Creative Conflab

Hosted ByTara Joy Andrews

On this podcast, you will find honest conversations about creativity, art, design, and craft. We'll talk about what it means to be creative, how to stay motivated and inspired, and ways to continue learning in creative ways. Part solo episodes and part interviews with other amazing creative people we’ll delve into this inspiring world and hopefully motivate you a little along the way. Join us, we’re making things.

EP3 – Creative processes and #communitycolours with Pierre Tabbiner

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Welcome to Creative Conflab, a podcast where we have honest conversations about creativity, art, design, and craft. Ready to get started? Let’s go!

Tara: Thank you for listening to Creative Conflab. You are listening to episode three with Pierre Tabinner.

Pierre: Hi!

Tara: Insert applause. Thank you so much for being a part of this and being one of my first guests on this show. We’re all in a really weird place right now with the whole pandemic happening and self-isolating so I’d like to start with you sharing something that has recently brought you joy.

Pierre: Oh, um, I think about that a lot these days or I try to think about that a lot and honestly there’s a lot of things big and small. I just launched a really fun program this week called community colours hashtag community colours (#communitycolours) with a u. The Halifax edition, and that involved reaching out to like, I don’t know, I probably reached out to over a hundred different artists out there and asked everybody to draw something Halifaxy for use in a colouring sheet sort of thing, and yesterday I went and picked up 750 sheets at my good friends at TPH. I brought them to a few different places and they’re being distributed all over the place now.

Tara: That’s mazing!

Pierre: Yeah, that’s big joy. And it also keeps me really busy because all that had to be like organized, and planned, and then of course, I can’t rest, I had to make social media posts about it. And I mean, I reached out to Halifax Ad agencies, and shops, and in the studios, and galleries. I wanted to make social media posts for them to use too if they wanted. Also, I go on a run. Ever since this pandemic started, I like to run, and I’ve been trying to do a 5k every other day. That’s been like the little rule, and while my neighbourhood is getting a little bit boring, it’s still nice to get out even when I don’t want to get out. I do.

Tara: Yes, this morning I was out in the mist and rain just walking along the waterfront. And it has made all the difference.

Pierre: Yeah, it’s a big deal. I mean, you gotta get out. And it’s like we’re so used to having to go out because we have to walk to the car to drive to work, or have to get on the bus to get to work, or whatever, but now we don’t have to force ourselves to that anymore.

Tara: Exactly

Pierre: There’s a whole Creed of human beings that just like never open their blinds in their windows. I never understood that person. I’d I wonder like, God, if you never had to go out because you didn’t have a dog to walk like how how does that affect your mental health? But, anyways, I enjoy getting out.

Tara: For those that don’t know you, even though I know everybody in my network already knows you. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

Pierre: Okay. I am Pierre Tabbiner. I graduated from NSCC’s graphic design program in 2003.

Tara: Woohoo! Hi Crystal and Rob!

Pierre: That’s right. I am a you know hufflepuff through and through. I’ve been working in ad agencies ever since 2003 whether it was in graphic design shops. My first job was six years at KFC / Pizza Hut / Taco Bell making in-store signage you know Mother’s Day mega meal type stuff. It was a great first job because I had to learn rules of software yeah and not only that but FedEx is coming later today and we have to get these 50 signs printed. And there’s no, it’s not like you make a file and you send it off and the guy at the the rip fixes it. If something’s wrong, it’s like, no, the guy at the rip is 20 feet away. If it’s wrong it’s coming right back to you because he’s got other things to do. He’s trimming stuff and whatever. I have training in graphic design and then I became an Art Director which is like a graphic designer that gets paid a little more and works a lot more.

Tara: I love that description

Pierre: Yeah, and I it’s such a silly thing but like at cocktail parties you got to have these explanations because I’ve also been a Creative Director and nobody knows what that really is, I don’t think anyway. I certainly didn’t before I was in the industry. A Creative Director manages creative teams. So I would have an Art Director or copywriter team reporting to me. And I would say, yes, no, that idea is good, that idea is not good, but if you want to use it here’s what we got to do. Stuff like that. Creative directing was one of the last things I was doing in the agency world but now I for the past year and a half I’ve been full-time self-employed under PTabbiner design and illustration.

