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Academia Events Illustration

Autumn Update: Travel, Book Fairs, Conferences, Oh My

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Sabrina Scott - Sabrina Scott -
Wow okay it has been a thousand years since my last update in May, and I have about a thousand more things to update y’all on. So I’ll just get right to it! TCAF 2016 (May 14-15 at the Toronto Reference Library) was AMAZING. I felt high as a kite the entire time just off of good vibes and the insane generosity and love I received from like everyone I met. I also had a new banner thing and business cards printed, which you can see in some of the images accompanying this text! I’m really stoked on how they turned out.

My book Witchbody (currently sold out, second edition in the works and available soon) was nominated for the Doug Wright Nipper Award, which is the ‘emerging talent’ category, so that was pretty cool. Even though I didn’t win I totally did in my heart, hahaha, so I’m just going to pretend I did. Anyway we are all winners, am I right? Of course. Big congrats to all the nominees, official ‘winners’ or not. Also, huge love to everyone who came out to my table to say hello, I actually had The Best Time Ever and that is very much thanks to everyone I met.

I also tabled at the first Ottawa Zine Fair (June 4 at the Bronson Centre), which was absolutely fucking fantastic. The picture below was taken after the zine reading the night before the fair, at which myself and a bunch of other folks performed our writing. I had a great time and more or less sold out of Witchbody’s first printing at this event. I had the great honour to read some of my writing at an event put on the night before the fair, and it went super super well. A few days before the fair I also had the pleasure of being interviewed on the radio about the zine fair and my work, and I do a short little reading on it too. I was interviewed with Mariela Libedinsky by Mitchell Caplan on a CHUO show called ‘Click Here.’ The interview is below.

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I went to Edmonton, Alberta to speak at the The Three Societies Meeting which was held June 22-25 at the University of Alberta. The ‘Three Societies’ in question are the British Society for the History of Science, Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science, and the History of Science Society. The theme for the conference was ‘Transitions’ and my panel was called ‘Knowledge from the Edge.’ I had the pleasure of presenting alongside my brilliant colleagues Bill Atkinson, Nox Dineen-Porter, and Tyler Hnatuk. The panel was incredibly well received, I am happy to report! The paper I presented was called “Developing Highly Sensitive Instruments: Spiritualist Mediumship and Séance Science in Victorian Britain” and I am hoping to develop it further.

When I was in Edmonton I also had a pleasure of facilitating a workshop under the auspices of APIRG (the Alberta Public Interest Research Group, an activist organization) and The Landing (whose slogan is ‘A Space for Gender and Sexual Diversity’) at Lotus Gallery. It was called ‘Energy Work for Facilitators.’ Here’s the workshop description:

“In this two-hour session, learn some practical skills for how to work with magic, energy, and ritual in your teaching and facilitation. Taught from a non-denominational perspective influenced by life-long praxis in Spiritualism and witchcraft, this workshop focuses on feeling energy, working with energy, setting up and releasing space. If time and interest permits, we can also discuss how to incorporate understandings of energy, magic, and spirit into art-making practice.”

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I’m really happy to have had the opportunity to have met everyone who showed up. I am so touched by the vulnerability and heart each person brought to the space we shared together. The communal energy really was electric. Huge love to my main girl Laura Kruse for organizing this! You can see a lot of the beautiful souls who participated in the photo above.

Fast forward to Texas where I spent a week in July for the ICON 9 Illustration Conference, which was held at the Hilton in Austin from July 6-9. I spoke as a part of the Education Symposium, and my talk was the same one I gave in RISD last November for the Illustration Research Symposium. It was called “Drawing the Other: Illustration and Representation.” I don’t want to repeat myself too much, but if you’re interested in reading the abstract it is in my last update. I’m likely going to post the full talk transcript shortly, so keep your eyes peeled for it, including the slides from the visual presentation that appeared alongside my talk. If you haven’t been to ICON, it’s a strange bird! Worth checking out at least once. Happy to meet so many amazing educators.

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I also tabled at the Toronto Anarchist Book Fair on July 23-24, which was, as always, a lot of fun. There were so many families there this year!

I made it out to Montreal a few times this summer as well: for a book fair, and because I had a painting in a show! Camp Gallery was a month-long pop-up gallery in July, and I had work in the ‘Summer Camp’ half, which was installed for the second half of the month. I went to montreal for the closing party on July 29. It’s an honour to be involved; the curatorial crew really put together something special inspired by an incredibly unique vision. I also tabled at Queer Between the Covers in Montreal on August 13. It is a book/zine fair with a queer flavor, which was a lot of fun, and I’m always happy to be back in my hometown of Montreal.

