Illustrated Photoshoot Series

October 3, 2016 // - - - - - - - -

I have so much content drafted on here, so bear with me while I roll it all out!

Here’s a project I worked on earlier this summer after I was approached by stylist Thea Acierno. She asked me to add some illustrations to an existing photo set. I chose to incorporate as much cute and colorful imagery as possible — lollipops, unicorns, cupcakes and more. See the results below!

I had a lot of fun working on this project. I usually do my digital edits in coffee shops, and while chipping away at this one I was approached a few times by strangers complimenting “whatever the heck it is that you’re working on”. Hah.

This editorial set has yet to be published in print, so for any inquiries — please email Thea at thea.aci@gmail.com.

PHOTOSHOOT CREDITS: 
Photographer: John Gavin www.johngavin.ca

Styling: Thea Acierno www.theaacierno.com

Makeup: Ann Oster www.annoster.com

Model: Jenna @ Plutino Group / Peggi Lepage http://www.plutinogroup.com

Illustrations: Megan Stulberg (Me, duh)

You can view this editorial series on my portfolio website as well here. Visit cargocollective.com/meganstulberg to view more of my illustrations, also on Instagram at @meganstulberg.

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Bottle Design for Village Juicery

July 26, 2016 // - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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Being the token vegan millennial that I am, it’s safe to say that I’m a big fan of cold-pressed juices. I mean, who wouldn’t be? They manage to hide tons of fruits and veggies while still tasting great. I’ve been familiar with Village Juicery for a while now, picking up the occasional bottle at Te Aro whilst in Toronto’s East End and Kupfert & Kim in the Financial District. They’re definitely one of the best juice spots that Toronto has to offer, in my opinion, both with ingredient quality and product range — and I worked at a competing juice bar just last year, so that’s saying something. Shade has officially been thrown.

A few months ago I went into Village Juicery to get some samples for Vegan Girlfriend. I ran into Village Juicery’s owner Omar, who said he was a big fan of my illustration work. I responded with a “Thanks, I do freelance!” quip, wink and all — little did I know that they actually wanted me to design their next bottle. Whoops.

This was my first time doing packaging, and it was so much fun! Designing the wrap-around label was a new challenge for me, but Village Juicery has a killer creative team that provided me with guidance regarding sizing and layout. I’ve included my hand-inked illustration for the bottle’s base design in this post as well, for a bit of a behind-the-scenes look of how something like this is created step-by-step .

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Since this bottle was intended for seasonal purposes and would be rotating with different flavours throughout spring/summer 2016, I decided to go for a fresh, floral motif. To cohesively fit with Village Juicery’s local presence and mentality (most of their ingredients are locally sourced as well), I specifically incorporated cherry blossoms à la Toronto’s High Park, which is very close to VJ’s HQ in Roncesvalles. 

The first flavour to roll out in the seasonal bottle was a strawberry mylk in April, and right now a watermelon cold-pressed juice is in circulation. I love that both flavours so far have been pink since it looks so pretty and feminine paired with the white lines, but I can’t wait to try whatever flavour is coming next! You can get these juices at a variety of different health food stores and cafes across Toronto. Most recently I spotted the mylk at Rooster Coffee House in the King East Design District. You can also go to Village Juicery’s storefronts on Dundas Street West, Yonge Street or College Street, at which they have a variety of drinks, foods and custom cleanse packages to choose from.

If you buy one of these bottles and snap a pic, be sure to tag @villagejuicery in it on Instagram. You can tag @meganstulberg too, if you want! I’ve been lurking away, and love all the creatively arranged photos I’ve seen so far.

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All photo credit to Emily from Village Juicery.

AMANDA BROOKE PERRIN’S ALBUM RELEASE!

July 11, 2016 // - - - - - - -

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The internet is a wonderful place. Seriously, I love it so much. I started following smart funny lady Amanda Brooke Perrin on Instagram years ago, and due to some sort of miraculous act of the gods, she followed me back. We met IRL in the summer of 2014 when Amanda commissioned me to do a watercolour painting of cats incorporating the phrase “Don’t be a baby bitch” for another smart funny lady Anne T. Donahue.

Amanda Brooke Perrin is launching her first ever album “AKA Randy” today! I attended the stand-up show at which the album was recorded, so I can personally vouch that it is very very very good. You can probably hear me laughing like a hyena at some point in it. And last but not least, I did her album art. So considering all of these things, it only made sense to dedicate a post to her album.

Amanda was a ton of fun to work with. She literally said “I have a photo of myself, can you draw a bunch of things I like around it?” and so yup, that’s what I did. No further explanation for the meaning behind this particular illustration needed.

Here are some miscellaneous other things from her list that I didn’t have room to include, but she also likes:

  • Peter Dinklage
  • Friends
  • Dogs
  • Tattoos
  • Powerful women
  • Hot dogs
  • Nachos
  • Shopping
  • Brains
  • Celebrity Crushes (Michael Keaton, Ryan Gosling, Peter Dinklage again)
  • Rom-Coms
  • Charcuterie boards (Please note that I did, however, include cheese)
  • Social anxiety
  • Succulents
  • Picnics
  • Festivals

All good things! You can buy her album on iTunes and Spotify.