That’s really fun, but it means that I have to flex every muscle that I have now. Not only am i laying out business cards, like the graphic designer would, and yeah that happens, but there’s also a client needs to do an integrated campaign and part of it involves radio. And I have to choose, do I involve a copywriter, and you know, brief them and creative direct them, or do I maybe have an idea and I can write them myself with a little bit of extra critical thinking. It comes up often and not only that but I’m working with brands right now that are, for example, they’re just launching their social media presence. So, you know, I’m contracted to do things like that now too. It’s like okay, great, that involves a lot of strategy, that involves planning a social content calendar, that involves creating a lot of content, a lot of miniature campaigns in advance. There’s a lot of fourth dimensional thinking going on.

Tara: Yes, a lot. You do a lot basically.

Pierre: Yeah, I do a lot and I think we all have to do a lot these days. I think that’s always be true in Atlantic Canada.

Tara: Yes, and especially when you run your own business. That’s something I love and some days hate about also running my own business, is that you get to learn, and expand, and grow your skill set, and try and experiment with things that if you were at a 9 to 5 you wouldn’t necessarily get the opportunity to do. So that’s something I love about it. And I’ve always loved continuing to learn and find out more about different areas so like when social media started beginning to get hot and being another marketing channel or medium, whatever you want to call it, to market, you know, I wanted to learn about that and see what that’s all about.

Pierre: Yeah, it’s true and like, it should be hard. You know, if something’s easy to do that means you’ve not being challenged kind of thing. And you’re not growing.

Tara: Yes, exactly.

Pierre: So, it’s good to take all that you know and to apply it to whatever challenge you’re at, and it can be hard. But it’s also good to know when you’re not the best fit for something. And you involve, you know, in my business speak it’s involving a subcontractor. But it’s like you calling your friends and say I can’t draw 50 coloring book illustrations in a week, who can illustrate for me, you know, that’s an example. But yeah, I mean you gotta rely on people and it’s really cool that you said that. Like you know, does Pierre need an introduction because everybody knows him, I’m just another dude, I’m just a nice guy but like being a nice guy is like a big big part of it.

Tara: Well, definitely! I’ve had a lot of conversations, especially networking lately, because we’re all virtually networking and we’re trying to find out how do we stay focused on our business, but not sell anything because no one wants to buy right now, and I keep having the conversation of your business, especially when you’re one person, your business is actually a lot of you. You are your business. So like trying to separate those, you just can’t do it because at the end of the day, you’re always gonna be kind, good-hearted Pierre, that you know, just wants to be happy, and make people happy around him.

Pierre: Thanks for that. And it’s so true and I mean a lot of the best businesses of any industry over the decades have sort of shown that. I means, Steve Jobs for Apple like, you know, any business that has like a really clear like you know Barker guy on top. Well, you can kind of identify that person with that business. And if I’m gonna have a business that’s named after me well I’m gonna make my business behave the way that I do. If I can, yeah, definitely. Yeah, in every part of the process, you know.

Tara: As creatives, we all have a creative process that we go from an idea, developing the idea, executing the idea, to making it a tangible thing. Is there a step in the creative process that you would never skip? And what part of it is that?

Pierre: It’s tough, I mean, the process is such a particular thing. And like, we’re all taught certain things and I’ll tell you now, there’s a lot of things that I was taught that I do. But a lot of things I was taught that I really, like, really don’t do. Like I hardly, I rarely start in a sketchbook, or start with pen and paper. I don’t know if that’s surprising? Like I do that sometimes, when I’m stuck, or I’ll do that sometimes when it’s like straight up an illustration, or typography or projects like that. I’ll do a rough because I have to have to do that anyway. But yeah so and there’s a lot of process things like that that I can’t, or that I do skip. But even though, I think about it, and the one thing that I do every single time, but I can’t skip, is I gotta talk it through. Like, I need to hear first-hand what problems we’re here to solve, and make sense of that stuff. In an agency as a Creative Director, you can achieve that, but as an Art Director or even lower, a graphic designer, you don’t really get, you know, privy to those conversations. You’re just sort of told by the brief, well what we’re here to do, here’s what we’re here to do, here’s the words on the brief. I didn’t write the brief, so I’ll just keep rereading the same paragraph over. You get a lot of that, and I learned over years to make sense of that. Make that work. But I have found, since I’ve been like, you know, a creative leader, especially working on my own, that like, it is a huge help for me to get a feel for the client and the tone of what we’re doing here. Not often could I say to a client, what’s the tone of what we’re trying to do? But by sitting and talking with them and by trying out tones while I’m talking about it, it helps me understand what we’re here to do. In what way we’re here to do it.

