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First Thursdays 5-9pm
other days by appointment

Located in Art Central
Upper Level
corner of 7th Ave SW & Centre St
Downtown Calgary



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Thank you! UPPERCASE readers are awesome.

UPPERCASE magazine

The Suitcase Series Volume 2: dottie angel, now shipping!A Collection a Day by Lisa Congdon, packaged in a collector's tin! Work/Life 2: the UPPERCASE directory of international illustratorsDownload the FREE iphone app!An illustrated storybook for sophisticated children and whimsical adults.

NEW! Shoegazing Notecards curated by Janine Vangool and published by Chronicle Books.

Click here to purchase Shoegazing Notecards 




current inspiration


UPPERCASE has a new website and online shop!

I'm very excited to introduce UPPERCASE's brand-new website, blog and shop. Please go to our new online home and update your links, bookmarks and feeds. Thank you! See you over there...



(This site will remain for a while as an archive, but all activity is happening on the new site.)


UPPERCASE in your space

Issue #14 is popping up all over. Share your pictures, illustrations and written reactions to the magazine with us via twitter (@uppercasemag). We love to see where and how you experience UPPERCASE.


Subscriber Profile: Valeria Cis


How are you creative in your daily life?
I think that in every little moment of my life, I have to apply  creativity-especially to work with my two kids on my mind all the time. To imagine what to cook with variety and good brush my hair in the morning. I also illustrate books for children.

What are you most curious about?
Communication. Equilibrium in all aspects comes through communication.

What is your most prized possession?
My grandfather's handkerchief.

What is your favourite letter of the alphabet and why?
R! I love it's shape, I love how it sounds (in Spanish which is my mother language) specially in little children that cannot pronounce it very well.

What is your favourite colour?
Green. Peaceful green.

What is your preferred creative tool?
A brush.

What is your favourite food?
French Fries mmmmm!



104 to 50

An artist and professor living in Israel has been documenting the moments in her life leading up to a milestone birthday. As of today, Talia is 104 days away from her 50th birthday. We're happy to see that moment number 152 was accompanied by issues 12 and 13.


Mining the collective

Sled Island 2012 Promotional Illustration, Heather Kai SmithThere's an odd little space in Calgary's EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts. It over looks one of the main meeting points in this complex of performance spaces and the administrative offices for many of Calgary's  performing arts organizations. It is oddly like a crow's-nest on a tall ship and is called the Ledge Gallery.

This summer, Heather Kai Smith has transformed the space into a working independent zine and print shop. Stop by and request a design, sit for a portrait or help with the zine process.

Heather at work on the Ledge


type tuesday: we make type because we love to read

documentary by student filmmaker Hanah Ryu Chung about the present and future of books. Shot in Toronto, it features lots of independent booksellers (including UPPERCASE stockist Type Books) as well as bookbinders and letterpress printers. Nicely done. {via The Travelling Bookbinder}


type tuesday: The Sign Painter

Hooray! The Sign Painter project on Kickstarter has reached its goal and still has a few days left. I couldn't resist the $200 pledge level:

Your name, logo or design hand painted AND CUSTOM-DESIGNED BY CHES PERRY on an 18"x24" show-card plus a professional photo and video taken of your sign being lettered for however you wish to use it: website, print or to show your friends how awesome it is that you had your logo or design hand painted by a old time sign artist. Also includes the sign painting instructional DVD to learn how to sign paint, techniques and tricks (fall delivery date on DVD).


starting Kickstarter

Since it is International Typewriter Day, it seems fitting to share with you a project that I have in the works...

A richly illustrated book full of never-before published typewriter memorabilia, intriguing historical documents and entertaining anecdotes, The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine is a beautiful ode to an all but obsolete creative companion.

It is an ambitious 224-page hardcover book which I hope to fund through Kickstarter next month. The concept for the book is one I have been refining for many years and I can't wait to share more about it with you. In the next few weeks, I'll be shooting and editing a video in preparation for the project launch on Kickstarter.

If you're not already signed up for the UPPERCASE e-newsletter, please do that here and you'll be informed when the Kickstarter project goes live. If you'd like to help spread the word about The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine, please drop me a line! The success of a Kickstarter campaign relies not only on the strength of the project concept, but also the support it gets through social media so your help is very much appreciated.


It's International Typewriter Day!

Top two cakes by Petit Trianon made in honour of The Regional Assembly of Text's 3rd and 4th anniversaries. The bottom cake is by Debbie Ross Cakes.

June 23 marks the 144th anniversary of the date Christopher Latham Sholes received a U.S. patent on the typewriter. It's International Typewriter Day, so grab your portable and type something! And if you have lots of time and patience... bake a cake!

Gingerbread typewriter by Susanna Blåvarg via Baked Ideas.

An authentic typewriter cake made in 1967.

