Saturday, March 23, 2013

March: In like a Lion, out like a fire breathing, lion eating dragon.

It's been a very long winter. It's officially spring, but the snow on the ground here in the T dot would tell you otherwise. Much like our awesome spring snow (not) the work on my plate seems to be consistently refilled. I am actually much happier about this than the weather.

I happily completed the super fun ad job- for now. Here's hoping that there is more coming down the pipeline. I had a  great time working with the art director on the gig. I was lucky enough to get one more quickie ad job this month. I am just finalizing the contract on one more REALLY fun job- I can't WAIT to tell you about this one- that I'll be able to tell you about in May. Freelance illustration rocks always and forever!
Much to my sister's relief, I also finished designing, screen printing, cutting, and folding her wedding invitations. The hard work was well worth it. They turned out beautifully. My friend Michelle was kind enough to help me with the cutting and folding. It really hit it home that if I were more willing to accept help that it would move my projects along at a much quicker pace. Something to keep in mind when I start working on sister number two's invites later this summer. 
I also sold a couple more tea towels on my etsy shop.

In addition to the super cool illustration job I mentioned above, I'm also making a monkey-rific baby shower invite design and an owl-rific painting for a little baby that's set to arrive pretty soon. My friend, Erin- A.K.A. future mommy- doesn't know what she's having, but I'm going to call it here. It's a boy. If it's a girl I would be very surprised. I'm set for a busy as heck month.
This month is not so much about Ramona. Don't tell her that.

 A couple of dear friends, Kate and Derek, are currently in Mexico, days away from becoming husband and wife. Ronaldo and I were not able to make it to the wedding, so instead I'm taking care of their little cat Suki. Though I love Ramona to death always, it's nice to be around a kitty that won't scratch me or hiss at me. She's as cute as can be too.


March is the month of Ronaldo's birth as well as our anniversary. We've been together FIVE YEARS!! Time flies by! I love him more now than ever before. Needless to say we've done a bit of celebrating, especially with the addition of St. Patrick's day in the March mix. I also took a trip to Ikea to get myself a new organization treat- a book case! 


A friend of mine showed me this video a few weeks ago and it cracked me up so much that I just HAD to share it. Cat Mario. Live it. Love it. Don't touch the mushrooms. 
Peace out 'til April.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Been gone so long.

You know, I believe that some people are built for technology and some are not. It's a natural thing. I really wish I were one of these folks, but I'm not. Truth be told when I'm not making things I'd rather be reading, playing with Ramona, drinking with Ronaldo and/or friends, making online shopping carts brimming with J. Crew outfits that I don't intend to buy, washing dishes... really anything other than marketing my work on this or any other online forum. I haven't even tried twitter. Let me be honest here. 

This year is already shaping up to be an even busier year than the last, and so I wanted to challenge myself right from the beginning of 2013 to post once a month. I'm not even going to try to post more than that. I'll make it a good one, with shots and words about art, Ramona, LIFE, process, and anything else totally awesome I can think of. Let this be the February edition.


I'm not going to dwell, but my tea towels are getting popular. I wish they were more popular online but if you re-read my opening of this post you'll know why they aren't. I spent a lot of time working on them in November and December, but this month I have more pressing projects and so production is at a complete halt. I am working on a really fun illustration job for some advertising that I will tell y'all about when I can. I'm also working to finish my little sister Martha's wedding invites by the end of February. Busy month, art wise.


My girl has had some life changes in the past few months, namely the loss of her favourite scratching post, our couch. When it became obvious that she had hit the wood base of both sides of the arms and were picking up bits of couch filling from everywhere in the apartment we knew it was time to get a new one. So, we bought a beautiful grey west elm couch. We figured that we had to set up a strong defense against the number one couch destroyer. We sprayed it with cat repelent, we put double side tape on each of the arms, we kept a seat cushion from the old couch, and we put soft paws claw covers over her claws (her least favourite part of the process). To our surprise, she has had no interest in the new couch. She enjoys chewing on the double side tape, but that's it. It makes me a bit nervous about where she is scratching now, but I'll cross that bridge later. That's Ramona's February news.

January was lazy for me, life wise. It always is, after the rush of Christmas. At the end of the month Ronaldo and I took off on a tropical escape to Cuba. I spent lots of one on one time with him. I spent no one on one time with my iPhone. I fed stray cats and dogs. I touch none of them because Ronaldo was afraid of me getting diseased. It was glorious, and just what we needed.

