The La Niña sky cetacea migration

After drought and bushfire, La Niña has brought welcome rain to the hills and grasslands of my home town over the spring and summer. Good grief, there were times last summer in the heat and smoke that it felt like it would never rain again! I was keen to capture this strange wet phenomenon in some drawings over my extended new year break.

Rudd Street, Canberra, in the rain Rudd St, Canberra, in the rain

This picture of Rudd St in Canberra remained half finished for months, until artist Patricia Piccinini’s new balloon creation, Skywhalepapa, drifted into the frame. When rain was forecast for the officially scheduled launch of the new skywhale on 6 February, I could see the pod making their way through the streetscape to the lake. The launch was subsequently delayed by a day until the rain cleared, and the Sunday Canberra Times printed this poster as a souvenir.

Rudd St in the rain, pics of the drawing process

This will be part of a series that I am only half-jokingly calling “36 views of Black Mountain”. Like Mt Fuji in the ukiyo-e prints of Japan, Black Mountain anchors many of my views of Canberra. I’ve started some of the other drawings in the series, but goodness knows when I’ll return to them now.

In the meantime, prints, posters and cards of this Rudd St drawing are available on RedBubble, and I’m back drawing cartoons at The Canberra Times and ACM. Drawing our local Chief Minister as Skywhalepapa for our ACT Budget edition was a good way to ease back in.

Canberra Times front page, ACT Budget edition

The trial of David Eastman

My sketch of the Prosecutor’s closing arguments in the retrial of David Eastman. My Canberra Times colleague Alexandra Back wrote the inside story of the trial.

Sketch, the retrial of David Eastman

Eastman was originally tried and convicted of the murder of Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner Colin Winchester in 1995. He spent 19 years in prison before a judicial inquiry found he had not received a fair trial and quashed his conviction. Following a lengthy retrial in 2018, Eastman was found not guilty.

Courtroom sketching, like live caricature, are crafts unto themselves, so I was a little apprehensive in approaching this. I tried my best to ignore one of the more interesting visual elements in the room, the attentive jury, to preserve their anonymity, but I still had to remove some detail on advice from our lawyers.

This drawing actually records the very last day of ACT Supreme Courtroom One. Drab and windowless, and virtually unchanged since I was last in there 30 years ago, the courtroom was abandoned early on that last day as the buzzing from an old piece of tech in the room began to give one jury member a headache. The trial reconvened the following week in the new court building next door.

Sketch, David Eastman sitting through the retrial

(The Canberra Times, 22 November 2018 | Gallery of most recent cartoons)