Reviewing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (No Spoilers!)

Inspiration, Pop Culture, Review

I’ve been so busy writing Christmas and Fall inspired posts that I haven’t had the chance to reflect upon Fantastic Beasts. Having seen the film two weeks ago, I’ve been itching to write down my thoughts on the film and share them with the creative and wizard-loving community.

The first thing I’m going to say is this: Go see the movie. If you have not yet seen it, but believe that you may possess even just the slightest interest in doing so, then stop reading this and go to the theater immediately.

Because my overall review is that Beasts was, truly, Fantastic. 

Clearly very different from the Harry Potter story, this film brought something new to the table: A plot line and experience of the wizarding world seen through the perspective of an adult, littered with maturity and the vibrancy of early-1900s New York City.

Though I could absolutely rant and rave about this film, I’ll keep it simple with my top three favorite things:

1. The Beasts. Anyone who reads this blog knows of my love of mythical and fantastical creatures. If you loved watching Harry fly over the lake with Buckbeack, or perhaps secretly wished for Norbert’s prolonged residence in Hargrid’s hut, then you will love the creatures brought to you in Beasts. While the niffler provides sufficient humor, the thunderbird emanates wonder and encourages imagination.

With so many other creatures also presented during the film, the beasts are a large part of what makes this film fantastic.

2. Character Development. Without a doubt, Eddie Redmayne makes this film. Socially awkward and enraptured by seemingly “dangerous” characters, Newt Scamander is a character for whom you find yourself rooting for.

Also captivating is our first muggle/no-maj main character, Jacob, who adds an immense amount of humor to the periodically dark storyline.


Sisters Porpentina and Queenie also make for well-developed main characters, playing like-able, as well as complete and total opposites.


3. Storyline. This storyline, while playing into Harry Potter, was also completely fresh. It was also a great balance of light-hearted humor and serious, symbolic themes. Although this was her first screenplay, J.K. Rowling has outdone herself once again.


This year has been a big one for the wizarding world, bringing us the release of  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as well as the beginning of this new Fantastic franchise. Ultimately much more pleased with this film than I was with the Cursed Child play book I look forward to seeing it one more time before it leaves theaters and ultimately encourage you to do the same.

Early Christmas gift perhaps?

Until then, so the fan art begins…


Getting Excited for “Beauty and the Beast”

Art, Inspiration, Pop Culture

This past week, the internet has been losing its mind and weeping tears of joy over the recently-released, exclusive photographs of the upcoming live-action film Beauty and the Beast.

Released by Entertainment Weekly, the photographs capture the magic that the mass audience has hoped and dreamed would encapsulate this visual retelling of the much-loved, classic story.

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Needless to say, Disney lovers are much anticipating the March 17 release date, unable to contain their enthusiasm as they count down the days.

Unsurprising perhaps to most of my readers, I happen to be among this crowd and plan on seeing the film in theater.To showcase my excitement, I’m sharing my most recent hand embroidery, an original piece inspired by this upcoming film.



Featuring the enchanted rose that is often used to symbolize the Beauty and the Beast story, the embroidery is constructed of running stitches, back stitches and french knots, and completed in a hand-drawn style, similar to some of the other hand-embroidered pieces that I have shared in the past.

Due to the style, the piece was relatively quick in the making, taking approximately two weeks from start to finish.


So while we Disney fans still have another four months of waiting to overcome, there is a lot to be said of the inspiration that is created by anticipation.

In other words, expect to see another Beauty-inspired piece from me before the film hits theaters!


Follow Your Inspiration

Art, Inspiration, Pop Culture

The Illumination light show at Disney’s Epcot

Lately, I have been partaking in what seems to be normal for college girls my age: obsessing a little bit over Disney. While this is viewed acceptable on a college campus (honestly) it is not my typical way. I have always been inspired by book and films, but these entities usually include magic and dragons (much more on that to follow).

Self-reflecting, I believe there are two main contributing factors to this latest interest. First and most obvious, I was directly inspired this summer after taking a trip to Walt Disney world. It was an amazing trip and something about Disney World is truly magical.


Andy and I in front of Cinderella’s castle

The second reason is a little deeper. Dealing with the stress of grad school, I think that my subconscious is reminiscing about my childhood and trying to revert back to simpler times.

Either way, inspiration is inspiration and I will take it no matter what form it comes in! I think most artists and creative people probably feel the same way that I do.

So this week, I would like to bring attention to a small-scale sketch that I did recently. After having recently watched Disney’s “Frozen” for the first time (I know, I know), I found myself inspired by the film’s imagery. The animation is undoubtedly incredible and having grown up where I have, I sometimes feel like my town is Arendelle, caught in an eternal winter.

ice caslte close up

A combination of the colors, winter-magic and the fact that people in my life sometimes jokingly call me “ice queen,” something about this film’s creation resonated with me. So much in fact, that I actually read Haans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen,” the story which the film is loosely based.9.the-snow-queen-coverWith all of this in mind, I decided to do a small sketch of Elsa’s ice castle (featured above). Though I typically do not re-create Disney imagery, the scene where she is constructing the ice castle is probably my favorite animated sequence of all time. Using colored pencils I etched in the outlines and basic structure before layering color. Part way through the sketch, I realized that I was reminded of Oz, another story that I am often inspired by.

So yes, I am 21 years old and probably “too old” to be watching animated movies. But honestly, who cares? If something inspires you, latch on to it. And if you’re feeling inspired but don’t know why? FIND OUT WHY! Inspiration is the most fleeting sensation in this world. If you can find it or re-create it, follow it and see where it takes you.

ice castle