Who or what made you want to become an illustrator?
As a child - my most nurturing and connective moments were when my parent's would read picture books at night - using outrageous voices and acting out the characters! The illustrations caught my eye - I've always been very visual, with a hyper fixation on colourful things. The eggagerated, playful characters in my story books enriched my big imagination!
My mom put a paintbrush in my hand at the age of 2 and I've been an artist ever since - I just never get bored of it!
I was especially drawn to those illustrated puzzle books that you can look at for hours and always have something new to discover visually - Where's Waldo and Usborne Puzzle World were some of my favourites and still inspire me today!
Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?
I majored in Illustration at OCAD University in Toronto, it's Canada's biggest and oldest design university. It was my dream school, and a graphic design teacher from High School encouraged me to apply.
It was the only school I applied to, that's how confident I was hahah.. all jokes aside I'm glad I got in cause it was a life changing opportunity!
What piece of software or hardware could you not live without and why?
I need my IPad + Apple Pencil + Procreate - I feel like that's all I need to create full, eye catching illustrations. It's portable and intuitive to use - I can basically work anywhere in the world with only these tools.
What do you hope children take away from your drawings?
I feel like my art can have the greatest impact on the world through children - they are so magical, and the future is in their hands ! It's really important to me to take on projects that have a message with noble intention... so it feels good to use my gift of Illustration to really bring these projects to life.
As a Therapeutic Art Coach, emotional healing is important to me. My intention is to channel a loving and balanced energy into my work. I want the children who connect with my books to feel safe and seen as intelligent individuals. Sparking self-awareness, intuition, life lessons, playfulness - anything that would be nourishing for them. I like to create images that keep kids engaged by adding fun puzzle elements or small details!
What does a typical day in the studio look like for you?
My work starts with my morning routine - if I get it right I can be productive, motivated and have lots of energy for the day, if I get it wrong I can sit at my desk for hours going in circles. Because I have ADHD It's really hard for me to focus if I don't stay on top of these things - morning routine, proper nutrition, hydration & health supplements, getting sun time, making space for play in my day, getting rid of distractions in my work space & doing breathwork and meditation. It sounds like a lot to stay on top of, and it is hahah ! But it's worth it for me to fill up my sunshine meter so I can feel my best and have lots of energy to pour into my creative work and to offer the community !
I also work as a Therapeutic Art Coach and run a weekly guided meditation group - so it's important for me to offer the best version of myself to the beings I'm in service to. Discipline is the highest act of self love !
After I do everything I need to make me feel good in the morning I typically start work at 9:30 or 10AM - the first thing I do is send my portfolio to one person or organization, be it an art director, a magazine or someone in publishing.
Then I take a look at my task list and prioritize what's gonna be important for that day. Sometimes I need to just shut off notifications and make art all day - play and experiment with physical art supplies while exploring new music. Sometimes I work on a lot of technical stuff, like optimizing my website, creating courses, responding to clients, applying to things and posting on social media.
My studio is at home, so I typically spend at least a few days a week outside the studio. I bike to a local cafe or the public library with my iPad and keyboard and work on my projects from there. The life of an illustrator is really a solo affair - you need a lot of alone time in order to get to that juicy creativity. So I like to get out and be around people while I'm working if I can. The library is probably my favourite place to work because - it's so quiet - there's a sacred & respectful silence that just makes it so easy to focus. It also feels magical - and I can get lots of inspiration just by looking at other illustrated books around me. I stay out and work for as long as I want - sometimes till 9PM (because thats when the latest cafe closes) but I don't really schedule this part - if I feel motivated I just keep going, if I feel like I need a day off I take it. I'm really lucky that I get to listen to my body and follow my own personal healing in that way.