The Pikaland Gift Guide for All Seasons part 1



Ever since I put out a call for self-publishers two weeks ago, I was swamped with emails. Hundreds in fact. I was stunned – I never would have thought that the blurry picture I took create such a stir. Never mind that the quality of the picture was bad or that it was blurry (it came from my 7-year old iPhone 3GS which I still use to this day because I have a weird attachment to things that I use often, like my 18-year old car!); it was shared via emails and I got to know so many new talented people because of it, so a very big thank you to everyone who got involved – whether you re-tweeted, re-grammed it or shared it though Facebook or email.

I like to start things off good news first: YES there will still be a gift guide! Although I should have thought of this way, way earlier before the crazy mad holiday season (and not to mention that I was planning to take the whole of December slow, because oh, for no other reason besides the fact it was my birthday). Ramblings aside though, I had big ambitions for it: a downloadable PDF! Beautiful layouts! Some lovely doodles on the pages (yes, how adorable!) And then, it hit me that I didn’t have enough time if I were to do up this PDF before Christmas – you’d be sighing at turkey leftovers in the fridge and stockings that would already be stuffed before I’m done.

So while I’m cutting this dangerously close to the cutoff dates of shopping deadlines for Christmas, I’ve decided to forego the nice PDF idea. No more beautiful layouts. No more doodles on the pages (oh no!), but instead, I’ll make my gift guide into short blog posts. I’ll  do my best to post everyday until I’ve uncovered my finds for all to see and scavenge. So this isn’t just a gift guide for Christmas. It will be a gift guide for all seasons, because it will be a gift of words, prose, pictures and joy. And who doesn’t love a gift that will stay with you for all time, even if it isn’t on Christmas?


Aijung Kim will be helping me with my first post – her finds are about zines (I love zines!) and they’re fantastic enough to warrant a post by itself. She’s also creates her own zines at Sprout Head and they’re one of my favourites! (Thanks Aijung!)

Celia C. Perez aka Chibrarian

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I like the way she writes, makes lists, and she’s half-Mexican and half-Cuban (I think), so it’s good to hear from a different cultural perspective. I like her “Ofrenda” zine, and she did one awhile ago about turning 40, listing 40 of her favorite things. But I don’t think she offers that right now.

Katie Haegele at La La Theory Books

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Katie writes prose about language and yard sales (her White Elephants series) and she also writes poetry.

Mel Stringer aka Girliepains

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Mel makes cool drawings and little comics!

Maranda Elizabeth at School for Maps

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Maranda writes about mental health, living in small towns, gender issues, and self-care.

Trevor Grail of flatmountainpress

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I haven’t read his comics yet, but they visually look awesome.


Katie Green

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Katie and I have become friends through Pikaland! I think that we first “met” when she purchased a card reading from me, and we’ve been in contact since. She makes amazing zines.

Lizzy Stewart

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I love the illustrated books of Lizzy Stewart.

Jon Porcellino of King Cat

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After all these years, John Porcellino is still self-publishing King Cat!

Corinne Mucha

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Corinne Mucha does funny, awesome comics. She self-publishes some, and is also published by others.


Thanks Aijung!

Do you self-publish? Email me!

Calling self-published artists


I just did a shout out on Instagram about finding artists and illustrators to feature for Pikaland’s gift guide this year (I think it should read 2014, not 2015, doh!) So if you know of any artists who self publishes on Amazon, Etsy, Lulu, Blurb, etc,; any kind of books – comics, zines, self-help, guides, stories, random stuff, etc feel free to send your recommendations over to be considered!

I think it could be an interesting, unconventional gift guide – it’s the kind of guide I’d definitely pick up myself (oh, because I’m obsessed with zines and books, if you haven’t noticed already!) so I’d appreciate any leads you have to share! I was planning on doing one on books and then the idea of having a listing of lesser-known authors/artists hit me a couple of days ago. I think it would be refreshing to provide some counter-balance to the whole spirit of Christmas consumerism and to spread some joy in the form of lovely surprises, which can often be found in the least unexpected of places.

I’ll be doing up the gift guide next week, so for any recommendations, you can email them as soon as you can to me at AMY @ PIKALAND . COM (remember to lose the spaces between characters before hitting “send”!) 

Book review: Draw Paint Print Like the Great Artists

Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists

Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists


Marion Deuchars has done it again. In 2011 I reviewed her book Let’s Make Some Great Art (review here) and it was a unique book which made me squeal with delight when I peeled open its pages back then. In her latest book, Draw Paint Print Like the Great Artists, she reprises the original concept of inviting the reader (or in this case, the artist) to dabble their fingers into some paint and let loose in between the pages of her book.

Of course I still squealed all the same when I got her latest book (because it’s just so PRETTY!) You’d think that books that were meant for kids aged 8 – 12 wouldn’t have garnered the reaction I had, but still, there’s something to be said about books that make you all excited; you don’t see too many of them often enough.

Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists


In this book, Marion expanded on one of the themes of her first book – taking on inspirations from artists such as Klimt, Matisse, Warhol and Miró and coming out with creative prompts that allows to learn about the artists through play. While I noticed that there wasn’t a proper table of contents to show which artists were being featured, I was happy to find the list of artists at the back of the book, complete with a mini bio to boot! There’s 18 artists in all, so there’s a good variety of styles for you (or your little one) to try out.

I don’t think that this book is just suitable for kids however; as doing so would be a missed opportunity for other artists out there who are struggling with finding new ways of working. I think that this is a great book for any one at any age – whether you’re artistically inclined or not. Marion has done a wonderful job of making art accessible, using everyday language and humanising the artists featured that it makes one feel hopeful of being one themselves. And even if they don’t, at least they’ll have a great time exploring (or re-exploring) the world of art while they’re at it.

You can get a copy of the book here (via Amazon) and if you’re not sure how it all looks like inside the book, I made a video of its insides: