Celebrating 95 pages with a vulnerability hangover…

I am workshopping my graphic novel through a weekly online serial.



So far…

we have been witnessed a crime:


Looked at the original headlines:


I’ve introduced my involvement (more to come):


And travelled to Ireland to get our first glimpse at the main character:


Molly’s and The Babes in the Wood timeline are now starting to twist around each other.


So I need to celebrate

I am 95 pages in— 95 pages in 4 weeks!  Or looking at it another way, 95 pages in 13.5 years.  Yes, I must celebrate this.  But instead, I am struck with creative insomnia!  A buzzing, busy brain.  Is it excitement to keep going?  Is it fear?  Is it a

Vulnerability Hangover?

Of course it is.  Holy shit.  I am putting it out there, doing it for me, for Molly, for my supporters, for storytelling.  Holy shit.  I am doing it.  And accurate to the way the creative process works and the inner critic whispers, I am struck with nervousness.  I have been struggling so long after so much life change to just live a day a time. And now here I am, planning 46 weeks of instalments.  Planning my life.  Professionally, creatively.  Thinking ahead… thinking past tomorrow…

I’m past patiently waitin’. I’m passionately
Smashin’ every expectation
Every action’s an act of creation!
I’m laughin’ in the face of casualties and sorrow
For the first time, I’m thinkin’ past tomorrow

  • – Lin Manuel Miranda

After years of 5 minute living, a way to get through the rollercoaster of life-


I am sitting here with a full calendar and giant lovely to-do’s and I admit, I am a little bit scared.  But loving it.  Deep into it.  Experimenting.  And trusting Molly.




Part 1A: The Crime

Part 1B: The Headlines, 1953

Part 2A: Why Me?

Part 2B: A Child is Born

What Lies Ahead?

Next week (Feb 12) we dive into the 1998 DNA test results.

On Feb 19, Molly’s mother is front and centre.


© Katarina Thorsen 2017

… it goes deep, deep down into its burrow…

I was organizing my notebooks and loose papers and to-do lists at a coffee shop this morning.  I love to organize, but I am strangely disorganized.  Creative chaos is my middle name, but so are organizational skills.

My mind runs a 1000 miles per hour, and so I write bits of quotes, make lists, tiny mind maps, big mind maps, on ripped pieces of paper, a bit of here and there, including doodling and collecting artifacts, while walking, while sitting on a park bench, in a coffee shop, in the tub.

Then every once in a while, I take some focused time to examine each note, each doodle, each object and write a fresh to-do list and/or start a new journal.

Here are some random remnants (seemingly important when I wrote them) that I found today in my pile [no dates]:

Quote: The writer takes the reader’s hand and guides him through the valley of sorrow and joy without ever having to mention those words. – Natalie Goldberg


Sightings at the lagoon: raccoon digging close to me, crows, goose, ducks, robins, gulls, magnolias, camellias,  hyacinths, daffodils, rhododendrons, lagoon, ducks on branches, sunset, dark clouds northwest, ducks in reeds, seagull with a duck egg, swallow flying eating bugs, cherry blossoms, people walking, golfing, running, riding, skating, driving, lone heron in a tree, another flying right by me with a stick, dandelions, dogs, pigeon, robin singing, Beaver Lake, ducks, geese, herons dancing in the air, squirrels, chipmunks, chickadees, nuthatches…

Forensic taphonomy: typical coyote activity in Stanley Park?  October?  Cold weather?  Skin damage (tissue) –> sternum/clavicle/ribs –> disarticulation upper extremities –> thorax, pelvic region, thighs (muscle tissue) –> detachment of limbs.  If weather is below freezing?  Clothes keep bodies intact?  Mandible intact?  If buried slightly beneath fur coat plus cold weather?  P. 372 Protective circumstance, partial burial- Typical scavenging sequence subject to modification when portions of the body are in sheltered circumstances or positions which protect the body from scavengers.  Heavily clothed, partial burial, wrapped, frozen.

QuoteLove . . . is like nature, but in reverse; first it fruits, then it flowers, then it seems to wither, then it goes deep, deep down into its burrow, where no one sees it, where it is lost from sight, and ultimately people die with that secret buried inside their souls.
― Edna O’Brien


Question to self: How to you want to bring in revenue?  Visual facilitation until or along with Molly.  How do you want to serve the community?  Monkeys.

