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 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!
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!
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 ❤
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)
I believe I encountered a UFO whilst riding my bike last night.
I have drawn this photo-realistic evidence as proof – see my arm in the foreground to see how close I came to the creature. Please forward to your nearest FBI or X-Files agent asap!
Unrelated note: People are funny things, hey?
(PLEASE NOTE: If Gillian Anderson wants to speak about this, please send her to me directly. *swoon*)
Upon graduating from Sheridan College in 2009, I completed my thesis animated short film entitled “Tah-Dah”. It ended up making it into over 40 film festivals and winning two awards in filmmaking! I went to LA twice for festivals, and to Hawaii & Maryland to teach animation workshops. I sure squeezed a lot out of my little 2-minute film! 🙂
*Original music for “Tah-Dah” composed by Corey Wallace
I was going through my own archives, realizing it was over 10 years ago (!!) and found it neat to discover some old interviews. What would I have told myself ten years ago about my life now? And where will I be ten years from now…? I have to say, I am pretty proud with how hard I have been chasing my dreams.
Here’s a short radio interview I did with CBC in 2010 in Winnipeg – I remember going down to their studios very early one morning. What a fun experience chatting with them!
Here’s a little interview I did on the red carpet at Feel Good Film Fest I went to in LA – they screened the films at the iconic Egyptian Theater – such a surreal experience to see my film play there!
Here’s a newspaper I was featured in Maryland for their International Film Fest – I was lucky enough to go down and teach a series of animation workshops to kids there. SO much fun, and the people there were so incredibly hospitable & wonderful!
Thanks for all the fun & memories, “Tah-Dah”! I can’t wait to see what the next ten years bring.
Since I work full-time in children’s animation and illustrating kids books, sometimes I love to dust off my graphic design skills for fun.
I have always loved those vintage-esque travel posters – but who is traveling anywhere right now?? Well, they are opening up some local things around us, which helps ease the Groundhog Day feels a bit.
So the idea came to me to do a couple posters for my fav local Maple Ridge places, as a fun exercise. I have already gotten some custom orders from people – so if you want your fav place illustrated in a poster like this, feel free to reach out! 🙂
Alouette Lake, Golden Ears Provincial Park – this beautiful lake is about a 10 minute drive from our house, and we often escape for the day or bring dinner and let the kids play in the sand.
Gold Creek, Golden Ears Provincial Park – a fav hiking spot, and a location used often for filming shows & commercials.
Ridge Meadows Dyke trails, Maple Ridge / Pitt Meadows – biking about 25-30K almost every day on these trails has been saving my life during quarantine!
June 17 update:
A friend commissioned me to design three custom travel posters of their fav spots, with their kids built into the designs! 🙂 Such a fun idea!
This quarantine time has made me see I am way better at being a human DOING, rather than a human BEING. I like to be busy. I don’t like to be still and feel hard things. It’s ugh, and uncomfortable. But this time is teaching me that’s exactly what I need to do.
Feel it. Stay with it. See what it can teach you.
This illustration came to me when I jogged passed one of my fav trees this week. Man, it felt good to dig out my pencils & ink pens and lose myself on paper. (Drawing on toothy watercolour paper is also really satisfying. My Moleskine sketchbook was full so I had to – happy accident.)
Hope everyone remembers to slow down! Love to you all.
My son Hudson is OBSESSED with Blippi. Can all the Mamas & Papas raise your hand if you have a toddler who is requesting to watch Blippi AD NAUSEAM?! (Send wine and headphones.)
My only appropriate response to this is to draw him in his glory wearing Blippi’s garb. Even when he asks for his children’s vitamin (which are Frozen-shaped because he has a very opinionated older sister), he pulls out ANY shape and yells, “BLIPPI ONE!”
Gosh, I love 2-year-olds.
Side note…. I wonder if Blippi has any kids books out there and needs an illustrator…..
This new normal, this quarantine life – it’s not easy, right? I don’t do well with unknowns, with large fears, with missing people. I am thankful for so many things, and also struggling with so many things. I know we all are. For me, music helps. Dancing helps. Working out helps. Hugging my kids helps. Getting outside on my bike helps.
Making art helps.
Here’s a couple sketches I have done outside of my book/animation projects that I’m not allowed to post about. I will keep adding as I do them!
Hang in there, we are all in this together!
Sending many social distance tight hugs. I can’t wait to have a big dance party when this is all over.
Stay safe and healthy!
May 5 – I don’t know why, but it gave me immense joy to paint my favourite chair tonight. I need to actually sit and rest (or write!) in it more, though. #notetoself
May 3 – I think one of my fav things is hearing/watching someone playing violin. Man, I love that sound. (Best sound on film scores, too.) When I worked in Gastown (a trendy part of Vancouver) someone would take up residence on a bench and play their violin. It ALWAYS made me smile. Sending hope, love and music therapy to everyone tonight.
Apr 24 – The sun was setting as I was biking the other day, so today I painted it. I’m hopeful, I’m sad, I’m trying my best not to give up. Remember, each day is a new one!
Apr 21 – My daughter turns 4 today! I have been dying to draw her in this most awesome Mr. Rogers dress she constantly wears 😀
Apr 20 – My daughter chose my outfit for me 🙂
April 18 – saw this guy on my bike and his outfit made me smile, so I had to draw it 🙂