Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Mantra: Have Courage

This time last year I was planning (and worrying) about the most exciting adventure I've embarked on in the short time thus far that I've been on this earth. I was moving away from everyone and everything I knew to study in a foreign country, France, for 5 months! Sure, I spoke the language. I had connections there; an old friend who coincidentally was going to be there at the same time; a school program to welcome me and give me some structure and a place to meet people... of course, I would be fine.

It's really weird to think back to the whirlwind of emotions I was feeling. I was so damn excited, but so nervous. The combo was overwhelming! I had started seeing someone, a really nice guy, but it was silly and bittersweet because I knew I was leaving in just a month and that things would end. I was so scared I'd hate the school program; that I'd get sad and not have my circle of support, my friends and family, there to cheer me up. I was scared of the dangers that come with living alone as a young female in a foreign land. I was scared that I would love it so much that I wouldn't want to come back - that I'd be torn between a city and my life back home.

So, we've established that I was scared. Alongside all this worrying I became really close friends with a boy who I have always been able to talk to fluidly, whose opinion I cherish. He told me:

"I think it's a good thing you're scared, because if you were completely comfortable, what's the point? What could you learn, how would you grow?""

 If you've been following for a while now, you'll remember me posting about this almost a year ago here! I also wrote how this inspired me to choose a single New Years mantra, to Have Courage.

Let me tell you; this mantra was the most perfect coupling of words to remind myself of this entire year. It's been an amazing 12 months - and part of it is because of the decision to throw myself headfirst into life and all its little or big adventures, and not let my nerves hold me back. The boy who told me those words is the great guy I'm currently seeing and he is still the very best, and I am glad we both had the courage and patience to wait the 5 months until I came back home. And Paris? Absolutely life changing, as cheesy and cliché as that sounds. I embraced it the very best I could and had so many adventures, made so many friends and memories that I will forever hold dear to my heart. I constantly remind myself to have courage and it helps me to fully enjoy my every day and wahtever opportunity comes my way. Life is so, so full and so good.

I don't know if I really WANT to change my mantra for 2015, it served me so well this year. Maybe I can just come up with a second one, an additional mantra. Can't hurt, right?!

Do you make New Years resolutions, or have a mantra?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Somethings: A Happy Holiday

Happy holidays everyone! I hope you had a Merry Christmas, and if you celebrate something else I hope that too was wonderful! My holidays are always super busy - I actually still have one last holiday dinner with more extended family tonight, wooee. It's been a really wonderful time of year, filled with lots of family and love and hugs and gratefulness. I for one got teary-eyed a few times because I felt so fortunate and thankful to be surrounded by such loving and generous people.

A few somethings from this Christmas:
1. Christmas morning with my dad, siblings, sister's boyfriend, and step mum's family. Santa brought us all funny socks in our stockings!

2. My mum got me a beautiful tapestry from a fair trade store, it's made in Bangladesh and I'm so in love with it!

3. A few weeks ago I had to get a new phone (bad timing - most expensive time of year, ahh!) and I ended up getting the Samsung Galaxy Note, which comes with a stylus and pressure sensitivity and so I've been drawing and drawing and drawing on it, it's the perfect phone for an illustrator! This (slightly drunk-looking) Santa is one of the doodles I did.

4. On the way home from a concert downtown, we passed by this street of giant blow-up Santas in a cab. We vowed to go back and take a walk down Santa Claus Lane. A date on Santa Claus Lane! We were disappointed by this year's lack of snow, but I am so glad we went anyway before they took them all down. It was so bizarre and eerie, but also really fun!

How were your holidays? Any little holiday somethings you'd like to share?


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Free Printable: 6 Collaged Christmas Cards!

This season I decided to collage all my Christmas Cards. Things got really fun and goofy hehe. I scanned all of my cards before handing them out and thought I'd might as well share them with you guys in case you're looking for some fun, last minute cards to give out! I'm pretty fond of the silly happy faces that came out of these mini collages!

Download the 6 images here!

Let me know if you print these out!
Enjoy ;)


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Something New: Weaving!

I'm really excited to share my latest creative endeavour with you guys! It's probably because wall-weavings are super trendy right now, but I felt absolutely compelled to give it a shot on my own. I've always been very drawn to textiles and it's nice to be have a bit of free time from my illustrative school work to create in such a hands-on way.  I'm obsessed!

These are very early attempts - already just looking at these photos I see so many things I'd do differently the next time! It's all a learning process, right? It's fun to learn which types of yarns work best for what, which I personally prefer, which ones leave little micro fuzz stuck in my eyelashes and are impossible to spot and remove... haha!

I'm really into this one, mostly because it's the most recent therefore the better one hehe. Plus the pea-green colour in the middle is one of my favourite yarns - I've actually had a few balls of it for years.

So this is what I've been up to with some of my spare time since school's been out, busily making away to hopefully give some of these out as gifts this holiday season!  It's hard to part with my work though (always is), so I took the time to photograph these properly so I can sort of keep them, in my own little way!

What do you think of this weaving trend? Have you tried it?