Readers of this blog and UPPERCASE magazine will know that I have a passion for typewriters. In honour of International Typewriter Day, I invite you to peruse my past typewriter posts.


Excellent ABC

Ring MasterParadeIn preparation for Issue #14 and its focus on children's illustration, I thought we would share a visually interesting ABC book. The vibrant, simple and striking illustrations in ABC is for Circus by Patrick Hruby  have quickly earned it a spot on the most-requested list in my house.



Inspiration juice

We received a lovely email from reader, Maria Carluccio telling us just how much she loves UPPERCASE.

"I always save my mag for late at night, after all is quiet. I get my inspiration juice and then the next day I'm all ready to try and create."

She wasn't shy about sharing her UPPERCASE affection in a recent interview promoting her new project. Wall Stories, a line of repositionable fabric stickers, introduces art and storytelling in ways that encourage kids to be creative. The mural sets come with ideas from Maria to inspire kids to create their own stories.


More about Burnt Toast

Burnt Toast Studio began as a print-making studio in 2000, formed by five friends who met at the Alberta College of Art and Design in the mid 1990s. Since then they've branched out to include other disciplines: screenprinting, etching, relief, mixed media, papermaking, painting, drawing and sculpture. There are more than a dozen members, and the studio holds an impressive array of printing and artmaking equipment, including a printing press that they had designed and manufactured locally. There's a lot of fantastic artists working at Burnt Toast, check them out, and check out some more pictures of Alden's screen printing process and some shots from around the studio here


Sled Island Posters

One of the highlights of Calgary summers in recent years has been the fantastic Sled Island festival. This year's favorite include hometown girl Feist, The Hold Steady, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Andrew WK, and dozens of others. It's not a typical music festival that takes place in a single park or venue, but rather spreads out over dozens of venues throughout the city, and is not only a music festival, but involves a film and visual arts component as well.

Part of that visual component is a poster show, where talented local artists design gig posters for some of the headline acts, which are then silk-screened by local printers. One of those printers is friend of UPPERCASE Alden Alfon

Here's Alden printing the Andrew WK poster at Burnt Toast Studio, by illustrator Abby Fong. 




Guest Post: Old school tools 

Sarah concludes with her use of watercolours to round out her documentation.

"I love adding a little paint to the journal pages I create. One way of doing this on a trip is to carry a small box of watercolour paints and brushes. I will often pull out the paints to create the base of my page or add a little detail after I have added my notes for the day. Water brushes are great to use for traveling as they allow you to add water directly to the barrel of the brush and make it easy to take on the go.

Traveling is an exciting adventure, by adding a little creativity and special stops to take in the sights and sounds of your location, you will be one step closer to living a more creative and fulfilled life. The tools and tips I’ve shared with you today will assist in giving you a new way to look at your travels and will also provide you with a beautiful memory of your special visit."


Guest Post: High tech tools

Sarah explains how she uses apps to record her travels.

"As I mentioned earlier, a phone with a camera is an invaluable tool these days, especially if you are traveling a long distance. In addition to the camera on your phone, there are some really fun camera apps that are relatively inexpensive (or free) that can to add drama and flare to your photos. My favorites are instagram and snapseed.

Both of these apps allow you to create different types of filters over your original photo. Instagram helps you create Polaroid-type pictures and has dozen of different filter options. Snapseed also allows filter options and can integrate easily with instagram for even more creative photos. With instagram you can share your photos instantly online and there are now also many ways to print your instagram photos, so they can become a special remembrance of your journey. Use of these phone apps also is a great way to record your journey and incorporate the photos into your journal."

Even the smallest journeys can be captured this way as Janine did using instagram and twitter on her commute this week.

UP NEXT: Old school tools


Guest Post: Colour as inspiration

Paris in Orange, Gallery Collection, Nichole RobertsonSarah explains another way that colour can serve as inspiration.

"There are hundreds of ways to create a journal of your travels. The best way to decide how to capture your journey is to think about what you are seeing while you travel. Do you want to document the architecture, the scenery, the people, the culture, the colours or a combination of all?

One of my favorite photographers is Nichole Robertson of Little Brown Pen. She and her family travel between New Jersey and Paris and have documented their vision of the city of lights through colour in a new book: Paris in Color. This book is a wonderful reference to see how to view somewhere in a new and fresh way. By using color as a focus it allows you see at a different level. What might have just been a tourist shot becomes a truly masterful way of capturing an important memory.

Paris in Yellow, Gallery Collection, Nichole RobertsonYour journal can be divided into colour before you go and then used as a place to capture your journey through writing and photography. As you are moving through your trip, write about the colours you see and date the pages. Also make note of the photos you take so that they are easily added once you return home. This can be done at the end of the day as a recap to the sites and sounds you have experienced."

