My NSCAD Studio

I’m gonna rip you guys off. Here is the finished panel. On the wall.


After inking with a quill and brush and adding some shadows WITH the lineart, I revived some highlights and added some clouding effects with white designer gauche + some water.

This is also my shabby studio space…my dingy dark corner that I spend 1 day a week in toiling away for 10 hours. Those are some hair style sketches on the wall. I made them because I frequently become very unimaginative when getting technical while drawing.

WIP with Masking Fluid


Process Photo! Latex Masking Fluid and cheap sea salt are my favourite tools with watercolour. For salt effects, cheap salt works best because it’s probably dehydrated from sea water instead of mined out of the ground. This makes a big difference in its absorbency. This is a first soaking wet wash of watercolour.

Birthday Post – First real digital drawing: Dragon

0005-bThis is a special post because it was my birthday yesturday and I got too caught up in being out on Canada Day to post anything.

This is the first drawing I did on my new tablet. I’ve never really used a tablet. I did two drawings on one way back 6 years ago, and neither I’m entirely proud of. One of them was like an anti-Nazi image (why?….) and the other, a overly realistic cartoon cat, where I got obsessively caught up in the details.

The first real drawing on this tablet is actually a scribble, trying to get used to the pen. Then after that, I found the Wacom Intuos4 works pretty close to any other pen-like medium and found it easy and intuitive to use.

Typically, this is how I draw. I use a lot of grungy texture and lines – I do a lot of shading with the actual line work. I like large flat areas with drawn in shading, but I also like to have the impression of the light or real texture of what I’m drawing.

I’m also a huge life-long fan of dragons and have my own stylistic conventions for drawing them (ie, those paws).

Bad Self-Portrait


I spent a Saturday afternoon photographing some artwork I did about a year ago. Yeah, I am that behind in my digital upkeeping… the pile of artwork I documented is from a Drawing Anatomy class and had safely lived underneath my couch for about a year.

This is one piece that won’t make it to my website portfolio. It just came out looking like a ‘sketch’ more than a finished piece, and many, many things had failed in it that I’m not proud of: the hair that looks like a bulky wig, the massive misshapen shoulder, the background – WTF is going on there?, the face….yes it’s supposed to be me, but it looks more like a caveman.

Initially, I started this piece with the intent of using a blue pen that I know runs like crazy when it meets up with water. That part sort of work… then I just killed it with the black ink.


WIP Metallic Taste Panel1 Page1

0004Things get a lot worse before they get better.

I find that to be often true in life…and after not picking up watercolours for over a year. That skin tone went to hell very fast.

Watercolour doesn’t mix colour the same way at all as other types of paint. It doesn’t layer the same…it doesn’t dry the same. It doesn’t work as an opaque medium; it’s meant to be fluid and translucent. It’s very easy to over do it. I over did it…I turned it into roadkill. That watercolour is so thick, my later attempts at redeeming some of it made it hard to ink over. My pen would scrap out the paint, the ink wouldn’t sit on it. I’m kind of embarrassed….

Skin tone going to hell in progress.
Skin tone going to hell in progress.

You can see the surrounding watercolour is fluid and the foreground character is chalky. No good. Hopefully, later I will be able to salvage at least the colour of it in Photoshop. I guess the texture is kind of neat, since I would normally not do this. The rest of the watercolour will probably stay as is… I plan to ink in a lot of the details over top.

I spent a whole day in the studio… 10 – 7:30 pm. I mostly worked on this, but I am working on a few panels at a time. Somewhere in there was lunch, and a lot of that time was spent trying to get back in the habit with this paint. Watching paint dry is also time consuming. It’s frustrating to also work in a studio without proper, clean sinks, no paper towels, no soap…there’s no spare tables…the drawing table I work on is half broken. Really a shame.




“It actually looks like a real comic book.” – Justin Tomchuk

Well, I sure hope it will. Here’s some lineart for a meglev car in one of the panels. There are several ideas out there on what is futuristic, but since it’s a world I am making up and not really based on reality – things can look however I want. I love the tacky designs from the 80s, design from the Alien movies, and Japan’s ideas about technology and the future. I’m not so inspired by the present futuristic designs, which are really sexy, smooth, and curvaceous. I’m very much attracted to making things look spacious and angular.

A meglev car is based on the meglev trains being designed in Japan, which are trains that are propelled by magnetism. Using magnets prevents wasted speed and energy due to friction. They look pretty freaking cool.

NSCAD Studio Class 1

I am single studio class away from completing my university career at NSCAD. This is my final studio project I toil away at, mostly at home rather than in my studio. My studio isn’t really my favourite place… it’s cold, it’s got no windows, it’s all white but grungy, and usually empty of people. My biggest issue with it is that I need to put everything away every time I leave – it’s so unnatural to the way I would work. The whole purpose behind a studio is a to have an area where I can have my work set up and it is a stimulating, productive environment. Aside from a lot of hand-drawn panels, I feel I might end up doing the majority of the work in small notebooks in writing and sketching, then in assembly on Photoshop.


So after that suspenseful tangent, I present the underlying drafting work for the first panel of the first page in my comic. Currently titled Untitled, featuring Unnamed as the main character – a man living in a future dystopia, who through an accident, discovers he is a …. Okay, I have the answer for that one at least, but I’m not gonna blow it before you’ve seen the development.

I realize this may appear flaky…an untitled book with an unnamed character…I will not be posting full completed pages (unless you are part of my Council), as I am really interested in actually publishing this. So, you will see development work and may gauge some story, but I will mostly leave you clueless. I promise there is tonnes going on behind the screen you aren’t witnessing. 😛

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.~