QuoteLearn to write about the ordinary.  Give homage to old coffee cups, sparrows, city buses, thin ham sandwiches.  Make a list of everything ordinary you can think of.  Keep adding to it.  -Natalie Goldberg

Quote: Extend your boundaries.  Live on the edge for a while.  We act as though we were immortal, and are comfortable in that illusion.  We don’t actually know when we will die and we hope it will be in old age, but it can be this next minute.  This thought of mortality  is not droll; it can make our lives very vital, present and alert right now. –Natalie Goldberg

Poem exercisePushed by the breeze, Orange! Yellow! Indigo! Sheltered by unfurling ferns.

Notes re Molly: It is a fascinating female story/history.  It tells the story of a society that created tragedies.  It was moralistic and there was no place for single women (unwed mothers with children).  (foster services, Astrid Lindgren’s personal story)

The wasp: observe the wasp that just landed on my book and waited patiently, just lone enough for me to draw it.

QuoteNo matter how large a thing is, how fantastic, it is also ordinary.  We think of details as daily and mundane.  Even miracles are mundane happenings that an awakened mind can see in a fantastic way. – Natalie Goldberg


Thoughts at the park bench at Bidwell and Burnaby: Observing human/animal/bird/insect/nature/weather activity in the West End is very much like reading a book of little short stories and one big one at the same time.  Sounds are OBSERVED.  Visually.

Don’t tell me.  SHOW ME.

Quote: In order to write about it, we have to go to the heart of it and know it, so the ordinary and extraordinary flash before our very eyes simultaneously.  Go so deep into something that you understand its interpenetration with all things.  Then automatically the detail is imbued with the cosmic; they are interchangeable. – Natalie Goldberg



When Doors Close: A Retreat to Unlock New Possibilities May 20-22

7 brilliant, heart-full and talented colleagues are collaborating to create When Doors Close – a retreat to unlock new possibilities.

I’ve been witnessing heartaching frustration in friends, loved ones, even strangers, and hearing the refrain “all the doors seem to be closing” – over and over. I know these words well. I’ve said these words, and felt at my wits end, at several watersheds in my life.

I’ve got some answers, and some experiences, that will help you (or your friend that you’re thinking of) to make it through to the other side where there’s room to breathe and hope again. And more answers and experiences are in the hands of Brenda Barton, Lucca Hallex, Kat Thorsen, Sue Biely, Tammra Broughton and Jain Wells who will join me in leading participants through a powerful weekend designed to release what is no longer, remember what will always be, and connect to the supports that will make forward movement possible. – Rebecca Mears


I am delighted to be part of this extraordinary retreat!

Event page

There are times in life when it feels like all the doors are closing or have closed, and we can’t for the life of us figure out a way forward. When the pressure is intense, courage failed a long time ago, and the heart feels broken.

This weekend retreat is designed to breathe life, hope, and courage back into those weary and worried bones. I have chosen facilitators from varied backgrounds and modalities whose expertise and guiding will enable us all to access, express, process, and discover how our paradigms, experiences, and emotions are collectively impacting what we perceive to be possible – which then creates (or limits!) what IS possible.

The weekend will feature intensive learning sessions, art, sound therapy, play, and quiet-time in which to process personal insight and application. My “prime directive” is for participants to complete the weekend journey feeling empowered, refreshed, unburdened, hopeful, connected to new members of their “tribe”, and ready to take specific and positive action towards the creation of their immediate future.

Here is an overview of what the journey will look like:

Phase 1: Release What Is No Longer
We will begin the retreat weekend on Friday evening by releasing what is no longer supporting, available, healthy, or viable in our lives. We will allow ourselves to appreciate and grieve, and consciously let these things (or people, or situations) go. Brenda Barton will take us through some “Rituals for Releasing”, and then we will “reset” our bodies and minds through a Gong Sound Bath led by Jain Wells.

Phase 2: Remember What Always Will Be
Saturday we will dig deep to reinforce our foundations and re-stabilize on what nothing outside of us can change. Rebecca Mears will lead a morning session on “Re-membering your Truths” that will use visualization, provocative questions, and story-sharing to facilitate each person’s remembering of who they are that they will always be, and the individual truths we hold that can guide us through the dark and foggy times. Kat Thorsen will follow up on these ideas in the afternoon via her powerful use of art and creative expression, leading us all through deeper exploration of what was uncovered in the morning. In the evening, Lucca Hallex will guide the group through an “Intuition Tune-Up”, where we will all get more familiar with the unique ways our intution speaks and guides us – and give a megaphone to what it is telling us right now.

