Canadian artist Cassie HW on her photo-realistic artwork and what creation means to her

We spoke to 21 year old artist Cassie HW about her creative process.  Hailing from Toronto, Ontario area, Cassie is both a portrait artist and third year biology student at University. Her passion for live music, literature and film is reflected in her art.

Cassie’s been drawing and creating for as long as she can remember.  However she only began taking art lessons about 6 years ago, at which time she started drawing portraits.  “I find it funny to look back on my first attempts. It just goes to show you that practice is really important”, Cassie says.

“Music and visuals inspire me to create”, Cassie says. “Good photography and music videos are usually the push I need to get the creative process started. If I really like an artist I start diving into their aesthetic and brand to see what I could create to be able to give back in some way.” Cassie’s art is a way of giving back: “If someone creates music for me, the least I can do is create art for them, even if they wont see it.”

Tyler Joseph from Twenty One Pilots

“Music and visuals inspire me to create”

As with the vast majority of artists, Cassie can suffer from a creative block.  “If I am suffering from a creative block, I simply take a break. If I force art, it isn’t fun anymore and drawing can become painful. When that happens in the middle of a piece, I sometimes have to leave it for a few days before I can come back and look on it with a new, better perspective. Sometimes switching hobbies can help too. I will spend my time watching TV or reading instead, until I feel the need to create again. Pushing your focus into something else can refresh your mind.”

For Cassie, inspiration can be found through other creative as well.  “The artists I look up to are usually photographers, as they supply the content for my drawings and other talented artists who design or draw portraits as well. I like to keep my instagram feed full of talented people who drive me to become better.”

We asked Cassie where she hopes to take her art, and what her long-term goals are. “I hope to improve a little more with each drawing I do. If it does not go anywhere, I would still like to have this as a hobby for the rest of my life. Ideally, I would like to go into medical illustration. It is a 2 year Master’s program through University of Toronto that I would love to get into and find my career path through there. I love biology and art, so it is the perfect combination for me. ”I hope to improve a little more with each drawing I do”.

“I hope to improve a little more with each drawing I do”

Tyler The Creator

The majority of Cassie’s art focusses on portrait work. Cassie tells us that this medium and style is special to her as she has always had an eye for detail. “I love being able to create a piece that looks as realistic as possible. I still have many techniques to learn and to perfect, but I believe I am on my way”, Cassie says. “If someone is tricked into believing one of my drawings is a photo at first glance, I have done my job. Some people do not believe this is “real art”, but I disagree.”

Brockhampton – Saturation

“If someone is tricked into believing one of my drawings is a photo at first glance, I have done my job”

We asked Cassie what advice she would give to new artists just starting out, who want to get better at their craft and share their work with the world. “The advice I would give to artists just starting out is to not stop. It is easy to feel discouraged at the beginning. Always questioning why your work does not look like others or why it doesn’t look right. Its simple, you just have not put in the right amount of practice in.” Cassie reminds us that it takes time and practice to develop artistic skills and your own style. “It took me 6 years to become somewhat proficient at drawing. It takes time and it is so worth it to keep at it. Even if you aren’t the best, as long as creating brings you joy, keep doing it. Find your passions and what your niche is and you will have a space in the world of art.”

You can check out more of Cassie’s art on Instagram and keep up to date on twitter


Jay is a creative director and photographer based in London. They specialise in content direction and creation within the music industry, but also works in the fashion and publishing industries in content creation and event management.

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