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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


Guest Post: A birth announcement

Skye created backdrops with patterning and layering different papers and illustrations.

Skye shares her excitement:

"The best feeling in the world was receiving that first copy in my hands. When they handed it over to me it was like holding a new-born child! It was both familiar and strange all at once. There it was, all tidied up and printed on gorgeous quality, matte paper. The cover was spot-varnished and the inside casing hot pink and de-bossed, just as I imagined it. There were secret fold-out pages for people to use, and templates secreted on the inside of the cover. The whole effect was very rich and dense. It was really quite substantial.

But most of all, I was pleased to feel that it was a ‘giving back’ book: so much of what I loved and have learned falls within its pages, that the book ultimately feels like a gift to other creative people. I knew at once that my vision for Paper Bliss had certainly been realised, but now it was it’s own little thing, set out to embark on it’s adventurous journey into the big, wide world. I am so happy to have had the opportunity to create it with such a great team of folks! Welcome to the world, Paper Bliss!"



Monday is guest post day on Uppercase. If you are interested in participating, please contact Erin.

Guest Post: Crafter-noons and a suitcase full of paper

Skye writes:

"I began scouring the internet for anything ‘paper’. And immediately felt totally intimidated! If you look at the back of PAPER BLISS there are a wealth of ‘inspiring sites and people’ to look up. And these, among many more, have been my inspiration. But you know, you do what you do. We each have our own abilities and aesthetic, and what made me feel confident was that I was just like so many other people: unsure of my skills, uncertain of how projects might work out once I’d thrown myself full throttle into them. So, I have no idea how to construct paper couture, or minutely fanned and intricately folded origami sculptures. But, I consoled myself, I have my own, somewhat ‘shabby’ aesthetic, and that, my friends, would have to do! There was no turning back.

Skye's friend Mimi waving the tissue petals dry after painting their rims pink.

And I did what I always do: had madcap ‘crafter-noons’ with friends where we sat around my outdoor table and ate nice food and drank tea (and maybe some wine) and got to making something from the stuff that was in front of us. It was amazing to see people’s skills revealed in this way! It taught me much, which I was keen to pass on as tips throughout the book.

 Skye during a crafter-noon.

I also went on holidays with my paper! Much to my boyfriends bemusement, I took suitcases full of paper bits away with me. Clothes would come a very poor second or third, after inspiring books and yards of interesting papers to construct things from. At the airport, I scurried through the people scanner, wondering how I might explain it all should I be asked to open my bulging bags."


Next up: A paper baby.



Guest Post: Using technology to mock up a book about paper.

Skye's early mock up of Paper Bliss.

Skye writes:

"Not surprising, perhaps, for someone so visually orientated, I started with a visual representation of my idea. I gathered images from the net and from things I’d made over the year and plonked them all in a desktop folder called ‘Paper Book’. I then did a rather bad mock-up I now realise (though I am a designer in many senses of the word, I am no book designer!), scattering a myriad of images that took my fancy around square pages in INDESIGN, which I use despite not really knowing an awful lot about it, technically speaking!

I had this 20-odd page document printed onto lovely heavy-weight paper, spiral bound it and wrote an introduction and a few sample projects, plus a contents page. I pretty much made that up, as I wasn’t sure yet which projects would make the cut or not. The ideas I had for things to make were really rather a ‘wish list’…I’d find out if I could do them afterwards (I’m a cart-before-the-horse kind of person!)."


Next up: Crafter-noons and a suitcase full of paper




Monday Guest Post: Inspiraton for Skye

Skye writes:

"I got the idea for Paper Bliss from having so much paper around me all the time! I was on the lookout for things to do with paper and card samples that I would otherwise put in the recycle bin. It was this, but also a strong desire to ‘go deep’ into something…and to find an excuse to spend time physically making things rather than on the computer so much. A book allows an immersion into a subject that not many other things do: it’s kind of like doing a Uni (college) degree (I never did one, so it’s my kind of University degree!)…or a thesis of some kind.There were also a plethora of cool, how-to crafty type books being published in Australia and I wanted to join the fray!"


Next up: Skye talks about the process she used to create Paper Bliss



Guest Post Monday: Skye Rogers

While you are waiting for your favourite postal person to deliver issue #13, we thought we would share recent work from one of our previous contributors. Skye Rogers shared stories of her life with paper in issue #12.

Skye has been an illustrator for a good part of her adult life. But the long apprenticeship to her career was her childhood passion: she has been drawing on, cutting up, stamping on and pasting bits of paper together since she was very young.  

Her book, Paper Bliss was released on April 1st.

From the publisher:

PAPER BLISS has fantastic paper craft projects for all levels: from those at ′infants school′ and only at paper-aeroplane level to more advanced projects for ′paperians′ to get their teeth into, to those at paper high school who want to advance their skills with some more complex and elaborate projects. With some easily sourced items: scissors, cutting blade and mat, glue, fancy fasteners, paper punches, needle and thread and some found, pre-loved, new, hand-decorated, plain or recycled paper, there are hours of fun to be had with these projects. Whether it′s the simple completion of something that inspires you, a gift for a special friend or spending part of a day with the kids away from more pressing demands, you might be surprised by what you find.

Next up: Sky shares her inspiration for the project.

Monday is guest post day on UPPERCASE. If you are interested in participating, please contact Erin.


E is also for Erin

Erin, UPPERCASE's new Online Editor.

I am happy to welcome my friend Erin Bacon to the UPPERCASE family! (There must be something about talented women whose names begin with E! Read about Eleanor who manages the UPPERCASE online shop and subscriptions.)

I've known Erin for quite a long time (she writes an excellent introduction below) and I am thrilled that she will be helping to grow our online content. We receive so many links, portfolios and suggestions from our amazing readers but in the past I haven't had the time to post everything that I would like to. My husband Glen Dresser, will be a regular contributor online as well. Together we'll be featuring more from our contributors, subscribers, guest bloggers as well as behind-the-scenes, companion content and extras from our books and magazines.

I've been doing things on my own for far too long. I can't really describe how relieved I am to have such wonderful people as part of my team... I guess good things do come to those who wait. 



Erin writes:

"Like many of you, I've been a fan of UPPERCASE from the beginning. In fact, I've known Janine for over 10 years and for the first time in many years we are working together again. We first met and collaborated as client and designer. Across the years, we've experienced a number of major life events as friends; we were there at each others weddings—in fact, Janine did me the honour of designing the collateral for my wedding—we have become mothers and together we watch our children become friends.

I have had the great pleasure of watching my Janine grow UPPERCASE into the incredible success it is today and during that time, Janine and I have been plotting on how to find a way to work together again. Now, finally, the stars have aligned.

Coming to work at UPPERCASE sees me returning to work after being a stay-at-home mom for the last year. My son, Anderson, is four and my daughter, Quinn, is about to turn one. Art and design—and the creativity and curiosity innate in both—are an important part of who I am and play a significant role in my life. My husband and I own many pieces of art, several purchased from UPPERCASE including a Shatner Show print that is proudly displayed in our living room. But, for me, it is more than just having art in the house. It is important to show my children how much fun it is to create and be curious. From sprouting seeds for our vegetable garden and forcing bulbs in the kitchen to turning one of my cupboards into a chalk board. Personally, I express my creativity through knitting. Beyond that, knitting connects me to generations of crafty women in my family and gives me a space to let my type-A tendencies run rampant.

I'm looking forward to putting my depth of experience as an arts marketer to work—my professional passion is working with visual and performing artists, in established organizations and students just embarking on their career. I am thrilled to be the Online Editor for UPPERCASE, curating creativity for you each day. I'm delighted to be a part of the community you've built around UPPERCASE. Janine and I are excited to spend more time in this space with you."


Professional collector Fritz Karch

Martha Stewart Living collections editor Fritz KarchMr. Karch wrote the foreword for A Collection a Day last year. What an amazing style he has!

Click here for more photos from Time Out New York.


The Sunday Collection: my tins

Even before I designed the tin package for Lisa Congdon's A Collection a Day, I had a fondness for old tins. Here are some of my favourites: top left floral tin is one I found at the Hillhurst Sunnyside flea market (which is a small Sunday market near my house—I should head out there today!) The orange tin I borrowed from my mother-in-law Iris. The blue tabacco tin is from Glen's collection. Though a Polish tin for jam, I purchased the turquoise round tin in Estonia. The yellow tin is one of my dozens of typewriter tins.