Phase 3: Re-enforce Supports and Connections
On Sunday we begin with PLAY! Sue Biely will engage us in a delicious play-based session that will take us back to our unfettered selves – where creative problem solving, idea generation, and community building happens easily. We will begin to identify possibilities where we had not previously seen any. After lunch, Tammra Broughton will equip us with tools useful for becoming aware of and learning from our negative self-talk, that can empower us as we move forward – in her session “Positively Powerful NLP.” The weekend will be brought to a close Sunday afternoon as Rebecca Mears ensures everyone has next-steps, supports, self-care, and access to encouragement in the session “Constant Vigilance”.

The Deets
May 20-22, beginning on Friday the 20th at 5:30 pm and ending Sunday the 22nd at 5:30 pm.

Bios and details for each facilitator and their session will be posted soon in the event and on the website.

$250 on-site in Vancouver (limited to 35 seats)
*Lunch/snacks included. Housing overnight is not included, although there are two guest bedrooms available for reservation on-site. Payment plans are welcomed, write Rebecca to set one up. Location is at the House of Dreams in Kerrisdale, Vancouver, easily accessible by transit.

$100 for live streaming online
*For those who join us online, we will provide you a list of art supplies to prepare so that you can participate in all workshops to the maximum even from a distance. Live stream will offer the ability for you to interact with fellow online participants, to ask questions of the facilitator, and will be recorded. Payment plans are welcomed, write Rebecca to set one up.

Huge thank you to Rebecca Mears for envisioning, developing and producing this retreat!

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SATURDAY MAY 21, 2016 1-4:30 PM

 The session will cover:

Therapeutic journaling


Guided visualization

Writing (getting at the internal pain)

Esteem focus

Drawing lesson– gentle guidance (no experience necessary)


Anatomical Heart

Cartoon octopus

Mind-mapping/ personal planning

Whole brain engagement



Action Plan

Visual storytelling – group

Graphic recording of group dialogue and reflection

Collaging drawings

Creating group mind map (that can evolve and be added to)

Closing circle


Stanley Park. Birds. Angel whispers. And Pledge Drive.

I walked around Beaver Lake today.  I was infused by the profound beauty of nature.  Warm sun.  Blossoms.  Skunk cabbage.  Herons were dancing in the wind above the lake, ducks were courting and playing, chipmunks and squirrels scurrying.  Chestnut-backed chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches landed on my hands.  I describe the feeling as angel whispers.

I took a few photos.


And drew my collected observations:

Drawing 1: March 28, 2016. China Marker on Newsprint 16″ x 24″

Stanley Park Scenes 72-hour PLEDGE DRIVE!

Until March 31, 2016 9 PM PT.

I am raising funds to renew and upgrade this blog and to purchase art supplies!

For every $20 pledged, I will draw a new scene from my daily observations of animal and bird activity in Stanley Park.

Pledgers of $20 can choose to receive the upcoming e-book version of Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges with Art by Roar and Kat Thorsen!


You can choose to purchase a drawing for a $75 or more donation.  

The rest of the drawings will be donated to EVERGREEN HOUSE residential care facility, Lions Gate Hospital, North Vancouver to celebrate my father, Roar Thorsen (who lived at Evergreen House 2007-2012 and who loved drawing and being outside in nature) and to thank the staff who made our lives so happy.  

Roar and Kat at Evergreen House April 2012

Pledgers can choose to have their names included on the donor list!

To pledge:

Donate via email transfer to britakatarina@gmail.com

or donate via PayPal


If you are pledging to pre-order the e-book include a note/email address with your donation!

If you wish to purchase an original drawing (they will be shared here) for $75.00, include title of drawing and your mailing address with your donation! 

If you enjoy my art blog, please consider a small donation!  THANK YOU!

Stick to the facts in the text, avoid assumptions, yet draw conclusions.

In my current project, Molly, I use mainly primary sources and secondary sources such as news articles, as well as well-vetted research in order to build the story around the cold case.

The drawings are then freely inspired from the research, i.e. they are an artistic interpretation.

I can combine my research to build portraits.

I am trying to stick to the facts in the text, avoid assumptions, yet draw conclusions.  

