All posts by Shula

Penguin Guinea Pig

Busy times! I’ve been adding to the catalogue every few days: a float plane design to boost the Pacific Northwest series, more flowers and a foray into the Antarctic.


These little chaps were surprisingly difficult. After cutting out a baby penguin in black and adding his tummy in grey, I realized that I would have to cut in (rather than build up) the contrasting colour. I set the experiment – let’s call him Guinea Pig – aside and took out a whole sheet of icy blue card stock.

I sketched a whole colony of penguins onto that icy blue sheet and cut out everything that should be black, ie. the caps of the penguins, their wings, backs, tails and feet. I used a little artistic licence to maintain the integrity of my sheet of card. This allowed me to keep that single page intact without having to insert the grey face masks afterwards. As well as keeping things practical, this approach gives the piece a feeling of fluidity and unity; I wanted to show how the colony, while made up of thousands of individuals, moves and lives as a single body, with a common purpose.

These birds were a real treat to make, and a lot simpler than their big brother, Guinea Pig. The smooth, swooping lines made me think of their graceful movements through the icy waters of the Antarctic. I could not do this without my nifty swivel blade, which acts like an extension of my own finger. I like to picture magical sparks emanating from my fingertips as I make curling, dancing, swooping movements over and through the paper.

But all these lofty imaginings aside, and in spite of their fierce feet and hunting habits, penguins are incredibly cute. I just love them.

How it all began

I make art with cut paper, glue and a bunch of nifty cutting tools. My designs are based on a template of six squares, carrying subjects on the same theme, or as a larger version of a triptych (where one image is spread across six squares).  After being scribbled, snipped and stuck down at home, scanned images of my art go to a local press where they make magic with acid-free paper. I’ve always been a bit of a square, so the format suits me.

It all started with diggers, when our two year-old discovered construction equipment. After drawing 473 front-loaders, skid steers and face shovels, I stuck 12 vehicles in a frame and thought that was the end of it.

If I hadn’t posted a photo of it on Facebook, it might have been. The diggers were followed by sailboats, owls and numerous other designs.

My work has shipped across Canada and to buyers in England, the USA and France. It has been described by buyers as “vibrant, whimsical and full of humour,” and by her family as “all those teeny tiny bits of paper on the dining table.”