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Canadagram: Meet Emily_Illustrates


This week we head to Toronto to meet a plant-obsessed illustrator and designer @Emily_Illustrates. Here she is in her own words.

Hi I’m Emily, I’m a freelance illustrator, textile designer and creator of Cabin Journal (@cabinjournal), a small & soon-to-be-launched paper goods company. I’m based in downtown Toronto. I love shooting nature and found patterns, both digitally and in 35mm. When I’m not drawing or taking pictures of plants I’m collecting (hoarding) them… 43 houseplants and counting! I'm slowly building myself a studio forest. — @Emily_Illustrates

Colour plays a huge deciding factor in what I take photos of. Being surrounded by nature fuels my inspiration far more than the greys and glass of the concrete jungle. No matter how many times I have shot them, I can never resist taking photos of the verdant, frame-filling greens of ferns, nor will I ever tire of the soft whites and slate blue-greys of rolling ocean fogs. — @Emily_Illustrates

I’m sure many people have the same tip, but overcast skies can work wonders whether you are shooting nature, portraits or product photography inside or outside. Fog and pearly overcast clouds make the atmosphere into one giant perfect soft box. — @Emily_Illustrates

I got my first camera at 13, it was a small copper-coloured Canon Elf, a digital point and shoot; since then I don’t think I’ve put the camera down! When Instagram started up it seemed a natural progression to join and post there. Early on I loved the analogue filters that could be applied to photos but since shooting 35mm I’ve kept the film grain and colour burns to analogue only and try to post photos truer to life in IG. When I first started posting to IG I only really posted things related to my illustrations (process photos, etc) but I’ve moved away from that since. — @Emily_Illustrates

I can’t say I went too far back for this TBT (my early IG photos make me cringe - so many filters!). My family lives around the corner from this harbour. I remember that we had just finished dinner when we saw the sun setting over the tops of the pine trees at the edge of the garden. We all jumped into the car and drove down the road to see the sun set from the docks there - while the colours were not a thing to be missed that night, it was the beautiful blues that sprang up in the wake of the sun setting that enchanted me. The water was like glass and the clouds were mirrored almost perfectly. Despite the ravenous mosquitos, I had to stay until the light vanished. — @Emily_Illustrates

Oh gosh, there are so many amazing photographers and artists out there to select from! Every morning when I open IG I am inspired by posts of ceramics and illustration, textiles and travel. @eloisemaree always inspires - a fellow plant lover with an amazing eye for colour, texture, and wonderful analogue photos. A friend and brilliant illustrator, @patternsandportraits, always makes me want to hop on the next plane to Japan and @theslowpokejournal reminds me to pause and take pleasure in the smallest details of everyday living. — @Emily_Illustrates

I’m currently setting up a new online shop for the stationery company and most of what I’m shooting these days is product photography for the website! It has been a learning curve, trying to bring to life flat pieces of paper can be tricky. Cabin Journal ( is set to launch this spring 2016. In the meantime, people can watch out for it under my own Instagram @emily_illustrates, under the hashtag #cabinjournal and at Cabin’s IG account @cabinjournal! — @Emily_Illustrates

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