Feature Friday: Lauren Lee

Happy Feature Friday!

laurenlee_profile_2016Today we’re featuring the whimsical works of Lauren Lee, an illustrator who works in advertising by day but creates amazing illustrations every free chance she gets! We are in love with the characters and scenes she creates in her work – honestly we’re crossing our fingers a coffee shop gets her to design their cups, because we’d be there ASAP! Keep reading to hear more about her creative journey and see her fun coffee cup and sketchbook illustrations.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-12-45-47-am: I’m a twenty-two year old designer working in the crazy world of advertising. I use illustration as a way of release. Outside of design, I love animation films, re-reading Harry Potter, and binging title sequences.


Continue reading “Feature Friday: Lauren Lee”

Feature Friday: Illustrator Ann Shen

tumblr_me5jodMvUZ1qbwmaiHappy Feature Friday!

Today we’re featuring the fun and bright illustrations of Ann Shen! We have actually been familiar with Ann’s work for awhile since we always come across her illustrations in different places online. We love how her designs have an aesthetic that makes it easy to recognize her work and we’re so excited to get the chance to learn more about her. From selling her pieces on Etsy and doing freelance projects, to working on her very first book (that will be released next fall!), Ann is one busy creative! Luckily she took the time to answer some of our questions and show us how much she really loves what she does. Read on to brighten up your Friday by seeing her illustrations!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.
1445381491323: Hi! I’m Ann and I’m an illustrator, letterer, and graphic designer based in Los Angeles.

Continue reading “Feature Friday: Illustrator Ann Shen”

Awesome People Please Apply!

Hello lovely readers!

As most of you are aware, every Friday we feature someone who is doing something creative or just plain cool on our site. If you write, draw, paint, play an instrument, dance, own a business, travel, sew, design, craft, or have any other talent you want to share, apply to be a Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

We love sharing what you guys are doing and it’s a great opportunity to show off what you do to your friends, family, colleagues and our readers from all over the world.

To apply simply shoot us an email at castlefoundations(at)gmail.com, tell us what you do and we will get back to you with our feature options.

We can’t wait to share some of the Features we already have lined up for this month!

–Tara & Cailin


Feature Friday: Gloria Ho Illustrations

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

Me-KomagataMaruThis week we talked to Gloria Ho, of Gloria Ho Illustrations. We love that she has illustrations that can easily be identified as hers, as she mainly paints portraits and animals and uses watercolors. Her animal paintings have such character and the story behind how she started painting them is too cute. Sometimes you need just a little bit of random inspiration to get a project going and we’re glad she did. Gloria has now become a published illustrator and sells her pieces online and at art markets. She hopes to have her own exhibition in the future and we know she will achieve that goal soon! Keep reading for Gloria’s full story.

Castle Logo: Tell us about yourself. When and why did you start illustrating?
logo_small2-1: I’m Gloria Ho, a freelance watercolour illustrator based in Edmonton, Alberta. I started painting when I was about 11 or 12 and always did it for fun, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that my watercolour style started to develop. It was my final year of university and I did a 20-piece watercolour portrait series for my capstone project. This project really ignited my love of watercolour and taught me so much about the medium.

After graduation, I went to South Korea to teach English and some of my elementary students thought Gloria sounded like “gorilla” and started calling me “Gorilla Teacher”. I thought the nickname was so funny and I started sketching gorillas. These sketches led to primate paintings, an endless series of animal illustrations, and a commitment to make painting an important part of my life.

Castle Logo: You illustrate a lot of animals and portraits. Is there anything in particular about these subjects that attracts you to paint them?
logo_small2-1: I think the reason I love painting portraits is because I’m fascinated by physiognomy. I enjoy looking at physical qualities of a subject and painting them in a way that expresses the person’s intangible characteristics. I also love painting animals because they have so much personality! I also find that the colours and different textures on an animal really allow me to play with several watercolour techniques in one painting.


Castle Logo: What are your favorite medias to work with and why?
logo_small2-1: Watercolour is by far my favourite medium to work with because I never totally know what the end result will be and I enjoy the process. The way it blends and bleeds is unpredictable, which is both exciting and frustrating at times. It is an unforgiving medium so there is a necessary balance between control and spontaneity.


Castle Logo: When did you decide to start selling your work?
logo_small2-1: I started to sell my work here and there when family members and friends commissioned me. It wasn’t until 2014 that I started pursuing painting as a business. I didn’t have the confidence to sell my illustrations until I started posting images on social media and strangers expressed interest in my work. It also really helped to have a strong support system with family and friends believing in me and encouraging me to give it a try. In the past year, I have sold my watercolours at art markets, online, and to individual clients.


Castle Logo: What has been the most exciting moment of being an illustrator?
logo_small2-1: I’ve always dreamed of becoming a published illustrator and this came true recently when 5 of my illustrations were printed in the farewell issue of the Worn Fashion Journal! Not only was it a personal accomplishment, but an awesome learning experience.


Castle Logo: You have done some traveling. What was one of your most memorable moments being abroad? Has traveling helped your artistic career?
logo_small2-1: One of my favourite travel memories is when my best friend and I had the opportunity to bathe an elephant at a sanctuary in Luang Prabang, Laos! It was such a cool experience and a really positive time in my life. When I traveled and worked with different organizations abroad, I found myself in a lot of situations that I didn’t expect. I think I learned to be me more decisive yet adaptable, and a better communicator. I also started to figure out what I wanted to change about myself, what my strengths were, what made me happy and what I wanted to achieve. All of these things collectively motivated me to start my artistic career.

MC 6 year table

Castle Logo: What are your biggest dreams and goals?
logo_small2-1: I would love to have a solo exhibition one day! How cool would that be?


Castle Logo: What’s the best advice you have received?
logo_small2-1: I learned from a university professor that when it comes to painting and illustrating, it’s impossible to have successful pieces 100% of the time. There will be days where all the work you do is horrible, no matter what. This helped take the pressure off illustrating and helped me focus on the process instead of the end result.

Another piece of advice that stuck with me came from an accomplished illustrator who emphasized that whatever came from my hand naturally was the style that I should develop. He said imitation is a good way to study technique, but we shouldn’t try to copy the style of another artist when building a portfolio for commercial work. If clients see imitated work, they will only be reminded of the original artist, and wouldn’t commission the imitator.


Castle Logo:  Any advice you’d like to give to aspiring illustrators?
logo_small2-1: Develop both your creative and business skills together because you need both to succeed. Meet and share ideas with other working creative people who understand what you’re going through when you’re trying to earn money selling things you make! Forming a community is a great way to pool your knowledge, get constructive feedback, and make personal connections.
See more from Gloria below:
Website: www.gloriaho.ca

Feature Friday: Melsy’s Illustrations


Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

IMG_2003 This week we’re featuring Jamel Saliba of Melsy’s Illustrations! We love how she got super creative for her feature and integrated illustrations into her answers! We definitely agree with her outlook on your career… you should do something you love! She has always loved art and decided that she should make it into her every day job. One of my biggest fears is working a perpetual 9-5, so once Jamel decided she wasn’t happy living that way either, she wasn’t afraid to try something new.  We’re glad she did because we love her fun, girly illustrations! Between illustrating tutus, macarons, and city scenes, something from Melsy’s Illustrations would be perfect to hang up in your room or office wall. Make sure to keep reading to hear all about her big career change and how she was able to discover a new talent and turn it into a business!


Jimmy Choo WM Paris Watermark unnamed-1 native fox jeans watermark weddingdressonhanger SkirtTalk