Monday, 7 September 2015

meet Challenge member: Ian McLean

Ian McLean

1. Your name, location
Ian McLean, Penrith NSW

2. Describe your family
Unmarried. Am the eldest of three sons. “The creative one."
Week 5 2015: KITCHEN

3. Describe your work
I’m a teacher-librarian in a primary school. I have also been a classroom teacher, and the editor of a professional journal for teacher-librarians.
Week 2 2015: ITALY

4. What is your career goal?
In recent years, my career goal has been to finish writing a Young Adult speculative fiction novel and to have some picture book manuscripts accepted for publication. Now I’m envisaging illustrating a picture book as well.
Week 29 2014: PLANE

5. Describe your art background
I undertook art as my major study at teachers' college (1977-79), and attended evening college hobby classes for the next five years. During that period, I published two amateur fanzines of charcoal sketches of 'Star Trek' aliens and developed an interest in 3D photography with a Nimslo camera. Joining the 2014 Challenge renewed by interests in art. As a primary school teacher-librarian, arty projects often come my way, including creating digital slideshows with students.

Week 46 2014: CIRCUS

6. What do you love about the Challenge? What have you learned?
I have really appreciated forcing myself to keep the weekly deadlines! Knowing the 52 topics ahead of time, and being exposed to the daily uploads from all the other group members, helps to get ideas percolating in my head. Without the Challenge, these ideas might often flash through my head, but I don't usually act upon them. Or I simply never put aside the time and another once-great idea fades away. With the Challenge sitting in a corner of my brain, a mere stroll through a $2 bargain store, a new art supply store, the local Bunnings, the dog park, a cloud formation, or a classroom at school, ideas for possible ways to marry certain themes and art media can merge - and emerge - resulting in singularly clever and innovative artworks. Without a doubt, some of my favourite pieces I've shared in the Challenge have been physically created in just minutes - sometimes seconds! - but the thought processes may have evolved in my head over many days, or weeks, and sometimes months.
Week 11 2014: ARCHITECTURE

7. What is your favourite illustration you have done for the challenge so far?
That’s becoming harder and harder, with now over 18 months worth of artworks under my belt, to pick a favourite. Perhaps it is the first collage I was really happy with: "Week 23: Feast", from the 2014 Challenge. It actually made use of a leftover test monoprint from "Week 19: Fish"! Turned upside down, I added highlights and shading with watercolour pencils. A 3D fishnet was created from aluminium craft mesh. A shark was created with satin-finish card and permanent black marker, then glued to the front of the mounting frame. The shark’s mouth was cut from a small piece of gesso-primed watercolour canvas.

Week 23 2014: FEAST

8. Tell us something that we don’t know about you
I created an Andorian persona (a blue-skinned “Star Trek” alien with antennae), to use in costume parades, fanzine stories, gameshows and fanfilms. That character, Therin of Andor, has now had two recreational parks and a starship named after him in officially licensed “Star Trek” novels.
Week 14 2015: WHIMSY

Follow me online:
Website: “Number 96 Home Page” at
Blog: “Have Phaser, Will Travel” at
Facebook page:

Twitter: @therinofandor

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