The only way is up

Today is Threatened Species Day, so it seems an appropriate time to launch two new posters featuring some of the unassuming stars of Kosciuszko National Park.

Kosciuszko tors Kosciuszko summit walk

The alpine habitat of these species is facing critical pressure from feral horses, commercial expansion, and a warming climate. Our governments have the power to address all three issues.

These pics were inspired by the late Professor Graeme Worboys, who approached me last year about the possibility of drawing some of the high country’s special species. Unfortunately Graeme passed away before the project could begin, so he can’t be blamed for what I have ended up drawing. I’d like to dedicate these to his memory, and his lifetime of work protecting Kosciuszko.

There’s a third pic coming, but I didn’t finish it in time so I’ll have to post it later!

Prints, posters and cards are available on RedBubble.

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 South Coast is (still) calling

Some new posters are now up on the Coast Is Calling’s RedBubble site, raising funds for bushfire recovery via the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

Poster artwork for the Coast Is Calling

The new designs feature Moruya, Broulee and Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast, and the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in the ACT.

They join two other pics I drew during our covid shutdown earlier in the year, of Rosedale, on the NSW South Coast, and Batlow, in the NSW high country.

Poster artwork for the CoastIsCalling

Yes, there is already a Batemans Bay pic in the series, but I wanted to draw the bridge before it is replaced by the new concrete flyover currently under construction.

All these pics are of places closer to home, but covid-willing I’ll be down Eden way before too long.

Thanks to everyone who has sent me photos of the posters out and about. It’s wonderful to see where they are bobbing up!

Posters in framing shop Posters in the Batemans Bay Boatshed Cobargo poster

The South Coast is calling (on RedBubble)

And they’re up!

The pics I drew of the NSW South Coast after the bushfires are now available as posters, cards, notebooks and art prints (framed and unframed) on RedBubble.

Poster available on RedBubble

Australian Community Media has decided to donate all profits from the sale of these prints and merch to the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal. FRRR provide small, discretionary grants to small regional communities across Australia.

The South Coast is calling

I have drawn some posters of towns and regions on the south coast of NSW affected by the recent Australian bushfires.

Posters of the NSW South Coast

These posters are being published this month as part of a tourism campaign in the newspapers of Australian Community Media (ACM). ACM is the publisher of The Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, Illawarra Mecury, Border Mail, and many other regional and agricultural mastheads.

Prints, posters and postcards will then be available for purchase, to raise funds for the long-term bushfire recovery effort. Details of how to buy them will be available soon, but it is likely to be through an online shop like RedBubble, which will allow for prints to be made as required, and for purchases to be made overseas. I’ll post details here when I have them.

Sketch, Batemans Bay Bridge Concept sketch, Cobargo Sketch, Nelligen Sketch, Cobargo

As you can see, the posters draw their inspiration from the old Australian travel posters of the 1950s and 60s, along with the Japanese woodblock print tradition of decades earlier, and more modern comic book influences.

I wanted to draw the things we love about these places – which, despite the devastation, remain in intact – without downplaying or glossing over the impact of the fires. I hope they help strengthen connections between town and coast, and support livelihoods disrupted and devastated by the fires, without sidestepping the climate warning the fires represent. Recovery from the ecological destruction and human trauma wrought by the fires can’t be separated from the global effort to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that now turbo-charge Australia’s fire conditions.

I have been overwhelmed by the positive response these posters have received since their launch last Friday and have been inundated with requests to draw other towns and places: Batlow and Tumbarumba in the high country; Bermagui, Eden and Mallacoota on the Far South Coast; Moruya and Rosedale, Braidwood and Kangaroo Valley. I do hope to be able to add a few more in the coming months, including the Namadgi National Park in the ACT, close to home and heart. 80 per cent of Namadgi was burnt – one third of the ACT! – and it remains closed to the public.

Thanks to all those who I spoke to during my visits to the South Coast, particularly in Cobargo and Conjola (Lake Conjola and Conjola Park). The relief centres organised by their local communities are inspirational.

 


Like many other news outlets, The Canberra Times now has digital subscriptions to pay for its journalism. So the gallery of my most recent cartoons is now behind a paywall.

The Gaza massacre

Cartoon: the Australian Foreign Minister responds to the Gaza massacre

There was global outrage at the use of deadly force by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian protesters in Gaza (at least 60 protesters dead, more than 1700 wounded).

The response of Australia’s Foreign Minister was five bloodless sentences, none of which mention who, exactly, suffered the “loss of life and injury” and who did the killing.

If you are a human being, as you probably are, you might think it would be difficult to explain away the massacre of several dozen people… You would, however, be mistaken. Propaganda defending murder is both simple to produce and alarmingly common…
“How to defend a massacre”, Nathan J. Robinson, Current Affairs

The Foreign Minister is due to appear in the August issue of Vogue.

(The Canberra Times, 18 May 2018 | Gallery of most recent cartoons)