Creative mind mapping example: developing characters

A Mind Map is a powerful graphic technique which provides a universal key to unlock the potential of the brain. It harnesses the full range of cortical skills – word, image, number, logic, rhythm, colour and spatial awareness – in a single, uniquely powerful manner. In so doing, it gives you the freedom to roam…

The healing power of journaling and “making sense.”

To me, the journal is an essential vomitorium, a depository, a giant worry doll that contains it, holds it- allows for LETTING GO.  It allows me to make sense.  I find that journaling is different from keeping a diary. The difference between diary keeping and journaling (to me): A diary is a record of events, happenings,…

Daisy’s dilemma. 1947 and dark Disney imagery.

My current book project, Molly, is a creative non-fiction tragedy that centres around a suicide in 1947. Suicides were well publicized back then, often featured on the front pages of newspapers. Searching online images “suicide, 1947,” the image that inevitably comes up is the photo titled “the most beautiful suicide“- a haunting and iconic image. But as…

I would encourage you to meditate upon the squirrel…

I’ve been obsessing about squirrels of late, knowing that my encounters with them hold a deep meaning- one I haven’t really understood yet. In time. Meanwhile, I am head-over-heels in love with @this_girl_is_a_squirrel . I can’t stop looking at her IG feed. MUST DRAW. So I did. I would encourage you to meditate upon the…

The 5 W’s. #Molly #GraphicNovel #Process

Working on Molly. Keep at it. Revise manuscript. Organize the collected research. Walk around the lagoon.  Think think think.  Massage the timeline. Spend hours in the coffee shop.  Keep massaging that timeline. Rewrite introduction. Add it to the private presentation site. Work on treatment and elevator pitch. Review the theme of the month: committed choice. Spend hours,…

Custom Hand-Drawn Pet Portraits.

If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. James Herriot To honour pets and to celebrate the joy we receive from them, I am offering 18″ x24″ pet portraits for only $57.00 CAD ($40 USD) Chinamarker and acrylic highlights…

Ponderings on the “idea.”

As a creative, I find it as important to make time for input as well as make time for creative output. And allow myself some stupor time- doing nothing— doesn’t happen often.  Tried today.  To just stop for a bit, but instead I was distracted by my thoughts- thoughts that have been swirling in my head…

My personal #Chakra #SelfCare #CheckIn #Toolkit

I can’t help but love the magical thinking that happens when considering the chakras! The 7 Chakras are the energy centers in our body in which energy flows through. Blocked energy in our 7 Chakras can often lead to illness so it’s important to understand what each Chakra represents and what we can do to…

Opened TextEdit to find a surprise note to self…

  Prepping for a session tonight with young women, around the theme of sisterhood using collage techniques, I opened TextEdit to collect pertinent quotes that may inspire dialogue tonight. An untitled document opened with a note I wrote to myself from my future self last year. Dear me, You now stand fully naked, fully present,…

Using Braid Theory to explain triple timeline. #Molly #graphicnovel

It has taken me years to create a structure for Molly that could combine two stories that run both parallel to each other and have intriguing connections. Massive research needs to be formatted in a cohesive way, yet allow for a compelling narrative. Currently, three timelines run through Molly  and eventually braid together converging in…

Sunday morning coffee shop musings.

Journal entry January 24, 2016 Write out goals –> no, write out PLANS. What is the difference between goals and plans and by writing goals as opposed to plans, am I not being BADASS enough? (Thank you, Cat Webb, for defining me as a badass and being a constant source of empowerment.  Check out Cat’s extraordinary…

Ok, Molly, I’ll eat a shit sandwich for you.

I had a very anxious week last week.  It was a crawl to the finish line.  It was a mix of grief, self-doubt, money stuff, fearing I don’t have what it takes to succeed in this life, blah blah blah.  It’s familiar, having suffered from anxiety all my life.  But last week was particularly hard….

