Grieving on Social Media


In September I worked on an illustration for Shameless magazine, for an article about “Grieving in the Age of Social Media”. The article questions if social media affects our grieving process; does it help or hinder it? On Facebook one can create a memorial page, where the Facebook page of the deceased is preserved, and friends and family can comment on their wall. Some people find grieving online helpful; while others find it triggering and become saddened seeing their loved one’s Facebook memories pop up in their feed. A quote from the article:

The question still remains: is talking to the dead on social media healthy, or does change how you can “move on” once that person is gone? Whether you believe one or the other, the act of communicating with dead, publically or intimately, has always been around. Some mourners may write letters addressed to their deceased loved one, speak at their graves or try to communicate with them in a religious setting. – Kaitlyn Severin

In doing the illustration for this article, I learned about how people grieve online. I didn’t know Facebook had memorial pages for deceased people. The article also talked about memorial posts for deceased celebrities, and how Twitter and Instagram are used by people to express their grief for people they don’t know personally, but are still affected by their death.

Very interesting article. Unfortunately it is not available online, so I can’t link to it, but Shameless magazine is available in bookstores across Canada (I think), so check out your local bookstore for the magazine if you want to read the article.


Fairy Tale Print – The Story

I have an art show coming up in November at Dundarave. The theme is “Points of View”. My interpretation of the theme is narrative points of view. First person, third person, etc. I am taking one story (a fairy tale) and creating different images, each focusing on different parts of the story. The fairy tale I am working with is a Brothers Grimm story, called One Eye, Two Eyes, and Three Eyes. In the story there are three sisters, one with one eye, one with two eyes, and one with three eyes. One Eye and Three Eyes treat Two Eyes poorly and don’t feed her, because she is a “freak” and has two eyes like everyone else. Two Eyes meets a wise woman who tells her a magic spell to make a table of food appear, while she is caring for her goat. Her sisters find out about the magic spell and kill her goat. The wise woman tells Two Eyes to plant the goat entrails in the ground. A tree with golden fruit grows from the spot where the entrails are buried.

The first image I created is of the tree that grows from the goat entrails. I drew the tree with the goat intestines wrapped around the trunk, and the stomach and innards at the bottom. Two eyes are on either side of the tree to represent Two Eyes.


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Umbrella Greeting Card – The Story and Process

My umbrellas greeting card was inspired by rainy days in Vancouver. It was originally done as part of a school project on Tarot. My original project was to put a Vancouver spin on the Tarot imagery. The Swords suit tends to have negative connotations in Tarot, so I thought an appropriate Vancouver symbol would be the umbrella.

Too many rainy days in a row can affect your mood negatively. This is why Seasonal Affective Disorder occurs. I know during Vancouver grey winters if I don’t take Vitamin D and don’t get enough sunlight, my mood can drop.

Turning the umbrella pattern into a greeting card was originally suggested by my mom (thanks Mom!). It turned out to be a good idea, as it made a unique greeting card, and other people have purchased it.


The umbrella image was done in scratchboard, which is a subtractive method. Scratchboard is a surface coated with ink. The black surface is scratched away by a metal tool, leaving thin white lines. You can also create textured effects if you use steel wool on the scratchboard.


I created the umbrella image on the scratchboard first, which created a black and white image. Then I scanned in the scratchboard drawing and colored it digitally.

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Monitor illustration – the Idea Process

With any editorial illustration I do, I always start with research and thumbnail sketches (small quick sketches). Thumbnail sketches are to roughly draw out ideas. They are for the artist’s eyes only. In the thumbnail stage you want to get as many ideas out as possible, and not censor yourself too much.

These sketches are from the Monitor commission I recently completed. I was assigned a full page illustration and a spot illustration. The article is on marijuana legalization in Canada. At the time I didn’t have the full article to read, I only received brief notes from the art director. So my sketches are very general, and visualize marijuana legalization in a broad fashion.

Here are some thumbnail sketches that I started with. The page with the pill bottle is sketches for the spot illustration, which I was focusing on the medical aspect of marijuana. The second page is some ideas for the full page illustration. I was playing around with the idea of a revolution style poster. The third page is focusing on the medical side again, but this time for a full page illustration. I always include written notes with my thumbnails, it helps me conceptualize things.


The next stage is to create roughs of your best ideas. These roughs are what the art director will see, and how they will decide which direction to go. The first rough is the one the art director chose to go with. I also think it is the safest rough, conceptually. But seeing as we didn’t have the written article, probably a good choice. I visualized marijuana legalization in Canada by replacing the maple leaf in the flag with the marijuana leaf, and the Canadian flag is formed by the smoke.


