About WANS

The blog of illustrator & designer Sabrina Smelko and Wild and Light's Shawn Lovering - and home of 365 Days of Type.

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Wild and Light


Well the time has come to unveil my baby. For close to a year I have worked towards starting a business with my life long buddy (and talented photographer/videographer) Jesse Rashotte. We have worked on various projects with both business and recording artists, and we are now gearing towards taking on larger projects and establishing ourselves further. 

I never would have started Wild and Light if it wasn’t for We Are Not Special. This project forced me to take on some new things, to evaluate who I am and where I’m going, and it allowed me to challenge myself. I’m probably going to be very busy with Wild and Light but I’ll continue to post half-assed songs, embarrassing drawings and other musings on here. I’ll always have a special place for WANS and I could never abandon this project. I’m so excited about this new chapter and I’m proud of what we have done, what we are working on, and what is to come. 

If you are interested in checking out our work you can find it at www.wildandlight.com - We have all the usual social media stuff going on and you can find us on instagram, behance and vimeo if you just add wildandlight to the URL.

So here’s to big things and big dreams… a new chapter begins. 

Tags shawns blog writing


You know that feeling that comes across you as you enter an empty part of one of those houses filled with porcelain tile, nice shiny handrails and the most modern yet comforting of kitchens. You know what I mean; that sort of empty, sort of hollow what am I doing here feeling. As you turn your back to the crowd in the other room, you see your shadow silhouetted on that perfectly clean tile floor; you cast out like a cloud scrolling across an arctic desert. Your heart feels just as cold as the tile.

When you enter a party where you know no one, you are trapped in ice. This isn’t a bad thing, hell, maybe it’s even natural. The problem these days is that the ice never thaws. And through all the snap, crackled and collated, you find yourself condensed and compressed into megabyte and mega pixel. You find yourself as frozen as the pattern in that awful tiled floor.

But why does it have to be any different? Is this not where progress brought us? To wear skinny jeans or baggy ones, feeling high or feeling low, riding the elevator up or down. Sticking cylinders in our ears, fluorescence in our eyes and wifi through our command centre. If everyone is begging to be noticed than why are we not paying attention? Do we have attention spans?

Don’t question it man, don’t be that guy. Don’t be the one nudged up in the corner, lost like a loner. The closest stranger nudges me. Maybe he isn’t even a stranger. As you gaze around that room, you see faces on faces on faces you don’t recognize; you realize everything will go on without you. Whether you act, or whether you wait. You aren’t a cog in the machine, the machine is separate and moving you along.

What’s so bad about machines anyway?

So when you see two platinum blondes in the kitchen you’ve never been in and will never know, embracing so intimately – a moment you are so removed from it doesn’t even make sense – you realize that life will go on. You look past them and see one of those classy, skinny kitchen faucets; where the faucet takes the shape of the big upside down “u”. It reminds you of your high-school lab, but it also reminds you of upper-middle class wealth and lonely mothers. You sweep your gaze towards the counter, to a marble that your own family is very unfamiliar with. It could be fake.

You realize that everything is broken, just to be fixed. You realize that if everything weren’t broken, you’d be a hell of a lot more bored. As you stare into the eyes of two girls you’ll most likely never meet, you wonder if you are better off for it, or worse than when you began. You wonder if life could have been different, should have been different. You don’t really care.

Those houses that have that distinct identifying house smell. You know the ones. None of us talk about it but we all know about it and we all categorized different houses in the back of our heads by their familiar smells. Even if you deny it, it’s true. And all of these early 80’s upper middle class North Eastern homes all seem to share the same one. When I look at those girls I smell that smell. I smell my cousin’s house and I smell my old house. I smell the houses of my past babysitters and the rich-kid family friend - or the kid whose dad did heroin. I smell them all at once.

It’s one of the only connections we really have to a certain time in our lives; the moment we looked up, looked around, took a breath and thought about it. I’m not sure this is a bad thing, but I’m also not sure it’s good.

Tags shawns blog writing

The Big Difference


I’ve realized the big difference, guys;

The big difference between two similar things that I could never quite accept as one in the same. Two things which, until now, went begrudgingly hand-in-hand in most cases.

I’ve realized the big difference between being creative and possessing the ability to make smart, beautiful and tasteful creative.

Hence my immediate shudder when my eyes meet the horror that is hand-sewn clothing made from colourful squares of textured cloth, scrapbooking pages, The Book of Awesome (I have a hate-on for it in general for many a reason) etc.

While I can appreciate the ‘creativity’, I get chills at their sight. I thought perhaps I was being an unfair, pretentious asshole, but I’m not - I don’t think. Because, while creative, I dislike these things because at a basic level, they are unsavory or defy logic and taste. I guess I always knew this, but could never put into words ‘why?’.