Tara: Yeah, I talk about emotion a lot when I talk to people because everybody knows emotion. Like do you want it to be exciting? Do you want it to be happy? Do you want it to be motivating? And I often explain that when people are like how do you learn how to make a logo? And I’m like, well, I act like a journalist and ask a billion questions. And I keep asking until I start thinking of ideas in my head and I go from there. So, is there something you didn’t learn for a creative process that you do use? Something you discovered that this really helps me. Like going to Pinterest for colour palette inspiration?

Pierre: Yeah, well, I was gonna say something just like that. Like, I have something that happened organically, was that I just started keeping a folder. I always called it a folder of Awesomeness. Just a folder of things that I gathered from blogs or from memes over the years. That was like sometimes it was a really silly photo of a dog, sometimes it was a neat three ads, sometimes it was a neat radio spot, like whatever, I just keep a folder of this stuff and over time that folder became like thousands of files deep. And they were not organized, there were some of them had keywords in their file names, like print, or like poster, or like illustration, but often they were just grabbed from the internet and there were a whole bunch of numbers or something.

Tara: Screenshot on date.

Pierre: Yeah, exactly! Oh my god, yes exactly. Like, I found out that I could just put like a name on them so if every illustration file that I keep because it’s a cool illustration I add at the start of the file illustration underscore and I do that for files that I keep cuz they’re cool for typography files that I keep because they’re cool advertising, files that I keep because they’re cool tattoos, cool home things, cool just, I have an awesome underscore folder, which is great because it’s just full of funny gfs of leprechauns skateboarding or something. I’m not kidding. But I know, in school and I know, in in just industry, you were taught to look for inspiration before you begin without being derivative and without being plagiaristic, you’re not gonna steal but I found making those folders and I look at them in bridge where I can see just like a preview of everything laid out in a grid, like dude, I’ll look at my illustrations folder when I’m trying to think of an idea for, you know, an ambient execution or I’ll listen to radio spots when I’m trying to think of video content ideas. That’s stuff that I know flipping through magazines is the analog for that that’s what used to be the norm and that’s cool but I don’t know I I found that’s a way that works well for me that nobody really told me about beforehand. ‘Cuz I was coming out of college you know 2003 and like the internet was around but we were still on Windows ME you know Windows 95 and 98 like this was not

Tara: The one everybody tried to skip

Pierre: Yeah, exactly like this like I know it’s normal now we all have imgur and reddit and like but those three I just mentioned didn’t even exist back then. You write it down to keep an image, if you kept it, and that was weird.

Tara: If you’re anything like me and most of the other creative people, it’s been really difficult to stay creative lately because our brains are in that fight-or-flight survival mode. So, how do you stay creative without being overwhelmed with everything happening?