Molly, 5th and Main, October 1947
Molly, 5th and Main, October 1947

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.
– Samuel Butler

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 to be acknowledged, forgiven and cleared. We all agree that this is a new time with new possibilities and yet the clarity of what’s to come is just beyond our reach. We have glimpsed the potential of more power, but how do we integrate it into our lives?

These times are amazing, unsettled, a bit overwhelming and confusing, scary but awesome at the same time, and full of new opportunities. What is needed now is integration and assimilation that will help create a new alignment serving as a new platform from which we can move forward.

– The Power Path

OK.  It’s the end of the month.  And that month was a bit of a shit show- it really made me question my abilities and directions and choices that have brought me to this point.

I am finishing up  other projects and redirecting my energy.


Aligning.  I am aligning.


I have dug back, dug deep, let go and released.  [Recall the metaphor of the slingshot.]

I am moving further away from the old patterns, and the old distractions, old hesitations.

Redefining what abundance means. [Recall: Abundance means less.]


I am saying YES.  [Recall: Why no meant a yes.]

And so…

The graphic novel

I am working more and more on MOLLY.  My goal is to move to an 85% mode of living– i.e. that soon 85% of my time will be spent on her.  I am preparing to be shameless at making this work.  Ruthless.  Raising funds.  Contacting publishers.  Doing it right.


To escape the shackles of circumstance, she takes the darkest path.


Initially this project was all about: Who were the Babes in the Wood?

I present a new angle to this historical Vancouver mystery through crime scene reconstruction, forensic taphonomy, historical archives, genealogical records, behavior evidence analysis, circumstantial connections and artistic interpretation.

The initial goal of my research was to identify the children whose skeletal remains were found in Stanley Park on January 15, 1953, but Molly- a Graphic Novel is more a portrait of a city as told through the lens of one troubled young woman in post-war Vancouver.

I first immersed myself in the investigation in 2003 when I volunteered as a researcher with the Babes in the Wood Task Force.  I have remained dedicated to the case ever since.  Using a combination of text, primary sources, illustrations and photographs, I will present my research journey, equivocal findings and creative process to the reader.

NOTE: this is a work of creative non-fiction inspired by true facts, evidence and events.  It is an artistic interpretation and no more than that.

I am elated that I have a treatment with a structure that allows me to present the 12 + years of research.

This journey began in August 2003.  

It has taken longer that expected but is taking exactly the time it needs.

I am grateful to have the gift of creativity and I now need to push my artistic expression further, bigger, fuller.

And I am grateful for my support network of family and friends who literally kept me on this planet.  I’m still here and ready to DO THIS!  To tell Molly’s story.

She’s guiding and I’m following direction.  I am grateful she chose me!


Nobody creates a criminal profile on their own. – Brent Turvey

I want to thank the following people who have helped me in various ways to be able to research Molly’s story.

[details about their various involvements will appear in the graphic novel acknowledgments section]

Roar Thorsen

Karin Thorsen

Fredrik Thorsen

Babes in the Wood task force: Sgt. Brian Honeybourn, Dr. David Sweet, George Garret

Grant Rainsley

Paul Young

Brent Turvey

Staff at the following archives: Vancouver Police Centennial Museum, Pier 21 Society, BC Archives, Mountainview Cemetery, Vancouver Public Library: Special Collections, Vancouver Public Library: microfilm section, City of Vancouver Archives, Mission City Archives, Mission City Record, Toronto Children’s Aid Society, Japanese Canadian National Museum, Alberta Genealogical Society, Alberta Families Histories Society, City of Edmonton Archive, Provincial Archives of Alberta, Glenbow Archives

Helen Ritchey, Celtic Creations

Solvig Olsson

Cher Thorsen

Anders Thorsen

Charmaine Crooks

Julian Bowers

Anna Thorsen

Patti Henderson

Kickstarter backers including: Anthony Siress, Dustin Christensen, Paul Marquis, Laura Mack, Joanna Harks, Rob Bucci, Nelda Hinds, Victor Mendoza, Brad Slater, Selina Crammond, Henry Denander, Nancy Mortifee, Joseph Killian, Rebecca Rawlinson, Nathan Parker, Sandra Garcia, Sairah Hearns, Ian Powell, Steve Podborski, Warren Te Brugge, Brad Lawrence, John Demuynck, Robert Nadeau, Lynn Gosnell, Maud Kerzendörfer, Cecile Cowley, Eric Damon Walters

Jocelyn Louise (the model for Molly)

Jay Fisher (the stylist)

Rick Legal

Nancy Kirkpatrick

Pamela Post

Eve Lazarus

Anne Banner

Matthew Roy

Owen McEwen

Jen MacDonald


Want to help me tell this story? 

