The Grindstone – 1

January 28, 2015


The Grindstone is a new series of posts featuring inspiring modern workplace fashion. To me, the modern workplace is a place where casual dress and fashionable choices meet to make you feel inspired, comfortable, and effortless throughout your workday. In a word, practical.

Starting off we have a classic black and white look…  my favourite since you can play with the details to create something that feels modern. Sneakers, buttoned up to the collar, with straight trousers – tomboy greatness all day.

Follow along with modern workwear inspiration on my Pinterest Board for The Grindstone.



Always Hungry – Challenges, Firsts, and Failures, at FITC 2014

March 4, 2014


At work I am lucky to manage a small creative team, and expose interns to things they might not learn in school. One of my favourite things is being able to help someone who is struggling through a tough concept or new technology. Sometimes helping is just sharing a small trick I learned when I was an intern (ie: My good friend Tabs!), and sometimes it’s figuring out how to explain something that is second nature to me, but new to my team… Once you’ve removed that roadblock for someone, they not only become more efficient, they are more confident, and have the ability to be more creative. It’s awesome!

Every day I give feedback on our team projects, pushing everyone to do better work; be more detail oriented, get out of their comfort zone, try something new. And even though I’m challenging others everyday, sometimes I forget to challenge myself.

The reason I want to go to FITC in Toronto this year is to challenge myself to create more interactive digital work by exploring technically layered concepts and integrating new technologies. (Translation: Do more things, do cooler things, try new things, fail sometimes)

Teaching others at work reminds me that everyone begins somewhere, and to put your first efforts in front of others is brave and I want to be more brave. When you start something new, you can get lost in the gaps. But I need to remember that getting lost can be a good thing. There will be mistakes (ew) and there will be (great!) success. I hope that this year at FITC I can get lost in the the new uses of familiar technologies, and the ‘I-want-to-make-that’ of new-to-me programs. 

Another reason I’d love to attend FITC Toronto is to combat staleness. The design industry is dominated by ‘freshness’ and ‘new’, and it can be a bit (and let’s just keep this in the ‘everyone-feels-this-way-sometimes’ category) draining. As much as I enjoy editing the work of others, I sometimes I catch myself thinking “I would not have thought of something as cool as that”, which scares me (in a good way). It’s amazing to surround myself with creative people because they inspire you and challenge you at the same time.

This is also a reminder that learning never stops, and that I am always hungry to learn new things.

My FITC Women’s Initiative submission was originally a project idea that I created for a past intern named Becca. Over the course of her four month internship we had worked very hard on her hand-lettering and she had made awesome progress… so during her last few days of working, I challenged her to create ‘real lettered’ typography inspired by this post about Danielle Evans that I saw on The Kitchn (See Becca’s project here and here). And so today, in the spirit of challenging myself and trying things for the first time… I tried it too.

And you know what?

It’s not great.

And that’s okay. I tried, I’ll try again, I’ll get better, and I will remember that even though there are a lot of experts out there, everyone is a beginner at something.

Hope to see you all at FITC!



“Always Hungry” was created with salt! Thank you to my friend Steph for Introducing me to FITC, and for this amazing opportunity from FITC Women’s Initiative.

Spring Peach

April 12, 2012

I saw a this beautiful Orla Kiely SS12 dress on this Daydream Lily post and it couldn’t get it out of my head until I drew it. I added a skinny neon bow belt after reading about Bicyclette’s current obsession with them.

I enjoy the contrast between her matte violet hair and the soft pink dress layers. Hands are not my favorite to draw, but something about her right hand makes me very happy. Cheers to spring!

P.s. You can see more of my illustrations and graphic design work on my portfolio page!


January 30, 2012

I drew this today while thinking about the production of bras, apples with peanut butter, the thickness of felt tips, and 1930’s silk underthings.

Ink, marker, & watercolour.