There is one totally awesome non art related thing that I have to share with you. Ripley's kittens. It's a 24 hour a day live stream camera on an animal shelter cat and her kittens. It's being filmed somewhere in mid west US by an awesome guy, foster Dad John. You've GOT to check it out. You will LOVE it!

That's it 'til March! Ciao!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August update.

Why, hello there friends!

I hope that wherever you may be that the sunshine is warm on your face and that you are within walking distance to some swimming location. It's been a fantastic and busy summer so far for me. I have a been working on a few things that have been keeping me hopping. First, I'm JUST about ready to start working on my sister's screen printed save the date cards for her wedding next summer. It'll be my first time screening on paper. Experts in the field of printing have said that I should find the process a piece of cake after printing on wiggly tea towel fabric and I'm banking on their words. Got the screens, got the paper, ink comes tomorrow and I'm on my way!
 I don't want to ruin the surprise of the reveal in the mail, but here's a little corner of a mock up I did of it.
I also just completed a promotion with Three in a Box. It was a Christmas in August theme. I will post the full finished promo in a bit but here's a little corner of that as well.
I also noticed at the local coffee shop that the CIBC Run for the Cure has started using my painted running shoe art in their campaign for this year.
This is the first shoe that I painted for them and my favourite. Painting on a shoe was a difficult task but something that I'll never forget!

Last but certainly not least, I will be manning a Claire Manning table at this year's Bloorcourt Arts and Crafts Street Fair here in Toronto. The big party is in a week and a half on Saturday August 18th right on Bloor Street between Dufferin Street and Christie Street.
I will have my tea towels for sale, as well as my greeting cards. I will also have a small run of silk screened posters and a few of my hand embroidered throw pillows. And with that reminder to myself, I must get back to work. Stay cool, cats.



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A little more from ICON7, and a little from the home front.

Another week has slipped away. Although I am more than back to normal home life I am still savouring my time away in Providence at ICON7. I am going to continue sharing bits from the event until there is just nothing left to share, but I'm going to do it along side home life too. 

I'm going to start with a little conference talk, more specifically the ICON7 Rhode Show, which I was fortunate enough to be a part of. The concept of the show is pretty simple. Display your beautiful work for the illustration world to see, and sell a little (if you want). Though there were a few Rhode Island sales tax heart attacks for this Canadian girl, I was able to sell my tea towels as well as show my portfolio. Thank goodness for that, because they sold like hot cakes! I never posted the new designs, did I? Well, here they are!
 You might say it made me a bit happy that everyone liked my work so much.
Photo courtesy of Angie Alonza
All of the folks that came around to check out my stuff and have a quick chat with me were lovely. I particularly enjoyed speaking with recent grads and looking at their work. They are a refreshing bunch. I can't believe it's been eight years since I graduated. Seeing them reminded me that I can't just sit on the couch and watch Master Chef (though I love it). Doors must be knocked and art must be made! I also had a few personal super stars pick up an absorbent Claire Manning original. One of the first people to drop by was Susie Ghahremani of Boy Girl Party fame. Yeah, that's her website on the list of things that I love. What do you do when a total inspiration buys a piece of my work? I was a total nerd, and way too excited to see her and Julia Rothman, who was browsing the show with her. I've really got to work on acting cool. One day I hope that I can license my art as successfully as they have. My major moment of the night was when a woman came by and asked if I could set aside 3 sets of my tea towels while she went and got her cheque book. No prob, I thought. Well, "cha-ching!" is what I really thought, but when she came back and I read the name on her cheque I realized it was Lynda Weinman.

As in THIS Lynda.
She even looks like the logo a bit! Upon this discovery I threw all three sets of towels in the air and lost the ability to count and organize. It took me fifteen minutes to take the cheque and get the towels in her bag. I believe that Ronaldo taught himself After Effects with the tutorials at She is a legend. I was also visited by Dan Santat and Adam Rex, amazing children's book illustrators and authors. I am embarrassed to admit that I had not heard of them before the conference, but I am now a super fan of both of their work. 

Another important visitor to my set up was Amy from Craftland, an absolutely amazing craft/art/awesomeness store and gallery space owned by the one and only Jen Corace. Amy suggested that I drop by the store and consider submitting a vendor proposal because she thought my towels would fit well in amongst the rest of the awesomeness. So, on my final day in Providence, and my only free day to explore the city I found Craftland.