Soul work… my 2016 Toolkit

You may recall, I set my intention for 2016- to simply meet it all with love.  Yet I knew it was important to take the time to do soul work.  But it’s been hard, so very hard to get “started” on it. Yet- that’s not really correct…  Actually, I have started. I have been collecting soul…

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain… Birds, metaphors, graphic novel, experiments

— Central to my graphic novel is the intensity of anxiety and severe depression while drowning in circumstance, highlighted through the metaphor of birds. — — Here are some experiments from the past weekend:      I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,  And Mourners to and fro… – Emily Dickinson

Lessons from Pippi- strength, generosity and gentleness…

Being Swedish,Pippi Longstocking has been an icon to me all my life.  Yes, there are troubling racist elements in the books and, my God, as a child I would lay awake at night worrying about Pippi living alone, but Pippi’s character is glorious and hopeful.  She’s ahead of her time- a give-no-fucks attitude combined with curiosity…

Magical thinking and Christmas knickknacks.

Christmas is here- magical time of year.  One of my favorite and one of the hardest.  So true for many of us.  It’s a time of joy and connection, of reminders of loss and longing, of financial hardship and worry, a time of creating and sharing and giving… I love surrounding myself with old Christmas…

“I can’t wait to see you and meet you at the top.”

It’s early Sunday morning, December 13, 2015,  and I have just said bon voyage to my daughter as she heads to New York City for a test run month, paving the way to her big move. A few months ago, she wrote on her mindmap: Spend 1 month test living in New York City. Oh Anna,…

And so, the vulnerability shakes set in…

Hi. As you may know, I’ve been fully immersed in process in the last month or so- working on my book presentation for my agent to shop around, and I have LOVED the process, trying to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s.  Exciting to be at the next stage.  Ready to share.  So ready….

I write of what I cannot speak- the truth.

I write it over and over wherever we find shelter. I write of what I cannot speak- the truth. I write all I know of it and then I throw the pages to the wind. Maybe the birds can read it. – Moira Buffini Ah, Molly is speaking.  Sitting here with me. What an incredible time…

I robbed your grave. I revealed you.

Sometimes you find that one right quote that makes you throw the book across the room because the words are that damn good.  You wish you wrote it.  It seems written for you.  The author just fucking gets you. I robbed your grave.  I revealed you.  I showed you in shameful moments.  I learned things about…

For me, art has no end- there is no end product… A drawing by my father.

I was staying over at my brother and sister-in-law’s place the other day, spending delicious time with my niece and nephew. I went to the downstairs washroom to wash my hands after Halloween costume mayhem… … and came across a drawing my father, Roar Thorsen, had  done in 2011: Oh, how I adore this piece.  It…

A certain preface this way comes. 

Writing for me often happens in stolen moments.  It is easy for me to plan time for and execute illustrations.  It is easy for me to plan for and to execute mind-maps as well as write down structural and technical details.  It is TOO easy for me to plan and execute and get lost in RESEARCH….

1940’s kitchen. The importance of historical context cont.)

Recall the importance of historical context for my graphic novel research in my post yesterday: LINK. As the story is mainly set in the 1940’s, I find myself fascinated by the 1940’s kitchen. — — — Afterwards, they always had tea in the kitchen, much the nicest room in the house. – Flora Thompson — Make sure…

The importance of historical context in an investigative story

  What happens when a case is very old, when much of its physical evidence is deteriorated or destroyed, and its main players long deceased?  How do we investigate? For me it is all about the historical context. I interviewed Dr. David Sweet, forensic odontologist, on the importance of historical context in solving the 1953 Stanley Park cold…

Turning point- reflections on triggers. Part 1: archives

Last New Year, my brother and I brought home all my journals and artwork from storage.  We recently brought home all the family photo albums and objects.  I love being the family archivist.  I love seeing the heirlooms showcased in my kids’ collections and in the extended family’s homes.  I love that the next generation…

Shaking the Movers- a safe space for youth to have a voice.