In other news – on the more present and upcoming front – I will be debuting the second edition of Witchbody in two weeks at the fourth annual Toronto Queer Zine Fair. It’s the biggest yet, and it’s going to be fucking amazing. Deets on the poster below. I’ll also be tabling at Canzine on October 29, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, 1-7pm. Both fairs should be super awesome and are definitely worth going to if you’re into books, comics, zines, book arts, and everything in between! At this witchy time of year I’d like to go out of my way to remind y’all that I read tarot professionally. I’ve been reading for around 16 years now, and I know what I’m doing – so if you think you might need to talk something out and that I may be the right person to talk it out with, please do check out my Tarot Readings page. I swear I don’t bite, readings with me can be really fun! It’s a great time of year to take advantage of the big energies of change all around us.


In other news, I’ll also be in Edinburgh, Scotland next month for the 7th annual Illustration Research Symposium. The theme this year is ‘Shaping the View,’ and I’ll be presenting a babble about my book Witchbody. I’m super excited – never been to Edinburgh, and I really loved the symposium last year: definitely one of my favourite conference experiences. I’m hoping to have some illustrations in the show they’re mounting alongside the conference. So that’s fun. In other conference news, I’ll be in Montreal next February for something on occult poetics, and that’s all I can share on that topic for now.

I’ve also started to teach at OCAD U, my undergraduate alma mater! I am the course director for the first year Illustration course Illustrative Concepts 1. I can honestly say I absolutely love it and it’s my favourite time of the week. I have a lot to think about in regard to teaching – but it’s one of my favourite topics, and I am really thankful for the energy my students bring to the room when we are sharing time together. OCAD students really are a special bunch and I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to work with them. Next semester I am the course director for a more academic/theory course (the one I’m doing now is studio-based) called Modern American Illustration. I am hoping to approach it as a course with a foundation in contemporary illustration history (1950-present) but also organize it around key concepts or issues in the illustration industry – such as handmade/craft vs mass production, gender, race, auteurship, etc. It’s a work in progress but I’m so excited to work it out, and to put everything in action in January!

I’ll end this absurdly long post by sharing one of the most beautiful things that has happened to me lately. It took me a few weeks to share this publicly. Sometimes when I’m really touched and humbled by something so sweet and amazing, I’m rendered speechless and I can’t respond immediately. This is one of those times. I am so beyond honoured and was moved to the point of tears when I received this message and these photos.

Sabrina, thank you. I’ve been trying to reach out to you for weeks to get your permission for my tattoo, and to explain how much Witchbody has meant to me. I’m not sure how much Juawana shared with you. Someday, sometime, I hope to get to explain my connection to it. In summary, I’ll just say two things:

1. I’ve identified as a witch since I was a small girl, and have long interpreted many women in my family as witches. I didn’t feel I had permission to use those words public ally until WB.

2. The pedagogy of Witchbody gave me a method for staying present and physical, when my mental space was unsafe. It gave me a method to begin to heal. In summary, you have my gratitude and a connection for life. Your voice matters. Your style adds loveliness to the world. Witchbody rules. I chose each symbol carefully. Thank you.

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Thank you so much Amey for permission to share your words, and to Mackenzie Swecker in Reno for doing an amazing job translating my illustration into a tattoo. I have so much gratitude and my heart could not be more full, and I can’t imagine the first tattoo of my work looking more badass than this!! I’ll leave this already too-long post on that note – more soon, as always! xooxoxo

Academia Books Events Illustration

Big News! Doug Wright Award Nomination, TCAF, Past Talks, Catch-up, and So On



So! I haven’t updated in about a thousand years, so this is going to be a bit of a big one, from most recent and pressing to least recent. I am incredibly ecstatic to announce that my book Witchbody has been nominated for the 2016 Doug Wright Spotlight Award! It is such a big honour that I honestly can’t even begin to comprehend; the other nominees include a lot of my heroes and folks whose work I really admire. I’ve done a brief interview about it on York University’s YFile, and OCADU kindly made mention of my nomination as well. If you want to come check out the awards event itself, it’s on the evening of Saturday, May 14, from 8-10 PM, in the Forest Hill Ballroom at the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel (90 Bloor St. E.). For more information, check out the Facebook event page.