I have these on my shelf at work for some daily eye candy.

The intricate motifs and details on these old tins inspired the book and package design for A Collection a Day


Weekend Reading: issue 13


Issue 13 is making its way around the world to subscribers, stockists and our distribution warehouses. Start your subscription today and issue 13 will be sent out asap.



Issue 12
is nearly sold out! I have fewer than 200 copies available, also on their way to the warehouse. Issue 12 is available here along with other back issues and will ship once it gets to the distribution warehouse next week.


Weekend Reading: SDP 46

A couple of spreads from UPPERCASE have made it into the Society of Publication Designer's annual, earning a merit for the "design of an entire issue" category. Nice to see it listed on a page with The New York Times Style Magazine and TIME! The spreads displayed are about illustrator Martin Haake and a contents page featuring a photo by Paul Octavious.


Collected tweets

Your tweets, pics and mentions about issue #13 (so far!)


Evernote was here!

It's odd for me to be on the other side of the camera.Kasey, Nick and a bit of meWe moved the couch so that you can see all the magazines behind me in the frame.Kasey asks the questions off-camera.Nick does the video and sound.Yesterday Kasey Fleisher Hickey and Nick Strayer of Evernote were visiting all the way from California to make a video about little ol' me and how I use Evernote as an integral part of UPPERCASE publishing.

I look forward to sharing the finished video with you, in which I explain in more detail how it is part of my creative and business life. If you're not familiar with Evernote, here's a little introduction:

I really can't recommend the service enough and my endorsement of the service comes very naturally. I've been using Evernote since issue #2, so it is an integral part of my creative and editorial process in the magazine development. It has been like an editorial assistant or second brain for me—I honestly couldn't get as much done and sorted without it and I have Evernote on my main computer, laptop and iphone. In addition to my ideas, inspirations and web links, all or your emailed suggestions, portfolio links and submissions get put directly into my Evernote database where I can easily access it and pull up content as I need it. 

Thank you to Kasey and Nick and the rest of the Evernote team for wanting to share my story.

Thank you to Eleanor for the excellent photos above!

My perspective, as an Instagram.


Mitzi's Miscellany

Speaking of playing cards, in issue #13, Mitzi Curi provided a selection of ephemera for me to include in the magazine. I met Mitzi last year at The Creative Connection. She writes:

"My name is Mitzi Curi and I’m a Michigan antique dealer, crafter, and blogger whose goal in life is to get a little vintage goodness into every home. I rent space at two antique malls which house four booths, each with a specific theme. The selling doesn't quit there. I have an Etsy shop where she I sell my creations made from vintage materials and the occasional vintage find.  Favorites are my cuff bracelets made from vintage wallpaper, repurposed furniture hardware jewelry, and vintage hats.  

People seem to be appreciating vintage paper ephemera and typography like never before, and I enjoy sharing my large stash of images with the world. Visit my blog at to learn a little and get inspired by my numerous vintage obsessions!

I settled on this classic card 13, pictured below, to include in the issue.

Though I do have a fondness for flash cards (and these ones add up nicely):

And just because:


The Master of Playing Cards

Games of chance come up on a few occasions in issue 13 (such as Lisa Congdon's collection of ephemera or my own article on fortunes). In 15th century Europe, printers could rely on two products for which there was always a market: Bibles and playing cards. Those two things have over their history been very much at odds, but early printers such as Johannes Gutenberg relied on both for their income. And they often used the same engravers to illustrate both their Bibles and playing cards. 

One of the most intriguing characters in the history of games of chance is an enigmatic engraver known as The Master of Playing Cards. He was a contemporary of Gutenberg, and it's speculated that he contributed engravings both to Gutenberg's Bible, as well as the Giant Bible of Mainz, although it's always difficult to determine exactly where one master's work ends and his pupil's or rival's work begins. But his playing cards are well-recognized. 

