Simulation Canada : About the Process!

I recently had the absolute honour to get to work with Stitch Media for two educational simulations that focus on patient and client-centred care in the medical and care sphere. It’s amazing to get to work on a project that is not only diligently organized and produced, but also focuses on something so important. I believe strongly in the continued integration and actualization of patient-centred care in all fields, and it’s humbling to get to be even a very small part of helping in the education of people who will be applying these concepts in real life!

One of the simulations was focused on working as a team in a high-stress situation, and the other was pediatric focused. For both, I produced a series of character sketches based on descriptions provided by the client.

After the characters were approved - including making sure the first-responders were looking spiffy and accurate - I was able to move onto the sketches for each scene. The way the simulations work are sort of like a click through “game”, so many of the illustrations exist to supplement an interactive text component. I was provided with the script and other contextual information in order to plan out and flesh out each scene.

Since many of the “frames” were variations of each other, it was vital that I work out the logistics of the scene based on the cues of the script and scene description from the first sketch as up to ten following images would be reliant on the composition of the first. For instance - the simulation about teamwork features a complicated scene that includes an unconscious patient and up to five first-responders at once, all performing various life-saving techniques. 

Not only did I need to closely follow the provided reference to accurately reflect the technique (such as an IV insertion) but I also needed to make sure that it was clear what each person was doing. This meant using some unconventional angles and perspectives; and lots of Googling and pose referencing to make sure I was getting the anatomy and angles right. It was fun and interesting to learn about all the medical technologies and skills that the professional responders use to help their patients. It’s always a bonus to get to learn something while you work!

It was also important to get the emotion right in the illustrations as well - these scenes represent situations where emotions can run high; working to resuscitate a patient or an anxious young child. The scenes were being voice acted, too, so I knew it was important that the voice actor’s work could match the visuals. It was sort of like getting to live out my childhood dream of being an animator - just a little different! Since these panels were intended for educational purposes, I focused on making them clear and “true to life” - I particularly enjoyed creating a cozy, slightly messy home for the family in the paediatric simulation. 

After everything was approved, the illustrations were sent off for the Stitch Media team to turn into a functioning, interactive bilingual and educational simulation to be used on the Simulation Canada website. I was so glad I was able to work with the amazing team at Stitch Media to make these happen - it feels great to know that your work could play a part in helping a real person someday!

Trevell Delivery!

I was over the moon a few months ago when I received an extra large parcel from overseas - I’d been awaiting it eagerly, and I was not disappointed! The lovely folks at Trevell generously sent me a box full of my own puzzles; including “Art Gallery”, “Country Kitchen”, “At The Library”, “Autumn Cottage” and “Tea House”, along with some of the minis!

It’s not just a fun treat to get to see the puzzles in real life, but it also gives me the opportunity to build the puzzles myself and reflect on parts that I feel are working and parts that I feel could be improved in the future. Are purples printing too dark? Maybe these subtle gradients are too subtle! I also carefully read reviews and compliments on people’s social media posts to see what parts people are loving - I’m really pleased to see that the response to these puzzles has been amazing! I am particularly happy that people are enjoying putting the library puzzle together, I spent almost a full day just labelling every book - I’m so glad it paid off.

I couldn’t be happier with how the puzzles turned out - the print is true to the original illustration and the pieces are all perfectly formed. The minis are really great too, and Trevell has recently announced they’re doing a small puzzle subscription box too so that’s extra fun. Loving the subtle branding updates that Trevell has been working into their packaging too. I promptly stuck the little sticker right onto my fridge. It’s a place of honour!

I was also treated to these bonus presents! These are beautiful mini puzzles by the Estonian artist Laivi Põder, and I love the meticulous and naturalistic detail that they use in their art. I wish I could hop right into any of these wonderful little puzzles.

I’m so grateful to Trevell for sending me this box of treasures, it was just like Christmas morning getting to open everything. I’m also so grateful for everyone that takes the time to share a post, write a review, film a video or just take a moment to comment on my art. It means so much to me to be see people enjoying something that I enjoy making. Thanks et merci beaucoup! 

Gloriosas and Basketball : Aswen Plays Ball!

I was very honoured to be asked to illustrate “Aswen Plays Ball!” by the talented, humble and wonderful Sharanja Devasundar. This marks her first picture book and is a loving, gentle tribute to her beloved cousin Aswen Chandraraj.

I’ve actually known Sharanja since high school; we were in the same grade and shared classes together - but never had we imagined that one day we would team up to make a book together! Not only did I have full trust in her abilities as a writer and storyteller, but I knew she would put her whole heart into the project and work with me to the end to make it happen.

Aswen Plays Ball! is a story about practice, learning perseverance and not giving up on your dreams. It is also a story about a close-knit, loving Tamil-Canadian family and the wisdom and love they share and nurture in the next generation. Appachi, the matriarch of the family, grows gloriosa, the flame lily, or Karthigaipoo in her garden, not just a beautiful flower that requires love, but a treasured symbol for Tamils all around the world. Her advice to young Aswen, is that dreams and goals, like flowers, need care and attention to grow.

Anna, his older brother, already loves basketball and excels at it - with his guidance and help, Aswen begins to blossom and improve at the sport he loves. With the love and support of his family, Aswen learns that he can do anything.

Sharanja’s direction while we worked on this project was invaluable - I had never heard of the gloriosa flower or chippi before reading her manuscript. Aswen’s family was involved in every step of the way, too - suggesting that a special portrait be visible in the background as well as a traditional Tamil brass lamp called a  Kuthuvilakku be included. I was so touched to see the response to this spread; many Tamil readers saw their own homes reflected. I think it’s important as an illustrator to remember that representation goes further than just including diverse bodies - it means so much to young readers to see their world reflected back at them too.

I am continuely blown away and overwhelmed by the positive, kind response to the illustrations and am so proud of Sharanja for creating such a wonderful story. Meeting Aswen’s family and friends at the book launch is an experience I will remember always.

I am so grateful that I was allowed to be a part of something so special and I humbly thank everyone who has supported this wonderful book.

Aswen Plays Ball! is available on Amazon and all proceeds will be donated to charity.

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