It was as cute on the outside as on the inside and I loved it.
I have since applied and am awaiting a reply!

Craftland was the highlight of that day. I was pretty hung over from the conference closing party which didn't help. That wasn't the main reason I was a little bummed with Providence. It was the number of bums in Providence that bummed me out. The town seemed empty except for clumps of drifter type folks hanging out everywhere. I assume that in the school year with everyone around it's not as odd. I felt, firstly, that I likely looked like I belonged in their crowd, and secondly, a little unsafe, even in broad daylight. Every street was pretty much void of people. I ran into a particularly vocal homeless woman down one of these streets. She was yelling at a homeless dude that was walking away from her. She got louder the further he got from her. I stopped to look in a window just so I could listen to her insane rant. It was amazing. So much so that the first thing I drew in my sketchbook when I got back to the T Dot was her rant, just so that I could get it in writing. I didn't get a good look at the scene because I didn't want to draw attention to me so I replaced the homeless folks with cats, of course. 

I put my sketchbook on my studio floor to take a few pictures and, like clockwork, my super model cat came around for the photo shoot.
I just went with it. Work it, Ramona!

That homeless woman really was crazy, eh?
A very happy fourth of July to all you fantastic Americans out there!

Monday, June 25, 2012

ICON7: Part one.

I have been home from my Rhode Island adventure for one week now. Frankly, I needed a week to decompress and digest all that I learned. It truly was a jammed packed three days. Here are a few quickie shots of some of the things I experienced.

First, I flew to Providence in a small plane. The smallest I've ever seen at an airport that is not featured in a beloved 90's sitcom called Wings. That's the pilot out front. She was one of two crew members on the flight. The other was the co-pilot. No complimentary drinks on this little fella.
The view from the inside is a bit scary, no? It actually wasn't as bad as it looks. A definite first for me. I can now say with confidence and knowledge that I prefer a bigger plane.
This is a photo from the Thursday night key note presentation. The three folks on the couch were mega players at,, and They had some pretty great stuff to say about their own company, as well as online community and presence. I'm up and running on Esty, but I will be starting accounts other social media sites soon, including Behance. At least that is what I told Matias Corea, the Behance speaker. Better stick to it.
An illustrator that I was inspired by but, quite embarrassingly, was not familiar with was Bob Staake. He spoke about his career in editorial and children's book illustration and his growth as an artist. His work was totally up my alley, and after I looked him up I realized that I had seen his stuff before. I guess I have a new illustrator to look up to. 
Another speaker that I adored was Christopher Silas Neal.
I came to the conference a ready made fan, and was intrigued with his presentation on a collaboration project he did for Kate Spade. An animation based on the colour navy. With synchronized swimmers. And a whale. How could I NOT love it? Ronaldo has been telling me for years that he would help me make an animation of my characters and Chris made me excited to actually go for it.
Chris was not the only speaker I was pumped up to see. I have been a HUGE fan of Jessica Hische's work ever since I saw her flow chart of when you should do work for free. Look to your right and you will see her website link in my favourites list. She did not disappoint. She was dispelling a terrible talk from ICON6 in L.A. that basically said that the static image is dead and if you don't animate your career will be too. She swears like a sailor, but it was kind of the coolest thing ever. If you go see the Wes Anderson movie Moonrise Kingdom (which I did, and it's awesome, and I'm writing a post about it soon) you will see her typography and lettering throughout it. And it's beee-a-uitful. 
I could write a book about this conference. It was expensive, but worth it. My tea towels were a total hit, which made me feel pretty good about my own work amongst such amazing talent. I'm going to put up little tidbits I learned over my future posts, rather than give you a novel right now. Before I head to bed I will leave you with a quote from the final key note presentation of the conference. Brian Rea (who's illustration work is all over the T Dot right now for the Soulpepper Theatre) and Paul Sahre re-imagined author Malcolm Gladwell's first three books into a stunning, fully illustrated, packaged set. They put up one of Malcolm's quotes that really rang true to me.
 I figure if I do what I love that I will never be a fool.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Two months in photos.

