what's kate up to?


January


🌺 ✨ Hummer Nectar Schedule 2022! ✨ 🌸

Hi folks!

It's a new year, and you know what that means.... time to print out your shiny, new & improved ✨Hummingbird Nectar Refresh Schedule✨!

2022 Hummingbird Nectar Refresh Schedule

Last year, I was dreaming about including a flip-side to the schedule that would provide a recipe, helpful tips and interesting facts. Whelp, with a timely nudge from the Rocky Point Bird Observatory (who asked to share an updated version through their channels), I finally achieved this!

Download the new schedule here & read about my process in the original Patreon post.


December


Happy Gullidays from Kris Krin-gull!

“Merry Chipsmas to all, and to all a good bite!”

Well, well, what do we have here? It looks like Santa Caws had some stiff competition this year!

Seán came up with this perfectly g(ul)lorious concept while I was obsessively pondering gull-puns aloud one day, and I just had to draw it. You can see my one and only sketch in the 2nd image (see post), and you'll notice that the final digital version isn't much different from it! I liked the gull's friendly-yet-crazed facial expression in the sketch so I just stuck with it. Then I fattened him up a bit, gave him a questionably necessary belt (fashion over function!), tweaked the fry-sack shape, and added a joyful sprinkling of a few mangled ground-fries.

Read the full story and see the process pictures on my Patreon post!


November


Bakery Signage Journey

I've been working away on secret Xmas gifts this month, so in lieu of spoiling surprises I thought to share a couple of sign-painting commissions I completed earlier this month.

From sketch to finished sign

The setup: My friend opened a new bakery/cafe and had someone chalk-paint a few signs, only to realize upon their completion that there was way too much information crammed onto the small boards, and that they needed to be simplified. However, the person who did them had gone out of the country for a few months so they weren't there to re-do them.
Enter: me; unawares, just checking out the cafe opening, when my friend took down the signs upon seeing me and asked if I could please simplify and redo them. Ok, I said, I should have a few spare hours this week to do these up...

The result: An unforeseen 14 hours of work later, I returned the newly designed and painted signage.

The challenges & lessons learned: Read about my process and see the other signage in the original post on my Patreon page!


October


🐸 Frog Log Sneak Peek!

Hi folks! Hope you've been enjoying the Autumn sights and scents ~ 🍂🍁

Thought I'd share a work-in-progress peek at another educational french video that I'll be collaborating on again with my dad. This time, it's about the placement of a frog in relation to a hollow log: sur, sous, dans, devant, dernière, à côté de (on, under, in, in front of, behind, beside).

“Devant”

As may be apparent, I got a bit carried away drawing the various autumnal elements in the foreground, heheh...

Stay tuned for the final result!

In other news, I'm busy writing a batch of new songs, which has been a lot of fun! More on that eventually... 🎼 🐌

Happy Hallowe'en!

🎃 Kate 🦇


September


Video Collab: Les Petits Mots Magiques

Bonjour mes amis!

Voici une petite vidéo—en français! My dad and I collaborated on this fun educational animation last week, for use in french immersion classrooms. Five magic words/phrases that wee ones ought to know: bonjour, s'il te plait, merci, de rien, et je suis désolé! All taught by an enthusiastic french rabbit who jumps out of a magic hat.

To see all the behind-the-scenes sketches and such, head over to the original Patreon post!


August


Health, Tunes, Pianos...

Hello friends!

I've been finding it to be a bit of a struggle to figure out what to share this month, so I’ll just start by sharing some honest bits of my mind and see what happens…!

Health & Stuff

It has been a relatively challenging month for both my mental and physical health, and since most of my energy has gone towards trying to manage them, it has left little bandwidth for creative motivation/productivity. I know a lot of people can relate to this, especially right now.