Please consider:

1. Purchasing my art.  I regularly post product and sales on this blog!

2. Donating (all donors and sales customers will be included in acknowledgments):


TODAY’S SALE: The Molly Paper Dress

If you are interested in purchasing this one-of-a-kind double-sided item featuring ORIGINAL embroidered drawings (wearable art– size 4 to 6 A-frame or wallhanging), that will be photographed for the graphic novel, contact me at britakatarina@gmail.com

$675 CAD

(free shipping- allow 4 weeks for delivery)

Payment via email transfer to britakatarina@gmail.com

or paypal LINK






I have no money, no resources, no hopes.  I am the happiest man alive.  A year ago, six months ago, I thought I was an artist.  I no longer think about it, I am.  Everything that was literature has fallen from me.  There are no more books to be written, thank God.

This then?  This is not a book.  This is libel, slander, defamation of character.  This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word…

– Henry Miller

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

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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 to work towards standing at my own booth at VanCaf next year!

I have broken down some highlights from today into 6 blog posts:

1. Julian LawrenceDrippy the Newsboy, Conundrum Press

2. Kat Verhoeven, Towerkind, Conundrum Press

3. Emily Cowan, Boundary Comic

4. Jasmine Schuett, Spaceclub Comic

5. Inspector Pancakes

6. Erica Moen, Boumeries and VanCaf takeaways/notes

1. Julian Lawrence, Drippy the Newsboy, Conundrum Press

I was initially too shy to approach, but luckily my daughter pushed me to talk to Julian Lawrence at the Conundrum Press booth.  I ended up having a wonderful conversation with him (and was delighted to hear his positive and insightful feedback about the publisher).

Screen shot 2015-05-23 at 9.24.32 PM

Julian just launched his TinTin-esque book: The Adventures of Drippy the Newsboy Volume 1.

In this first volume of a trilogy based on the writings of Stephen Crane, Vancouver artist and animator Julian Lawrence brings his iconic Drippy the Newsboy to life! Here the naive Drippy gets pulled into the world of the Forbidden Zone by Harry and his alchoholic pals. His papers do not get delivered and his mother is concerned. But after his darling mother grows ill Drippy sees the error of his ways. Lawrence is known in Vancouver’s underground press as a co-creator and editor of the free monthly Drippy Gazette and publisher of numerous Drippytown comic anthology spin offs, but here his cartooning chops are on full display. The Adventures of Drippy the Newsboy harkens back to adventure serials like Tintin, complete with nostalgia and epic storytelling, but with much more drinking, gags, and carrying on. Will those papers ever be delivered on time? [source]


   I can’t wait to hop into the bath and dive into my personalized copy!



Delightful local Vancouver artist: Amy Tom

I am delighted to introduce an extraordinary Vancouver artist, Amy Tom.  I was introduced to her through my friend Anne Banner, owner/curator of Vancouver curiosity shop and paradise: Salmagundi West.  Amy’s whimsical and magical style inspires me to no end!


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Check out her ETSY shop!

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I create postcards, magnets and art prints reproduced from my oil paintings and hand drawings. I am inspired by pop culture, literary characters and anthropomorphic animals, drawing and painting these themes in the Pop Surrealism style, with my own twist and wherever my imagination takes me. Everything in this shop is hand made by me in Vancouver and printed at a print shop in Vancouver. – Amy Tom


"Ice Owl,"  November 2014, by Amy Tom
“Ice Owl,” November 2014, by Amy Tom
Amy Tom as Frida Kahlo with Anne Banner of Salmagundi West
Amy Tom as Frida Kahlo with Anne Banner of Salmagundi West

Connections & Creativity: an interactive gathering with Laura Mack and Kat Thorsen


HEADER 10We invite you to experience a deeper connection to self, tap into your creativity and connect with others at a truly authentic level.  We will be sharing tools and practices with you, in an experiential format that will enrich your personal and professional lives.  And, if you value FUN, then this is the right event for you!  Welcome to Connections and Creativity!


On January 26, 2015, we will be gathering at the Centre for Peace at the corner of Burrard and 16th from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM to dive deep into the exploration of values, mindmapping and authentic networking.