Yes, yes. I have been away from the spotlight for a while now. Don't think that I have been twiddling my thumbs. My life's a busy and fun one! I am about to head to the beautiful city of providence in Rhode Island for this year's illustration conference, ICON7. I'm hoping that I come home with plenty of new stories and exciting things lined up for the future! Here's a little montage of the significant events that I've been up to since April.
I've been working on presents that are owing. This is a veggie piece that I'm working on for my sister.
I said goodbye to an old friend. The Green Lantern was adopted by a lovely new family. He will be a happier turtle with kids to lay with him, but it wasn't easy to let him go.
 I made LOADS more tea towels. I am fully stocked with my root veggie and piggie screens.
I took a trip to the ever wonderful New York City with my day job. My first time to shop for inspiration around the city and it was fantastic.
 I've taken Linus on a few spins around Toronto. I take him pretty much everywhere I go.
 I also take this guy everywhere I can too. Biking fun!
 I took some beautiful photos of my tea towels, with the help of my friends Derek Matthew, and Julie Tamaki's fabulous kitchen. I then took those photos and used them to promote my tea towels on my Etsy page. Yes, that's right. Go to my etsy site and buy a towel now! Only if you want to, of course. You should want to. They're pretty great.
  I took a three hour learn to ride a motorcycle class. It was intense. I must say it was fun, exhilarating, and heart racing experience, but don't be looking for me on the road with one of these any time soon. I'm going to stick to the smooth ride I get on Linus.
 I hung out with one of my two sisters. She's passionate about animals in clothes. Ramona was given this cute little Scottish hat by her. You can tell from their expressions how it went over for each party involved.
 I saw the Dave Matthews Band. Again.
 I ate yogurt with Morgan.
 Chobani yogurt to be exact. It's a brand that's new to Canada. So far it's only available in Toronto at Loblaws stores. It's yummy greek style. I was invited to attend a little shindig they threw in the city last week. They had this lovely little make your own yogurt bar.
 I tried to make mine pretty, but as the story of my life goes, it got messy. I tried to compensate by adding a little flower. Anyway, the yogurt is delicious and I totally recommend trying it if you are in Toronto or the U S of A.

 I had so much fun making the first two tea towel designs that I decided to do a couple more! I will be debuting them at the conference this week. These will be available on my etsy site soon too, as well as a couple store front locations I will share once they're available.
You may think I'm focusing in my rings, but alas, this photo is about the brace. I have given myself tendinitis through my silk screening escapades. A great fear of mine has been realized. My right hand is injured. I will be fine, and the brace will always be there for support, but I will never take for granted the limits of my hand and what I can and can't do. 

I will be at ICON7 from June 14th through June 17th, in providence, Rhode Island. If you are attending I would love to meet you. I will be back to write all about it soon!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Oh, hindsight.

Hello all! Happy hump day! I was sitting here working away when I had a sudden urge to share. Since Ronaldo is not in a sharing mood and I don't like sharing with Ramona (she always takes, never gives) you hit the sharing jackpot! 

First, a thought on Facebook's massive purchase of the photo editing application, Instagram.
You may notice that I use Instagram a whole lot to edit my photos. I actually really love it (clearly not as much as the Zuckerberg) and I will continue using it. I am happy for the folks at Instagram and their well deserved riches. But man oh man, if I could turn back time to two years ago when I started using this super cool app- when everyone was all about Hipstomatic and couldn't give two shakes of their iPhone to Instagram- I would have bought me a slice of the pie and I could be rolling in solid gold coins right now too. My easter egg properly expresses my feelings on missing out on massive wealth. I guess I'll have to keep working for my money.
And so I shall keep on working. This is my massive pile of tea towels that I have been prepping for my next round of printing. I bought more than my first run, seeing as they were pretty successful. I will be re-printing the two original prints and adding two more new ones to the mix. You'll be the first to know when they are up for sale on my Etsy page.
I'm also working on a majorly late birthday present for my little sister, Dr. Emily. She graduated from optometry school and had a birthday last June, and I told her I would do a painting for her new office. Clearly things have gotten in the way and I'm a bit late on delivery. I can hear her tapping her watch from afar. Anyway, I really wanted to do a grand piece about the wonder of the eye, but when I sat down to think of ideas I saw it more as a grouping of small paintings. Four in total. I told her over Easter dinner that she was getting four for the price of one she assumes that it's a form of accruing interest. I see it as taking care of this year's birthday too. We'll see who wins. I will be updating on the progress of this quadrilogy. 

That's all for now. Ciao!