Pierre: Well, I’m really lucky that the place that I grew up, it was in Halifax, but we had like two acres of forest around us. The house that I lived in had like wood-fired like a wood stove in the winter, that was how we got heat and stuff. So we had to do a lot of chopping wood, there’s a lot of yard work to do, I don’t know, I’m lucky to have been blessed with a really good work ethic from that. And I’ll also say that, I mean, tbh, I’ve been at being creative for a long time and it’s kind of a muscle for me. There’s some times where I can just, I’ll be at a boardroom table with a bunch of you know board members looking at me and I’m caught with a question off guard and I just sort of like I can feel internally, myself, blindly reach into a well and see if I’m gonna come up with something right here at the table. And I usually kind of do, so it’s like well, that’s really a blessing, that’s really cool, and I’m happy to have that. A boss of mine used to have a framed quote on his wall and it was, “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work.” So it was like a little bit of that, but I find like, I think of that and it’s like, it’s just really cruel to those who it doesn’t come easy to. That’s not fair to say that. I will say that the current situation makes it hard because another thing that I’m used to as a professional is people asking me to do stuff for them. People come to me when they need a print ad made, or when they need a campaign done, people aren’t coming in to me anymore and that’s okay, we’re on pause, or were slowed down, anyway, so I’m trying to come up with things on my own to do and it’s doing good but after, you know, two months of it, I’m starting to get a little tired of doing that, I just really want a week off from being in my brain.

Tara: It’s getting exhausting not having that stream of creative challenges is a good way to put it. Where you are continuing to challenge yourself and make the clients happy and feel productive because you’re putting work out there.

Pierre: I think too like, I’m a reasonably mature person and I know we all are but I think a part of it is just that we all grew up with parents. Parents told us what to do. What to do and when to do it a lot of the time. And my parents weren’t controlling, they’re great people, but like at the same time sometimes they just need to be told to go do a thing, and I’m great in my home, and I’m great at my work, but sometimes it’s just, it’s just nice to have someone to do that. And usually your email inbox is the thing that pushes you around. When it’s not doing that. When that inbox isn’t bossing you around a little bit you keenly feel the void there.

Tara: And the deadlines aren’t hard deadlines anymore. You think well, I could do that this Friday or two Fridays from now.

Pierre: Yeah, that’s the other thing I can say about art too. Art kind of needs a deadline. Otherwise, it’s like you just, you could keep rewriting or we you know changing and saving your file forever and ever. Not having a deadline kind of drives that creative person a little bonkers under the skin. They might might not know it, might not admit it, but like it is, it gives you that twitchy, creepy crawly sensation underneath, over time.

Tara: Oh, 100 percent especially if you’re like me with imposter syndrome and a perfectionist. Nothing ever gets finished. I’m getting better though. Because you can’t release anything unless it’s, you know, it’s finished. If you’re a perfectionist you’ll never put anything out.

Pierre: I mean this probably won’t help you but I remember reading this great article once ten years ago about how like it’s even harder these days to leave things kind of imperfect because in this world of ones and zeroes you publish something, even if you just put it on Instagram and you delete it later, it still exists somewhere, forever. So there’s like the strange pressure to make art which is supposed to be about expression and free thought now it’s really about getting it exactly right before you push publish and that’s not fair.

Tara: Especially early in my design career, because it’s actually my second career. I worked for 12 years in a software development shop as a technical writer where my creativity was never used and then when I learned about design I was like, oh my god, so I was extra hard on myself starting out in design, because I felt so much farther behind. I was like and all of my classmates were like you know 10 to 15 years younger. So I was comparing myself to everybody and thinking, you know, this person did this amazing artwork, but my skill level is not there yet, or my technical knowledge isn’t there yet, so I finally sort of slapped myself in the face and was like grow up.

Pierre: Well, it is a get over yourself moment.

Tara: Yes, it’s like, you are doing amazing. With the amount of time you’ve worked on things and the knowledge you have, you’re doing awesome. So, stawp.

Pierre: Exactly, and in the end it’s, you’re doing what only you can do. So you know just keep doing what makes you as a person happy, I guess.

Tara: So, I know we’ve talked about your design and working with agencies, but I know you do a lot of other crafts in your spare time that are analog and not even to do with computers. Step away from the screen. So, what is it about these that bring you joy, and is there anything that you learn from doing them that you bring back into your creativity as a designer?

Pierre: Oh, for sure. Things like that, like, I do a lot of hand illustration and hand typography. I’ll do cross-stitch and string art and watercolour pencils stuff sometimes. I’ve done wool felting and woodworking and all that. Those things, they’re challenging. They’re not something that, those are all things that I picked up with no knowledge of before I tried. Other than I might have seen them done once, thankfully, we live in a world of YouTube. So I know how to cast on and cast off on knitting. But like these things are hard because they’re hard, they’re challenging because they’re hard, like there’s no undos while you’re drawing. I mean, I’m sure all of us listening, like you’re drawing and you probably hit command s in your brain all the time while you’re drawing. Because I can’t go back once I put my hand back on the paper. I might smudge it. I know my cross-stitch is gonna get more wrinkled as I go.