The second rough is my favorite, the revolution poster style illustration. I was thinking of old Chinese propaganda posters. But instead of workers, I have marijuana growers and users. I was thinking of the marijuana legalization as a revolution, a new chapter in Canada’s history.


The third rough is focusing on the medical side of marijuana use. There are many health benefits to marijuana use, so I included drawings of the body and brain, along with a marijuana leaf. Some benefits include: relieving chronic pain, stimulating appetite, easing nausea during chemo treatment, relieving muscle spasms, and reducing seizures.


So that is a summary of my intellectual creative process for the Monitor assignment. In the next post I will go through the physical creative process of creating the illustration.

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Ten Inspirational Quotes with Tarot


The Star
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. – Helen Keller


The Fool
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. – Confucius


In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can. – Nikos Kazantzakis


The Hanged Man
Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.  – Og Mandino


The Tower
Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines. – Robert H. Schiller


The Chariot
Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory. – George S. Patton


Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. – Samuel Beckett


The Hermit
The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large. – Confucius


I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want. – Muhammad Ali


The Moon
Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness. – Allen Ginsberg

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My Tarot stickers are available in my Etsy shop.


Tarot Stickers – The Story

In this post I’m going to talk about my inspiration for my Tarot project and the meaning behind some of the cards. I started working on Tarot cards as a school project. At the time I didn’t know anything about them, but after doing some research became interested in the spiritual meanings behind each card.

There are two main parts of a Tarot deck: The Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana is 22 cards of the Tarot deck. It can be seen to represent major life events. It is also known as “The Fool’s Journey.” The Fool represents the soul, and it’s journey through life, death and spiritual enlightenment.

The Minor Arcana consists of four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. The suits are also related to the elements: Wands is Fire, Cups are Water, Swords are Air, and Pentacles is Earth. Fire is creation, warmth, action, energy and confidence. Water expresses feelings, especially love and relationships. Air shows us the mind, Swords tend to show conflict or sorrow. Earth is solidness and stability. It concerns money and work. Wands and Cups tend to be positive, Swords and Pentacles tend to represent difficulty.

I’m going to go through the meaning and symbolism behind three of my Tarot card designs. All of these are from the Major Arcana.


The Fool – The Fool can be seen as the character on a journey through life, as he/she goes through the cards of the Major Arcana. I have depicted the Fool as a traveller on a journey through the forest. He/she is setting out on their journey. I chose to focus on the positive idea of “journey”, rather than the recklessness that is sometimes associated with this card.


The Hermit – You can see The Hermit as yourself, or as a guide or teacher. It can symbolize being alone, and needing to learn about ourselves. It can also symbolize wisdom and maturity, in a spiritual guide or teacher. I visualized The Hermit as an individual meditating and focusing inward. He/she is spending time to learn about themselves and spending time alone.


The Magician – The Magician represents creativity, magic and energy. Energy flows through the Magician, but he does not try to control it. The divinatory meanings of The Magician are consciousness, light, creativity and transformation. It also represents magic. With this image I focused on the energy aspect of the card, and drew energy coming out of the Magician’s mouth. I have the energy coming out of the mouth because he is not trying to control the energy. I also included magic symbols in the image.

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about Tarot.

Source: The New Tarot Handbook by Rachel Pollack

The Tarot sticker set is available in my Etsy shop. The set contains 15 of the Major Arcana card imagery.

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Koi Fish Silkscreen Print – The Story


In this post I’m going to talk about the meaning and symbolism behind my koi fish silkscreen print. I’ve been thinking about getting a koi fish tattoo, but after an inquiry at a local tattoo shop, decided I can’t afford the tattoo I would like. But I still wanted to create some koi imagery, so I made a silkscreen print instead.

Koi is the Japanese word for carp. Koi were bred for their distinct coloring. Koi fish symbolize transformation, and overcoming adversity. They are considered strong because of their ability to swim against the current. There is a legend about the koi fish:

In Chinese and Japanese myth, there was a giant school of thousands of koi fish swimming up the Yellow River in China. They swam against the current, gaining strength. The Yellow River has a waterfall. Upon reaching the waterfall, most of the fish turned back, because it was too hard to swim against the current. The fish that remained continued to try to reach the top of the waterfall; for one hundred years they persisted. Finally, one koi fish successfully leaped to the top of the waterfall. As a reward, the gods turned the koi into a beautiful golden dragon. Source 1 Source 2

A koi fish swimming upstream has different meaning than one swimming downstream. Upstream means you are currently in a struggle or battle in life and are fighting and won’t give up. Downstream means you have already overcome your struggles, and are no longer fighting.

I used blue partly because it is my favorite color, and it also symbolizes peace, tranquility and calmness.

Thanks for reading!

The Koi Fish silkscreen print is available in my Etsy shop.

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