Gift Ideas: 3 Quick and Easy DIYs

If you're anything like myself and the majority of us really, you may find yourself less than a week away from Christmas (!!) with a small budget and a need to whip up some usable, beautiful gifts for the special folks in your life. My problem with some DIY's I've done in the past, is that sometimes they aren't really functional or the taste of people I am giving gifts to. So! I've rounded up some fun gift ideas that are relatively easy and wouldn't take too long that your friends and family can actually use and appreciate. You may even have most of the required materials already!

1. Soy Candles (DIY & Photo by The Baker Chick) this is what my mum and I are doing this year! We make ours a bit differently, but this is a solid idea, and it's eco friendly! Try to buy un-treated cotton wicks  and natural essential oils for maximum environmental friendliness! We actually go to the local thrift shop to pick up little cups and containers to make ours extra special, and it's so fun to choose and mix fragrances!

2. Felt Woodland Creature Felt Masks (DIY & Photo by A Beautiful Mess) this is such a cute idea for any kids (or kids at heart!) that you know! I would have loved a handmade animal mask when I was a wee one!

3. Clay Bead Necklaces (DIY & Photo by Design Love Fest) simple statement necklaces never seem to go out of style - I could also see this working with wooden beads that you can buy at any craft shop! I would personally have a lot of fun painting fun patterns on the beads!

**** Bonus! Here's a small list of free holiday printables by some of my favourite bloggers!
Christmas Card Templates by Cocorrina
Beautiful Gift Tags by Oana Befort
Cute & Funny Printable Cards by A Pear & A Spare

Happy making!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Seventh of Eight Semesters

I write this post from a position of absolute relief having just finished my semester at school. It's the seventh out of eight semesters in my university experience, which means I have only one semester left! It's insane how time flies, but I'm really excited to take advantage of the last stretch of being in school and learning from the excellent profs in my program. They have tons to teach so I'm going to soak it all up while I can!

Meanwhile though, I'm on holidays! I've already spent the weekend going to shows with amazing bands playing, enjoying some sleep-ins, crafting away in my little studio to make some Christmas gifts, and just generally relaxing a bit. It's been really nice to take a breather and create in a self-directed way that I really enjoy!

Are you on holidays right now, or soon?
Any fun plans to fill up your little bits of free time?

ps. I saw this graffiti near my school on my way home from my last critique! I thought it was a cute sign reminding me how happy I am to be done ;)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Somethings .o2

- The above photo is one of the things I'm going to miss from school when I graduate; the incredible view I get at all times of the day! Sun rise, sun set... my classrooms are high above the rest of the buildings around us so the views often distract me from class.

- My fella got me a beautiful coffee percolator and some organic dark coffee for my birthday! I've not used my family's one-machine-does-it-all coffee maker since. I used a percolator in Paris and fell in love with the flavour of the coffee it makes - so rich and delish! I'm kind of obsessed.

- I am just about all done with school for the semester! Wooee! I've just got a painting due Thursday and then it's a wrap. On that note though - one of my profs sent me a message to tell me I did a part of my final essay wrong, and suggested I re-do it and resubmit it so that I don't lose marks. I thought it was so kind of her to reach out like that. I really did have a handful of amazing profs this semester!

- Since I've been done with classes I've been trying my hand at weaving, which I've shared on my instagram! It's so fun! I have a bunch of yarn lying around from when I used to knit like a mad woman, so it's nice to give it a use and to work in such a tactile media for a change!

What's been on your mind this weekend?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gift Ideas: 3 Etsy Shops I Love Right now

Etsy Gift Ideas

This is the second year that I am shopping small and handmade for Christmas gifts. It's something near and dear to my heart and I do believe there is always an alternative to the big bullies and mass produced goodies. As a bonus, it always feels so good to support artisans and specific individuals as opposed to corporations!!

I might be focusing on making my own gifts this year in the spirit of being budget friendly, but I have been daydreaming nonetheless; scanning some of my favourite etsy shops for ideas. I've been digging anything rustic and western lately, and as always I love me some good, earthy, speckled ceramics!

Which Etsy shops have you been into this holiday season?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Fun Black Friday Society 6 Sale!

There are some cool sales in my Society 6 shop for Black Friday today (including FREE worldwide shopping!). Check out my shop for some goodies and maybe consider some fun gifts for your loved ones for the upcoming holidays? 

A fun little anecdote for you guys: My friend in Scotland, Meg, bought herself the Imaginary Friend Tote from my shop. She messaged me a few days ago to tell me she was asked about it by a girl who worked at Topshop over  in Scotland and gave her my shop info - I promptly sold another tote bag, just like that! I should hire Meg as my official overseas sales woman ;) How exciting is that!

And again, happy thanksgiving to my American friends as well, enjoy your food and families and friends!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

21 before 22 | Birthday

Right before my birthday I shared my 20 before 21 recap, which I feel I did pretty well on! Now it's time to look forward with a brand spankin' new list of things I'd love to accomplish in the coming year! Some of my goals are more ambiguous than others and some I feel will happen naturally (hopefully!).

I'm really looking forward to the year to come! I'll be graduating, and hopefully dipping into the 'real world' of work and actual ~*ADULTING*~. Because being 21 calls for strictly adult behaviour of course... ha, ha...

