languages in Australia after English. The process of creating this book was longer than normal. partly due to the high number of illustrations and page length of this book. The main reason for the length of time given to this book is the research and checking of facts and authenticity. The wonderful publishing team at the National Library ensured that all of the material for each of the cultural groups was checked by representatives from these communites.

From an illustration perspective, I had an opportunity to create watercolour and pencil illustration in a style that was quite different from my normal illustration work in my books with Nick Falk (Saurus Street, Billy is a Dragon, Samurai vs Ninja and How to Stop an Alien Invasion with Shakespeare)

 

Below is the first review that I have scene for the book, it is from the book review blog, The bottom shelf 

Hello!

Tony Flowers

NLA Publishing, 2016

68pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780642278876

Look at your school population.  Are all the children native English speakers?  Or is there a mix of languages almost as diverse as the children themselves?  In my Collection Policy for the school I was recently working in under the heading Purpose and Role of the Collection I included the clause “provide a wide range of materials on all levels of difficulty, with a diversity of appeal and the presentation of different points of view including those that reflect the lives of students in relation to their culture, ethnicity, language, religion and beliefs, community and family structure, sexual orientation and any other consideration” and this new publication from the National Library of Australia fits the language aspect of this perfectly.

Superbly illustrated in cartoon style by Tony Flowers and presented in a clear uncomplicated layout, we meet twelve Australian children, each of whom speaks a different language including Kala Lagaw Ya from Badu Island in the Torres Strait; Kaurna from Tarntanya in Adelaide; and Murrinhpatha from Wadeye in the Northern Territory as well as the more common languages of Italian, Thai, Korean, Greek , Vietnamese, Japanese, Indonesian, and Chinese.  Even the Lebanese version of Arabic is included and there is a pronunciation guide at the back of the book to assist the reader but which have been dovetailed to meet needs rather than being a linguistic reference.

Each child has two double spreads so as well as introducing the reader to the word for ‘hello’ in each language, each then shares a little of their life including favourite foods, special days, costumes, musical instruments, games and activities and how to count to ten and each of these is then highlighted at the back of the book with photos available in the NLA.

As much as the children I was working with last year loved to practise and share their new skills in English, their faces always lit up when they discovered a resource written in their own language or which was about their own country.  They were so happy to see something familiar amongst the unfamiliar and loved to show it to their friends and then take it home to share with their families.  So this wonderful resource is sure to strike a chord with so many of those in our care.  Apart from the familiarity it also demonstrates that we acknowledge and value their origins by having resources for them available.  Seeing yourself in a book is such an affirmation of who you are.

There are so many opportunities within the Australian Curriculum and within the calendar to investigate and celebrate the origins of the children in our classes that this book could be in use all year.  There are comprehensive teaching notes which include how to make some of the items featured by the children   but I can envisage it being a pivotal text for this year’s Book Week theme – Australia: Story Country.  Make it model for the children to tell their story by producing a poster and display for the library to be hung in honour of their country’s national day.  This was one of the most popular displays that attracted so much interest from parents and teachers as much as from the students.  They really valued the recognition.

Make Harmony Day  every day!

This entry was posted on March 21, 2016, in Belonging, Identity, Inclusivity, Non fiction, Picture Book, Review, Teaching Resource.

https://thebottomshelf.edublogs.org