Category Archives: illustrations

Community of Authors Shine

THIS anthology follows on from the critically acclaimed debut volume The Writing on the Wall.

Writers from the Moreton Bay Region of Australia present 24 short stories, each one illustrated by an accomplished artist in Can you believe it…

This is the middle volume of a three-year Arts Alliance Pine Rivers project to showcase the writing and artistic talents of a local community.
This second anthology add a smattering of poetry, ranging from the comic through parodies to the lyrical.
In both words and illustrations, contributors range from people who earn or have earned a living from writing or art to those being published for the first time. The age range of the authors is from 16 to writers in their 80s. At least two of our authors do not have English as a first language. Two of the contributors are 16-year-olds, Sarah Hewitt-Howell and Maddi Mitchell.
Ken Armstrong digital art for Kay Curran’s Brilliant Colours about an artistic boy who learns about life from colours 
The stories range in style from humour to dark tales.
In this volume darker stories dominate, perhaps attesting to a bleak house at the centre of today’s world But even sombre stories have the power to uplift.
Michelle Caitens art for Maddi Mitchell’s
Too Late for Heroes 

Some of the illustrations are from award-winning international artists which is a huge bonus.
Elena Ventura illustration for Anne Ollson story 
Best Mates

This volume and its sequel Sweet and Sour combine for the perfect gidt for someone with a keen eye for a literary, albeit with some flaws, among the genres.
Buy Can you believe it… HERE 

Here is our celebratory video

9 ways art tells the story

THREE years ago, the not-so-magnificent seven of us were sitting around, drinking coffee and eating crackers laden with chili-cheese dip.
We were gathered in the comfortable recreation room – actually a detached building – at the home of Arts Alliance president Ken Armstrong.
It was one of monthly committee meetings of the alliance we had formed two years earlier as an umbrella organisation to represent the artists of our local area.
President Ken did not have to travel to meetings at his place and, in exchange for that comfort, he supplied the excellent coffee, tasty dips and the occasional small glasses of red wine.
Representing the arts community,  those of us who enjoyed a quiet drink felt it was fitting to indulge in the traditional arty red rather than a white cousin.
Theatrical representative Ray Swenson suggested the Alliance put together  an anthology of short stories from local writers.
Artists Ken Armstrong and Daniel Wagner said we should illustrate each story. The annual arts alliance anthology was born. Ken and Dan produced the covers for the first anthologies.
Ken took on the role of Illustrations  Editor at our usual rate of pay  –  priceless appreciation for a love job well done.
An  anthology of short stories, each with original illustration, is a rare beast.   I am yet to see one from the Big Six mainstream publishers. Such a creation fulfils for the vow of Bent Banana Books to produce books that are different.
I present a selection of the  art from  our 2010 and 2011 anthologies
Elena Ventura creates a technologically enhanced citizen for Brenda Simcox-Hunt’s sardonic tale  2060 Woman. Elena was a finalist in the prestigious Australian award (since 1949) Blake Prize for Religious Art named after the poet/ artist William Blake who some believe was a Druid priest. It is from the anthology Can you believe it…
Multi award winning artist Michelle Caitens renders an impressionistic urban landscape for the story The Other Side of Life, written by the artist’s daughter, Jenna Caitens for The Writing on the Wall, the anthology coming soon as an eBook through Bent Banana Books. The story and artwork are now available in 5 Strong Bricks in the Wall.
This Ken Armstrong illustration is for Audrey Sanderson’s The Anniversary (available in The Writing on the Wall and 5 Strong Bricks in the Wall.) I like the sense of joy Ken has captured as the young woman tries on a new pair of shoes.
Another one from Elena illustrates Best Mates by Anne Olsson from Can you believe it.
Elena’s skill has rendered a vivid portrait from the back. Can’t you just see the sunset or the lagoon the contented couple are looking at. 
Michelle’s sketch of a young woman has such fine detail in the eyes, the mouth and the clutched note. You just have to love how Michelle has captured the state of the young woman’s mind in the hair. It is for Too Late for Heroes, written by 18-year-old Maddi Mitchell and found in Can you believe it.
Another from Ken for Peter Bowler’s Tempting the Devil  (available in The Writing on the Wall and 5 Strong Bricks in the Wall.
 Yet another from Ken, this one illustrating my story Codpiece and Chips from Can you believe it. My anti-hero Steele Hill has three loves – horse-racing, rock music and girlfriend,Natalie, unfortunately, in that order. A meal of fish and chips is prominent in the yarn.
 You have probably gathered Ken is very much hands-on as an illustrations editor. This is is his artwork for L. G. Dalton’s A Once Upon a Time Tale in Can you believe it.
But Can you believe it HERE and 5 Strong Bricks in the Wall HERE