During this 2.5 hour interactive gathering you will:

• address who and what you are aligning yourself with in order to make 2015 the best year ever;

• gain a deeper connection to self and an authentic connection to others;

• access tools and practices to clarify and simplify what next steps to take and who to take them with

• meet some amazing people

• share what you are most passionate about and connect to what others care deeply about

VALUESWhat do you value, Who do you value and Why is this important? We’ll get clear on our core values and explore how starting from this place will help us bring more ease, empowerment and success into our personal and professional lives.

MINDMAPPING – Mindmapping is a powerful and creative tool that organizes your thoughts and projects as a visual ever-evolving map allowing you to explore themes in your personal and professional life, gaining insights into best next-steps.

AUTHENTIC NETWORKING – Authentic Networking will introduce you to netweaving – the evolution of networking. Whether you love networking or tend to avoid it, learn 3 steps that will enhance your connections with others.

The $49.00 fee includes handouts and supplies for mindmapping.  

(We encourage you to bring a journal and pen.)

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.  – Brené Brown

Laura Mack is a business consultant, facilitator and writer.

Katarina (Kat) Thorsen is a Vancouver artist, craftivist and therapeutic art facilitator.


Boundary- a new comic by Emily Cowan

I am so excited that Vancouver artist, Emily Cowan, has now launched her extraordinary comic BOUNDARY online!

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BOUNDARY is a long-form comic about being stuck, difficult families, changing friendships and the different kinds of boundaries in our lives.  Mostly though, it’s about adolescent frustration and the unbearable tragedy that is being fifteen.  

Screen shot 2014-10-01 at 9.33.30 AM

The worst part of being fifteen is the monotony.  That’s what Paige thinks anyway.  Doing the same things, seeing the same faces, hearing the same opinions and going to the same places: day in, day out, forever – it’s driving her crazy!  Add a teacher’s strike that completely stalls the school year, friends who don’t seem to think monotony is a problem, and parents who think EVERYTHING is a problem and Paige feels ready to tear her hair out from the restlessness.  She can’t wait for a few more years to pass so she can finally DO SOMETHING – because after all, once you grow up you can finally make things happen for yourself.


Emily Cowan has a sharp and insightful approach to both life and her art.  I have been lucky enough to watch Emily’s creative process in person.  Each panel is meticulously rendered with a sure hand and the drawings reflect the dry wit and teenage angst that is the heart of the comic perfectly.  The landscape, both exterior and interior, are so welcoming, familiar and accurate.  I love the sparseness of the text, allowing the story to truly speak- authentically.  And the characters have that look- what we call in Sweden: halvslutna ögon- that half mast eyed “sigh” look of the anxious and fatigued- yet ALIVE, living life one beautiful step at a time.

And OH MY GOD- it’s just so GOOOOOOOD!

Check out panels 1 and 2 and make sure to catch new posts online!

Boundary updates on Mondays.



Check out Emily’s new ETSY site:


Evolution of a #wheatpaste. Portrait of @ThaneKoi, one year later

What is the point of a piece that is meant to be temporary?  Work that is impermanent reminds us that nothing in life is permanent, that every state is temporary and transitory.  Contemplating this concept teaches us to embrace change in our life, instead of working against it.  When others notice a piece that is there one day and gone the next it creates a kind of energy/excitement within the community. – Keri Smith

My portrait of Thane Koi, Feb 11, 2013 (chinamarker on newsprint)
Emily Castellanos wheatpasting Thane, 119 East Cordova, Vancouver BC Feb 13, 2013






Today Feb 3, 2014

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The elements and the interaction by the community has become essential to my creative process.

DRAWING ON PAIN: Aug 29 – Oct 13, 2013 at Espana Gallery, Vancouver BC



Aug 29- Oct 13, 2013

Opening August 29, 2013 7-9 PM
Espana Gallery
689 Abbott Street
Vancouver BC
Includes Artist Talk

DRAWING ON PAIN exhibits my personal therapeutic process as I utilize art to help me process the difficult challenges I have encountered (and continue to encounter) in my life– such as divorce, cancer, my friends’ suicides, financial struggles and planning the road ahead.  I call myself a Kahloist and often find it healing to utilize the image of Frida Kahlo to express that internal pain for me.   By facilitating the need for self-expression through drawing, I lighten the load in my heart.

