Cover Announcement – Prickle Moon

I am an enthusiastic fan of science fiction / fantasy literature. Always have been. My sprawling collection of books threatens to take over all of our bookshelves and other genres at a moment’s notice, and I like it that way.

Earlier this year, I got an email message about the possibility of illustrating a cover with spiritual elements and a totemic hedgehog for an upcoming short story anthology from one Juliet Marillier, for Ticonderoga Publications. I remember thinking ‘wait, is this happening?’ In my sprawling collection were some of Juliet’s books, which I have enjoyed and devoured late at night, turning pages by lamplight with cats snoozing next to me. I also remember thinking, as I read the email, ‘it’s probably a good thing I’m already lying down.’ Heh.

I love collaborating with creative people, it’s one of my favourite things to do, so I thought I would share with you some of the process, from conceptualising the cover, all the way through to this week’s announcement of the official cover.

As well as a personally done colour sample, and individual sketches of hedgehogs for the delightfully named Prickle Moon, I did a few cover roughs, but the one we eventually agreed on, was one I developed in front of Juliet, discussing everything from colour, to tree symbolism, to placement and so on.

From there, I developed an official sketch showing all the compositional elements for a full-wrap cover.

And then, the process of inking. I decided to go with a more thorough style than what I normally use, to create a good sense of depth and texture. This part of the process took the longest, so I tied myself over by sending the occasional work in progress photo to Juliet and Russell. As you can see from the next photo, I was building up a lot of form with a technique known as stippling, or as we artists sometimes think of it: ‘oh god, my wrists.’ (Though I think it’s worth it!)

That said, I love stippling, because as time goes by, this incredible effect happens with the building up of simple dots. I was primarily using Artline Drawing System pens in the 0.1 size.

Which eventually lead to more detail:

And an ink illustration ready for colouring.

After inking, there is the process of overlaying colour to create a sense of depth. Juliet selected the colour scheme – a violet/purple monochrome palette and the effect of moonlight – and it was so much fun to work with. I have always been a fan of monochromatic palettes since they create unity and flow. Not only that, but it was also tremendous to work with the energy of hedgehog, and feel what it must be like to see the world from a perspective of toadstools and grass, where everything works on a different level than it does to us.

And now, I am so excited to show you the cover art for Juliet Marillier’s short story anthology, Prickle Moon, which will be launched officially early next year.

It’s been so much fun working in this way, and to have this opportunity. I’d like to say my thanks again to the awesome Russell and Juliet for the privilege. Let’s face it, what illustrator of narrative art doesn’t wish to see their artwork on a book cover one day. Not only that, but for a wonderful author, and publishing house, and a wonderful subject? Meanwhile, I shall be secretly (okay, not secretly at all!) thrilled to have another book to add to my sprawling collection of science fiction and fantasy books.

Romantic Minis – Part II

Here’s the last batch of the Romantic Minis, all available at Etsy.😀

White RatsAVAILABLE AT ETSY

Silver Polar BearsAVAILABLE AT ETSY

Copper ViscachaAVAILABLE AT ETSY

Honestly, is there anything cooler than viscacha, the rodents that look like rabbits? They are almost too adorable to bear.

Violet RavensAVAILABLE AT ETSY

These guys are subtle, and gently iridescent. They’ve been living with me in my personal connection for some time, but I have decided to let them go.

Romantic Minis – Part I

Sometimes you just need a break from it all. And at times like that, I either take a break from the artwork completely, or I go to a completely soothing, twee theme which always makes me feel like snuggling up to my animal companions or a good friend. That’s the Romantic Minis series.

So! For my latest holiday, I illustrated six new romantic minis, as well as listing an older romantic mini that I thought I’d lost track of! Here are the first three!

Bronze FoxhoundsAVAILABLE AT ETSY

Blue FoxesAVAILABLE AT ETSY

Gold-Red PeacocksAVAILABLE AT ETSY

Arting, arting, arting, rawhiiiiide.

Boy, things have been busy lately!

Firstly, check out this awesome interview by Le Animale, with yours truly, over at her blog! In it, I talk mostly about my spiritual connection to illustrating totems, and why I draw the totems I do!

In the meantime, since announcing that I am able to work with cat energy, a ton of cats have come marching on by. Domestic cats. Wild cats. Er…okay well that’s about it. But still, I’ve drawn a lot of cats lately.