"Oh, he’s so creative. Look, he made a bookend". Yeah, a bookend made from a paper-mache of magazine clippings glued to a brick.

Anyhow, ignore my tiny rant-ish realization that may be of no interest to you. It was more-so to justify to myself that I’m not an ass, I just prefer the later of two, once similar in my eyes.

Anyhow, I’m in sunny California with an awesome team enjoying coming up with the latter definition of creativity, so no complaints here! Though I have seen some unsightly beach fashion from hand-made stitches of neon cloth…


Tags sabrinas blog Writing Wednesdays writing

Here we go 2013

As I wrote the other day, this project started with an ambitious and perhaps unrealistic set of goals. I may be doing the same thing to myself here, but I like setting the bar high. So without anymore rambling here is my list for the year.

GOALS – 2013


Focus further on a healthy vegetarian diets – make a new dish each week

Aim for a weight of 160-155 (I weight 172 as I write this!)

A focus on being active over strict programs and unrealistic timeframes

Regular meditation and keep a meditation journal

Aim for 8.5 to 9 hours a night of sleep

No phone of laptop before bed

Disconnect further from electronic reliance, or allowing it to get in the way of genuine social interaction – ie. Leave phone in coat, don’t bring it into gatherings, don’t check it when with others at a social events



Blog at least twice a week on WANS (written stuff)

Write and illustrate one short story that I print myself

Create a zine

Continue to do regular profiles on other creative’s (one a month? Or more?)

Read more books, pleasure and school wise (goal of 20) – blog about them when starting and finishing 



Sketching – fill 3 sketchbooks this year

Practice painting – mainly starting with water colour this year (at least 10 attempts)

Do some personal video projects (at least 2)

One themed graphic design project per month

Create a personal website 



Tags shawns blog writing newyears resolution

Here We Go Again - A WANS Year In Review

Happy New Year everyone! It’s that time of year where we all make goals and find new ways to feel bad about ourselves when we don’t follow through. I’ve definitely been there and I’m sure you have too. Brace yourself for typos and awful grammar.


We Are Not Special is essentially a list of new years resolutions on acid. I set out this time last year to challenge myself, stretch my abilities, and take on new and exciting things. I was really in a place where I was allowing life to just slide by. I wasn’t totally checked out - I was working on my degree and playing my guitar or working out – but I really felt that spending most of my free time in front of a computer screen, on my iphone, or watching season after season of tv series was not doing me any good. Something had to change.



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In a Rush

As a child, I didn’t dream of unicorns; I dreamt of land-lines. I climbed into my parent’s bed at night not with fears surrounding the monsters in my closet, but with fears about the future and with questions; ‘how do I get a telephone number?’ ‘if I opened my own business, how would I let the phone book know to list me?’ The question I most remember uttering was ‘How do I open a pet motel business?’ Why? Because I had seen a pet motel with my own eyes, in my own town. It was the most outlandish future career I had ever heard of or seen at that age, and the proof that it was possible and not falsified in a book or movie was right in front of me. They did it and so could I.

Needless to say, I wasn’t a dreamer in the traditional sense, but I was always on the move and a planner, so to speak. Always in a rush.


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10 and a Half Questions - Ross Jackson


I met Ross in the summer of 2011 when me and Shawn moved to Jasper AB for the summer to work at Jasper Park Lodge. He was a chef and we happened to have a mutual friend. Flash forward a few weeks, and we were buds; whether it was hiking, partying at the Atha-B or eating Bits and Bites in our dungeon rooms making characters out of them, he always provided comic relief to life. 


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 So we have tweeted and posted a few times about our little trip to the U S of A, so I don’t need to go into much detail about the who, what and why. I’ll let Sabrina focus on her accomplishments with the SOI if she feels like posting about it. I’m just stoked that I once again have been exposed to an amazing world, one that at first was so strange and new to me, but now is becoming so familiar.

A few weeks back I was super amazed and excited to hang out at the Sheridan Illustration grad show in Toronto. Dating an illustrator has allowed me to see a world that I probably would have never spent enough time in. These past few years of checking blogs, meeting artists, and taking up art as a hobby has really been exciting and fulfilling. The creative world has become such a big part of my life recently that I can’t imagine life without it. I believe my life has become more rich thanks to my change in perspective, and I can see how my interests and approach to life has changed. Take my trip to New York for example.


Tags newyorkcity writing shawns blog

Lucid Dreaming

As the title suggests, I am attempting to dive into the very strange world of lucid dreaming. I have been interested in lucid dreaming for the past few years, but my interest peaked during a psychology class last year. I had a prof who claimed to be able to enter lucid dreams almost every night at will. He said that he had practiced for years during his undergrad and was able to master his sleeping mind. I had heard about lucid dreaming before and was interested, but hearing a U of T professor tell his own experience was fascinating.