At the time, decks with five suits were most popular in Germany. Suits were not formalized, as hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades are today. Different decks would include different suits: Flowers, Birds, Bears, Lions, Wildmen, Ladies, and Frogs are some of the different suits that appeared in cards of the era. In some instances, his cards were made with a single plate; on other cards, each figure was on a seperate plate, so that different combinations could be recombined for different cards (not unlike how Gutenberg was using movable type at the time). 


Cover Artist: Eloise Renouf

Eloise Renouf at home in the United Kingdom.

Eloise Renouf is a talented pattern designer and illustrator whom we first got to know through her Etsy shop. Janine purchased a print and collage from Eloise some time ago and with issue #13's theme about how weather inspires creativity, Eloise was the perfect person to ask to create the cover art.

Eloise just received her copies (thanks to the quick magic of Fedex!) and writes: "Thank you so much for the lovely package of magazines which arrived here this morning! I'm absolutely thrilled with them and I think they look great. I hope you're pleased with the way they turned out - the foiling was a master stroke! It's such a beautiful magazine and everything about it is just lovely - it looks and feels really special. Have already enjoyed a quick flip but am going to settle down with a cuppa for a proper read. Happy days!"

There's a feature written by Vinciane De Pape about Eloise in this issue where you can read more about her process and inspiration.

A flower print available on Etsy.



The silver foil on the cover turned out great! When I decided to do a foil, I imagined that the rain would appear to turn start and stop depending on how the light hit the cover. It worked out perfectly. Thank you to Eloise Renouf for her wonderful illustration. Thank you to Chris Young and the talented team at The Prolific Group for the fine print job.


Issue 13 right out of the box

We received our copies today! And they're on their way to subscribers and stockists around the world! Subscribe today and start with lucky #13.


Welcome, Eleanor!

Eleanor getting some Dottie Angel boxes ready for our warehouse.Lucky issue #13 has themes about luck and good fortune, but there's a behind-the-scenes story of serendipity I'd like to share.

Some weeks ago, I was desperate to find some help. I was overwhelmed with all the data management that publishing a magazine and books demand. I had a huge backlog of over 500 entries to deal with and no time in sight. Serendipitously, Eleanor walked into my studio space, resume in hand. Though she was initially looking for a retail job, her resume listed lots of past experience in just the sort of things I needed help with! We had an impromptu interview right then and there and it wasn't too long that Eleanor was working here part time. She made her way through the hundreds of orders like a real trooper and has proven to be a great help with the shop, subscribers and wholesalers. I am so happy and relieved to have her as part of the UPPERCASE family.

You can read Eleanor's perspective about the new job on her blog.

Eleanor wrote her own introduction:

I was born in Beijing China, and moved to Canada when I was 7 years old. One would think I'm bilingual but my Chinese is of a 7 year old's who has forgotten much of the grammar! Today I'm a hobby photographer and writer, especially of found things and macro shots. I love poetry and fiction. I have an idea in my head for a horror novel something between The Ring (my favourite horror flick) and a Korean drama. I'm a huge movie geek, I love everything from intense dramas to b-movies, some of my favourites include: The Red Violin, Hot Fuzz, Casablanca, etc. I'm so happy to have started at UPPERCASE, it's been about a month and I love it here. Janine is really inspirational and I'm glad to help with the publication. 

If you have any questions about subscriptions or shop orders, Eleanor will be the one replying to your queries. (email Eleanor at shop {at}

I'm very lucky that Eleanor wandered in to UPPERCASE that day!


A neighbourhood bridge

Today we went to the opening celebration of the new pedestrian bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava. There were far too many people once the bridge opened to get a good picture of the structure, but I look forward to adding this route to my walks downtown. 

See a few more pictures here.


The Shatner turns 81!

The Shatner Show, front coverillustration by Doug Fraserillustration by Zina Saundersilllustration by Marc Burckhardtillustration by Karen KlassenLego sculpture by Sean Kenney

He's 81 years young today. And going strong! In honour of his birthday, I have unearthed The Captain's Blog, the archive of posts I did in support of The Shatner Showa book that we published in 2007.

76 illustrations of his life and career by 76 talented illustrators. Buy the book!

Follow Shatner on Twitter. He's trying to reach 1,000,000 followers for his birthday.