Braided Lavender

November 17, 2011

Here is the very beginnings of a romantic sketch of a woman with lavender braided hair. Dreamy, yet alien.

Pencil, Pencil Crayon, Ballpoint Pen.

Blushing Crown

November 11, 2011


I’ve recently moved and had a lot of changes going on…
But I’m drawing and painting again and so excited to share things I’ve created that really make me happy.

Below is an instagram snap-shot of a sketch I’m in the middle of, but I got carried away and started experimenting with colours in Photoshop right from the photo.

Natural Beauty by Amy Killoran

This image is me experimenting and indulging in my fairy tale impulses. Eventually I’ll add more pencil detail to the sketch and layer watercolour and acrylic on top… but for now, playing around on a mess-less Photoshop canvas is perfect. Once I’ve figured a way to store all of my supplies in my new place (and get some ventilation going) I’ll be doing a lot more on real canvas.

I love her floral crown and beautiful lips. It reminds me of a memory that would be found in the mind of her summer lover.

Have a great weekend!

Pencil, Instagram, Photoshop

Teenage Technology

October 3, 2011

I’m currently adding the finishing touches (accessibility and interactivity) to a big ‘corporate’ Annual Report project that has been in the works for a few months. I’ve been the illustrator, graphic designer, and ‘multi-media specialist’ on this one… and I’m really enjoying being able to make all of the elements come together.

Above, is one of a dozen pieces I created to accompany various ‘Success Stories’ throughout the report. This is meant to (subtly) convey youth and their collective use of smart phones for daily communication.

It’s interesting to be able to contribute to many different projects and explore different styles. This project especially needed a professional, corporate look, while overall avoiding that ‘yet another blah report’ look. Hopefully I’ll be able to show you more soon.

Have a great week all.


Typography Turn On

August 19, 2011

You know it’s true.

Silly poster made by me.


Sketchbook: Young Dude

July 28, 2011

I posted this on My Twitter a few days ago. But I thought I would share it here too. It’s an unfinished sketch of a ‘young dude’… not sure where I want it to go, but it’s going.

I’m really itching to paint more, but the potential mess (A palette, two dirty brushes and newspapers) is holding me back. Now that is just silly… Dear self: JUST GET OFF YOUR BUM AND PAINT SOMETHING! People don’t expect artists to be minimalist OCD cleaning machines anyway.

I am quite partial to art materials that stay put, that don’t rub off on things, and that won’t fall off later on. My favorite materials are ink, watercolour, acrylic, guache and marker. From time to time I’ll experiment and throw in embroidery, pencil crayon, lead, or paper… but I’ll hardly ever use charcoal or pastels. ‘Too-messy’ materials (I find) are not as enjoyable to work with. Sometimes I’ll even look a work created with my ‘too-messy’ materials and I start to hate it because I know it’s going to rub onto something or I’ll find bits of it later all over my work clothes…

Have a great long weekend, and in the words of Ms. Frizzle, “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy.”

Ballpoint Pen

Grandpa’s Farm

July 28, 2011

I started out creating nothing. I was putting shapes together and then all of a sudden they reminded me of visiting my Grandpa’s farm. When he was younger he had a much larger farm, but the only one I remember going to was just large enough to keep me entertained during a hot summer afternoon.

There were chickens, potatoes, vegetables, tractors and corn. There were a few cars and farm vehicles in storage and/or rusting in the middle of the front lawn next to a tiny pond and a giant flag pole… I don’t think he sold anything commercially during his later years, but he definitely kept busy and traded with his neighbours. The farm was up a small hill just off of a rural road in what felt like the middle of nowhere. The animals, plants, and wind ensured it was never too quiet.

One day he and my father were talking about the local economy while a train passed by. Grandpa said, “Count those train cars Amy, I want to know how many cars that train is bringing!”. Apparently, the train was bringing barely one quarter of what it used to.

He told me to marry rich and to always remember to put sunscreen on the tops of my ears.

Thanks Grandpa.