Tara: I feel that’s part of the beauty of it though. That is is weathered and worn and some of the thread gets a little frayed on the edges that you started with.

Pierre: I love that because like it’s not going to be perfect. You get to accept that. It’s not gonna be as polished as it was in your mind. Like it’s it’s not fair to expect perfection. Like it’s fine, also, it’s kind of fun that when you’re done, people look at it and go like, “oh my god that’s amazing”, and you’re like, all I can see is how I screwed up this guy’s face though. It’s yeah, like I chose the wrong thread colour and no one sees it, but that’s all that I see. I kind of like, you know, it’s a little like playing a prank on yourself, in a way. Like it’s just I don’t know it’s something that only I see and it gives me a pain and that’s kind of funny, that’s kind of humorous. But honestly I like doing these things because these are things that I can do. Like, I just like finding the things I’m good at. Like, I tried string art once and since then five years ago I’ve done dozens of string art pieces because I discovered I loved it. I’ve tried cross-stitch and I discovered I liked that so I’ve done a half dozen pieces since. I tried embroidery since that, I found out I didn’t like that, and I haven’t done any more. It’s like these things kind of reveal to you who you are if you don’t try them and we’d never know, so you might as well.

Tara: Yeah and myself I also love doing the handcrafted things where at the end of the day you’re like I made something and you can touch it. And it’s not just gonna be on Facebook somewhere and disappear. Which when you do advertising campaigns, that can happen to some of your work. It is still important, please keep hiring us to make those. But this winter I decided I’m going to teach myself how to crochet because: YouTube. You just need yarn and one hook. And I was flabbergasted with like how many websites are out there and free patterns and different, like, I didn’t even know you could like crochet cool like sculptures and like stuffed animals. Yeah, I was like, this is crazy, and I love it.

Pierre: I used to say like, I don’t know this is me talking to creatives or graphic designers or whatever and say like guys, we not only have to do creative things for a living, like we get to do that stuff. We’re not you know doing a job that we don’t like or that someone else considers beneath someone. We’re doing these things that are amazing. We’re getting paid to do them. I mean I can plus one on that we live in this world where there’s tutorials all over the place to tell you how to do a thing and there’s big-box stores on every corner and there’s eBay’s and Amazon’s that you can get whatever supplies you want, geez, it’s almost like, why wouldn’t you explore that stuff now? You know one day the internet will explode and won’t be able to do it anymore. And I know that’s like not very likely, I don’t know how that would even happen, but I’m just saying, like one day we might not be able to do it. So you better do it now. What if you had to pay per megabyte kind of thing? I’m not doing that. I’m going to learn all this stuff now.

Tara: Yeah, my relatives in Quebec have to do that. I don’t want that. No Netflix marathon for you. Yeah, I say a little prayer for them every weekend. Yeah they still have cable though.

Pierre: Well, I mean, Dancing with the Stars don’t watch itself, I guess.

Tara: So, you’ve been involved as a designer in many advertising campaigns at your current and past projects and right now no one wants to be sold anything with the hard sell. The hard sell is like a hard pass. Do you see any shifts in how people are gonna approach marketing and advertising through this and what do you hope will stay when this is over?

Pierre: Yeah, oh totally. I mean it’s changed so much and there’s I see good news to it if you can call it that and it’s, like, what’s happening now is what I felt we’ve been missing for a long time. Like in branding and marketing but in branding, for example, it’s an exercise in not discovering what colour your logo is, it is it’s an exercise in discovering what you care about that other people care about. That you’re going to align with each other on. So now that we can’t, you know, bring people into stores and tell them why our headache pills are better, now we have to do actual marketing and not advertising. We have to like prevent the headaches of an entire community, and talk about how we, you know, relieve pain and you know we care about pain relief by donating to such-and-such a cause. That’s a weird example, but you know what I mean. I think that’s, it’s funny, I know it’s a bit of a paradox but I’m an advertiser and I like advertising like a lot. But I really don’t like the consumer culture that is kind of rampant in North America. So I’ve never really wanted to do advertising that said, ‘hey here’s why you should buy this product’. It’s more like, ‘hey, here’s why you should like us or not’. Even that, ‘hey, here’s why we like you’. And people will jump on board or people will not. I guess all that backs up to right now. Yeah you’re right, it’s hard to do a hard sell because just putting another tchotchke in the liquor store isn’t gonna make people buy your wine anymore. You have to actually give things and you have to like try different promotions, try different pairings, you have to talk to people, you have to put yourself out there, that stuff that we’ve been ramping up towards for a long time anyway, I think, and I’m happy to see that happening.

Tara: Yeah, I find the brands that are stepping up to do actual good, for either helping, like the Bauer when they decided to start making masks for doctors. Like, who in a million years would have thought like a hockey brand that makes hockey helmets would be able to help doctors. But here they are, doing it. And the small distilleries that are making hand sanitizer, you know, there’s I think those brands are the ones that will stand out and grow going forward. The ones that just resist and stay firm in their, I hate this attitude, but, ‘this is how we’ve always done it’.

Pierre: Yeah, and you have to avoid that stuff. Like, I really like quoting things and like, the great Chris Farley movie Tommy Boy, there’s a line on that. His father is talking about the auto industry, the automotive industry, but, he says, “In this business, in this world, any business that tries to wait it out will be just that, out. You’re either growing or you’re dying. There ain’t no third direction.” I know that there’s a lot of research that says advertising in a downturn increases future sales, like I’m not gonna refute that because my brain isn’t as good as dozens of years of research but I will say that I don’t think advertising is the right word there, it’s marketing during downturns. I’ve been doing a lot of things for my own businesses’ brand in this time and those things are based on the fact that I know I have the ability to do some things like gather people to do colouring sheets. It’s a small thing but I did it and I can think of a lot of other creative outlets that haven’t done anything. Well, when this is all said and done, I don’t know, maybe I won’t be a better off than I was, but I’ll feel a little bit better and I like to think I’ll be remembered 1% more because I delivered something to someone.

Tara: Yes, definitely. Yeah, I feel the business’s now who are continuing to show up and not just to sell something but just show up and ask those questions, How are you doing? Can I help you? Is there anything I can help with? I know a lot of people in my network of small businesses and people who run a business of one person who have been doing a lot more service swaps. So I’ll help you with some design if you can help me with some coaching, or you can help me brainstorm some social media posts. So that you’re continuing to grow and expand your network but not necessarily exchanging monetary funds. But you better believe when I think of someone who could help someone else I’ll be like that person, they’re awesome, because they helped me when I needed it most.

Pierre: Yeah, exactly. And like in any market, but especially in this market your reputation is worth more than you can possibly imagine kind of thing. So the more times your name can get passed around, the better. It doesn’t just mean networking and throwing around business cards, there’s a place for that too, but I mean like you have to perform, you have to be liked. You have to like actually mean something. That sort of stuff. On the topic of sales though because, I mean, the job that you and I have as self-employed creatives means we have to go out and get work sometimes. And my girlfriend’s in sales and I learn a lot from her on the topic. And it was like, I heard a great little fact once about something like, you don’t have to go into the hard sell. It’s not the only kind of selling but right now one of the best things you can do is just call to check up on people. You don’t have to call and say, ‘hey, have you given any thought to the proposal that you know we talked about?’ or ‘hey, if you want them launched in June we need to work now okay? bye.’ That’s not the kind of call you make. The kind of call you make now is, ‘How are you doing? Is there anything that you that you need? like can I bring you not can I bring you groceries, but like ‘Is there any way that I can help? Is there anything that I can do? Yeah, I know you have that, don’t apologize for not looking at that proposal yet, we’ll get to that when we get to that. I just wanna make sure you’re cool.’ The whole climate of this pandemic and this isolation stuff has changed where that was really good advice three weeks ago and now it’s like your sales call better have a bit of a reason. And by the time you almighty listener, listen to this, the rules will have changed again. I get that. But ultimately, we’re a bunch of people, here to help bunch of people. That’s the way I see these things.