TCAF (the Toronto Comic Arts Festival) is also happening on the weekend of Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15. I’ll have a table so you should definitely come say hello; it’ll be the 3rd or 4th time I’ve tabled (honestly can’t remember), but the first time I’ve tabled outside of the Wowee Zonk Small Press room. It’s at the Toronto Reference Library (Bloor & Yonge) from 9-5 on Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday. As of this writing I only have 99 copies left of the first edition of Witchbody and am in the process of ordering up a second edition, so act fast if you want to snag your copy before pre-ordering starts! I’ve finally set up an online ordering system, so if you’d like your copy of Witchbody shipped directly to your home you can order online here, with Paypal. Otherwise, try your luck at TCAF! Here is a map of where I will be, on the second floor:


I’ve also done a bunch of talks lately, most recently at the Navigating the Metamodern conference (otherwise known as the 15th Annual Art History Graduate Symposium) on March 19, 2016. It was such a fantastic event, I had a blast! The notion of ‘metamodern’ is actually super neat; here’s a little blurb from the conference’s Call for Proposals:

Metamodernism is not characterized by oppositions or polarities, but rather explores the possibility of oscillating between perspectives, of existing in a liminal state and finding empowerment in that uncertainty. In the arts, this has reintroduced a space for a discussion of the sublime, affect, and materiality alongside theoretical models such as Speculative Realism and Object Oriented Ontologies.

I presented a talk called Drawing Magical Bodies and Teaching Occult Ontologies in ‘Witchbody’. I’d presented this for the first time in February of this year, also at an art history conference at McGill in Montreal. That conference was called Magic: Between Embodiment and Ontology, and was also super fun, but I have to say I have such a soft spot for the Metamodern conference. I really loved the way each speaker took up the challenge of the CFP, and appreciated how receptive everyone was to my work. Here’s a blurb from my abstract:

I examine why magic is unique, how it can teach, and what it can teach about other-than-human bodies that constitute ‘environment’. Witchcraft makes available an ontology that does not view any beings as exploitable or disposable, and can have powerful repercussions in how human bodies interact with other-than-human bodies. Complicating the simple idea of the performance of magical rituals, I also look at the materiality of magical books as a way of materializing occult ontologies. This comic book is both about witchcraft and an act of witchcraft. The format of the work is inspired both by study of practitioner-made talismanic books (both about spirits and containing spirits). This talk is about the theory within the work, the process of its creation, and artistic production as philosophical labour.

I also had the incredible privilege of giving an hour long lecture and Q&A session at an amazing evening at 8-11 here in Toronto, back on March 10 (photo above). The event was called The Practical Application of the Occult in Music and Art, and shared the bill with the inimitable Edward Mason, with music by SINS and a performance by Rosemary Stehlik. I spoke a bit about my own illustration and book arts work and how the occult has figured into both my work process and content, and I had a fabulous time answering some really amazing nitty gritty questions from the audience. It’s really fun to answer explicit questions about technique, where I can really get into the mechanics of what I do and why I do it in a rigorous way.

Programs for RISD

Back in November (of 2015) I road-tripped to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, Rhode Island for the 6th Annual Illustration Research Symposium. It was fucking awesome. The theme was Illustrator as Public Intellectual, about which I have a lot to say. If you’re interested in applying to get involved in the 7th Symposium this November, you can check out the CFP by clicking here. The theme is ‘Shaping the View’ and understanding landscape in conjunction with illustration.

Here I am with the amazing Gary Powell, one of my favourite folks I met at the Symposium. His talk was incredibly inspiring (high-energy, amazing work, and a lot of fascinating insights about teaching) and he was just a really cool, approachable guy. If you’re interested in an illustrated (with drawings and photos!) summation of the conference, Jamie Hogan put up a great blog post about it, which includes a super great illustration of yours truly, as well as a photo of one of the slides in my presentation.