UP NEXT: High tech tools

Paris in Purple, Gallery Collection, Nichole Robertson


Guest Post: A packing list

shares her packing list for creativity while travelling.

"Packing light for a trip is important but you can still include some small supplies to keep you creative while you are away. Do you like to sketch? Paint? Photograph? Or journal? How about combining all four into a vacation project that you will cherish forever?
Here’s what you need:

  • a journal: I love moleskine journals. They are lightweight and can fit into a carry-on or camera bag.
  • a camera: my go to camera is the Canon Rebel T2i with two lenses: 18-135mm and a 60mm macro.
  • a phone with camera capabilities: a lightweight alternative to the camera
  • a small pencil case: filled with your favorite pens, pencils, eraser and pencil sharpener
  • a small travel set of watercolour paints: Windsor Newton has a travel case that is about the size of a credit card and comes with its own paint brush

All these items are small enough to fit in my carry-on bag so I can reach them at a moments notice. In addition, I have my laptop computer so that I can easily upload my photos to keep a backup and to keep my cameras disk clear for many photo opportunities. Some options for comfortable yet stylish bags include Crumpler (Australian made and many options for cameras and laptops) and Epiphanie Bags (more designer oriented camera bags)."

UP NEXT: Colour as inspiration


Guest Post: Creativity to-go

You may remember Sarah G. Stevenson from her series of posts about finding creativity. As the days get longer and summer holidays approach, Sarah's back to share her thoughts on creativity while travelling.

Her website has many more resources to help you make the space to play when you don't know how to find the time. Of particular note is the art retreat she is organizing for this Fall in Lake Tahoe. Create. Explore. Discover 2 is a place for an intimate group of women to tap back into their creativity, dig deep into their hearts and get messy and play. Lisa Congdon of UPPERCASE's Collection a Day will be one of the retreat leaders.

Sarah starts before leaving home with packing for creativity.

"Vacations can be an incredible source of creativity and a beautiful starting point to create something magical if you know how to travel with creativity in mind. Right now I am traveling in Australia with my family. It is their first time visiting the country that I call home, so it is really important to me to capture the trip in a special way that they will remember and also for me to gather some creative inspiration so that when I get home I have a jumping off point for some new projects.

For me this begins before I leave with packing for creativity. What does this mean? In addition to packing the normal things you would take on a long trip or vacation, I also pack a few things so that I can still create while I am away. Today, I am going to share my packing list and ideas to jumpstart your creativity while on vacation."

UP NEXT: A packing list



Notes about Evernote

In late March, Kasey and Nick from Evernote came to Calgary to shoot a video about how I use Evernote to run UPPERCASE magazine. If you're not familiar with the service, Evernote's slogan "Remember everything" sums it up. With online, desktop and mobile access, you can create and categorize notes. Anything that you want quick and easy access to, from receipts to saved web images to writing to lists to audio notes, you can save to Evernote. There's a detailed post on their blog about how I use the service. The tool has been invaluable to me (I've been using it since issue #2) and I urge you to give it a try. It's free, though I use the premium version for increased storage and other useful features.

A few notes about the video:

0:03 My necklace is by Urban Legend. We're featuring jeweller Kateri Morton in issue #15.

0:05 Stockist The Daily Globe on 17th Avenue in Calgary

0:11 Scissor print by regular contributor Alanna Cavanagh

0:15 We moved the couch so that you can see the bookcase behind me.

0:16 I found this typewriter in my back alley in 2006. (I painted it orange.)

0:17 Flea market score: $10 typewriter! Works perfectly.

0:19 Ebay score: 1947 Hermes typewriter poster by Herbert Luepin, flea market paint-by-number kitten.

0:20 This doggie is Scooter, photo by Christine Edwards.

0:23 Yes, more typewriters! 

0:35 That's Eleanor. If you have questions about subscriptions or the online shop, she answers them!

0:55 I love my big big monitor. A must-have for publication designers.

0:58 That's The Shatner Show, the first book I published. 76 illustrators interpret the life and career of Canadian icon William Shatner.

1:05 Windchimes by Ceeglass, featured in issue #13.

1:20 Crayon cover by Diem Chau.

1:23 That's my storage space in the lower level of Art Central. Yes, I do heavy lifting, too.

1:38 For non-Calgarians, that's Stephen Avenue, a pedestrian street a block from my studio. I'm trying to walk purposefully and not look at the camera.

1:38 Astute viewers will note that I took a really weird route to get into Art Central, but a scenic one!

1:50 Eleanor and I are discussing the felt pennants we've ordered to coincide with issue #14. From The People's Pennant, more details on this coming soon...

2:07 Shoutout to Anthropologie!

2:11 When we went to The Daily Globe to shoot, UPPERCASE contributor Nikki Sheppy just happened to be there. Another serendipitous moment for UPPERCASE magazine.


type tuesday: The Forty Story