Category: essays

Posts that are more essays about a specific topic, issue, or a more developed opinion.


On Scene: Failure

I’ve been using the liquid latex mask like a junkie for almost everything. It seems like the perfect, brilliant solution to every masking problem…Just throw it on there! No problem!

I used this splatter ink effect for shading on this heavily stylized eye reflecting the aftermath of a crash in my comic, while giving a sense of the onlooking character’s shock. If I used regular ink shading, I feel this image would’ve been far too clean, and wouldn’t fit with the current style of my comic. I’ve always been aware of splatter effects, but I didn’t think of using them till I saw Shannon Wheeler use splatter to shade everything in a full-page comic panel in Too Much Coffee Man. (The hand-drawn version of the comic, not the digital…Mr. Wheeler, stop using digital, please.)

I have all the action shots of this because I anticipated it working, but let’s just sum up the failure in a few. This is an example of where using a latex mask, which is rubbery, is a horrible idea. I created a mask over the green/yellow iris with latex, splattered ink, and removed the mask with an eraser – typical process.


For one, I didn’t tilt up my drafting table, which is why most of the ink ended up on my white curtains. Don’t feel bad for me. Those were left-overs from the last tenant. This was situation of pure genius where I decided to wear my favourite white skirt, and yeah – that’s ruined.

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Review of St Cuthberts Mills: Saunders Waterford Series


What you see here is the same pencil drawing with masking liquid over the parts I want to leave white and then several layers of dry watercolour. The masked out areas are parts of the ground, the windows on the building in the background, reflective spots in the water, and the electricity shooting out of the car as it reacts with water. The electricity is a bit exaggerated, but hey – it’s drama! This panel should scream panic and disaster when it’s finished.

What watercolour paper is this?

9×12″ block-pad of St Cuthberts Mills: Saunders Waterford Series

Really nice paper given to me by one of my best friends and artistic colleagues for a birthday present. To me, her name is Natasha, but I think her pen name is Pal El and she illustrates comics for an online comic magazine called Premiere Pulp. I would like to be certain of these things, but she’s very secretive.

This image is 1:1 on this paper. It takes watercolour fairly well – I find it takes a while for it to sink, so you have to be more patient with manipulating colours. It’s good if you want smooth, even washes. I would rate how this paper handles wetness as Medium; when it is extremely wet, it does have some minor warpage.

The texture is very smooth. Because it comes in a block pad, you don’t need to pre-soak or stretch it, though I would recommend putting down a wash of water before starting anything to dissolve some of the glue. I believe this would improve the absorbency of pigments.

The front of this pad does say Aquarelles, which are watercolour pencils that take small amounts of water – so I will assume this is what this paper is designed for. Not for heavy-duty attacks like I tend to use. Like with the splash – I will put down lines of ‘dry’ pigment, and soak the whole area with water to encourage it to do what it must.

Here is an image of some of the abuse I put this paper through:


NSCAD Short Film: Smoulder(2011)

I’d like to take a chance to show everyone my first film, which I’ve recently released to the Internet, as I was unable to get distribution for it and it’s about a year old now. That’s alright, because this film has screened in 3 film festivals: The 31st Atlantic Film Festival, the 35th Montreal Film Festival, and the 1st OUTeast Film Festival.

Update(several years later): This film has broadcast on Sky MyChannel during a short film program in Europe, and on

This film was made as a part of my second year film class with Solomon Nagler. It was one of three films selected by the exterior jury from the class pitches. This film was made on a $1000 budget, with plenty of help from the local talent in Halifax, NS. It was shot on-location in Head of Jeddore, NS, thanks to the generous Spalding family, who let us use their home as a location and base camp.

I wrote the script based on my own personal experience as a teenager, which made it extremely hard to work from. I went on a journey making this film, because at first, I was ashamed and afraid. My pitch to the journey was a self-conscious mess of nerves, but I am glad they were able to see through it.

If you like this film, please share – it depends on you to make it’s way around the World Wide Web!

Notable names of people who have worked on this film: Emily Jewer, Leslie Appleton, Stephane Sinclair-Fortin, Justin Tomchuk, Christian MacDonald.

This film is also available on Vimeo at:

Official page


This here is a test I made to show my studio teacher and to have something to refer to on my studio wall. He didn’t have much to say overall for my mid-term. Since the semester started in June, he has not made any effort to learn about comics so that he can actually provide insight into my work and even though he’s formerly a painter, he seems to have nothing to say about the aesthetics either. I’m not mad. This is NSCAD. I don’t expect anything more because the standard for this school is at a low.



I have layouts drawn out for pretty much each page and panel for episode 1 of this yet-to-be-titled comic, so I basically take a ratio of the size of the panel and scale it up to draw a bigger image. I’m also really terrible at actually applying my mathematical intelligence, so of course I completely screw up. The top panel has the dimensions applied backwards. It should be wider than taller… yup. Fortunately, this is only buildings and you don’t notice I had to stretch out the image. I’m also forced to squish the panel below. That was a close one…

This is just to see how these look together, as I’ve yet to put any of my panels into a page-by-page solid layout on the computer. This is page 2, so it would be on the left side of the book; the second panel is meant to bleed. Oh yeah, neither of these are done.

Hello world!

Welcome to my new online sketchbook. I am creating this blog for the same reasons many artists do. I know people are always curiously for works-in-progress and some behind the scenes. I will be posting such WIPs, sketches, and other less ‘official’ artwork here that you may be interested in seeing and doesn’t otherwise make it to my website. Please refer to my portfolio website for my main work: You will always know where to go since it’s the title of this blog. I greatly appreciate anyone sharing this blog across the interwebs, helping me building a new, wider reputation and potentially helping me build a client base. You may not be able to afford original artwork or prints, but this helps me greatly knowing that more people see my art.

As for a short introduction, my name is Karolina Szablewska. I have an undergraduate BFA focusing on film and have plenty of experience in film production. I am most interested in these positions on set and in post-production: Director, First Assistant Director, Focus Puller, Boom Operator, Second Assistant Camera (Clapper), Lead Editor, Colour Correctionist. If you’re in my area and need a crew member, feel free to contact me. That said, I have standards. Because of my professionalized movie junkie background, you may run into some film related posts…some may be very obscure and technical. I have a couple successful short films under my belt as writer/director, and several other short films that back up my other experience.

However, my main interest on here is building an illustration portfolio and starting a career in what I am calling, Visual Storytelling. I am in love with storytelling and I would like to do storybook and comic illustration; this also ties in with film work as I would like to continue writing and directing films and working on great films. Both of these are incredibly challenging fields. Both require a similar kind of intuitive knowledge.You will mainly see illustrative work in this blog, and I am leaving a quiet reminder that I am looking for commissions and sales.~