Shahtaj Dossal

August, 2017

Shahtaj Dossal may not seem like your average Illustrator. Her full-time gig is a little more marketing and human resources than it is siting down in a messy studio looking through colour palettes for three hours, but, that doesn't stop her from posting to Instagram almost everyday.

Her work, inspired by her daily life, shows various girls in varying cool outfits (LOVE the zebra stripes and white cat eye glasses combination), and going about their daily tasks.

As Shahtaj doesn't give much of her personal life away via her her Instagram profile, I got in touch with her to do something a little different than the usual interview format. I asked her to describe her life to me and give me the low-down...

Diary Entry - August 15th, 2017


This is Shahtaj Dossal, a self-taught illustrator currently residing in Ontario, Canada. I was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan where I recently completed my bachelors from the Institution of Business Administration majoring in Marketing and Human Resources. Though my entire academic career focused around a wide array of business subjects, the inherent love for practicing arts always remained a very special part of my life that really helped to keep my creativity alive. My drawings, as a child and now as well, are mostly based on real life experiences. As Sophie correctly identified, the same girl shown in different situations on my Instagram page depicts the slightly introverted girl in me who always chose to express her feelings through drawings. 

I drew this piece a couple days before my wedding when all I had on my mind was leaving my family behind and immigrating to Canada to start a new life with my husband. As excited as I was, a gazillion thoughts about moving 7700 miles away from home made me super tensed. One afternoon, drowned in my thoughts, I doodled this girl and now it has become one of my favorite memories.

Similarly, I made this painting last year which represents my long distance relationship with my husband before I moved to Canada. The endless time difference was such a pain I tell you!

After moving to Canada, I decided to pursue CHRP while also trying to devote more time to develop my artistic skills. So far I haven’t taken any professional course in this field, however I believe practicing a drawing a day has really helped me to improve my skills. Also previously I wasn’t using any digital medium where as now I’m making use of several apps on my iPad Pro. Using digital mediums adds a lot more sophistication and finesse to hand made paintings.

The situations I draw are those which I have experienced but the girl herself (clothes, accessories etc) is purely imagined. One particular illustration which I really believe in is this one (above). Ive grown to love the acceptance of racial and cultural diversity in Canada. I (being the far left one in hijab) really appreciate the values exhibited by the citizens here! So much that I decided to illustrate it one day!

Currently my illustrations are more of a hobby but I aim to make it a bigger part of my life.

As I contemplate my future while typing, I believe I’d love to start a shop of my own with exclusive hand made items! Besides, I’d love to make editorial illustrations for articles or book covers. Meanwhile, I shall continue to seek inspiration from the ah-mazing illustrators community on Instagram! Xx



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© All My Plants Are Dead, 2019
Environmentally focused & illustration obsessed.