   — I was so honored to participate (as art facilitator) in the 9th instalment of Shaking the Movers yesterday!   Shaking the Movers, founded by The Honorable Landon Pearson, is a profound process that supports youth in making powerful recommendations around children’s rights using their own voices. Shaking the Movers: The Shaking the Movers conferences are two-day workshops that…

“What do we know?” Drawing conclusions from the facts. #graphicnovel

My graphic novel is more of an illustrated thesis rather than pure graphic novel.  My words are based in fact.  The drawings are where I can take a leap of faith- a surrealistic interpretation. It is creative non-fiction.  I literally DRAW conclusions based on the evidence at hand.  That is my artistic take on it.  But the story…

Mindmap tutorial week Part 5 of 7: Enhancing

I am diving into a much-needed new mindmap this week, so I thought I’d create a tutorial during my process! Tutorial so far: Introductory blog post- mindmap tutorial week Part 1: What is a mindmap? Part 2: the Big Vision Part 3: Stream of consciousness mapping Part 4: Prioritizing/consolidating/connecting TODAY: PART 5 OF 7: Enhancing Last…

Craftivism: Operation Sock Monkey’s Hummingbird Project

Today I worked with a group of Operation Sock Monkey craftivists to create hummingbirds for a very special cause.  Over 5 hours, we created 40 little ‪hummingbirds‬ for the Liz Elliot Memorial Ceremony and Potlatch happening on September 11, 2015 ‪at the SFU Centre for ‪Restorative Justice. SFU criminologist Liz Elliott, who was a champion of restorative justice,…

Mindmap Tutorial Week Part 4: Prioritizing, consolidating, connecting

I am diving into a much-needed new mindmap this week, so I thought I’d create a tutorial during my process! Tutorial so far: Introductory blog post- mindmap tutorial week Part 1: What is a mindmap? Part 2: the Big Vision Part 3: Stream of consciousness mapping TODAY: PART 4 OF 7: Prioritizing/consolidating/connecting So once you have…

Mindmap Tutorial Week Part 2 of 7: the Big Vision

I am diving into a much-needed new mindmap this week, so I thought I’d create a tutorial during my process! Tutorial so far: Introductory blog post- mindmap tutorial week Part 1: What is a mindmap? TODAY: PART 2 OF 7: The Big Vision You may recall my journey with mindmaps using:   Right-brain entrepreneur Jennifer Lee…

Making a Comeback: rebranding mental health

I first met Allanah Mooney, Lionheart Productions, when she was a guest film professional at Frames Film Project when I was the program coordinator there.  I love Allanah’s passion for authentic storytelling and for creating social change through the medium of film. It also turns out we are neighbors!  I often run into Allanah walking…

Autopsy and the somewhat autobiographical nature of my graphic novel

I have been on a bit of blog-haitus of late.  Just experienced an amazing pull back into the past as a dear friend spent 9 days here visiting from Sweden.  We dove deep.  Real deep.  Drenched in Swedish.  Endless necessary exhilarating conversation. Fully open and torn open- finding old wounds long hidden- releasing them. Reflecting…

Lilla My #fanart custom made composition books. 

I love customizing composition books.  Prepping a new one for today. I am particularly in love with this one so I’m making this version available to you!  Lilla My fan art custom made composition books: Ready to contain your hopes, wishes, dreams, ramblings, musings, to-do’s, purges, goals etc. A safe place to vent as you…

10 Tuesdays. 10 Fridas. Frida No.10: Moomin Frida.

I’ve been celebrating my blog with an art event. The event honors the woman who inspires me to keep it going as an artist: Frida Kahlo. — For 10 Tuesdays, I have been creating/posting 10 different portraits of Frida Kahlo (plus some additional posts here and there) in some form/medium or another. It may be a…

Dear future me… Empowering exercise designed by @peterbreeze

I was so honored to take part in a taste-test workshop last Saturday designed and facilitated by Peter Breeze (co-facilitated by Odin in Germany. Participants included Kany, Annalise and Mariel). Very special day! I’ve been developing a workshop for over a year and today I finally shared my ideas and exercises with these special people….