Anywho, my talk was called Drawing The Other: Illustration and Representation and here is my fun abstract:

If we take illustration seriously as a form of intellectual and cultural production that influences, reproduces, and reinvigorates public and private discourse, what do the pictures we make and the way we represent human bodies within them say about our personal (as private persons) and public (as creative professionals) understandings of race and gender? Do most of today’s award-winning illustrations challenge dominant power paradigms, or consolidate oppressive hegemonic representations as common sense? What happens when illustrators try to depict The Other? How can we avoid these pitfalls and their consequences? I examine the most recent ten years of award-winning work in the American Illustration annual, and consider the implications of what these selected works say about how illustrators and jurors perceive, represent, and validate representations of race and gender. Following this analysis, I discuss the cultural significance of socially responsible illustration, and present some suggestions for illustrators and educators interested in rethinking how they approach the representation of gendered and racialized bodies in their own work, and that of their students and peers.

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I also gave this talk as part of a guest lecture/guest co-facilitation in the lovely and talented Dushan Milic‘s Illustrative Activism course at OCADU this past winter semester. It was so fun to hash some of these ideas out with students! I’m also going to be delivering it in Austin this summer at ICON 9: The Illustration Conference, in the ‘Education’ stream.

Also, just for fun, to right, check out this picture of RISD’s amazing Nature Lab – there were endless rooms of anatomical specimens (human bones, animal bones, living and preserved animals, minerals, dried plants, etc). It seems like a really productive resource for artists and illustrators! I’m trying to figure out an excuse to get myself back there sometime – I could really see myself getting (pleasantly) lost in the rooms upon rooms of animals, vegetables, minerals, and everything in between. It was a total dream!


Other fun news: I’ve recently been commissioned by artist Lisa Frost to do an illustration for her Village 89 project. Lisa has invited illustrators to create an image to be made into an accordion book. The work I made for this project is called At the Crossroads and you can see some proposal sketches, digital process, and final screen print of the accordion book (both front & back) below.

It was such a fun project to illustrate; it’s not every day I get to just play! The little statement I gave about the work is as follows:

At The Crossroads is a visual meditation on a day in the life of a dedicated city witch. Between collecting herbs, calming unruly spirits, and paying tribute to ancestors, it seems the trials and tribulations of urban magic never end! That’s ok, though – what’s an afternoon without a little chaos?

Accordion book: front

Accordion book: back


Anyway! That’s enough babbling from me for now! I have a lot of other exciting things coming up soon, and will be writing a bit about that once the chaos and excitement around TCAF has passed.

Books Events

Thank You For a great Toronto Queer Zine Fair & Canzine 2015!


My sincerest and most humble gratitude to everyone at the Toronto Queer Zine Fair today. I never thought I would find my people, but when I table here I know I did. I have never felt anything like it. Thank you to all of the volunteers I never got to meet, but whose efforts no doubt shaped my experience. Thank you to organizers Eddie, Geoff, and Yasmeeen. Thank you so much to whoever found and brought me an Advil – I have no idea where it came from, but because of that Advil I could stay for the rest of the fair. Thank you to Terah Li, Kieran Meyn, and Brad Casey who were my moral support and strength throughout the day. You are angels, all of you! Thank you to everyone who came out, who showed me your good vibes and smiles and belief in what I do.

Thank you to my wonderful assistant, who tabled for me at Canzine – his first zine/comics/art fair ever – all by his lonesome because the fairs were scheduled at exactly the same time and I could not be in two places at once. If that’s not love, I’m not quite sure what is.


Thank you to everyone who has purchased Witchbody so far. It is such a vulnerable work for me and so it has been a blessing to have the response be so positive. It has only been out for a week and already I am 37% sold out. I had 300 copies in the first (and only, so far) print run, and within one week there are only 189 copies left. Thank you! I feel blessed.

And: a final thank you to everyone whose work inspires me so much, who I am happy to be in community with – however near or far – and creating alongside, even if we all do it by ourselves at home with our cats. It is so nice to come out of hiding and see what everyone has been working on, take it home, and cuddle up to read it.


Photos from top to bottom: Toronto Queer Zine fair, by Sabrina Scott; Canzine by Adrien Benson; TQZF haul of sweet goodies by Sabrina Scott

Books Events

In Gratitude (Book Launch Reflections, and Upcoming Zine Fair Appearances!)

I’m settling into bed the evening after the evening after my launch and for the first time in a long time, I feel like dancing.

For the first time in a long time, I felt community. I felt held, supported, seen. Appreciated. I felt able to speak. For the first time in a long time I met so many people I have never seen before and I am humbled by their faith in someone they have never met and have no reason to trust. I am humbled by the presence of so many people who I have not seen in a very long time: to whom I owe so much, but as of late – in the hustle, in illness, in madness – have been able to give only a little. And yet: you, all of you, have given me your new moon Tuesday night. In Libra. You have trusted me with your bodies and your ears.

