Thursday, October 27, 2011


The theme for Novembers AFP magazine is 'violence', child abuse, spousal abuse, aggressive behaviours and how to manage or prevent them. And what I was attempting to bring to it was that sudden, frightening, often unexpected explosion of violence in the community. A line from The Last Poets just kept resounding: 'there are bombs standing on the street corners...waiting to explode at the slightest touch...'

Aspie and Me.

October's Child Magazine has a story from the parent of a child with Aspergers Syndrome, who discovered a help to her child learning to interact with others was to teach him a variety of appropriate responses.

Four colour fun

Finally got around to picking up Mike Mignola's and Duncan Fegredo's Hellboy The Fury #3. Achingly beautiful, story and art and dammit it's Fegredo's final regular issue! And if that wasn't enough, the sublime Guy Davis has decided to move on from sister book 'BPRD'. These two books, along with some Matt Fraction stuff for Marvel were about the only things sustaining a simmering interest. Ggggaaarrr.

BUT, just when the shoulders shrug: stumbled on Fraction and Gabriel Ba's CASANOVA. I'm probably the last person to know about it, but talk about renewing your faith. Chock full of mind expanding stuff, it's exactly like what it is. Lines like 'you're the linchpin of a cross-spatiotemporal assassination conspiracy no batch of N.E.T.W.O.R.K goons is going to stop' and beautifully imagined multiverse. Check out the newsarama interview.

Plus there's a letters section! CASANOVA Avaritia (the current storyline) Issue 2 has a take on digital piracy, pro's, cons thats worth the read in itself.


Been sidetracked with some non illustrative projects for awhile and playing catch-up today. The above was for an article in Septembers Child Magazine on one parents attempts to keep her family germ free.

Romance not dead!

If you love books and book design that goes beyond the photo library and embossed foil type, take a look at The Caustic Cover Critic blog. (One mans endless ranting about book design...) CCC has a finger on the pulse, a sharp eye for a rip-off and a sharper turn of phrase for transgressors.

This item on Fabers recent series of collected poems (cover designs by Miriam Rosenbloom) of the great romantics is a treat. Check it out by clicking the headline.

Yes, ok, plumbing

Octobers AFP mag focus was on Urology. And reviewing the reference material the solutions analogy was unavoidable.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Interview with Cultura Impopular

I was recently interviewed by Óscar Palmer about the Long Story Shorts series for Affirm Press. Óscar runs a small publishing house in Spain, Es Pop Ediciones and also maintains the blog Cultura Impopular , which discusses design, Illustration, comics and the like.

The interview is published in English and Spanish (scroll down for the english version) and really gets into the process and journey of creating the cover designs for each book, as well as the overall aesthetic. Hit the title above to link to the blog.

If you scroll further down, you'll get to a fabulous interview with crime writer Lawrence Block, titled Eight Million Ways To Write. Great stuff, taking you from write for your life pulp style early work to New York Times bestsellers.

It's a terrific blog, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about the material, so I'll be following it keenly.

Whoops: heres the link to the actual interview:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Westgarth Primary School Book Week

On Monday I was at Westgarth Primary School as part of their Book Week and talked to years 3 to 6 on the process of creating a picture book from start to finish. I spoke about the differences between working with a writer, Matt Zurbo on 'My Dad's a Wrestler!' and writing my own 'the Search for Bigfoot Bradley', showing initial scripts, drafts and first sketches, working with editors and publishers and the whole shebang, (at least the bits of it I know about)

The students were great, very enthusiastic, asking lots of questions about publishers, writing for an age group, turning an idea into a story, pictures for the story and the whole thing into a book. We did 4 groups in two hours, which was fairly intense but is great for focussing. Will make sure I take a glass of water with me next time.

Many thanks to Principal Grace Conway, teacher Glenn Richards as well as the other teachers I met and the students themselves, particularly those who gave technical assistance when I got stuck swapping powerpoint presentations!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Child Development AFP

Septembers AFP Mag focus is on developmental issues in children. The articles discuss how to detect potential concerns through milestone checklists, screening tests and clinical judgement to ascertain what the possible causes may be (such as psychiatric issues, Autism spectrum disorders such as Aspergers syndrome) and recommend strategies of intervention to assist a child maximising their potential.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Phew, a frantic few weeks doing some renovation on studio and home. Speaking of which: This months Child Magazine features a story on Extenders, which actually has nothing to do with home renovation but does provide a pretty tenuous segue.

When a child shows academic ability or interests a bit beyond their peers, occasionally it is recommended by the school they spend a day or two a week in a higher grade. This is currently called Extending. And trying to find an interesting angle on it, I took it out of the classroom, put it in the playground and turned a game of marbles into an astronomy lesson.