My painting carries with it the message of pain. – Frida Kahlo


It doesn’t stop him. My death stops him. #graphicnovel study

Recall March 7, 2013, photoshoot at Salmagundi West for my graphic novel.

I am struck by the ability of my model, Jocelyn Louise, to convey, in a simple glance, the pain of my main character as she tries to escape the memories of childhood trauma.

Sins of the father
Sins of the father.


Living in church,

reading about God all the time,

getting callouses on my knees.

It doesn’t stop him. 

My death stops him.

– Maire MacLachlan

China marker on newsprint.


Jocelyn Louise as Molly.  Styled by Jay Fisher. Photo by Anna Thorsen.
Styled by Jay Fisher. Photo by Anna Thorsen.



He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel


With a faery, hand in hand… photo shoot for the #graphicnovel at Salmagundi West!

On March 7, 2013, I was humbled at the generosity of Salmagundi West owner Anna Banner who allowed us to use her store as a back drop for our latest photoshoot!


I was joined by Jocelyn Louise (who portrays Molly) and stylist Jay Fisher…

Jay, Jocelyn, Anne

… and my daughter Anna Thorsen who took the main shots (to be shared in the book).

Anna, Jocelyn

Here are some moments I captured.  The focus for me was to emulate Molly’s restless travels.











Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water-rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s morefull of weeping than you
can understand.

The Stolen Child, WB Yeats









Screen shot 2013-03-16 at 9.57.52 PM






He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.


MOLLY- the graphic novel


“Where white is black and black is white, I won.” #graphicnovel study #crowskull


When Crow was white he decided the sun was too white.

He decided it glared much too whitely.

He decided to attack it and defeat it.

He got his strength up flush and in full glitter.

He clawed and fluffed his rage up.

He aimed his beak direct at the sun’s centre.

He laughed himself to the centre of himself

And attacked.

At his battle cry trees grew suddenly old,

Shadows flattened.

But the sun brightened—

It brightened, and Crow returned charred black.

He opened his mouth but what came out was charred black.

“Up there,” he managed,

“Where white is black and black is white, I won.”

– Charles Bukowski


Crow’s skull purchased at Salmagundi West:


Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel


Regarding Molly- importance of working titles and “acting as if…”

As I experiment with marrying text to illustration in my graphic novel, I am working from the end backwards, creating a working title and promotional mockup. Acting as if the book is completed, the project feels organized and allows me to create a skeletal framework on which to flesh out ideas. This framework can then be dismantled, contorted and altered as needed. It is not the final result by any means, but it is a great way to MOVE FORWARD. And I’m moving forward fast!

I have some exciting ideas as to how to present the finished work (format, paper etc) but first I will marry image to page and and image and pages to chapters and I am loving the creative process. Next up is ensuring all the permissions are in place for using primary sources, news articles, photographs and names within the work. And more photoshoots!



He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953


Who killed the Babes in the Wood? Artist, art therapist and researcher, Katarina Thorsen, makes her case as to the resolution of this historical Vancouver mystery through crime scene reconstruction, forensic taphonomy, historical archives, genealogical records, behavior evidence analysis, circumstantial connections and artistic interpretation. Katarina first immersed herself in the investigation in 2003 when she volunteered as a criminal profiler and researcher with the Babes in the Wood Task Force. She has remained dedicated to the case ever since.

Using a combination of text, primary sources, illustrations and photographs, Katarina now presents her research journey, equivocal findings and creative process to the reader. The goal is to identify the children whose skeletal remains were found in Stanley Park on January 15, 1953. Through rich and insightful imagery, Regarding Molly reveals a portrait of a troubled young woman in post war Vancouver. The reader is encouraged to draw their own conclusion as to the identity of the Babes in the Wood, their mother and killer.

TEST nurturant

Following Katarina’s lead, readers will be inspired to search out their own stories using intensive genealogical research.



Artist/ art therapist Katarina Thorsen is passionate about the power of research and collaborative approaches to create solutions. She specializes in providing therapeutic art to at-risk youth and young offenders. Her own art work includes drawing, painting, crafting, journaling and street art and can be found in private international collections and on the streets of North America and Europe. She believes wholeheartedly in the healing power of art and its ability to build connections. Katarina resides in Vancouver, BC.

