Community·Q&A

Meet Élana Camille, the illustrator behind the new artwork for 'T.O. Do List'

Élana Camille is the illustrator behind the updated header design for the Toronto Community newsletter, T.O. Do List. Get to know her artistic practice and inspiration in this Q&A.

Artist Élana Camille designed the new artwork for the bi-weekly CBC Toronto Community newsletter

Illustrator Élana Camille alongside the new design for the T.O. Do List community newsletter. (CBC/Élana Camille)

T.O. Do List is the bi-weekly newsletter curated by the CBC Toronto Community team. We want to bring (virtual) events, contests and stories that reflect the GTA to your inbox every week. With this in mind, we enlisted the help of illustrator Élana Camille to help create a newsletter header that showcases the vibrance and diversity of the GTA. You may also recognize Élana's work from the Ontario page in the Great Canadian Colouring Book.

Get to know the artist below.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Élana Camille 
Illustrator
Toronto, ON/Halifax, NS

An example of Élana's work (Élana Camille)

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Élana Camille, and I'm a self-taught lifestyle and fashion illustrator from Toronto. I'm currently based in Halifax, but I have also lived in British Columbia and Singapore. As a self-taught artist, I explored many different mediums at the start of my creative journey, before eventually focusing on digital, acrylic and watercolour illustrations.

When did you start illustrating?

I started illustrating as a child and continued into my teens, but only started taking it seriously in the last six or seven years. It wasn't something that I ever thought would become my career, but I'm so happy that it did!

Describe your artistic style.

My artistic style is bright, colourful, and bold. It isn't always all of those things at once, but my style is always true to me. Sometimes I'm drawn to bold colours, and other times I want a piece to showcase monochromatic, bold lines. I love fashion, travel, music, food and florals, so my pieces always seem to incorporate one or more of those themes. 

What inspires you about Toronto and the GTA?

All the diversity: not only with the people, but the different places, foods and styles. There is so much to be inspired by.  

Name another Toronto-area artist whose work you admire.

Gordon Shadrach! I had the opportunity to see his work at the ROM and also at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Even though I was seeing his piece In Conversation for the second time, I was still mesmerized by it. The detail, the colour palette, it is such a beautiful piece of art. 

How did you approach the creative process for the 'T.O. Do List' illustration?

The new T.O. Do List Illustrations, designed by Élana Camille (CBC/Élana Camille)

I approached this project with a very simplistic style. Usually, I incorporate a lot of detail into my pieces, but for this particular project, less really was more. The colour palette really inspired the approach that I took. Having a limited colour palette is always an enjoyable challenge for me as an artist. I also drew inspiration from Toronto itself, which really helped to bring the illustrations to life. 


Anything else you'd like to share?

My illustration for International Women's Day is currently on view in a large, mural-style display at Halifax Shopping Centre in Nova Scotia. In addition to working on various client projects, I also run an online shop selling art prints, tote bags, stickers, and other stationery products. It is so much fun to see my artwork being sent around the world!

You can see more of Élana's work on Instagram @elanacamillecreates or at elanacamillecreates.com.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

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