My birthday was extended almost the whole weekend, what with the fella and friends and family to celebrate with (the 3F's!) as well as to celebrate my sister's birthday two days after mine! It was so nice to have everyone be around for lots of hugs and laughter all weekend long, I feel so fortunate to have such a loving crowd so full of life to surround myself with.

On that note, happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! Enjoy your week!

Friday, November 21, 2014

See, Read, Listen #4

See: Frida Kahlo's 'Self Portrait with Necklace of Thorns'. I did a little lesson on Frida at work last week, and we did symbolic self portraits based on how she did hers. I love Frida, she's one of my favourites! So it was a very fun class, and I think the participants enjoyed it too.

Read: In this post about who Danielle (from Sometimes Sweet) wants to be for those she loves, I absolutely understood the sentiment and I feel I'm on the same page. She words it so perfectly that I just have to share!

"Quite simply: be who you are, be that person loudly. I'm weird, you're weird...let's get weird together."

Listen: This is the band I'm going to go see tonight for my birthday!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

20 before 21 RECAP

As is popular amongst us bloggers, every year I make up a list of goals on my birthday. The way I do it, it's a fun little activity and I enjoy trying to come up with list items all day, sometimes with the help of others I spend the day with!

This is a quick little recap of my "20 before 21" list, I didn't do so badly this year!

1. Travel: Well, duh. I moved to Paris, and from there traveled to Denmark, Belgium, and other parts of France!

2. Stay in shape: This goal is a bit ambiguous...

3. Read at least 6 books: I read: On The Road (Kerouac), Dharma Bums (Kerouac again),  The Buddha in the Attic (Julie Otsuka), Geek Love (Katherine Dunn), All My Friends are Superheroes (Andrew Kaufman), Journey to the East (Herman Hesse). I'm probably forgetting one somewhere in here, but otherwise I managed my goal exactly haha!

4. Go Camping
5. New blogging project: In the works!

6. Do something I've never done before: Lived on my own in another country, traveled on my own, went to bars in Paris, Met family I'd never met before in Denmark & Belgium, became a wedding photography intern (what), went to a comedy bar, lotsa things :D

7. Go to a concert of a band I absolutely love: City & Colour (in Paris!), The Growlers, Of Monsters & Men

8. Write more letters: I wrote postcards all the time from Paris

9. Move forward with Solé
10. Learn to make platformers

11. Cook for my family more: Yes, since I've been home anyway

12. Develop a badass thesis: In progress!

13. Spend some time at the beach next summer: Done!

14. Buy Grapefruit by Yoko Ono

15. Find Ramen and Burritos in a foreign country: Burritos in Paris, oh yaaa.

16. Make more connections: I feel I've started on this, which is nice!

17. Keep up w Lifeboat Jamboree

18. Write poetry again: a little here and there.

19. Use my camera more often: Kindaa....

20. Make awesome memories: Oh definitely, it's been an incredible freakin' year.

My twenties are off to an amazing start, I feel super fortunate for the opportunities this year has brought me, it has been a year with plenty of new experiences and growth, and I wouldn't take a single second back for anything. A big shout out to everyone who played a role in my life this year, and years before, and years ahead. Particularly the friends I made abroad, and the friends who stuck around while I was away. I love you all. </cheese>

I'll be back sometime in the next few days (when I'm done celebrating!) to share whatever list I come up with tomorrow!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Winter Winter

I woke up this morning to a Toronto blanketed in winter whites, and I had that little pinch in my heart that comes with the romance of a fresh, bright covering of snow. A lady at work this morning mentioned she always knows it has snowed when she can look out her window at 4AM and the sky is glowing, and it's so true! The moonlight that bounces off the white of untouched snow can be really bright and ethereal.

My friend Sabrina and I went on a little adventure downtown and snapped these shots with her instax. Look at her with that funny grumpy fruit mural! I love the lo-fi quality of instax photos.

Did you hear there's a shortage of the mini film though? I can't find them in any of my usual stores! I mentioned to the lady that works at my I might have to turn to online if I get really desperate...

It's my birthday this Friday! I'm looking forward to hopefully getting enough schoolwork done during the week that I can enjoy the weekend of festivities. I'll be back later this week with a recap of my 20 before 21 list, as well as a list of my goals for my 22nd year.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Somethings .o1

- 7 years later and I still fangirl over this little pup every day

- I keep daydreaming about my future, about what life will be like post graduation, how quickly that comes, how intimidating but exciting it is. Future blogs, future projects, future art.

- My existentialism readings for class are helping me approach my interactions with people and events more wisely and for that I will be forever in debt to Jean-Paul Sartre.

- The onset of winter weather gives me the itch to 'make'. More so than usual, that is. Something about being indoors and Christmas coming up and all that jazz!

- My birthday is at the end of this month! I'm excited to celebrate this year, hopefully go to a good show by a local band at one of my favourite Toronto bars. The good stuff!

What's on your mind this weekend?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Illustration: Spencer

As I've mentioned here before, this year I have embarked on a year-long, magical journey called 'thesis'. There have been ups and downs in the process - one minute feeling right on track, then feeling completely lost and frustrated the next. Yesterday I had a critique on this piece (and one other you may have seen on my instagram) that really lifted my spirit and got me excited about it all!

Without further ado, I am happy to introduce you guys to Spencer!

Long story short; Spencer is my alien character who is trying to fit in amongst humans, attempting and failing to interpret our daily behaviour and habits. 

Here, Spencer tries to take care of pets the way we do, and he really does want to take good care of them, he just doesn't quite get it right...

ps. this is just a quick iphone shot, will post proper scans once I get it back from my prof!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween 2014

Happy Hippyween! We threw these costumes together really last minute for a little get together at my cousin's. The best part is we used only things we already owned and a few fun accessories from our figurative tickle trunks from costumes past. Not pictured are our tie-dye socks and the groOoOovy temporary tattoos we went a little wild with. I think there's still a peace sign behind my ear and a butterfly tramp stamp I haven't been able to scrub off yet...

We spent the evening at my cousin's with some great goofy folks (my cousin's husband was dressed as a hobo wizard, his friend in a woman's crayola crayon costume... it was wild) then went home and watched Young Frankenstein (the one with Gene Wilder). It was a bucket o' fun!

I love love love Halloween, and one of my favourite parts is seeing everyone's costumes in pictures the next day (One of the single big events that overtakes social media that I seeeriously enjoy!)
So please feel free to share links to your costumes in the comments here, it's really one of my favourite things to see!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Thought & Image | Thunderstorms

I took this photo with my iphone somehow (magic!) when I was in Paris, sitting next to the Eiffel tower in between the times it would begin to 'sparkle' every hour on the hour until midnight. We watched with our backs to the tower, eyes fixed on the storm. It was overwhelmingly powerful and mighty, just fantastic to watch. And of course, it didn't hurt that we were on the south side of the Seine while the storm was over the North, so we were left dry and cozy.

Thunder storms are one of my favourite things. I hate rain, and I hate grey days. But as soon as the electricity comes out to play and the thunder booms about, I'm a happy gal.


Friday, October 24, 2014

What is this space?

What do I want it to be ?

Do I want to share my art, only my art?
Do I want to share photos of my clothes, my 'lifestyle'?
Do I want to share others' work, and promote the creative, online community?
Do I want to let go, open up, and talk about issues close to my heart?

I have reasons to want to share all of the above, and reasons to share none. I'm not sure what I want this space to be anymore.

I've shared outfits in the past, thrifted finds, DIY's, recipes, wishlists, etc. etc. and I used to love that. This blog used to be called 'Kitty Snooks' and it was a space for me to place my energies after a rough patch, and that ended up being a fashion blog.

I now share my art, but somehow that feels empty and impersonal in this space. I like connecting with the online community and fostering it, but I don't know in what way shape or form I feel comfortable doing that anymore. Lately I have found myself reading blogs more than I have been writing them. I like to keep up with the friends I've made online!

How do you decide what you do or do not want to share? Have you found your focus shift dramatically like I have?


Monday, October 6, 2014

Painting: Fishbowl

(C) Katia Engell 2014
Acrylic on masonite, 42" x 24"
I recently finished this painting for a class assignment! It was one of the first where we were given plenty of choice with concept and abstraction (gotta love 4th year freedoms!) and I landed on this. It's a role reversal wherein my 'sirens' have become the seduced by likening them to fishies hoping for food. This was a super fun piece, I eeeeeven enjoyed trying to get the hands and the shirt folds just right!

As the weather gets cooler and the sun makes fewer appearances, I find myself retreating more and more to my studio space, turning on some music, and painting away. Here's to hoping I can take this current love of painting and translate it into some productivity for my thesis series, which should get into the actual creating-images-stage after this week! Woo!

By the way, I've finally created a Facebook page for my art! Check it out here! And maybe even click 'Like' while you're at it?!!


Friday, October 3, 2014

See, Read, Listen #3

See: Irving Penn's stunning photography. Always.

Read: The musician at my volunteering showed us this article the other week, about listening to music with intention, and how music can bring us to empathy!

Listen: Alt-J's new album is the and I can't get enough of this song in particular:

Happy friday folks!

Who's happy that it's October? As always, I can not believe how quickly time is flying by. You'd think I'd have learned by now and not be so surprised whenever another month reaches its end...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Painting: Beach Scene

It's about time I share some actual art work on here again! This big babe's been a slow process, mainly because of school and other such time consuming priorities. But, it is finally done and headed to the frame-shop sometime soon! Thought I'd include a fun process reel with this post since I was very diligent at documenting each stage, for whatever reasons.

It was really fun painting at such a large scale (4ft x 5ft), though admittedly I still have to get used to it in terms of actually applying the paint to large areas and whatnot. It's so freeing though, not to be tied up in itty bitty details like I normally emphasize in my illustrative work!

All a fun learning process, and so exciting to see the finished work from afar after working so closely to it in my little basement studio space!


Handmade Happiness

My friend Kathryn of Marrow Textiles (stock to be updated soon, I've been told!) was part of a pop-up shop full of handmade goodies this weekend, so I paid her a visit and also treated myself to some gorgeous pieces by other artists who were selling there! I'll post the other purchases at a later date, since they are meant as gifts for my mum's birthday (no spoilers!!!), but this funky ceramic necklace is from a company called 'Passerine'. They don't seem to have a website which is too bad, I'm totally in love with this necklace! Plus, it happened to go perfectly with my outfit today. Bonus!

I've been slowly gravitating towards a focus on purchasing only handmade/from small businesses, or thrifted things. It's always been something I loved, but I now find myself passing big-chain stores and not even wanting to go in. Not because I don't like the stuff. But because I hate the idea of something as unsustainable as disposable fashion and big corporate crap. So these little goodies made me very happy today. Also, my shirt was thrifted - booyea!

What is your favourite handmade/vintage shop lately???

Friday, September 19, 2014


Tie-dye days have happened twice now. There's something to be said about spending time outdoors, breathing in the last bits of summer air, and creating without the pressure of creating 'art'. Tie-dye is suuuuper loooosey goooosey and experimental and the results are so satisfying, even the drop sheet we used to work on looked hyper cool when we were done with it!

I now have a rad colourful dress, two tops, shorts, a tote bag, some socks, and even some psychedelic undies! Tie-dye is the perfect way to insert a couple drops of colour into your life, just in time for some of it to leave as fall approaches. I'm allll for neutrals, but let's face it, sometimes a grey autumn day requires a little jolt of colour!

I guess this is a bit of a fair well to this summer. Man, it has been a good one; a lively and colourful season full of the unexpected, much like tie-dye ;)

Friday, September 12, 2014

See, Read, Listen #2

See: The beautiful patterns by Georgiana Paraschiv. Her website is absolute pattern porn. Visit for some visual stimulation n' some seeeeerious satisfaction.

Read: How to See Creative Potential in what you do on Illustration Friday is an interesting take on how to deal when you're feeling a bit down on yourself and your work/status in the creative world.

Listen: to something a little bit groooovy. Saint Motel's "My Type":

Have a wicked weekend, friends!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Art School and Body Image

I am so, so happy that body positivity is one of today's hot topics. I love that so many windows have been opened for everyone to share and explore their thoughts on it together, especially in the blogging world. I was inspired to write this post as a link up over at Elizabeth's blog.

When I finished high school and my doctor told me I had stopped growing, I struggled to accept the fact that I was now, essentially, out of time. There was no more time for my legs to grow longer and leaner, these new unknown curves were here to stay, and I missed the deadline and was now stuck in the itty bitty titty committee for the rest of forever, probably.

The clock on physical growth had ticked its last tock and I was stuck with a body I wasn't comfortable with. It got to me in the way it easily does young women, how can it not when we are bombarded daily by corrupting media, not to mention those in our lives who are equally as influenced by the media? It's such a damaging cycle we've got ourselves stuck in, and we are ALL in it as members of society, no matter how much we change our personal views as an individual.

Fast forward a few years. I went through my first few years of art school, and man, did it ever change my perspective on body image on sooo, so many levels:

1. Curves are really damn beautiful,
and so incredibly wonderful to paint. So are 'awkward' shoulder blades that stick out beautifully, casting amazing shadows down your back. Not to mention severe bone structure on your face, and endearing freckles all over, and crazy lion-hair. Drawing and painting beautiful, real, imperfect life models both male and female, drastically changed my perspective on beauty and what it means to have a beautiful body.

2. Quirky is cool, to put it simply. This goes for both physical stuff and when it comes to personality. Pressuring yourself to fit into a mold that was not made for you will only end badly, so why stress? My most favourite art school friends are quirky as hell and they embrace it.

3. You have to suck it up and get over this idea of 'beauty'.
The amount of times I've slugged myself off to early painting class in my grungiest clothes, lookin' a hot mess, is not even an issue anymore. None of us look glamorous in painting class, and the one person who always does is just inviting Murphy's law into their life, and ends up with paint splotched all over themselves. You have to kind of just get over it and show up to do your work anyway.

4. By creating, and focusing all my energies into my art, I realized that this is what I exist for. NOT being beautiful.
Creating is what I genuinely WANT to invest my time and effort in. Beauty is fun and fabulous, yes, but if I'm having a bad hair day, or feeling bloated and awful some days, does that really matter in the grand scheme of things? No. Because even if my hair looks like I narrowly escaped a deadly explosion, I can paint something awesome. If I have a pimple smack dab in the center of my face, I can still come up with a kick ass creation. So no, this is not an invitation for perpetual bedhead and pimples galore, but if it happens? It's not going to ruin my day. I exist for so much more than just beauty, deal with it.

Don't get me wrong. All of these things I have to be reminded of daily, and I sometimes forget, which is a normal process I think. But it is the best feeling ever when I'm sitting in class, painting a live model in a room filled with other creative souls, and I have this moment of appreciation for all things beautiful, and all things not. This moment of appreciation for myself and for my little contributions to society, none of which involve being beautiful. This is how art school changed my perspective on body image, and what I believe is really important in life.


If you want to read more about body image and some rad gals with great opinions on the topic, check out the link up over at Delightfully Tacky!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Unlikely Likeness .o3

Pardon the Iphone quality of these! The top photo is a picture of the underside of my school (which looks like this). The bottom is one of the most beautiful pigeons I've ever seen! I saw it while sitting on campus and the resemblance between pigeon and architecture was uncanny; their appearances both pretty ridiculous and wild!


End of August // Update

Well, it's the end of August.
How the hell did that happen?!
I've been happily doing my thing, doodling lots, trying to grease the wheels a bit before I hit school next week. I'm about to start my thesis project - which I will post some progress of here for sure. It's going to be really great to see what it is I'll end up working on for the entire upcoming school year... daunting, but exciting! I have to write my proposals for 3 ideas, and see which one gets approved. So that's my next week or so!

This recent doodle of the "Hand House" was a fun one. Patterns and details galore!

How about you guys? Any exciting plans for your last leg of summer?

Friday, August 22, 2014

See, Read, Listen #1

See: I recently discovered Scott Moore's illustrations while perusing the image library of postcards and other various inspirations where I volunteer! The image on the postcard I found, which is my favourite, doesn't seem to exist online (probably due to selling it to the card company) which is too bad, but the rest of his work is just as surreal and beautifully painted!

Read: Elizabeth at Delightfully Tacky wrote this great post about bras with underwire vs. bralette types for small chested ladies. I have always admired Elizabeth's candor and beautiful writing style. I love that she tackles these sorts of topics with such grace, and with some great photography to boot!

Listen: (and watch!) Chet Faker is a current favourite, this video for his song 'Gold' is stellar.

Wooee, is it already Friday? My cousin Alice is getting married tomorrow, and I'm a bride's maid! Holy exciting! Meanwhile I also have to write up my illustration thesis proposals for the start of school, fun stuff guys (but actually, also very exciting!).

What are you guys up to this weekend?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Illustration: Lilies n' Lilacs

An initial tattoo design for a lovely friend.

Trying to figure out how to draw a lilac bunch was pretty tough but I'm pretty pleased with how it came out! If/when my friend gets it done I'll try to share a photo of the result.


Lately | Mid August

Needless to say, I've been a busy bee. It's been a great summer being back home in Toronto thus far and I am enjoying it to the fullest! I spent a week at a great cottage with my family, visited my aunt's place up north a few times where we went swimming and had campfires, ate lots of yummy food (and started to try introducing chicken into my diet again... not sure if I'm loving it...), saw some friends for baking dates, worked on a giant 4ft x 5ft painting, continued to be obsessed with patterns, had a tie-dye date and made some pretties, attended a wedding, seen some art shows, gone to some concerts.

On top of all that fun stuff, I have been interning at a wedding photography studio which is turning out to be a really great gig! I've also been volunteering at a centre for people with alzheimers and dementia, hanging out and painting and listening to music and a whole lot of laughing and giggling with the participants who are all so wonderful. My afternoons there are often the highlight of my week.

Yup, life is really good. I feel surrounded by positive, interesting energies and I am getting myself in gear for the upcoming school year which will be my LAST of my undergrad (holy goats) and I'll be starting my illustration thesis. Lots of work and stuff ahead of me... but lots to share as well!

Will be posting some more of my work up here shortly, once I get a minute to breathe in my schedule! Hope you're all enjoying your summer/respective seasons depending where in the world you are!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Iscream Uscream

Some fun icecream patterning, made from bits of an assignment I had in Paris! Icecream always screams summer and beach days to me, so I felt revisiting it was perfect for the season!

It's also available on some fun things on Society 6. Check it all out here! I really love it as a pillow, and the clock is pretty funky too!


Thursday, July 3, 2014


Home is so many things to me.
Home is the people; my family, friends.
Home is my puppy and his company when I most need it.
Home is where my art supplies are (important).
Home is where I can go to the coffee shop around the corner and catch up with all the baristas.
Home is movie nights and endless conversations.
Home is a big kitchen with an oven and microwave.
Home is visiting my aunt's place in the country side.
Home is nature, big spaces, and green.
Home is Tim Hortons coffee, sometimes.

Home is probably my favourite place.

It's been so, soooo good to be home. I missed my family so much, it's the best to be home with them. My friends threw me a surprise welcome-home party complete with karaoke and it's just been the biggest joy to have so many wonderful people to come home to.

Trying to get back into the swing of illustrating and posting and sharing and creating, and busy with volunteering and a possible internship position! Will get back to posting more illustrative works soon.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Paris // Last 3 Days

(photo by my friend Gregor)

There are so many things I want to write about. It feels like a mini-life time's worth of anecdotes, lessons learned, adventures had, things observed... These 5 months in Paris have been nothing short of life changing and it is very bittersweet to have it be coming to an end in just three days.

Once I am home I will write up all the things that I am so excited to share. For now though, I am fighting off a terrible sinus cold (because my body has terrible timing) and trying to spend as much time with all my friends here as possible. The weather has been incredible, so hopefully that continues. I've also been trying to find the perfect gifts for friends and family back home - which is harder than it seems! I think I've spent more money on that than I have on myself this entire time in Paris, but I love them all (the people back home, not the presents, haha) so it's all good :)

Wishing you all a happy, sunny weekend!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Free Shipping on Society 6!

Get free shipping on all sorts of goodies over at my Society 6 shop until June 8th!

CLICK HERE for my Society 6 page!

In other good news - TODAY WAS MY LAST CLASS IN PARIS.
Now here's to a weekend of fun, sunshine, and friends, before I go back to Canada next Tuesday! Woo!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Unlikely Likeness .o2

When I visited Vaux le Vicomte a few weeks back, I wore my very bold yellow/orange sweater. I was surprised to find I matched the moss on the stone rails outside the castle, as well as the walls and this luxe bedroom within. I don't mind - it's such a sunny colour, it's nice to see it amongst all the grey weather here.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pattern: Popcorn

(c) Katia Engell

Now, just because my school work hasn't been explicitly 'illustration' doesn't mean I haven't been squishing it in wherever I can! These fun little popcorn kernels were drawn for an animation project (which I will also share once it's done by next week!). The more I looked at them the more I wanted to turn them into a pattern. Clearly my obsession with patterns isn't going anywhere anytime soon...

Drawing popcorn at a large scale was such a weird, abstract experience! It was so much fun to analyze the way popcorn is shaped and made up as I drew the kernels!

This pattern is up in my Society 6 shop HERE, available on a variety of things (I think the pillows and phone cases look really cool!!)

Ahhhh guysss! All of my finals are due next week - then I'm all done school, then I go home! I can't believe I'll be home so soon!


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Paris // 16 Days

Holy goats! I have a mere 16 days left of my Paris adventure. These past few weeks have been some of the very best, as I'm sure the next two will be as well! The weather's been nicer (sort of), we're a much closer group of friends now, and we're all making the most of our time left here despite being totally swamped with school work!

(Quote by J.K. Rowling,Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

To be fair - I'm not dreading going home at all, it's going to be so so nice to see everyone again just in time for summer and I am really looking forward to reuniting with my 'people'. It will be bittersweet though. I've become mega fond of our group of friends here and really close with quite a few. It will be tough to say goodbye, but realistically, with my good ol' bud the internet it won't be impossible to keep in touch. Plus we always talk about visits with one another if we ever find ourselves in someone's country! Collectively we come from Australia, Canada, Hungary, Italy, Scotland, Spain, and Switzerland. We're quite the international group! It's such a once in a lifetime chance to meet such a variety of incredibly fun, wonderful people!

A lot of the above photos are from an evening we had at the Seine, where we donned some crazy animal masks for one friend's photography project. It set a really great goofy tone for the rest of the evening, and we definitely caught the attention of other Seine-side drinkers. Whenever boats went by we put the masks on and waved to them, ha! It was a seriously memorable night, one for the books!

All this to say, I will be a bit absent from this blog while I focus on enjoying my last weeks here. The good part of that is that it means I'll have plenty of stories to share once I'm all done ;)

ps. Yes, the bottom left photo is indeed a selfie with people taking a wee in the background. Shh.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Outfit .o2

Shirt: Gap // Pants: Matter // Shoes: Birkenstock // Necklace: Open House

I'm definitely feeling the lights and brights and the trend towards simplicity this spring! Always with a weird twist though - just for some fun! This bizarre little hand necklace would be perfect for that. I love the small details that make an outfit unique, like a simple necklace or ring, or a small embroidered patch on a shirt that is otherwise super basic.

I am also dying for a pair of white birks, I think I might splurge on a pair when I get back home to Canada. Less than 3 weeks to go!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Unlikely Likeness .01

It is so fascinating to find two things that are unexpectedly alike. Lately I've been putting pictures of things side by side to compare them and thought I'd start sharing them here. This beautiful church in Copenhagen made me think of Hershey's cookies n' cream bars; one of my favourite textures (and one of my favourite chocolates too, if we're being real here). The day that I stumbled upon this chocochurch I promptly picked up a Hershey's bar on the way home!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Paris: Vaux le Vicomte

Last weekend I went on a little trip to visit a relative just an hour outside of Paris. I got the chance to visit 'Le Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte". Ever heard of it? I hadn't! It is a bit of a shame that it isn't more widely known because it is the castle that inspired the really famous Versailles! One dude saw the gardens of Vaux le Vicomte and said "Hey, if he can have a big garden and castle, so can I! And I wanna make it even more grandiose and extravagant!" Quite the accurate piece of history right there.
(Not really) 
(Don't base your facts off this) 
(Not an exact quote)

Anyway, it made for a slightly less-busy, less overwhelming experience than Versailles (though Versailles is still well worth the visit of course!). I also wore my new super yellow/orange sweater which surprisingly matched a lot of the colours in the castle, despite being one of the more out-there colours I have in my wardrobe here! To be fair though there were so many paintings, tapestries, murals, etc. in so many different colours, that I was bound to match something regardless of the colours I wore!

Walking through the gardens here was also a really nice experience - just calmly going from level to level, pond to pond. The garden was designed to create an illusion of greater space when viewed from the castle, so the further you walk the more you discover! Pretty neat!


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Humpday Digs 09.05.14

• A few months ago I commissioned my buddy Joel to do something "burrito related" for me. He does some rad illustrations so I knew that even with a vague request I would getting something rawkin'. I totally forgot to share it when he first did it, so here it is now! Pretty accurate to my personal belief system I must say... haha! Check out more of his work here.

• In this interview, Young the Giant frontman Sameer Gadhia explains the thought process/story behind each song on their newest album. I'm a big fan of this band and their new album and loved reading about each song and what it means to the band. Super cool to get that insight!

• Apparently Michael Cera has a whole bunch of look-alikes... most of whom are women and children. Check out the hilarious comparisons here!

• After watching Emma Stone's lipsync battle on Jimmy Fallon earlier this week, I was already pretty sure that the show was probably the funniest thing I'd never started watching properly. But now, after this skit with Zac Efron and Seth Rogen, I am absolutely convinced. Check these out if you're in need of a good laugh (also, Zac Efron makes a really cute girl. It's a must see).

I'm having a really busy week with school (with some cool projects I'm eager to show off upon completion!) and my friend who's staying with me for the week! It's nice having a roomate for a week, she cooked for me when I had class until late, and bought flowers, and helps with dishes....  *insert terrible housewife jokes here* Ha! It's been lovely.

I'll be posting more when I have more time, got a couple fun things to share!


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let's Talk: Patience & TV

This semester in Paris I've been taking a photography class. Of all my non-illustration based classes, this one's proving to be the most fun! Creating an image is creating an image, no matter what medium you're using. My prof pointed this out to me when I had my complain-y "I'm an illustrator not a photographer!" pants on. I don't always understand what he's saying (mumbled rambles in French are even harder to understand than ones in English) but this statement really got me.

For this assignment we had to pick a scene from a movie that really stood out to us and re-create it. I chose to do the sleepover scene from Grease and ended up doing the part where Rizzo sings to Elvis asking him to keep his pelvis far from her! For those of you who follow me on instagram, now my fake-freckle attempts make sense - it was for this assignment!

(the original scene)

I digress. Doing this project (though really, REALLY fun) got me realizing something; I have become so impatient with watching movies. I get bored and distracted so easily. I check my facebook, my instagram, hell sometimes I start reading the news on my phone, all while my movie plays and I miss dialogue and important scenes. This is not a testament to the quality of the movies I choose (though admittedly I sometimes give movies a chance when I really should just trust the reviews...), it's because I've been watching nothing but TV shows since being in Paris.


1. TV shows are so easy to watch online, and being away from home I don't have a DVD player or my brother's Xbox or Netflix (there is no French Netflix) for movies here.

2. It's easier to fit in an episode of my favourite show in between homework or classes. And easier to justify watching a shorter episode when you really should be doing something productive...

3. The episodes are designed to be fast paced, suspenseful, and to leave you hanging at the end wanting more. They cater directly to the easily distracted.

4. I care more about the characters because I've been following some of them for years (anyone else have a Grey's Anatomy guilty pleasure?)

5. I don't even have to wait a week to watch the next episode since I can start a show at any time online and binge-watch entire seasons all at once (Game of Thrones I'm looking at you)!

Now, just because I can justify it doesn't mean I think it's a good thing. 
Shows have their merits of course, but movies are a different kind of art form. They are one-time masterpieces, not on-going, so they have to prove themselves and their worthiness all at once. The character development is trickier since it has to happen within a few hours, not a few seasons. Sure this means there are a lot of crap movies where this isn't achieved, but it also means there are some brilliant ones with inspired minds behind the scripts and characters and sets and costumes and soundtracks and just everything (think every Wes Anderson film ever). It just takes a little bit of patience to weed through the bad ones and focus for longer periods of time, through the highs and lows of the movie. Patience to get to know new characters every time and learn to love or hate them in the span of a few hours. Patience to take the time to sit and watch a movie instead of binge watch episodes of the latest trendiest show.

I'm going to work on this. I think it's important to watch films, not only to appreciate them as an art form, but to take the time to slow down and practice patience. Patience is a virtue, as the saying goes, and I can't help but feel my patience dwindle as my TV consumption goes up. It'll be easier to watch movies when I go back home to Canada (41 days!) and get reunited with my dvd player and Netflix, but that doesn't mean I can't start now!

So, what movies do you guys recommend? Seen anything wonderful recently?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Illustration: Jackalope

My illustrator friend Erik was drawing a wee little jackalope and encouraged me to draw one too so we could compare. I know they're make believe, but jackalopes are such majestic little creatures! I've had the pencil drawing finished since before my Copenhagen/Belgium trip, and I was sooo looking forward to coming back to colour it and finish it up! I challenged myself to give him curly horns and let me tell ya, they were certainly a challenge. I think they turned out ok though!

I miss my illustration folks back in Canada - fellow students, teachers, all of them. We have such a fun little community and I am so excited for next year with them. It will also be my last year at OCAD... holy guacamole, where has the time flown?

Ps. Check out Erik's illustration work here. He's a talented dude!