Friday, February 17, 2012

Big Arse Comic Book Launch #2 [UPDATED 29/02/12]

BMP friends, Jason Franks and Bruce Mutard, will be launching their new books at the Big Arse Comic Book Launch #2 in Melbourne on 3 March 2012. There will be 15 comic books and graphic novels launched in all from the fast-growing Oz comics scene. These books are published by a diverse array of publishers, from the small press to national publishers, with reach into the newsstands and the global comics market. Jason is launching the Criminal Element anthology and Terra Magazine #1, published by Black House Comics. Bruce is launching Stripshow by Milk Shadow Books. Congrats to all, including Bobby N for his fabulous poster design, as well as to Jeffries Printing which is a stalwart supporter off the Oz comics scene!
Date: Saturday 3 March 2012
Time: 2:00pm
Venue: Sentido Funf, 243-245 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Melbourne Victoria, Australia

For more information, check out the Black Glass Press website. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Semi-Permanent Announces World Class Lineup for Sydney

Top creatives will arrive in Sydney in May to speak at one of the world’s largest art and design events, Semi-Permanent. As the festival turns ten, organisers Andrew Johnstone and Murray Bell extended an invite to 15 of the world’s most respected creatives to take part in celebrations. Topping the bill this year are a handful of professionals that will come to discuss their work, their lives and their philosophies on creating innovating and inspirational art and design. The 2012 lineup features world class photographers, publications, artists and designers. Go to for more information about ticket info and speakers. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Elf~Fin Leaks and Peeks 24

Here are a few more snapshots from the upcoming Elf~Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed book. That's Lyban in the second panel with Hyfus. He's looking happy... wonder what he and Hyfus are talking about? No tell. You'll have to read it to find out. ;)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mermaid Treasures 23

Jozef bought me this cute Arial pen when he visited Euro Disney in Paris last year. Arial has featured twice in my last two Mermaid Treasures posts but how can you resist such an adorable creation as she is. I have her propped up against a cushion in the pic, but ordinarily she sits in a pen container on my desk. I doubt very much that I will ever use her – she's mostly decorative.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How to Deal with Ratbags!

My friend and hypnotherapist Lyndall Briggs pointed out this article recently to subscribers of her e-newsletter. The title grabbed me because I have on occasion come across "difficult people" or "ratbags" as we like to call them here in Australia. I'm sure people in customer service roles encounter more of them than isolated comics creators who labour in their home offices, but nevertheless, it's good to be forewarned on what to look for and fore-armed in terms of strategies on how to deal with them. 

The article in question is "Coping with Difficult People" by Keith Levick. By difficult he means "hostile and manipulative". He tells us that:

Difficult people have learned to be this way because it is effective for them. Their hostile and negative behaviour serves them well. Their arsenal of aggressive behaviour catches their prey off guard and then renders them helpless. Consequently, after a confrontation with these people, it’s not unusual to feel mentally abused and frustrated.
Sound familiar? The article then explains the psychology and dynamics in place, and also provides some coping strategies.
These behavioural patterns are deeply ingrained in the personality of the difficult person. The overly-aggressive difficult person (one who bullies, explodes, screams, etc.) uses their aggressive posture as a defence mechanism. Because of their weak and fragile ego, they need to protect themselves. Their best defence is a strong offense-aggression. Therefore, they feel in control of themselves only in a situation that allows them to feel powerful. But it doesn’t stop there. Like all weak people, their insatiable need to feel secure makes it necessary for them to win – and to win at any cost.
We all have different ways of dealing with difficult people. I just remove myself from their vicinity. I will be polite but I will leave. I have no desire whatsoever to soak up their negative vibes or to get into a full-on argument where the point for them is not to find common ground but to anihilate you psychologically and to declare themselves the winner. I have no wish to participate... life is too short!

You may find this article useful if you've encountered your own regular or one-off ratbags. CLICK HERE to read the entire article.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Gone to Amerikay - Not Gone but Coming Soon!

We watched celebrated US comics creator and illustrator Colleen painstakingly ink every hair strand, every clothing ruffle, every ocean wave, and every wooden splinter in the walls and floorboards of this upcoming graphic novel – Gone to Amerikay while she was in Sydney last year. Written by Derek McCulloch, illustrated by Colleen herself and published by DC / Vertigo, we can't wait to see and feel the finished product. We believe this book will be a commercial hit and will wow the literary critics. We can attest that this was a labour of love for Colleen and we predict it will be title that will have a long publishing life. Julie's just pre-ordered it. We recommend you do too.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Elf~Fin Leaks and Peeks 23

Here's a group shot of the Waverin sea hunting party, led of course by the Hunt Master himself–Hyfus.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mermaid Treasures 22

My sister and her husband surprised me with this gorgeous Arial pic for Xmas, which they bought in Disneyland last year. They had it specially framed and shipped over. It now hangs in my office opposite my armchair from which I work.

Friday, February 3, 2012

One Word One Day [UPDATED: 07/03/12]


The Australian Society of Authors (ASA) has arranged an event that will gather the Australian arts community in order to raise funds for  the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. One word will be chosen and the participating artists (including comics creators) will be asked to create art inspired by that word. The event is set to kick off in Melbourne on 14 March 2012 and will also be held in other States. 

The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) has come on board as our media partner and will be offering a work space and its foyers to exhibit the art. The objective is to promises to be a fun event with coverage for illustrators. Artwork will be featured on the ASA, ABC, ILF and Micador websites with a profile page on the Micador auction page.

PLEASE NOTE that some of the dates have changed since the original posting.

