"It is almost impossible for me to create without colour."

Columbian artist Ximena Escobar has taken the concept of paint by numbers into a completely different medium. By cutting up coloured felt, she assembles portraits of beautiful women with florals. "This medium is very special to me because the colours also have texture and that makes my work richer and more interesting," she explains. "It is a medium where I can't mix the colours, every one of them is a solid block, so I need to use them in a way I can blend the colours without mixing them. That challenges my work and takes me to some interesting and exciting results."

"Colour is a very important element in my work. It defines the mood of what I am creating, it is also the way I communicate my aesthetic no matter which medium I'm using. Colour inspires and challenges me all the time."

"Colour is part of what I am as an artist. I was born in Colombia which is a very tropical and colourful country. It is almost impossible for me to create something without colour, it is how I communicate what I want to say."

"Colour is the first thing my eyes see and comprehend."

Many of the colour submissions that I've shared in the magazine or in my newsletters are definitely in the realm of the tactile such as paint, paper and fibre. But most of us are also creative with our digital media. UPPERCASE reader Paloma Diaz-Dickson shares her digital palettes with us.

"With the flood of art and design images available to browse on the internet, I find myself liking or disliking pieces usually based on the colour choices. Colour is the first thing my eyes see and comprehend before I look closer to distinguish shape and content. I started collecting colour palettes that draw me in, and in turn, that Photoshop file is the first place I look before starting a project. Sometimes I'll choose an existing palette, sometimes I'll modify it or combine two or more together to get the effect I want. Colour is the source of all my inspiration."

In Tags

#uppercaselove: Stephanie Brockway


I'm really enjoying the colourful photos of issue 22 coming through over Instagram! (Remember to post the photo with @uppercasemag #uppercaselove so that I can find it easily.) The image above, by Stephanie Brockway, caught my eye. I chuckled that her third most recent photo was of chickens (chickens are three degrees of separation from UPPERCASE?), so I put her latest three images here to show the sequence.

Ripe bananas and other outtakes from issue 22

Cover artist Shelley Davies was wonderful to work with. And she is always so generous with her creativity! Above's an "outtake" called Ripe Banana.

I asked Shelley to make the collage for the cover because of her affinity for working with paint swatches, her love of incorporating type into her work and her overall exuberance for bright colour. Here are some more colourful compositions from Shelley. 

Here are some roughs that Shelley made when working on the cover. We decided that the radiating colour wheel was more dynamic, but these studies are nice on their own!

Featured Stockist: Allscript, Singapore

The folks at Allscript Magazines (our distributor and stockist in Singapore and Malaysia) are enjoying a delicious dinner!

type tuesday: These amazing labels are painted!

These amazing old labels are not lithographed... these are gouache mockups that were presented to clients for approval. Read all about this special collection from Letterform Archive in the current issue of UPPERCASE.

Reader pics: Tiffany Pratt

“Colour is life energy and one of the most powerful pure forces. It is the air that I breathe. How and why I choose certain colours is deeply personal for me, and I do it with a lot of purpose. I associate people with colours, I see experiences and moments through colours and I always dream of colours. This is why I need to create, make and design. Colour acts as the road map through my life and sets me apart, making who I am and how I see the world special.”

Read all about Tiffany Pratt in the current issue and follow her colourful Instagram here.

featured stockist: Bird on a Wire, Vancouver

If you're in Vancouver and looking for a wonderful place to inspire your creative side this weekend, please visit Bird on a Wire Creations on 2535 Main Street. More than a store, it is a community and learning space that supports artists and the buy local movement. Says owner Kate Nagel, "We strive to create a supportive environment where new and established artists and artisans can learn from each other and bring their wares to market without investing in nasty overhead. We provide the staff, space and traffic to help create sustainable incomes."

Bird on a Wire Creations is open this weekend: Saturday from 10–6 and from noon to 5 on Sunday. For more details—and to shop from their online selection—please visit their website.

Colours and Emotions with Maria Carluccio

In response to my weekly newsletter that I sent on Tuesday, Maria Carluccio shares this composition with us, made of chopped up old watercolour paintings. "It was so liberating!" she exclaims.

"Out with the old, in with the new—reusing old art to make new art."

"I highly recommend it as a fun way to explore colour connection," advises Maria. "After I pieced these together I started thinking about how colours remind me of emotions and feelings so I wrote in pencil the first thing that came to me when I thought of that swatch."

Maria is one of the 100 artists profiled in the UPPERCASE Surface Pattern Design Guide included in the spring issue (#21). The Guide is also available as a free download when you sign up for my newsletter—I'll send inspiring content directly to your inbox once a week!

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cover closeups

It feels good to see this one in person!

Cover by the wonderful Shelley Davies


i wish...

Aunyarat Watanabe was featured in the newsletter that I sent yesterday. She's quite happy about being published in the summer issue, too! If I could personally deliver a magazine to her and each of my readers, I would.

If you'd like to receive my weekly e-newsletter, "An UPPERCASE Letter", please join here.



perfectly bound


Issue 22 is just about finished! Here are shots today by Chris Young from The Prolific Group of UPPERCASE in the bindery. For the next few days, you can still subscribe starting with issue 21 (spring). You'll get both 21 and 22 bundled and mailed to you (that's 232 pages of beautiful design and great content!) with issue 23 out in October and issue 24 in January.


inside the design

Issue 22 of UPPERCASE magazine is inspired by colour. With such a broad topic, I had to find a way to tackle it within one issue.

Like many graphic designers, I thrive on constraints. So I gave myself some rules to follow: 1) The issue would be organized Roy-G-Biv-style, going from red at the front of the book through to violet at the last page. 2) The arrangement of the content and structure of the magazine would stay the same as any other issue of UPPERCASE. For example, the Beginnings column is the first few pages of the magazine and would therefore feature predominantly red imagery. I set out to find an artist whose work uses a lot of red: Canadian painter Janet Hill has been in my inspiration file for years and her paintings are punctuated with ruby accents. At the other end of the spectrum, I described the concept to longtime contributor Andrea Jenkins, who wrote a musing on her love/hate relationship with the colour purple. With these guidelines in place, I assigned and curated content—sharing my art-directed rainbow concept with our contributors and featured artists along the way.

I am so grateful to all the amazing contributors and featured artists who shared my colourful vision for this summer issue and turned in some spectacular work. UPPERCASE issue #22 will be released July 1. 

Subscribe here.

In Tags

Purple, Printed

UPPERCASE issue #22 is printed! But of course, that doesn't mean it is quite done... next up is a few days for the printed stacks of paper to dry before it is off to the bindery. Below is a video I made when I attended a press check for issue #16; it lists all the steps that follow the print run.

On Monday I'll be sending the subscriber list to the shipping department for mail prep, so if you renew or subscribe over the weekend, you'll be part of the first wave of mailing. The magazine is literally sent from the printer directly to you!

Click here to subscribe. Thanks!


Saskia Wassing's bright and colourful textile work

Saskia Wassing is a textile artist who lives and works in Toronto, Canada. She attended the Embroidered & Woven Textiles program at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. Saskia submitted to our recent open call for submissions “What Does Colour Mean to You?” and we’re pleased to share more of her beautiful work with you today.


Saskia’s unique fabric pieces reflect the work of an extensive traveller. Influences from Britain, Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, India, and Canada are visible in her colourful creations. 

"Colour means everything to me. It is the most important element in my creative life. I realize that sounds extreme but I love colour. I live and breathe colour and as an artist and designer, colour is the driving force behind all of the work that I produce,” says Saskia. 


"If I had to live and work with only two mediums it would be my fabrics and my threads. Cutting, piecing and embroidering with these wonderful, tactile materials allows me to translate my sketchbook diaries into my personal colourful language so that other people can see and feel colour the way I do. Turquoise and reds, purples and oranges, chartreuse and pink, I am in love with colour and all it’s possibilities. The richly coloured fabrics and threads in my home studio are always yelling out “pick me” when I sit down to work. My past experiences, memories and personal identity are always presenting themselves in vivd colour. Black is not an option in my life or my work. Take a look at my sketchbooks, open my portfolio, come visit my studio, look through my online gallery and colour is everywhere in my work and my life.”

For Saskia's and other colourful musings submitted by our readers, please subscribe here. Issue #22 will be shipping soon!

In , Tags

OK to print (overcoming my fear)

Even after all this time, the process of publishing a quarterly magazine is hardly routine… 

I start each issue from nothing but an inkling of what it might become. Creating a new issue challenges me to see how I can take something so broadly stated as being “creative and curious” and focus it into something that is very “UPPERCASE”. 

I’m the publisher, editor and designer of UPPERCASE, so every headline, photo and minute detail has been filtered through my brain and my eyes… but by the time an issue is designed and off to print my hope is that it has become something greater than my personal expression. Each issue takes on its own personality through the content it carries. For example, issue #21 and its Surface Pattern Design Guide collected surface patterns from 100 different artists and so that issue is bursting with visual stimuli. Issue #20 explored a more abstract notion of broadcasting one’s ideas, so it was thoughtful and more typographic. 