Friday, July 22, 2011

just for the hell of it

Winter sun shining today and in a continuing bid to avoid any real work or updating the website, felt like playing with a favourite character: Mike Mignola's Hellboy. (if you want to see some great comics illustration, check out Duncan Fegredo's stuff in the latest Hellboy. Gorgeous)

Wanted to just sketch it in vector, no roughs at all, and bypass the over-thinking steps, forget the refining and get a bit of immediacy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two Steps Forward

The final book in the first Affirm Press Long Story Shorts series is complete. Irma Gold's beautiful collection of stories, Two Steps Forward, set firmly in an Australia not in the tourist brochures, finds battlers and underdogs striving to overcome challenges and changing our notions of what it takes to be happy and finding light amongst the shadows.

As an added bonus, the letter 's' on the spine completes the word 'shorts'. Be the first in your street to collect the whole set!

And many, many thanks to Martin, Bec and Belle at Affirm press for all the feedback, support and encouragement during the series.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

AFP Magazine-Dermatology

July's Australian Family Physician focus is on Dermatology, I really wanted to show the emotional fallout as well, and how the outward manifestations of the various conditions can result in societal isolation as well as physical discomfort.

Thanks to Westgarth Books!

A Bigfoot thanks to Liza and all at Westgarth Books for making last Saturday so much fun and looking after me so nicely, in particular for having the right sized pencil sharpener on hand when I suffered equipment failure in the middle of a scribble. Plus they do a great coffee and cake if you're in the neighbourhood!

Many thanks to all who came along and to the talented kids who picked up a pencil and drew! (Must practice keeping eyes open in photos)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bigfoot Bradley at Westgarth Books!

Just a quick reminder that I'll be at Westgarth Books , 77 High Street Northcote this Saturday at 11.45, following the Children's Book Club. I'll be reading and scribbling but not singing or dancing.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Focus: Mental Health

June's Australian Family Physician focus is on mental health. The solution was based on on the prevailing opinion of finding a balance of treatment, therapy and coping with the distractions of life to achieve a balance in mental health.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Don't Peak at High School

Guess it doesn't strictly qualify as illustration, but good fun all the same.

Edited by comedian, writer and raconteur Fiona Scott-Norman and published by Affirm Press, Don't Peak at High School features some of Australia's most talented, successful and popular people revealing how being bullied shaped their lives. It's filled with insight, experience and inspiration to turn dark shadow into shining spotlight.

Praise be to the i-phone camera, a beaten up old tool locker, my very good little photoshop friends inside the computer, and all at room44, including junior staff, for their calligraphic skillz!

Where Commercial and Legal questions collide

The article, for the Law Society Journal, concerned the solicitors duty of care to a mortgagee, and delves into the degree of expertise across a variety of fields a solicitor may be expected to have in order to fulfil that duty. Maybe a good pair of gumboots would come in handy.

Focus: Menopause

May's AFP magazine focus was on menopause. After a number of conceptual approaches (I feel obliged to point out it was expressly forbidden to explore any imagery associated with change or metamorphosis!) we decided on the breezier approach above.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The search for a few pages from Bigfoot Bradley

Here's a couple of pages from The Search for Bigfoot Bradley, both because I just like them and also as a blatant piece of self promotion to encourage people to come down to Westgarth Books, 77 High Street Northcote on Saturday 2nd July at 12.00pm. I'll be reading, having a scribble and, of course, happily signing. Hope to see you there!


From May 1st to 5th I was honoured to take part as a speaker in agideas, the international design week. The staff and volunteers were terrific, calm, professional and enthusiastic. A great help if you're about to speak to a few thousand people. In fact, by the time it came to head out on stage, I was so at ease that time slipped away and I settled in for a much longer chat than time allowed.

Some highlights: the inaugural Next program workshop, where primary school students from around Victoria were encouraged to design things to make their lives better; Per Mollerup's concise (as simple as possible but no more) and hilariously entertaining presentation, Stephen Dupont's passion and commitment to documenting important moments in history, and the audible gasp in the room when fellow illustrator Stuart McLachlan presented his intricate and often epic in scale paper sculpture artworks.

There's many, many more moments that informed and inspired, and I'll write a bit more about it in an upcoming issue of Illustrators Australia Outline Magazine. I'm grateful to have been a part of it and special thanks to Eleni Kaponis from agideas and volunteer Caitlin Heimeier for shepherding me through.

Pictured above: a big, empty, not at all scary room at rehearsal the night before speaking.

Eco-nomical Parties!

Just did this piece for Child Magazine on creating ideas and gifts for kids parties that are both better for the environment and easier on the pocket by recycling the stuff in the back of the linen cupboard, or even grown in the garden. Did my bit by recycling some old fabric patterns and newspapers.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sunflower Bookshop Launch

The Search for Bigfoot Bradley was Launched last Sunday, (17th May) at Sunflower Bookshop and was a huge success. A stack or more of people turned up and helped give Bradley a great start in life.

It couldn't have happened without the lovely people at Sunflower Bookshop in Elsternwick, especially Deidre and Fay, who decorated the store with giant footprints (beneath which lay a few special prize tickets, including books and a couple of original bradley paintings) and chose some rollicking, foot stomping music to set the scene.

