2019 Calendar

I intended to have my calendar finished and ready for 2019, but I got a little behind last year. Luckily, after a holiday in January, I managed to finish the final three illustrations.

Full 2019 Calendar download!

Here is a quick recap of the three illustrations from October, November, and December.

October
The classic Halloween black cat inspired by October illustration.

November
I knew I had to draw a Chickadee after seeing some while hiking last year. One even landed on my hat!

December
With winter in full swing, a bear felt like the appropriate choice for December.

2019 Calendar

All the months! Full 2019 Calendar download!

After looking through all the months, I realize they are pretty inconsistent. I used different lettering and levels of detail as I repeated the activity each month. My goal for this year is to learn how to illustrate on the iPad. I want to redo this first attempt and put together something more consistent for 2020.

Happy 2019!

September 2018 calendar

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Curious little Chipmunk searching for food. These cute creatures are out and about foraging food for the winter. I see so many running around in the trees and balcony by my house. They store food in their cheeks that can stretch three times larger than their head!

Another neat fact about Chipmunks:

Chipmunks make homes for themselves by creating burrows that consist of an underground tunnel system or by making nests in logs or bushes. Their tunnel systems can be 10 to 30 feet (3 to 9.1 m) long. – Source

Download the September 2018 Calendar

July 2018 calendar

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It’s a Chameleon! I have never seen one of these creatures but they sound fascinating. I was running out of ideas on what to draw, so this one came through a suggestion. I did a little research and found out that Chameleons live in warm habitats under various conditions. They can be found in Africa, Madagascar, southern Europe, and in southern Asia. Another fun fact:

The chameleons tongue can reach its prey in just 0.07 split seconds, with the projectile acceleration reaching over 41 g’s of force – Source

Download the July 2018 Calendar

April 2018 Calendar

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Spring is here at last! I arrived back in Canada after spending the last month in New Zealand and was happy to see that most of the snow had disappeared.

Spring is my favourite time of year. I love being able to bike again and already noticed the BIXI stands appearing around Montreal 🚵‍♀️

Foxes are beautiful animals and I had been wanting to draw one for a while. For some reason, I associate them with spring so it felt like the perfect time.

I created the April Calendar over Easter weekend. I didn’t leave myself a lot of time so I opted to try a super sketchy effect with the shading. I liked how fast it was to make but I think I would try to slow it down and clean up the lines a bit more for the next one.

April 2018 Calendar Download 

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Learning calligraphy: the benefits of starting something new

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The word calligraphy comes from two Greek words stuck together, kallos, meaning “beauty,” and graphein, meaning “to write” — literally “beautiful writing.” — www.vocabulary.com

I set myself a goal in January 2017 that I was finally going to learn calligraphy. I had tried many times before. I would find examples on Instagram and Pinterest and set out to recreate similar designs but they never looked right. My letters lacked consistency and the words didn’t flow, and I couldn’t figure out why.

I signed up for a challenge called “Show me your drills” by The Happy Ever Crafter. The workbook would teach the basics of calligraphy without drawing a single letter.

I realized the mistake I had made was skipping the basics. I didn’t understand the foundations of calligraphy. Like most things, you need to learn the basic techniques and rules before you can start breaking them. I had to forget about all my prior attempts and what I thought I knew.

What do I need to get started?

The first thing I needed to do was make sure I had all the tools to get started. Luckily, the workbook had a list of the best supplies and it turns out you don’t need a lot.

I set myself up with these tools:

There are hundreds of different types of pens and paper you can buy but you don’t need anything fancy when you’re starting out. It was also a good way to test if this was something I wanted to continue with, before spending a lot of money.

Practice, practice, and practice

The workbook walks you through all the basic strokes in calligraphy. These are essentially the building blocks. You need to understand what all the pieces are before you can start putting them together. You learn each stroke one by one and practice it to build up muscle memory. Repetition is a big part of learning, you can’t get good at something without practicing it over and over again.

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Learning all the basic strokes was my starting point

Connecting the dots

A letter is like a piece of furniture, you need to connect the pieces in the right order before it works. The beauty of learning the stokes first is that you build up consistency. You always pull from the same set of pieces to create the letters so everything looks like it belongs.

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Examples of how basic strokes turn into letters

Pulling it all together

The follow-on workbooks for letters and words teach you how to pull all the basic strokes together.

Below are eight different strokes that create two words.

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Can you guess the words?

These are all basic strokes that I needed to understand before getting to this point. Join them together and you will see:

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Happy holidays!

This was a huge aha moment for me. It can be intimidating seeing the beautiful finished work other people make. But it’s easy to forget the hours of practice they put in before reaching that point. I learned that if you break things down far enough it becomes a much more attainable goal.


I spent the year working my way through all the workbooks. From strokes, letters, words, and then on to adding flourishing and bounce to my letters. To learn something new I needed to start from scratch, like a beginner with no prior knowledge. I’m still learning but I am happy with the progress I was able to make this year.

Beginners mind is a powerful thing. It opens up so many possibilities than if we already assume we know enough.