I’ve been keeping most of the demons at bay by focusing my energy on healing activities such as making nourishing foods, reading good books, learning simple balfolk tunes on piano, picking the guitar, stretching, breathing, meditating, going for walks in nature and being attentive to the new wave of birds migrating through.

flycatcher A cute little Pacific-slope Flycatcher

I do feel that soon, along with the shift of the seasons, I will find better grounding and be able to stabilize some of the current imbalances I'm experiencing. These things, like many (all?) things, seem to come and go in cycles. Sometimes it helps just to remember that!

Balfolk Tunes

One saving grace throughout the whole pandemic for me so far has been learning and playing folk dance tunes from the Honeywood Tunebook that my friends Emilyn Stam & John David Williams put together. I discovered that when I find my creative tank has run out of juice, it's nice to just switch my brain-gears and read some simple sheet music that someone else wrote instead of trying to force the creation of original music when it's not feeling natural.

Read more...


July


Art Bird Card Collab #2: Bewick's Wren

Remember last year when I showed you my collaborative Art Bird Card with the juncos? Well, Seán and I got an opportunity to try our hands at another local bird—the bewick's wren—for the new 2021 edition of the deck!

Bewick's wren illustration Our collaborative digital illustration: bird by Seán, background by Kate

You can read more about the card, as well as a summary of some spring things on our Hummingcrow post 🌱

Feel free also to read my full post and watch the process video over on my Patreon page :)


June


POSCA Paint Practice – Perchers & 'peckers

With the unseasonably warm temperatures this week, the bird bath has been busy with hot & thirsty feathered friends splashing vigorously and gulping down beakfuls.

Speaking of feathered friends, here are some relevant paintings!

flicker An “intergrade” Northern Flicker at the bath.

I recently received a whole wack of colours of POSCA paint markers as a gift from my mum, and was eager to try out the new selection. I sifted through some of my bird photos and chose a few attractive woodpeckers and a robin to model for me.

Read more and see all of the paintings on the original Patreon post.  


  Kinesthetic Plunking

I recently bought a used hybrid nylon-string guitar (one with a lighter body and narrower neck for smaller hands like mine)!

Kinesthetic memory never ceases to amaze me: while I was testing it out at the shop, my guitar-brain magically began thawing after a dozen years in the cryogenic freezer. After about one minute of awkward playing, everything came rushing back and I was able to remember everything from where I left off (when I was about 19 and playing more regularly).  

So, just for fun, here's a little phone-recording of me running through a handful of tune-bits from my memories of guitar past a couple of days after acquiring the new axe. My dad taught me all of these tunes when I was a teenager, except for the last one, which I made up during my first year at art college.

Read more and see all of the paintings on the original Patreon post.


May


Album Cover Throwback Series – Part 2: Stories from the Northwest

January 2018 feels like a long time ago! That's when I made this art for my friend Jeremy—AKA Saltwater Hank—for his album, Stories from the Northwest.

It was originally intended to be the cover art, but a different aesthetic was chosen for the cover in the end (which I think fits the feel of the album really well), so this art became the next best thing— the insert-booklet cover, which also includes a few of my process drawings:

A few months after finishing the art, I went on a week-long tour performing around BC with Saltwater Hank and Vic Horvath, which was a super fun time (see my very weird three-headed, four-armed tour-poster on the original Patreon post, as well as process sketches, and more!)


April


Album Cover Throwback Series – Part 1: Never Say Never

In the summer of 2019, I got a call from a children's entertainer who I had previously met at an accordion-themed event in Vancouver. He goes by the stage name Ishdafish— “Ish” for short. He had seen some event posters that I illustrated and thought I'd be the perfect fit to redesign and illustrate the cover of his 2012 album, Never Say Never.

ish basket Cover detail

He was extremely enthusiastic and positive about the whole thing and had a lot of exciting ideas he wanted to include in the new cover. To start: a hot air balloon—full of instruments, just beginning to take off—surrounded by a parade of musicians and clowns and animals and children!

parade Detail of parade and other goings-on

Read more about the whole experience and see a bunch of process pictures on the original Patreon post!  


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