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Unboxing STILL STACE.

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WHOAAAAAAAAA.

I’ve been waiting a LONG time for this day. To open the author copies of MY FREAKING OWN BOOK. That I wrote and drew and how is this real.

It’s a box of literal dreams that I unpacked and my heart is a-BLAZING. Tams and I waited til the kids were in bed, and then did a cheesy photo shoot because I’m gonna SAVOUR every MOMENT of this magical journey I find myself on.

I brought out the original scribbly and beat up hard copy I made two years ago, (originally titled “Dear Younger (Gay) Me”) held together with clips. Also my kids coloured all over it (bonus). This Version 2.0 is WAY. BETTER. Kudos to Beaming Books for putting out such a beautiful and quality book. They have been such an amazing team to work with, especially my editor Naomi.

I may or may not (MAY) carry around a copy of my own book everywhere I go like it’s my third child CUZ IT KINDA IS. Get ready world, it’s comin’ at ya in less than two weeks. Send me your copy if ya get one!

Love for “Still Stace”.

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Six weeks from this Tuesday, Still Stace will be out into the world.

It feels like a dream slowly coming true. (It IS!) I’ve been working quietly in my office for what feels like a LONG time, and now it’s slowly getting into people’s hands. WHOA. I’m trying to savour each exciting thing that happens – like these amazing endorsements, and even a Kirkus review! Excuse me while I dance out my excitement in my office by myself. 😀 I am SO grateful.

Paintings for “Rhyme Time Town”

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I almost never get to post my animation design work, because it is typically tied up in NDA’s.

I’m so happy I can share a few of the MANY backgrounds I painted for the DreamWorks production “Rhyme Time Town” (airing on Netflix)! I have worked in animation for over ten years, and this was probably my favourite property to paint on. Every background was like a new children’s book illustration! Catch all the beautiful episodes on Netflix! Especially if you have toddlers. I love my job 🙂

(BG Design by Rod Filbrandt, BG Paint by me)

I got my STILL STACE ARC!

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OKAY.

I didn’t even know this was coming, and when the kids helped me pull it out of the packaging (amid a flurry of screams), my heart skipped a beat!! (Or seven.)

I have been working on this for two years saying, “This is gonna be a book!” And now I’m holding it saying, “THIS IS A BOOK.”

This is my Advance Reading Copy (ARC) of STILL STACE from the publisher, and it’s got little mistakes and quirks that won’t be in the final. (Also the final will be hard copy!) But WHOOBOY I’m still gonna cradle it like it’s my third baby. Just over 4 months to go! It’s so cool seeing all my illustrations on PAPER, sheesh capeesh.

It’s Pride month & my story couldn’t be any gayer, so pre-order yours today! (Seriously tho, pls pre-order – it helps the publishers know how well it will do!) Reminder, our target audience is teens ages 13-18 (but adults can read YA books too)!

Oscar Poster Designs 2021

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I just concluded my Oscar poster design series for this year by watching the Best Picture winner last night, “Nomadland”. Oof, that film will stick with me for a while. What an amazing reminder of the beauty and fragility of life. My other favs out of the ones I watched were “Soul” (animation, obv), and “My Octopus Teacher”. Watch them, I mean it! Here’s my eight designs for this year.

See ya next Oscar season!

A new day is coming.

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I know, I know – I’m Canadian… BUT that doesn’t mean I wasn’t dancing in my kitchen at the Biden/Harris victory announcement yesterday!! Us Canadians are used to constantly living America-adjacent, and while political decisions don’t DIRECTLY affect us, they definitely affect us down the line.

And even though I’m not American, I love a lot of Americans. And yes, I’m a self-appointed emotional-support-Canadian. It’s been scary as hell watching what has been happening with this (lack of) leadership, especially for our LGBTQ friends and friends of colour. Yesterday felt like SUCH an influx of hope for a change! FINALLY.