Here’s a bunch of commissions I’m working on. All exciting projects!

Russian Trotter

Russian Trotter / commission, by Pia Ravenari 2012

Melanistic Jaguar

Melanistic Jaguar / commission, by Pia Ravenari 2012

Cheetah

Cheetah as Totem / commission, by Pia Ravenari 2012

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Have some art stats:

Current number of pieces I have to colour: 8
Are any of these a secret project?: One of them is!
What keeps me company during the artwork process?: Currently, Law & Order: SVU
How much chocolate do I consume during arting?: Entirely too much.
Seen any good films lately?: Yes! Wolf Children, or The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki. Cute! It’s a feature length anime, with glorious (Miyazaki level) animation, and a cute, powerful and at times tragic story. Just incredible. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves animals / who believes they are an animal-person, people connected to wolves and people who love sumptuous animation.

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Also, stay tuned for some new Romantic Minis (although they are the current romantic minis, only two left! These go quickly. Even the romantic spiders went!) I’ve got six of these little babies planned. You can look forward to Foxhounds, Foxes, Peacocks, Polar Bears, Rats and maybe some Vizcacha!

Sneak Peek of upcoming collaboration between myself and Le Animale!

Le Animale and I have been working on a collaboration over the past few months.

She has been sculpting 10 totems amongst all her other works, and then they have flown over to Western Australia where I have painted them in my own style.

Additional, separate illustrations with a more complex style, all featuring landscape elements, will be going on sale to commemorate this project within my own Etsy store.
Each totem will come with a laminated collector’s card, which features a print of the illustration, as well as a paragraph of meaning about the totem, written by myself.

Although not officially launched yet, we are taking pre-orders of the sculptures. I have been so tempted to keep all some of these for myself!

Pre-painting – From left to right (the ones crossed out are the ones already ordered) Gentoo Penguin, Red Kangaroo, Komodo Dragon, Meerkat, Amur Leopard, Dugong, Dodo, Giant Oceanic Manta Ray, Harpy Eagle and Ocelot.

This is a limited edition collaboration that will happen approximately every six months or so. In the interim we shall be working on our own projects, and not offering customs (it’s unfeasible with postage – they are jetsetting totems, created in the N. Hemisphere and painted in the S. Hemisphere!)

Hoping to officially launch in October!

If you have any questions, want to see some of the illustrations or some photos of painted sculptures between now and launch for the purpose of pre-order, feel free to email me at ophelias.diary@gmail.com😀

Illustrating those that have passed on.

Recently, I’ve been inking a commission of a recently passed, lovely cat. Inking individual beings as opposed to collective totems is a very different process. Generally, in terms of ‘ease’, totem animals are easier than living animal companions are easier than passed animal companions.

Because of my practices within shamanism, it is taboo to contact a passed being companion within 13 days of its passing (unless I was the one who personally ‘pomped for the being), but after that, this taboo lifts, and it becomes okay.

And though it’s never easy, it’s always rewarding and worthwhile (hopefully as much, if not moreso, for the client). There is a profound sense of being honoured by the animal in question, and often, a profound sense of love comes through. Not for me, I am just the messenger – but for the client in question.

I suppose if I wasn’t a spiritual person, I’d be singing that love through in a different way. But because of my shamanic practices, there are trance state and spiritual conversations involved, there are random feelings or colours or textures or even thoughts in a way that is just a different flavour to illustrating totem animals.

I’ve drawn many animal companions over the years and the process fills me with similar emotions each time. Being honoured by both the client and the animal companion and, in some cases, my own guides  who help me make contact. The fear/hope that comes from wanting to do my very best and pushing myself hard and hoping clients can see that. The satisfaction of actually putting my pen or brush to the board and seeing life emerge from a static white space.

But I can’t spend too long blogging, I must get back to work.🙂

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PS: I can’t believe it’s been over 8 months since I last blogged here. Boy and howdy do I have some exciting news! But that can wait for another post.🙂

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from Ravenari and Startail! :)

I did this up today. Just then! I scanned it while it was still wet! I never learn. Lol. Here’s hoping there’s some more Startail love in the future.😀

startail christmas 2011 - by Ravenari

Happy holidays for those who celebrate, may 2012 be all that you desire and more.