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel


The Babes in the Wood study #graphicnovel

The Babes in the Wood [1]


My dear do you know,

How a long time ago,

Two poor little children,

Whose names I don’t know,

Were stolen away

On a fine summer’s day,

And left in a wood,

As I’ve heard people say,

Poor Babes in the Wood! Poor Babes in the Wood!

Oh! don’t you remember the Babes in the Wood?


And when it was night,

So sad was their plight,

The sun it went down,

And the moon gave no light!

They sobbed and they sighed,

And they bitterly cried,

And the poor little things,

They lay down and died.

Poor Babes in the Wood! Poor Babes in the Wood!

Oh! don’t you remember the Babes in the Wood?


And when they were dead,

The robins so red,

Brought strawberry leaves,

And over them spread;

And all the day long,

The branches among,

They mournfully whistled,

And this was their song;

Poor Babes in the Wood! Poor Babes in the Wood!

Oh! don’t you remember the Babes in the Wood?


[1] “BABES IN THE WOOD”, retrieved September 14, 2006 from http://www.rjohnwright.com/babesinthewood.html

Mother Goose’s “Babes in the Wood” was first published as a ballad by Thomas Millington in 1595.

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel


Take Off the Amber, Put Out the Lamp #graphicnovel #research

Take the day.  Immerse.  Forget everything else.  Read.  Sketch.  Cocoon.  Trust the calling.

Image in Vivian Maier: Street Photographer




Today’s resources:

Jamison, K.R. (1999) Night Falls Fast- understanding suicide, Vintage Books: New York, NY, USA

Malooof, J., ed. (2012) Vivian Maier- Street Photographer, powerHouse Books: New York NY, USA

Appignanesi, L. (2007) Sad, Mad and Bad- women and the mind-doctors from 1800, McArthur & Company: Toronto, ON, Canada






Photo by Rick Legal
Photo by Rick Legal.

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick

MOLLY- the graphic novel


Dec 24: @The_Social_Life’s #24daysofTSL w. Mary Kate and Ashley ft. @jasonmatlo and @NICEPKG

DEC 24:

#24DaysofTSL Dec 24

China marker, acrylic, fx on newsprint
China marker, acrylic, fx on newsprint

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen

#24DaysOfTSL Dec 24 x Jason Matlo

#24DaysOfTSL Dec 24 x PKG


I am so excited to have collaborated with THE SOCIAL LIFEAnna T Fabulous and Joshua D Langston on #24daysofTSL!



Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, and The Social Life’s Anna T Fabulous and Joshua Langston. China marker, acrylix, fx on newsprint


Jason Matlo, pencil on index card
Jason Matlo, pencil on index card


Dec 23: @The_Social_Life’s #24daysofTSL w. #portrait of @annadellorusso ft.my advent portraits!

DEC 23:

China marker, acrylic, fx on newsprint
China marker, acrylic, fx on newsprint

Anna Dello Russo




Choices (originals are 12″ x 18″ on newsprint):

1. Alexander Wang

6. Dec 6 Alexander Wang

2. Derek Blasberg

10. Dec 10 Derek Blasberg

3. Marc Jacobs

3. Dec 3 Marc Jacobs

4. Tom Ford

7. Dec 7 Tom Ford

5. Diane Von Furstenburg

5. Dec 5 Diane Von Furstenburg

6. Phoebe Philo

2. Dec 2 Phoebe Philo

7. Coco Rocha

21. Dec 21 Coco Rocha

8. Leigh Lezark

8. Dec 8 Leigh Lezark

9. Karlie Kloss

19. Dec 19 Karlie Kloss




The Social Life's Anna T Fabulous
The Social Life’s Anna T Fabulous
The Social Life's Josh Langston
The Social Life’s Josh Langston


The Social Life's Viranlly Liemena
The Social Life’s Viranlly Liemena

I am so excited to have collaborated with THE SOCIAL LIFEAnna T Fabulous and Joshua D Langston on #24daysofTSL!



Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, and The Social Life’s Anna T Fabulous and Joshua Langston. China marker, acrylix, fx on newsprint

Umm…it’s DECEMBER.  Can you believe??  We can’t.  So in order to deal with it, The Social Life is going to celebrate, and celebrate BIG!  We introduce to you the #24DaysofTSL.  Starting Dec 1 until Dec 24 we will be hosting a contest-per-day, featuring well known characters of the fashion industry in holiday form hand drawn by Kat Thorsen! Each day we’ll be giving away prizes from the cities of Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York!


Suzanne Farrell
Suzanne Farrell