Tara: Yes, well put, I agree one hundred percent. So let’s chat about Dartmouth colours and Halifax colours. How did it become an idea that you pursued and now is a huge thing.

Pierre: Oh, dude, that was just. So I was in this weird place where I was like trying to find creative outlets for for myself and I did things like a small series of like little instructional videos that are super nerdy and talking about file naming and stuff like that. They were just for designers, but okay, I had fun doing that. I explored some new skills. I was doing a promoted post series on Instagram about, ‘ok so you’re gonna be working from home now, like, I work from home, and I remember how weird that transition was. I’m not an expert but here’s what I notice from working from home.’ And eventually a few things came together all at once. I saw that the canteen in Dartmouth had shifted their business so that, the word is they pivoted to cooking, they can’t cook meals for people to come into the restaurant anymore, but what they can do is cook meals for people in their community who need meals delivered to their home. Food insecure families and that’s really important to take care of them. I saw that story bubbling in the back of my head was also, I mean, I’m a freelance creative, in my Twitter feed there’s loads of freelance creatives. A lot of which are local illustrators and everyone’s looking for work and no one can get it. And no one can get it, or at the time no one could get it, or was hard to get. Let me just say that. And I just sort of was feeling for that thing, that situation, and I was like, jeez man. I was even thinking of reaching out to 10 local illustrators and commissioning each of them to do a profile pic for me, just draw my face. I’ll pay you $50 or $100, I don’t know whatever, I’ll pay you something, and then I’ll have a whole slew of these things and I can use. I supported you, you get you know my picture calls you out a little bit, and that’s a way, but I was like, no there’s gotta be something even better, something actually good. And finally, I put all that stuff together in my head, just while washing the dishes or something one night. And I was like you know if I could do, if I could harness the power of these illustrators to help the offering that the canteen is doing and not only that, but in a community like Dartmouth, that I lived in for a couple years, I really came to love Dartmouth, a lot. I just reached out and asked a half-dozen illustrators though, you know, currently lived or used to live in Dartmouth, and they all were happy to join in. Yeah, another thing I was seeing a lot of on on social media too was because we’re artists were so in touch with our feelings and stuff, yeah, like I could see that people weren’t as happy and didn’t have a purpose because no one’s hiring them or they’re losing their jobs. Like some people, you know, have three or four jobs and we’re you know getting laid off from those things. And it’s like, jeez man, I’d love to give people a reason to have something to look forward to today, even if it’s just drawing a picture of the ferry for me. Because I appreciate it, because I do. So yeah, we did it within a week, I got six local illustrators in a week to do a drawing and I put one in there too. We printed 200 of those things, brought them to the canteen and the canteen passed them on to their distribution center who moved them on. As soon as that ended, I was like, I wonder if I should do another one a Halifax one. And immediately, I got so tired at the idea. I was just like, ‘oh, I can’t, I’ve just been like running so hard, like, and I have to start over?’ And like, anyways, I started over. I used, this time I reached out and used some help, I didn’t just reach out to illustrators that I know, I reached out to ad agencies, galleries, shops, classes, youth groups. Hey, everybody, we’re doing this thing if you want to contribute an illustration. People keep writing them to me and saying here’s my submission and it’s like, it’s not a submission, like you’re in. Like you’re one hundred percent in. I don’t have to do anything. So, right now, I have over fifty illustrations in the Halifax Edition. Those like I said earlier went to print last week, the first run went to print I delivered 750 colouring sheets and those are just what I delivered. I’ve been talking to Halifax public libraries, they’re printing their own Dartmouth MLAs are providing them in their newsletters, the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers is doing the same thing in fact they’re sending me horse drawings soon. Which I’m really happy about because I forgot about horses, yeah, like that’s that’s really important. And that’s how that one began. Now all of those things still have a life to them after their first print run. We’ll be doing more print runs. They also all exist online I can share a link maybe to where they can be found on my website?

