I’m not doing any full on creative challenges this October, and am instead doing a bit of a mashup of prompts that match up with my theme of “big extinct animals.” I think extinct mega fauna are fascinating and this is the perfect excuse for some research. I’m also choosing a smattering of days from #inktober, #mintober (created by artist @mcmintea) and #spookyoctober, (created by Taylor Krulicki and Marina Dubuc) instead of doing every day of the month. I’m hoping to have some fun playing with illustrations and ideas for children’s illustration.
This month an illustration of mine is featured in Shameless‘ New Media Issue. an “independent Canadian voice for smart, strong, sassy young women and trans youth,” I wish this magazine was around when I was a teen (instead I got really weird ideas about how my eyebrows should look and developed an obsession with attaining Fetish perfume from YM.)
The article, Online Cooking Videos: Tasty But Faulty, by Chelsea Philipps-Carr explores the upsides and downsides of learning to cook online. In it Chelsea describes the white (as in Caucasian ) hands in Buzzfeed’s Instagram Tasty videos that speed through recipes that are often derived from non Western cultures.
That feeling in the forest, when you sense a rhythm and knowing larger and wiser than your little anxious brain. The ferns, trees, fungi and mosses are running on ancient time and knowing, that breathes so slowly, inhaling our our exhales into the earth. In the forest, I feel like my body can remember that it is not the silly thinking of groups of people trying to sell things and prove things that are in charge. It is thoughts so old and expansive I don’t even know the words. In the forest, my body can remember how to be cared for.
This is my fourth illustration considering the body as an organism in ‘Botanical Bodies.’ Also a moment to consider that all bodies deserve access to nature without judgement, and that our current sizeist culture is a barrier to this. Many folks in large bodies cannot access equipment or sizes they need to take part in nature based activities, and / or are treated negatively when occupying these spaces. All people, in all bodies, should feel welcomed in nature spaces without a lens of healthism or fitness imposed upon them.
This is A Job For Mommy! An A-Z Adventure is coming out this week (and for sale!), and I am sitting with how good it feels to have created artwork for a project whose message I believe in so fully. In Keegan Connor Tracy’s book, “Mommy” has had 26 careers (one for every letter of the alphabet) and shares her experiences with her daughter in rhyming verse.
With a focus on jobs that are not traditionally considered “feminine” occupations, Keegan encourages readers to consider that women and girls can do any work – from the messy and physically demanding to the silly, scientific and adventurous.
Having supported diverse learners in school settings for the past nine years, this really resonates with me. Though we are comfortable with encouraging girls to strive academically, when academics are not a female student’s strength, girls are not encouraged to pursue the trades and manual, necessary community work (like electricians, mechanics, landscapers, etc.) in the same way as boys. Elective shop classes, for example, are often made up of predominantly male students.
In my experience, girls tend to see themselves occupying roles related to the beauty or fashion industry much more readily, or in caring or serving professions where women are currently heavily represented.
This is one of the reasons W is one of my favourite jobs of Mommy. For W, Mommy is a window washer! This is the type of job, like many roles relating to building maintenance and construction, that I think many girls would not envision themselves in. Maybe window washing is not usually considered glamorous, but it’s important, and pays what would generally be considered a living wage.
The ability to choose work that supports us is central to financial autonomy, which is essential to being able to make choices for ourselves, and self-determination is key to equality for girls and women.
There is so much work that is considered “men’s work” by default, not because it needs anything that men specifically have to offer, but because the historic domination by men in every field of paid work has not been eroded in that particular category. I’m thinking of how often it is easy to let the term “work men” slip off the tongue. Because most of the people we see doing everyday work in the community – like construction, automotive repair, electrical or plumbing work and other jobs that occupy the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), are men.
These are all good jobs, and there is no reason women could not, theoretically, be doing them. Indeed, it is projected that there will be a shortage of one million skilled trade workers by 2020, so women are actually needed to step into these roles. But preparing girls for jobs in skilled labour, manufacturing and trades has to be worked into how they view themselves at a young age, so they can even imagine themselves in the world of physically engaging, often messy “men’s work.” Employers are calling for training for girls in STEM as they recognize that it is a cultural and educational shift that needs to occur to correct the gender imbalance.
So, it feels good to contribute to something that can help shift how girls might project themselves in the future of work. Keegan chose a mix of kinds (and importantly, class) of occupations – blue collar, entrepreneurial, community service, sports, entertainment – and on the page all the jobs are elevated to something that is fun, exciting and meaningful.
I feel super lucky that I got asked to do work that I find meaningful in creating the illustrations and design for this book. I never take it for granted that it’s because I was told, as a daughter at home, and student at school, that I could.
I wanted to make something to celebrate my LGBTQIA+ friends and the wider community. Though this is a fun month to party and attend parades, it’s important to remember there is still work to be done to make sure people of all genders and identities are safe from fear, discrimination, and harm.
I created this piece in Corel Painter and Adobe Illustrator.
After years of creating a card a year for the holiday season, I finally have a set. Sharing some of my favourite animals drawn in ballpoint pen with loved ones has made the cold winter feel a little cozier and a little cuter.
A set of 5 cards includes one of each image and 5 white envelopes. Insides are blank.
1 set of 5 $18 2 sets of 5 $32 3 sets of 5 $45
If you would like to order more or pay be email transfer, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Inktober is a challenge to artists to create an ink drawing every day for the entire month of October. So, I didn’t exactly do that, but it was a great excuse to challenge myself to make some off the cuff artwork that didn’t require too much thought or time (more than a day). Here’s what I came up with.
I created these pieces to celebrate literature by women* and its ability to reach across generations, inspire readers, and teach girls and women the lessons learned by our predecessors in the struggle for equal rights.
I love books and gain so much strength in reading from the perspectives of women who have imagined different worlds, articulated their lived experiences as members of marginalized, sometimes hated, groups, said funny stuff, and investigated the nature of our world in science, religion, politics and global culture and conflict.
I dream of a time that is beyond binaries, but in the mean time there is so much strength to be found in relating to the wisdom and stories of other women.
During this time that seems to be toxic masculinity manifested, I hope we can find our way back to what are generally considered ‘feminine’ qualities. Gentleness, an instinct to nurture, empathy, sensitivity, compassion, and a sense of submission in the form of duty may be falsely considered exclusively and essentially female, but they are part of every person. So now – when everything is out of balance favouring the fear, dominance and tribalism of the archetypal alpha male – this feels like a good time to learn from women.
* people who identify as female
Today’s been an inspiring day. I started out at the Roundhouse Center talking with the lovely people from Papergirl Vancouver about art, then stumbled upon a comic/art convention in their gallery. I picked up some art for my walls, and came home to work on a new project for children’s illustration. I’m working on developing a new style of illustrating kids in watercolour. At the moment its all a work in progress.
BTW: Papergirl is an amazing event that shares art with the unsuspecting, breaking chains of commodification in the process. CHECK THEM OUT. Plus, join in!