Here’s to new friends and old. To reaching out to strangers, to singing out into the darkness without knowing if there is someone there to hear but trusting that somewhere, out there, there is. Another beating heart. Another vibrating materiality. Electric.

To calm my anxiety before the launch, I re-read one of my favourite astrologers’ post on the night’s dark splendour. Chani Nicholas writes:

“Libra aims to connect with you whether you want to or not. Libra leads with charm, is ceaselessly charismatic and can turn any opportunity into a meet and greet. If you are alive, a Libra nearby would like to say hi.”

So many of you did. Thank you.


I am really humbled and so honoured for the opportunity to be in conversation with amazing environmental educators and academics Chris Cavanagh and Steve Alsop. The book would not be a thing if my life had not been touched by any of these marvelous people, and I am so grateful for their time and energy. And thank you, again, to all of the beating hearts who came out to share the night with me. We shared such an intimate moment and I could not be more thankful.

Anyway, enough babbling from me for now! You can also find my new book at two super excellent events tomorrow in Toronto! Both events are on Saturday, October 17. I wish I could physically be at both, but my books, at least, will! So if you missed the launch party on Tuesday, you can still pick up a copy. I will also have some older zines available.

I will be at the Toronto Queer Zine Fair:

Trinity St Paul’s Church, 427 Bloor St West, 11 am – 7 pm
ASL provided. Childcare provided.
Wheelchair accessible. Entry is PWYC.

More info about the Toronto Queer Zine Fair:

My book will also be at Canzine Toronto:

Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St West, 1 pm – 7 pm
Wheelchair accessible. Entry is free.

More info about Canzine Toronto:

We hope to see you there!


Photo credit, top to bottom: Clementine Morrigan, Adrien Benson

Books Events

WITCHBODY Comic Book Launch Party! October 13

Witchbody books!!! by Sabrina Scott

My book launch is in a few days!

It’s surreal to finally expose something that has been so intimate and personal, to count down the minutes and days until I have to show something I have poured every drop of blood and sweat I have had to spare, and some sweat and blood I couldn’t stand to spare but did anyway. The whole process is kind of scary. To go into hiding for three years, take some classes, finish a degree, make a book. Start another degree. And then come out of hiding, if only for a moment.

Academia these past three years has been a strangely private journey, where I have in some ways forgotten how to share. There is such a premium placed on the performance of perfection and stoicism and a particular type of intellectualism in those spaces but what I really value is the emergence of experimentation and vulnerability and trying things and fucking up and having everyone revel in the process. In being okay with becoming, rather than pretending we already know all the answers.

I am learning and re-learning how to express through my fingers and skin and also my words in this new jumble of languages I have learned; a cultivated multilingualism new-to-me. Walking the tightrope between so many disciplinary extremes I hope I can straddle these worlds rather than walk between them. I have learned how to feel at home in so many different spaces, to talk with activists and academics and artists and illustrators and designers and occultists. I have learned these languages, but what good is mutltilingualism if I’m not in conversation?


I am so interested in the lifespan(s) of the work we produce. As artists, writers, illustrators, designers, printmakers, bookmakers, creatives. My book – the full title is “witchbody: a rambling & poetic autoethnography of western occult magic as a pathway for environmental learning & advocacy” – was in some ways a meditation on impermanence, on mutual touch that can be felt between us and the bodies we meet. There are so many people and places that I have met who have helped shape me. It’s also an exploration of what it can look like when we try to come together, to learn each others’ ways of being and knowing.

If you can come out to the local launch in Toronto on October 13, I’d love to see you. Dance under the new moon with me. Or, you know – just cuddle up with some blankets and candlelight while we talk of noticing magic, what it can mean to be a witch in the city, possibilities for environmentalism and education, wonky philosophy, and everything in between. Chris Cavanagh and Steve Alsop will be in conversation with me about my book. Ask me a question at the Q&A!

Brief Launch Deets:

October 13, 2015, 8-11pm
Misfit Studio, 761 Queen St West, Toronto, 3rd floor
Books will be available at the event for $25 CAD (cash only!)

Or you can pre-order until Oct 12! $20 CAD + shipping if you’re not local, or if you can’t pick up your copy at the launch event. If you’re interested email me! – for pre-order I am accepting PayPal and bank transfer!

More info & RSVP here: