Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Weekly Drawing 69: Malcolm

Malcolm riding his tram built from spare parts
Malcolm is a 1986 movie directed by Nadia Tass and written by David Parker. At the time we were living in Melbourne and I was used to seeing American or English movies, which I loved but they never felt as wonderful and familiar as this movie.

Malcolm quickly became one of my favourite childhood heros. A tram entusiast with an amazing imagination. I love his talent for repurposing common objects to make life a little less mundane.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Weekly drawing 67: Dream Museum

 This week's drawing is a tribute the Dream Museum, a toy museum at artist Martin Sharp's home, Wirian, in Sydney's Bellevue Hill.

Martin started the Dream Museum to preserve what was left of Sydney's original Luna Park and then it evolved into becoming a toy museum for children.

In 1979 there was a tragic fire at Luna Park, after which the owners sold off most of the rides. Martin, Peter Kingston and others bought as much as they could afford at an action with the hope that one day Luna Park would be restored to it's original glory. These pieces included carnival murals by Arthur Barton and Fred Schweickle, a River Caves mermaid, a laughing clown, a penny arcade game. Thanks to their foresight most of these pieces have made it back home and can be seen today at Coney Island.

I was lucky enough to enjoy the amazing Dream Museum because my parents had became friends with Martin in the 1980s. It was a room at the far end of Wirian where there were large display cabinets crammed with toys. One contained hundreds of Mickey Mouse figurines. I also remember a old train set which I loved. And It was the first time I ever saw an Asterix figurine.

Every time we visited Martin my big sister and I would play in the Dream Museum. We spent most of our time drawing pictures (to give to Martin) and playing with Smurfs and Star Wars Figurines. Our favourite toy was the Inspector Gadget figurine which had moving parts and gadgets.

Martin and his artist friends created a place which made my childhood even better than it already was. I wanted to illustrate one of the many magic days we enjoyed thanks to Martin creating this place. It was every child's dream environment and it was 'Just for Fun'.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Weekly drawing 66: Skate ramp in the bush at StIves

Anthony and I needed a place to skate so we built a ramp in the bush at St Ives
This weeks drawing is based on my early teens.

When I was 12 years old, my family moved from Melbourne to Sydney. 
Unfortunately for me as a keen skater, Sydney had very few skateparks or ramps.

Thankfully, I'd heard a local rumour some older kids had built a ramp in the bush near my house. The only problem was the ramp had been destroyed a few years ago by a local skinhead with an axe and everybody was scared of him. However, I was sure we could salvage some pieces and make something skateable. I wasn't to sure about the skinhead, but it was worth the risk.

My best mate Anthony Bangel showed me were it was. Then we built a new ramp from bits and pieces we'd found at the spot. After that we skated most afternoons.

I love that we used anything we could get our hands on to make the new ramp such as a DMR road block to support one of the platforms. While the other platform was supported by the actual dirt bank. These were great times.

It was even better that most people from St Ives rarely ventured into the bush to discover our handy work. I actually wish more people in St Ives did venture off the beaten track. They live in an amazing place. At it's best it's a beautiful area of native Sydney bushland, which is also the start of Middle Harbour.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Weekly drawing 65: Sir MacPherson Robertson, inventor of Freddo Frog, Cherry Ripe and Old Gold

Robertson creating novelty sugar mice and dolls
 in the family bathroom 1880 

This weeks drawing is of Sir MacPherson Robertson the inventor of Freddo Frog, Cherry Ripe, Old Gold, Milk Kisses and Columbines. I was intrigued by his story, especially his eager can-do approach. A very independent and resourceful person like Louisa Lawson, I admire his DIY attitude.

On June 10th 1880 in the working class suburb of Fitzroy. Robertson at 21 years of age started his own sweets business, which would go onto become Australia's largest confectionery works by 1900. I wanted to illustrate this moment in time.

"With a small furnace and a sixpenny nail can boiler he made his first sweets in the bathroom of his family home. He created novelty sugar mice and dolls each week between Monday and Thursday. On the weekends he would sell them to local shop keepers. He walked the streets of Melbourne for a year building his business."
By Jonathan Wright (ABC Goulburn Murray)

Sculpture of MacPherson at Fitzroy Library
I like that he looks like he's made of chocolate.

Friday, November 23, 2012

DIY Kids bamboo tepee from stuff around the house

Tepee ingredients
1. Bamboo
3. Double bed Sheet
4. Bull dog clip

1. Bamboo cut from back garden

Old Inner bike tube to tie the bamboo

Double bed Sheet held on with Bull dog clip

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Weekly Drawing 64: Butch Minds the Baby

This weeks drawing is based on one of my favourite Damon Runyon storys Butch Minds the Baby. I have loved Runyon's writing ever since Dad first read me his stories as a boy.

To me Runyon's humorous and sentimental tales of the underworld have influenced many great works such as Tom Waits lyrics on Small Change and Guy Ritchie's script for Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Butch Minds the Baby is about an Ex-Criminal (retired safe opener) who can't afford to get caught another time. Even though he's looking after his baby boy while his wife is out of town for the night. Harry the Horse, Little Isadore and Spanish John convince him into one last job. 

"…Big Butch is considered the best safe opener east of the Mississippi River in his day, but the law finally takes to sending him to Sing Sing for opening these safes, and after he is in and out of Sing Sing three different times for opening safes Butch get sick and tired of the place, especially as they pass what is called the Baumes Law in New York, which is a law that says if a guy is sent to Sing Sing four times hand running, he must stay there the rest of his life, without any argument about it."

Damon Runyon
Butch Minds The Baby

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekly drawing 63: Alcohol fuelled Australia Day, 1808

The Rum Rebellion come for Bligh
This drawing is based on one of Australia's earliest cartoons. The Overthrow of Governor Bligh 1808 a water colour by an unknown artist. I get the feeling it was commissioned by William Bligh's rival John Macarthur. A clever piece of propaganda, depicting Bligh as a coward hiding under his own bed.

The original cartoon neglected to depict the soldiers in their alcohol fuelled state. I think if a bunch of armed and angry drunks charged into my house, I'd hide too.

Reference book: Cartoons of Australian History
by Peter Coleman and Les Tanner. Published by Neslon 1967

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Weekly drawing 62: Resting Tiger

My daughter and I worked on this one together...

A hand drawn wedding card for my sister and her fianc├ęs' wedding this weekend. 
I really like handmade cards. They're fun to make, and we would never find a font on the computer like this one.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Weekly Drawing 61: Sugar Ants sailing an outrigger built from floating rubbish

Book illustration for a book I'm writing:
Sugar Ants sailing to New Zealand in search of the yummy honey.
On a Micronesian outrigger built from floating rubbish.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Weekly drawing 60: Yellowtail kingfish

I now draw where ever I can. This was drawn while looking after my daughter at the playground. Chalk has become a great new way to mix parenting and art. Plus lots of kids enjoy joining in and drawing something themselves, which is fun.
Yellowtail kingfish - character study for a new book I'm working on
Drawing at McNeilly Park, Marrickville with Libby

Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekly drawing 59: Vercingetorix

52 BC, Vercingetorix lead Gaul's most significant revolt against the Roman occupation of Gaul (France). Unfortunately most of what was recorded of him historically was written by his Roman enemy Julius Caesar. Personally I prefer Rene Goscinny's account of events.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Weekly drawing 58: Harold the crow's nest crow

Harold's favourite saying "alert but not alarmed"
Up in the crow's nest by Libby and Joel

Libby in the moment
Being a creative parent can be hard to find time to create while caring for a baby. 
But lately I've had some really golden moments drawing with children. 
Which is a great way for us all to have fun and I get still get to create. 
The next two photos are of chalk drawings I did with Libby and other play friends at Jarvie Park in Marrickville.

Chickenpox Chicken on a skateboard
 Libby and a friend added the details such as spots and the thing that looks like a 
choker necklace, I was told this is actually a trampoline. Which I find oddly amusing.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Weekly drawing 57 part 2: Salty Dog

Weekly Drawing 57: Sea goat the resourceful sailor

Sea goat's favourite saying " Any port in a storm"
Drawn in my daughters sketch book, she drew the red and green lines.
She is now 18 months old and loves drawing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weekly Drawing 56: Tinker-man

Tinker-man rides to the village. Milford - on sea, Hampshire

"Tinker-man rides to the village on his butchers bike to buy some bread.
As always he scans the back streets to see what he might find along the way..."

                                                                                                         Joel Tarling

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Weekly drawing 55: Junk Castle

While my parents were building our family home on the south coast. I started building a cubby house called Junk Castle after Robin Klein's book Junk Castle published by Oxford University Press, 1983 and Illustrated by Rolf Heimann.

Using the walls from the old pit toilet, odd bits of building materials and things I scored from the local tip such as the slippery dip. I created my own fun.

I drew this from memory and I thought it was exactly as I remember it. But when found an old photo I could see I'd missed a lot of the wonderful details. Where I had obviously added more as I found different bits and pieces. I was about to redraw it, until I realised I'd unintentionally drawn it, how I saw it back in 1983. As the best cubby house in the world and perfect in every way.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Weekly drawing 54: Ibis infestation and child art

Feeling inspired this week, so it's two drawings...

Drawing 1

Ibis infestation is a kids book idea 
Eat your worms about eating the right foods. 

Why would an Ibis's would love eating Subway Wrappers,
McDonalds rubbish 
and hairy bits of chicken instead of foraging
in their 
native wetlands far from the cities?

Drawing 2

Sailing in a storm
My daughter 18 months has started enjoying to draw (scribble, scribble turn the page scribble, scribble). She has trouble understanding why I won't let her scribble all through my sketch book. So this is a drawing we did together, in my sketch book to prove that I can share too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DIY woodwork with found objects

We have a beautiful old timber bench in our kitchen. Which I scored FREE because it was being thrown out and about to be sent to landfill. The bench was perfect in every way, but was missing a drawer. This is the story of How the bench got its drawer.

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to find an old timber drawer being thrown out on Little Eveleigh St in Redfern. However it was 15cm too long for our bench, so I cut it down.

This what it looked like after cut down and sanded. But it still wasn't fitting, so...

I went to The Bower in Marrickville and bought a little hand plane for $4 to shave the sides down a touch.

One of my favourite details is the dovetail joint:

The drawer now fits!
I also made a timber knife and fork divider for the drawer. I used $2 worth of timber from The Bower and some wood I found dumped in a laneway a couple of streets away.

I wanted to retain the original quality and style of the timber bench. I'm amazed at how well it all came together. 
I find imagining a found object's potential is extremely rewarding, and wish more people would repair and fix things. Each time I find something and fix it up, I feel I've saved it and I enjoy the process.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Weekly drawing 53: My big sister

This weekly drawing is a tribute to my wonderful big sister and is based on a Bermagui primary school photo of us. My childhood was definitely more fun because of her.

We lived 5km out of town along the coast and my sister and I were the only kids at our school bus stop. However this didn't seem to bother us. While we waited we made a hand ball court by sweeping the clay, so there was a smooth area to play. And the property over the fence was dairy farm, I would sometimes amuse my sister by singing to the cows "Da do ron-ron- ron". To our amazement they would all huddle over to listen. These were magical days.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Weekly Drawing 52: Sketching on the train

I have finally reached my personal goal. Draw a picture every week for 12 months. It's been a good challenge and I feel inspired by the process. I have drawn everywhere from trains, playgrounds, pubs and hospitals.

It has been one hell of a crazy year for me:
  • We moved house, packing up a large share house of 5 years discovering things we didn't even know we owed such as 5 garden rakes.
  • I become a stay home Dad and so my wife could return to work after 12 months maternity leave. Being a stay home parent is a massive change, goodbye 7.5 hour working day. As I write this our little girl is sleeping in the next room.
  • I thought my baby daughter could die when she diagnosed with a heart condition and spent 2 months in intensive care and 1 month in the ward. 
  • My computer died.  

Despite all this, I have managed to achieve what I set out to do. Draw faster ideas, jot down silly ideas and do what I love. The great thing is my sketch books is full of ideas and drawings. My Children's book portfolio is filled with new material. Unexpectedly, I discovered the process helped me deal with some really big emotional challenges with my daughters condition. I think it has kept me sane during this turbulent year. 

Thanks for all the support it's really appreciated.
Joel Tarling

I will have a small holiday and return for another Weekly drawing in 4 weeks time

Friday, July 27, 2012

Weekly Drawing 51: Enjoy diversity

"Dogs like busking
Cats like jazz
Dogs like home cooked leftovers
Cats like sushi..." 
                                                      Joel Tarling

Kids book idea about accepting others and enjoying diversity