Tara: Yes, definitely.

Pierre: They’re all high-res they’re all unabashedly there’s no curtain to look behind. These are all high-res great big files you download the ones you want. You print them, you color them up, maybe you share them online with hashtag community colors with a ‘u’ and you know it’s just it’s it’s a fun thing. In the end it’s nice to know that you can do something for the community and the fact that people like it that’s just gravy on the cake man.

Tara: Yeah, that’s awesome and when you know you talked on 95.7 with Sheldon, I loved how you said that you were trying to give illustrators and designers purpose again. And also, how because at the time we were still self-isolated and parks weren’t open, when I saw the illustration of the pond with the geese I was like, if that’s your favourite place to go and you can’t go there, at least, you have this that you can colour and you can like reminisce and think of the sounds like about being there and think of that mean goose, thinking of walking through the grass and you can hear the water.

Pierre: Yeah, we are all isolated and we’re all probably getting a little bored of whatever board games we have, kind of thing, and like, honestly, when you think about like a young child going through this, like, they have their parents to help them through it and they have a lot to stimulate them and that’s great. But imagine taking three months of your three year old, of your third year of your life, taking a quarter of your third year, where you don’t get to see pigeons, you don’t get to see, you know the ferry, you don’t get to see water, or boats, or dogs, or any of that stuff. Just whatever walking by your window. Like, I know a colouring sheet doesn’t replace that but to bring a little bit of the outside world into your home that’s, that’s worth doing.

Tara: Yes, definitely. Yeah, well, on behalf of all of HRM, thank you. And anyone because really someone in the US or Vancouver can download them, right?

Pierre: Yeah, dude, I got an email while I was at my cottage a couple weeks ago or no not my cottage, I was at, it doesn’t matter where I was, I was out. I got an email and it was an elderly couple writing me saying thank you so much for doing this thing, we printed them off and sent a whole bunch to our granddaughters in Seattle. I’m like that’s really cool like you don’t. And to go out of your way to write that, like wow man, that that hits you’re right where you live, that’s great.

Tara: Yeah, I strongly believe that gratitude first of all gratitude is contagious when you thank someone, they want to thank someone, and also gratitude helps put out that fear. So the more you can be thankful and grateful for everything, all the things you still have, not what you lost, then, you can get a little bit happier. I know it’s not usually much because of this crazy time, but it helps.

Pierre: You work with what you got and sharing good words is about the best thing you could share right now.

Tara: Yes, agreed. If someone wants to reach out to you after the show, where is the best place to communicate with you, follow you, tag you, download those colouring book pages.

Pierre: I think the one answer for all those things is, I’m most active on Twitter and Instagram and I keep both of them up to date with like profile links and stuff. You can find me on either @ptabbiner, that’s my handle on Instagram, that’s my handle on Twitter. If you wanted to look me up, my portfolio or anything like that it’s and those colouring sheets well that could be all found on And links to those things, links to my website, and to the community colours can be found on my social media Twitter or Instagram probably pretty quickly.

Tara: Yes, especially recently because all of the artists and illustrators are resharing and retweeting.

Pierre: Well I want everybody to and if anybody has any ideas of who else should be sharing this stuff, who else could be distributing it, like, let me know. I’d love to get anybody involved.

Tara: Well, thank you so much for being on the show, it was amazing to chat with you. I miss having chats, coffee shop chats.

Pierre: I know right, it’s nice to have a human face again.

Tara: Exactly, that you don’t live with.

Pierre: Yeah, it’s nice to see someone else’s wall. Well, thanks Tara, it’s my pleasure to to join you, you’re doing good stuff so I want to see more of it.

Tara: Aw, thank you, thank you so much.

Pierre: My pleasure.

Tara: Have a great day.

Pierre: Bye everybody

Tara: Bye

And that’s it for episode three with Pierre Tabbiner. Thanks so much for listening, it means the world that you’re here and if you’d like to follow on other channels just look me up @creativeconflab. I’m on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. And as always, the podcast is also available on all your major podcast platforms. Have an amazing day, I hope you get the chance to be creative and be well.

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