The concept for issue #22 is one I’ve had in my mind for quite some time, but I was afraid to take it on. I wasn’t sure if my skills as art director and editor were good enough. Colour is probably the single most inspiring element for creatives in design, illustration and craft… it was overwhelming to know where to begin! Realizing that there’s never a better time than the present to push through self doubt, I decided that this would be the year to tackle the colour issue.

Like many graphic designers, I thrive on constraints. So I gave myself some rules to follow: 1) The issue would be organized Roy-G-Biv-style, going from red at the front of the book through to violet at the last page. 2) The arrangement of the content and structure of the magazine would stay the same as any other issue of UPPERCASE. 

With these guidelines in place, I assigned and curated content—sharing my art-directed rainbow concept with our contributors and featured artists along the way. I am so grateful to all the amazing contributors and featured artists who shared my colourful vision for this summer issue and turned in some spectacular work. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing more about the design process and I'm working on a video as well.

Now that this issue is off to the printer, the bit of time between signing off on the proofs and receiving the printed results is just long enough for me to separate myself from the design… by the time I hold this issue in my hands for the first time as a physical object and flip through its spectrum of stories, it will have become something completely new, something outside of my head, something tangible made with ink on paper… something ready to be sent off into the world and find a home with you.


The mailing data for this issue will be finalized on Monday, so subscribe right away to be on the list! Use the code "brightsummer" for $10 off a subscription or renewal this week. 


thank you for the thank you!

The open calls for submission have been so well-received lately — thank you for all your great contributions to #22. Now that this issue is "put to bed" (ie off to the printer), I emailed everyone who submitted and today I got this lovely photo back from Aunyarat Watanabe, an illustrator in Japan who was also a runner-up in the recent They Draw and Travel contest.

With so many great submissions and limited space in the magazine, I couldn't include everything. But I will share more here on the blog in the weeks to come. And the printer proofs are coming by courier on Monday, so I'll share pics of those on Instagram.

Would you like a nice pile of back issues, like Aunyarat has? You can now purchase our entire collection of available issues in our Back Issue Collection. And if you want to go all-in with UPPERCASE, add a subscription starting with #22 in there as well! The code "brightsummer" can be used for $10 off.

bright summer

It's going to be a colourful summer.

We're happy to share the cover for Issue #22 (out in July)! Our summer issue is all about colour, hues, pigment and paint. Janine has art directed the issue in a spectrum of colour—from vibrant red tones to deep violet shades. 

Use the code 'brightsummer' to save $10.

Subscribe today to get your own issue!



$10 off an UPPERCASE subscription!

In UPPERCASE magazine, we encourage you to get your hands dirty with inks and paints. To become intimately involved in the act of making. To experiment with a new medium or craft. To look at the world from a difference perspective and perhaps to think and dream a little more freely.

Through our readers’ submissions, I’m a gatherer of these experiences. My inbox is full of images of amazing craft, wonderful messes, beautiful products and smart designs made by UPPERCASE readers. I love going through all the submissions and getting to know you. Alas, my only regret is that this requires an awful lot of screen time and is actually quite an intensive mental sorting exercise. The majority of the creative process for putting together an issue of UPPERCASE magazine is a digital one.

Today, I’m working on the page layout for the summer issue and sorting through readers’ submissions for the open call “What does colour mean to you?” These images are by illustrator Tracey English. "I live in London which everyone imagines is always grey, but really it is filled with colours—you just need to look.” One need not look farther than Tracey’s own desktop that is covered with inks, paints and a spectrum of tissue paper bits. "I have always loved colour; it brightens up even a dull day. I try to find it all around me.”

Feeling disconnected from her creativity, Tracey tried approaching her work with a fresh perspective and new technique. "I was stuck in a rut after looking after my family for many years, and somehow I needed to bring new life into my work and do something different.” Through experiments and trial and error, she started working with tissue paper collage. “Now I am hooked!” Tracey exclaims. "I work with inks and liquid acrylics, they give luminous colours and lovely textures, either mono printing them on to the tissue paper or painting directly with brushes. I love the rainbow coloured papers that you can create, everyone is slightly different. I then have the inspiration to create an image, which I do by cutting and collaging.” Once she is satisfied with the collage, she tidies up the image and assembles the design in Photoshop.

Tracey’s is just one of many excellent submissions that I look forward to sharing with you in the summer issue. And I can’t wait to reveal the cover! I’m putting the final touches on it and will share it soon…

Use the code "mayflowers" to save $10 on a subscription