10 Tuesdays. 10 Fridas. Frida No. 9: Frida and the magpie portrait

I’ve been celebrating my blog with an art event. The event honors the woman who inspires me to keep it going as an artist: Frida Kahlo. — For 10 Tuesdays, I have been creating/posting 10 different portraits of Frida Kahlo (plus some additional posts here and there) in some form/medium or another. It may be a…

Pay attention to the birds: Part 6- Starling

Ah, the birds— and their delightful ways— this time of year in particular.  I just LOVE watching them! And I love when I feel something extra special in a particular moment that makes me stop and pay attention. The other day, I observed a flock of starlings.  I know many people call them rats, greasy…

Frida Kahlo handmade miracle sock doll.

I need a miracle.   Don’t we all have that sentence running through our minds at some point? Sometime we need to hold on to SOMETHING.  Like a doll. So… what would a miracle doll look like? So… I sew. The result: This Frida Kahlo Tehuana Headdress sock doll becomes a reminder to release and to stay…

10 Tuesdays. 10 Fridas. Frida No. 6: Sock doll in Tehuana headdress

 I’m celebrating my blog with an art event. The event honors the woman who inspires me to keep it going as an artist: Frida Kahlo. — For 10 Tuesdays, I am creating/posting 10 different portraits of Frida Kahlo in some form/medium or another. It may be a drawing, an object, a doll, whatever… A surprise. I…

Conversation about art, artists, creativity w. Tharp, Miller, Walker, Petit

I love that I can have a sit down with my heroes on a warm Saturday night and just shoot the shit.  Tonight we contemplated creativity, the artist and the why. Here are some highlights: I believe that we all have strands of creative code hard-wired into our imaginations.  These strands are as solidly imprinted in us as…

LIFE AS A FREELANCE CREATIVE. #rentcheque

LIFE AS A FREELANCE CREATIVE Holy shit- let’s be honest- being a freelance creative is tough.  It’s a bare cupboard lifestyle and yet there it is- that inexplicable drive to keep creating– knowing that you somehow do not have the option to stop. WTF is up with that? You need to create.  It’s so fucking…

Home Funeral Practicum July 18, 2015.

Have you ever had a friend or relative die, and wished you could have kept them at home for a day or two, to take care of the body yourself and say your farewells without pressure?   In fact, you can. – source I am absolutely delighted to be participating in the following Home Funeral Practicum on…

10 Tuesdays. 10 Fridas. Frida No. 4: Frida and her Magic Cone of Truth

I’m celebrating my blog with an art event. The event honors the woman who inspires me to keep it going as an artist: Frida Kahlo. — For 10 Tuesdays, I am creating/posting 10 different portraits of Frida Kahlo in some form/medium or another. It may be a drawing, an object, a doll, whatever… A surprise. I…

“Crime Scene” creative process #graphicnovel

   — “CRIME SCENE” Testing chapter heading visuals for: Molly, my graphic novel. Creating on nickels and dimes. ‪ “… even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell.” – Pablo ‪Picasso‬ I can’t stop despite money worries and fatigue-inducing insecurities… Can I pull this off?…

10 Tuesdays. 10 Fridas. Art Blog Event. Frida No. 3: The Chakras

I’m celebrating my blog with an art event. The event honors the woman who inspires me to keep it going as an artist: Frida Kahlo. — For 10 Tuesdays, I am creating/posting 10 different portraits of Frida Kahlo in some form/medium or another. It may be a drawing, an object, a doll, whatever… A surprise. I…

3 part Frida Kahlo interpretation.

At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can. – Frida Kahlo —         — Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away. – Frida Kahlo —   

ART SALE: Graphic Novel Paper Dress and Update

So the theme of the month of May was, according to the Power Path, NEW ALIGNMENT. We have been shaken, rattled, taken apart, and sideswiped by the unexpected. We have had to accept change and embrace the unknown. The eclipses of March and April affected us on a very deep level, with core issues needing…

VANCAF reflections Part 2 of 6: @VERWHO and Towerkind on @ConundrumCanada

  Fabulous afternoon at VanCaf Day 1- the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival last Saturday! I have broken down some highlights from my visit into 6 blog posts: 1. Julian Lawrence, Drippy the Newsboy, Conundrum Press: BLOG LINK Update: Julian’s book is a FABULOUS READ and VISUAL FEAST!  Truly the kind of comic you read lying in the grass under a…