 

GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO CREATE

June 23, 2016 // - - - - - - - - -

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I didn’t know it at the time, but I learned to use art an as emotional release when I was a teenager. It took me a while to realize this because I was drawing long before anything “bad” happened to me. I went through a macabre-style phase following my sexual assault in high school, drawing cartoon-like pools of blood around pretty faces like a halo. I hacked together a mixed-media collage piece based around the term “fuckpuppet” the first time I was ghosted after intimacy. I literally threw paint at a canvas when I was cheated on. Creating artwork can channel anger, helping to digest and heal real life trauma. I am okay today for this reason.

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I’ve simplified my style as I’ve matured. My work used to be cluttered with over-the-top details, fine lines, patterns and absolutely zero negative space, which accurately reflected my jumbled mind. I’d completely absorb myself into each piece. I’d draw for hours without stopping, pushing through hand cramps and lower back pain, to prevent myself from thinking about anything “real”. That disconnect was exactly what I needed at the time.

I also used to work solely in black ink, and now I purposely try to incorporate colour as much as possible to reflect my change in mental health. Instead of choosing sombre tones and shadows to express turmoil, I now use colourful and cute typography to open up about my most vulnerable feelings and intimate thoughts. I’ve switched to clean lines for a clean mind, but the overarching sentiment stays the same.

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Nowadays most of the illustrations I create are for commercial purposes — and business is really good lately, so I’m in no position to complain. It just means that I have to find time to create personal pieces in order to not lose sight of why I started drawing in the first place.

I now create illustrations with my audience in mind as the priority. I view sharing my therapeutic illustrations online as a sort of visual advice column, if that makes sense. It’s why I created an illustration for Tumblr’s mental health campaign last year. Just because I have a negative thought, doesn’t mean it has to stay negative. I can channel negativity into creativity.

At the end of the day, reading a comment such as “Thank you, I had no idea how much I needed this today” or “I set this as the wallpaper on my phone as a daily reminder for self-care” makes everything worth it. It’s the best kind of therapy I’ve ever had, and if others can benefit from it as well?

Win/win.

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You can view the rest of my illustration portfolio over at cargocollective.com/meganstulberg.

ILLUSTRATIONS & INDIE88: FIELD TRIP ’16 RECAP

June 6, 2016 // - - - - - - - - - -

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Earlier this spring, a colleague tagged me in a Bunz Trading Zone post looking for an illustrator to work on a project with Indie88, an indie-rock radio station based here in TO. I sent an email and the rest followed suit.

Flash forward to last week, when She Does The City asked me to do some media coverage with mega-talented photographer Yuli Scheidt at Field Trip Music & Arts Festival. I found out the next day that Indie88 would be handing out one of my Toronto-themed illustrations as postcards at Field Trip! I was jazzed about this coincidence, and to have the chance to snag a few postcards at their first “public appearance”.

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If you’re reading this and are like “lolwut”, let me explain. Field Trip Music and Arts Festival is held annually at Fort York, a historic site on the outskirts of downtown Toronto. Essentially it’s two days straight of eating, drinking, hula hooping, giggling at pretty girls in flower crowns, watching bands perform and admiring the other artistic installations and activities that the festival has to offer. You can find more details on Field Trip’s website here.

I was exhausted by the end of the first day, but in a good way. I did all of the things! I ate vegan mushroom poutine from The Portobello Burger food truck, a personal favourite I discovered last fall at RiotFest. I also drank copious amounts of freshly-squeezed lemonade, took advantage of Wild Altar‘s plant-based installation wall for a photo op, and witnessed Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew sing a questionable-but-sweet song about butts on the kid’s stage.

indie88westendfixedsizingcolouryuli-scheidt-SDTC-FT2016-JULYTALKThe highlight of the festival for me was finally seeing The National perform. They’re one of the few bands that have the ability to create music that physically hurts my heart to listen to. The same thing happened when I saw Daughter at the Phoenix back in 2012: my chest grew tight and my eyes welled up as my mind flashed to various noteworthy experiences I’d had while listening to their music. While listening to Matt Berninger croon “I Need My Girl”, I thought about when I watched their Saturday Night Live performance at a stranger’s house in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. During “I Should Live In Salt”, I thought about my 4th year morning routine of listening to their 6th studio album while walking to campus and chain-smoking. During “Sea of Love”, I thought about the summer when I started biking to the beach on weekend mornings, plugging in and watching the sunrise.

The first memory recalled above, I was with my partner of the time but was unhappy. The second, I was alone and unhappy. The third, I was alone and happy. Binge-listening to The National during my early twenties helped me appreciate independency and mental clarity, and for that I will always appreciate them. Experiencing that realization all over again was not something I expected from attending Field Trip, but was definitely a welcome reminder.

If you didn’t attend Field Trip but want to cope one of my illustrated postcards, keep an eye out! Indie88 will be handing these out at events all summer long.

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All photos (except for the subpar one I took of the postcards) were taken by Yuli Scheidt

  • Hi, I'm Megan! I'm a lifestyle blogger, social media specialist, illustrator, writer and vegan recipe maker-upper based in Toronto. Let's work together: megstulberg@gmail.com.
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