But let’s focus on something amazing about yesterday: KAMALA. It was a historical day for all women! We all stand on the shoulders of so many great women who brought us to this moment. (I see you, Stacey Abrams!) Kamala becoming VP has opened the door for so many more women in leadership in our future. It’s about damn time.

I had to draw this in celebration!

Get ready for a new day, friends. It is coming.

Bly Manor paint studies.

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I’m not one to gravitate towards “horror” TV/films, but I love creepy, suspense stuff. Especially during the month of October, bring it on! (Otherwise I just watch “Hocus Pocus” on repeat, guys.)

We discovered “The Haunting of Hill House”, and I enjoyed it with many screams and a pillow in front of my face. “The Haunting of Bly Manor” is the follow-up series, and I really, really enjoyed it.

It was it filmed in Vancouver, so I recognized a bunch of locations right away, which is always fun! Gastown (where I worked for years) is always great to double as England. This series was less horror, more creepy, and – BONUS – there was a lovely lesbian relationship at the heart of it. Oof, Dani & Jamie got me in the yearning feels…..

ANYWAY anyway, the cinematography and colour palette they chose was incredible all the way through. My only appropriate response was to do speed painting studies of some of my fav scenes. I tried to keep these each to 20 minutes and not get caught up in detail, just mood, composition and lighting. I did five, but I might go back do more Dani/Jamie scenes cuz well, sigh. Feels.

Getting unstuck.

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The manuscript for my YA memoir, “Still Stace” is DONE. I can’t believe the metamorphosis this story has undergone since my very first pitch (and I am so grateful for my editor!)

The version I originally pitched in Feb 2019 (which got me my agent) was about 1200 words. I envisioned it as a picture book. Now, as a YA illustrated memoir, it’s over 43,000 words! I never planned to write so much, or so honestly, about reconciling my sexuality and my faith – but I am so grateful for this opportunity.

Now that the writing is done, the hard part begins. THE. DRAWING. It’s one thing to write about tough and vulnerable experiences – now I gotta draw them. This weekend I sat down to start my roughs for the first chapters, and felt the familiar spiral of doubt hit me. How can I do this? Am I good enough to do this? …I can’t do this.

I got stuck. This happens to me when I am working on something I feel a lot of importance behind. The only recipe that works to get unstuck, is:

1 – get outside, preferably on my bike, stare at the mountains, sweat, lip sync some amazing music

2 – come home and create a piece of art with no expectations or judgement

Here’s what I created to get unstuck. And it worked – I drew most of yesterday and got the first section of roughs done! (Sometimes it’s a combination of letting go, and just being kinder with ourselves.)

This is my fav street in Maple Ridge to bike down, and I loved how the late summer evening light was hitting these trees. I had to draw it. 🙂

This series of images came from listening to the lyrics of  “Be Alright” by @dantebowe and @amandalindseycook. I have found great encouragement from it, I hope you connect with it too!

Queer colouring pages!

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I did something fun with OutChristian – an awesome organization that works to connect LGBTQ people of faith!

They asked me if I would want to design & draw some queer-themed colouring pages, to remind us all that we will once again be able to gather with friends in our communities. Of course, I never say no to drawing for a queer Christian cause!

They’ve done a great job of making the pages downloadable on their website, but I will post them below as well. ALSO. Even if you’re straight (or of a different or no faith), I think you could still have fun colouring these! 😀

Hang in there, friends. Sending love to all!

QueerColour06QueerColour05QueerColour04bQueerColour03QueerColour02

 

Dog days of summer.

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This week was International Dog Day (I would never know if not for hashtags), and it reminded me of my dog growing up, Denny. His fav thing was to waddle out into the sun (he was rotund, guys) and lay in an empty flower box in the sun.

I mean, it’s not a BAD way to spend a day!

Anyway, I had to do a quick memory sketch of him ❤

Denny

Here’s a throwback to wee baby me in 1980/81 with Denny. He was definitely my pal! (Even if my face suggests uncertainty, lol)

babystaceDenny