VanCaf reflections Part 1 of 6: Julian Lawrence and Drippy the Newsboy

  Fabulous afternoon at VanCaf Day 1- the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival! Such an incredible treat to take it all in- immersed in the work of great artists. I was struck by their insatiable drive to create and share and the realization that I have finally found “my people.”   And today really lit fire under my ass…

Little Brown Mouse Journal Ramblings

   Little Brown Mouse Journal Ramblings I have been told in the past that I think TOO BIG.  But I have come to realize, I may not be dreaming BIG ENOUGH. * why, oh why do I question [everything]? * *so embarrassed * I have been too timid, too small, too local, too shy… I…

Sock sparrow. #recycledcraft

    My personal therapy is randomly picking up an old scrap, grabbing needle and thread and seeing what happens. In this case, I was donated a cozy pair of wooly socks and their color just told me- make a sparrow.  Recall: Pay attention to the birds: SPARROW “The sparrow reflects self-worth.  If a Sparrow totem…

Pay attention to the signs. Badger. #alignment

    The image of the badger has been playing in my mind the past few weeks.  I really have no idea why.   But in the spirit of trusting the signs, I play along. Badger symbolism:  (SOURCE) The badger symbolizes aggressiveness, reliance, self-expression, holding ones own, link to the underworld and the magic and…

Pay attention to the birds: Part 5- Sparrow

— Bliss- walking my old dog slowly, oh so slowly, in our West End neighborhood listening to the sweet song of the white-throated sparrow.  Miraculous. I walk with a smile on my face.  I am filled with self-love for truly the first time in my life.  I know my own worth and I can sing…

Self-imposed exile- let it go, let it go.o

Curled up in my chair in self-imposed exile.  Wrapped in old knits. Loving less interaction. Loving not working on my to-do’s. Happy to be doing less. Should I worry and fret?  Feel guilty? No.  Nah. Let it go. Let it all go. So fatigued- let it go. Heavy grief dreams these days- let them go. Dreamt about…

Procrastination embraced. Journal exercise.

If you procrastinate, it has served you in some way. Welcome it! Congratulate yourself. Study its effects in your life, and its gifts – allow yourself to accept and then release your procrastination! – SARK The following journal exercise can take you a few minutes or several weeks- totally up to you! 1. Get a…

North Vancouver teen finds her passion and life purpose through arts-based program

North Vancouver teen finds her passion through arts-based program and launches campaign to raise funds to bring water tank and pipeline to remote village in Nepal: It is such an honor to be facilitating The Inside Out Project at Mountainside Secondary, North Vancouver, with my colleague Ian Powell. Recall posts:  INSIDE OUT: YOUTH EMPOWERMENT, PEER TO…

Why receiving a NO from @writehedgebrook was a YES.

December 19, 2014: Dear Katarina, Thank you so much for applying for a 2015 Hedgebrook residency. We received 1,466 applications for 2015 and are able to offer 40 residencies. Though your application did not advance into the final round this year, we want you to know that your work resonated with our reviewers. Sending your work…

Inside Out Project Mountainside Secondary: own your journey

On September 30, 2014, I began my collaboration with Ian Powell at Mountainside Secondary on the INSIDE OUT PROJECT- OWN YOUR JOURNEY, inspired by my hero JR: MOUNTAINSIDE SECONDARY: Inside Out Project: Own Your Journey Youth-run initiative using the vehicle of portrait photography and street art to learn life and transferable skills while developing self-empowerment, peer…

Valentine’s portrait sale! Hand-drawn portraits ONLY $40 CAD until Feb 8 midnight

Valentine’s Portrait Sale! ONLY $40 CAD per portrait Regular price ranges from $100-$300 ENDS MIDNIGHT PT Feb 8, 2015 Drawn in my signature street art style using Chinamarker approx 18×24 on newsprint The portrait will be mailed by Feb 11, 2015.   FREE SHIPPING! NOTE: Drawings are folded and mailed in a large manila envelope. — Let me…