Melbourne: Wednesday 14 March 2012

Adelaide: Wednesday 11 April 2012

Perth: Wednesday 18 April 2012
Canberra: Wednesday 9 May 2012

Brisbane: Friday 11 May 2012
Hobart: Wednesday 23 May 2012
Darwin: Wednesday 6 June 2012
Sydney: Wednesday 20 June 2012

Times and venues to be announced – please check the ASA website for updates or contact the ASA office.
Cost: ASA members $15
Bookings: Bookings essential – book online here or phone from within Australia on 1800 257 121 or (02) 9211 1004

Come and work alongside or with fellow artists, raise money for a great cause and enjoy the media coverage. Arty writers wishing to join the fun are also welcome.

Further information can be found on the ASA website. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Comics Sound Effects Chairs

Came across these comics inspired kids chairs the other day in Domayne Furniture Store in Liverpool, Sydney. They're not in the catalogue thought so may be a special order. Thought you might get a kick out of them.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Selkie Dreaming

I had a dream of selkies not long ago. The image was vivid and profoundly painful. When I woke up, I drew it into a dream diary I have near my bed. I won't tell you what it was because I am weaving it into a novel I have tentatively started writing. But it's a coincidence...

You see I recently had the pleasure or reading a charming children's book called Thomas Trew and the Selkies's Curse by celebrated Australian writer – Sophie Masson. Sophie has won several major literary awards and has around 50 published books under her belt. Her style is lyrical and her imagination is wondrous and this young readers' book is a reflection of her gift.

Here's the blurb for the book:
A mysterious young water girl is found on a river bank not far from Owlchurch. She's very ill, poisoned by a curse. She needs Thomas's help. With his friends, Thomas must travel to the wild depths of the ocean – a land of mermaids and mermen, fin-folk, syrens and selkies. Who unnleased the curse on the Hidden World? And can Thomas stop it?

Did that lure you in? I hope so. The mere mention of mermaids is enough for many. Add syrens (I'm using the spelling in the book) to the mix and I'm a goner. What also pulled me under the surface of this magical tale were the delightful illustrations by Ted Dewan. I've attached one – I hope you don't mind, Ted. I don't think you have to be between 9 and 12 to enjoy this book: I think it's a keeper on any mermaid lover's list.

So where else have I come across selkies recently? Well my Mermaids & Mythology magazine (Winter 2011) for that matter. I opened the pages and there was a lovely article "Living with the Selkies" by Hannah Titania that made me want to book a flight to Scotland straight away. I've always wanted to visit Findhorn since I read a book about it when I was about 13 or 14 but now I now have to add the rugged Isle of Islay to my travel itinerary.

Here's a section from the article:
How strong must a Selkie's call to go back to the sea be if she can leave her children and her lover? ... Even today in our modern world, without any prior knowledge of these legends, an onlooker can feel a great sense of longing and magic when encountering a seal. Their deep, dark eyes that hold as much depth as the sea do look as though they could be encapsulating a whole other being or energy much greater than their outward appearance lets on.
Then I flipped over the page and there was another article called "To Reclaim our Skin and Sea: The Selkie" by Lucy Cavendish, which explores the selkie's connection to the feminine divine and the idea of shapeshifting from a state of freedom to a state of servitude:
To dream of Seal, to be one with the Selkie for a time, is to understand that as women, we must return to the form in which we are free. Because the tale of the selkie is that of women who have been capture, and had their deep wildness tamed, who have in some ways fallen into an amnesiac state. The selkie's is the story for all of us who have forgotten our strength, our freedom, our right to choose again and again our delight in life.
Amazing ideas: beautiful words. Sigh.

If you want to read more, then SUBSCRIBE to Mermaids & Mythology magazine here.

Mermaid Products That Take Our Fancy 1 - AquaShop

There are a whole bunch of wonderful mermaid groups on FaceBook. Equally, there are a whole bunch of wonderful mermaid products being promoted. We'd like to bring you a selection of these over the upcoming months as they come across our path.

The first one is a real cutie: mermaid tweezers. We suspect they'll be more decorative than functional because they are just too pretty to use. We think that many a mermaid lover will have them on the bedroom vanity or in their bathroom poking out of a glass container so they can be seen tail and all. Price: USD$14 for a set of four. You can buy them at the AquaShop, and if you want to keep updated on other products in the mix , then just join the FaceBook page.

Cheeky Uncanny Lookalikes

If you've been reading this blog for a long time, you'd know that we LOVE LOVE LOVE a website called In fact, Julie gets daily email updates with the latest uncanny look alikes. We've included the second pic because Black Mermaid (Classic) which included Bruce Love, went to Broken Hill in 1999 to teach a whole bunch of "Creating Comics" workshops to the locals so we saw gorgeous sculptures like this one around the outskirts of this beautiful landscape (although we can't swear that we saw this particular one). Since Julie has a thing (or perhaps we should say "obsession) for Survivor we thought we might include Cochran from the "South Pacific" series in the pack.

Eckersley's Art Workshop for Artists [UPDATED 29/02/12]

The Australian Society of Authors (ASA) is holding an Eckersley's Art Workshop for illustrators (including comics creators) to demonstrate new materials and the latest techniques. There will also be an attractive discount on products purchased at the workshop.

When: Friday 30 March 2012
Where: Pinerolo Cottage, 116-120 Shipley Road, Blackheath NSW, Australia
Time: 10am to 12pm
Cost: $10
Bookings: Registration is essential. You can book online here or call the ASA on 1800 257 121 or (02) 9211 1004.
Maximum 20 participants.

Note from BMP: Blackheath is a gorgeous place in the Blue Mountains. Drive or train up for the day and check out some of the regional food and great restaurants, go on some lovely bushwalks (especially through the Grand Canyon area), and check out some of the arts and craft stores. As an aside, Julie used to go to Karate Camp in Blackheath when she was in her early 20s. She does not recommend getting up at 4am to do two hours of training in the park, although the sunrises and the gardens are spectacular!