Many, many thanks to the parents, kids, friends and everyone who came along, had some fun and, yes, bought a book!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Boy and The Crocodile

The good people at Affirm Press are currently producing a children's book that will change the lives of vulnerable kids in East Timor. Publisher Martin Hughes risked the ire of airport check in staff to deliver paint and art supplies to the kids of the Familia Hope Orphanage, who will illustrate the story of The Boy and His Crocodile, the legend of East Timor.

The book follows Affirm Press commitment to influence by delight and raise awareness about underprivileged kids. It will be published in November with all proceeds going to the orphanage and until July 2011 you can pre purchase the book for just $10.00. If you'd like to check out the story of this wonderful initiative, pop over to their website by clicking the link above.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Strength in Numbers

Dean recently worked with agency the blue group for pro bono campaign 1 for 100 which encourages subscription to the Big Issue to raise awareness and prospects for Australia's homeless women. The campaign was produced in partnership with The Body Shop and appears in stores all across the country.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Launch for Bigfoot Bradley

Sunflower Bookshop in Elsternwick is launching my new book the search for BigFoot Bradley on Sunday 15th May 2011 at 11am. Sunflower has a tradition of support for local writers and artists and I'm happy and grateful that they've offered their beautiful shop for releasing Bradley into the wide world. We launched my book with Matt Zurbo 'My Dad's a Wrestler' there a year or so ago and it was a great success, though hope my drawing display splashes less paint on the carpet this time around!

If you've got kids who'd like to come along, give Fay or Deidre a call on (03) 9523 6405 or email


I've been invited to speak at agideas 2011 international design week, May 1st to 5th. There are 40 leaders in design and creativity speaking over 3 days at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and I'm tempted to say something funny and self deprecating to cover my nervousness about it!

Established over 20 years ago by legendary designer Ken Cato, agideas has grown to become one of the most respected design forums in the word. It's an incredible honour to be taking part. It'll also be a great opportunity for me to hear those leaders in creativity myself, including Natan Linder and his work in robotics and augmented reality, renown milliner Richard Nylon, sculptor/designer Matthew Harding and motion picture conceptual artist Iain McCaig.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 8, 2011

When the CEO calls in sick

Dean illustrated this article for art director Oliver Towning at Boss Magazine on the topic of what happens when the boss falls sick. How effective can the CEO remain? How does the business adapt? How much should the company disclose? And can the company really be run from a sick bed?

Routine Fears

This April's Child magazine features an illustration by Dean for the article 'Routine Fears' about the anxiety faced by one mother as her daughter competes in gravity defying gymnastic competitions and how she must resist the urge to over protect or face the wrath of an eight year old!

Adolescent Health

The March feature for Australian Family Physician is on adolescent health issues, including eating disorders, alcohol and energy drinks and the effects of bullying. After discussing with Art Director Jason Farrugia I opted for a fairly serious, almost portrait treatment, though setting it on the steps down the shops just drew itself.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Long Story Shorts

The latest collection in the Affirm Press Long Story Shorts series is Bearings, by Leah Swann. Described by Patrick Holland as

' lustful, violent and comic as it is by turns --– is a work of quiet reverence and respect for people, their dreams and their failings ... This is a work of pain so sincere, so lived and so wonderfully wrought it possesses the power to heal.’

Like the rest of this powerful series it's often intense reading and pushes you to give its character a unique visual voice while still remaining strongly identified with its companion collections. Its hugely rewarding to be involved in.

And as an added bonus the series to date has been accepted into the Communication Arts 2011 Illustration Annual, yippee.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My New Picture Book!

There was once a little boy with big feet.

He didn’t know why or where or who he got them from,

but he had really, really, really big feet.

So begins my new picture book the search for Bigfoot Bradley. And while everyone else is following giant footprints all over town, Bradley's just trying to find out where he comes from. And to hide those enormous feet from the kids at school...

It's the very first picture book I've written, illustrated and designed (at least the first one I've finished) and I certainly hope it won't be the last as I had a great time doing it. It's for Helen Chamberlin's new imprint at Windy Hollow Books and is due in bookstores in May.

Creative Magazine Illustrators Australia Awards

While we're on the topic of awards, Creative Magazine have announced the winners of this years Illustrators Australia Awards and am very happy to report that I got a gong for 4 entries, The Kinglake Cookbook, Smarten Up (both pictured below in previous post), the first three covers in the Long Story Shorts series and Street Drugs for Australian Family Physician magazine.

3x3(x3!) Illustration Annual

This possibly qualifies as not so new news, but the highly respected journal 3x3 Illustration Annual (Number 7) rather belatedly arrived on my doorstep last week, reminding me to mention that I was lucky enough to get three series entries accepted.

The entries were: The Kinglake Cookbook, art director Mick Sowry; Smarten Up, Boss Magazine, art director Oliver Towning; and Children's book My Dad's a Wrestler written by Matt Zurbo.

3x3 is a fantastic journal, completely dedicated to illustration, crafted beautifully every single issue and with articles by and about some of the finest illustrators around the world, including picturepig stablemates Nigel Buchanan and Christopher Nielsen, so it's an honour to be included.