I hate to assume that you are stupid, but lets face it, you might not know what a lucid dream is. Now with the mighty power of google, you can find out all about in with a simple 5-second search. The WANS version is that you are basically able to “wake up” in your dream state. This means that you gain awareness and control over the dream world. Since you create the dream world through strange and elaborate processes in your little pink power centre, you can basically drive the dream into any world you want. Like I said, google will give you a better summary than I ever can, so if I’ve peaked your interest, give’r a little time and read about something new.


Tags writing shawns blog

10 & A Half Questions - Dave Murray

Sabrina and I have had the chance to meet some awesome members of the Toronto art and design scene lately. I have to give all the credit to Sabrina for hooking this one up, as she knows Dave far better than I do. A couple of weeks ago we went down to the Garrison Creek Bat Show in Toronto and were amazed by the beautiful baseball bats on display. Dave along with his friends Chris and Ryan have put together a bat company that “combines style and design with a quality, handmade aesthetic”. We are super pumped on any new venture that creative people explore, and this event really blew us away. Check them out at http://www.garrisoncreekbats.com/

On top of starting a standout creative business with GCBC, Dave is an accomplished designer and illustrator. I can’t describe his work as eloquently as the bio on his site so I’ll just post it:

Dave Murray is a graduate of the respected Sheridan College Illustration program, and lives in Toronto. Aspects of cubism, futurism, and Russian avant-garde are combined with a large dose of pop-culture and Dave’s unique eye to create stunning and iconic illustrations.

Clients Include:

Stella Artois
National Post
Canadian Family Magazine
Paulus Quiros Bespoke Bicycles
Streetcar Developments
Dandyhorse Magazine

Check out Dave’s site at http://www.davemurrayillustration.com/


Tags shawn's blog writing sabrinas blog


More and more, I hear my peers talk about how hard it is to find a job in their field. Most of the people from my age group finished their degrees around 2009, and I am surprised by how many of them are still looking for work. Most of the people I have been in contact with are still hustlin’, beating the pavement while they work at restaurants or landscaping. My situation is not much different.

When I finished college in 2009 I was fortunate to grab a couple of temporary contracts in my field, but nothing turned into a full time position. Furthermore, every agency requires years of experience, but fail to provide an entry point to build a resume. Most of the people I know working in their field are either low paid interns, or happen to know someone at their workplace. 

I went back to school in 2010, and every semester seems to focus on this growing issue. From assessing family structure, to politics and globalization, I started making more and more connections. It was as if my textbooks were narrating the experience of my friends and family. 


Tags writing shawns blog

Signal Mountain


(I’m not really into horror or scary stories, but for some reason my past two writing posts have been kind of dark. I think I’ll focus on writing something more positive or neutral next time, haha!)

“That is way too big to be a man,” She called out from the top of the tree line. Her arm was extended towards the mysterious shape in the distance, too large to be a man yet too strange to be human. It was moving with incredible speed, as if it were gliding over the summit of the mountain.

For a short time we stood there in absolute fear. We had spent the day on high alert due to the warnings posted at the information office. There had been a few Grizzly sightings in the area between the Old Lodge and Maligne Canyon. We decided to begin our little expedition anyway, figuring we were prepared with our bear spray, cell phones and gear. We had hiked the fire road before without issue, and we weren’t going to let a piece of paper get in the way of our adventure.


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Illustrated Short Stories to Come!

(Above is the rough for the short-story to come next week. I’ve almost finished it now, but I’ll wait to post it/explain it until I make the story post next Wednesday! Note the post-it note rough. Lazy.)

It’s obvious that my Never-Ending story has been on pause for far too long, but it’s actually because I’ve been writing many more short stories. I have the whole plot figured out for the Never-Ending story, but just haven’t gotten around to writing it out of boredom. I’ll admit that because I know what I need to write next, I’m less excited to write it, regardless of how ridiulous and funny the plot goes. (I promise, I’ll get around to it eventually, if anyone even cares to read it… which would be nice to know haha).

Funny things is, even for VOA, I made up alot of the plot as I wrote it, which works well for me. If I ever became an real author, I’m sure this would absolutely not be allowed and would prove to be a horrible way of working, but for now, it’s working great for me, so I’ll just keep it up ‘cause on here, I can do what I want! Muaha!

But yes!

Longer tales come naturally to me, so I’ve been trying my hand at short works of fiction. That way, I can just get ‘er done, and move onto the next one. It’s proving to be quite a load more productive. I’m finding that I’m producing more because I’m forced to end it somewhere, and can’t really drag on setting, character development, any long plot-lines. I have a bunch of short stories to post, but I figured I should make an illustration to go along with them to keep me drawing and keep my editorial-illustration-muscles worked so if I do freelance, I’m not rusty as hell. 

So expect a short story with an illustration next week! Weeee!

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