The Latest

Xavier the Safari Superhero! #anythingispossible #hope #drawinghope #love
Jul 4, 2014

Xavier the Safari Superhero! #anythingispossible #hope #drawinghope #love

Xavier and his bravery beads <3 #anythingispossible #hope #drawinghope
Jul 1, 2014 / 2 notes

Xavier and his bravery beads <3 #anythingispossible #hope #drawinghope

Some jobs, you get a cash bonus. The bonuses I get&#8230;they&#8217;re WAY BETTER. Love these Thank You cards from Emma and Jenna! &lt;3 #awesome #thinkhappy
May 14, 2014

Some jobs, you get a cash bonus. The bonuses I get…they’re WAY BETTER. Love these Thank You cards from Emma and Jenna! <3 #awesome #thinkhappy

Captain Chance! #hope #anythingispossible #love #drawinghope
May 3, 2014

Captain Chance! #hope #anythingispossible #love #drawinghope

Check out the new Drawing Hope shirts now on the website! Wear your inner #superhero &lt;3&#160;www.drawinghope.ca/shop all proceeds go to support the project. #artforfreedom #love #awesome #hero #drawinghope
Apr 22, 2014 / 1 note

Check out the new Drawing Hope shirts now on the website! Wear your inner #superhero <3 www.drawinghope.ca/shop all proceeds go to support the project. #artforfreedom #love #awesome #hero #drawinghope

Mar 29, 2014

What Kind of Person Do You Want To Be?

I remember, a million years ago, being young and confused (so, not much different from now) - and standing near the laundry room with my Mom - and (I can’t remember what led up to this conversation, but…) - asking her “Why are we here…why am I here”.  It’s that sort of question that hits someone (especially a Mom) off-guard and I don’t even know why I asked it anymore.  But, I did.  And the answer hasn’t left me (because my Mom is awesome).

She didn’t stutter and she didn’t stammer - and she told me “To figure out what kind of person you WANT to be.” 

I don’t even know if she remembers that day - but I DO.  And I haven’t forgotten it - because what I learned that day - that the reason we are here - is in our hands.  Fate and destiny aside - what we do with what we are given is UP TO US.  We have every opportunity given to us to be whatever type of person we want to become.  You can help people, or you can hurt them - that is a choice.  You can give, or you can take.  That is your choice.  You can hit, or you can comfort - it is all up to you.  The world is wonderful like that - time gives you that magical split second to choose the type of person you want to be…and it keeps giving you that opportunity over and over again.


"It is never too late in the day to start having a good day."


Good grief, I am nearly 40 (okay, give me a few years) - and still every day I am figuring out what type of person I am.  But, I know what type of person I WANT to be - that helps in those split-seconds of making up your mind and choosing what type person you ARE.  That decision - what type of person you want to BE - is never decisive (oh, the irony).  It is always evolving - and it changes every day when you wake up in the morning, and you need to make those decisions all over again.

You can take what you have been given - your gifts and your talents, the little things that come naturally to you - and you can weave all of it into something wonderful to send out into the world…and you know what?  All that wonderful will come back to you.  You may not have money, but you have words.  You may not be artistic, but you have actions.  You have so very, very much more to offer than you probably give yourself credit for.

If you know how to knit and have wool - and meet someone cold - why wouldn’t you knit them a sweater?  I think the “becoming the type of person you want to be” comes through in what you do for others, just because you CAN.

No conversation is too small.  No words you tell your children are too weak.  Trust me - when you are standing near the washing machine and your child asks you some crazy question - they are listening to your answer.  And, it can change their life, and the lives of the people they will meet one day.  Encourage your children and challenge them, and let them know and be certain that the type of person they want to be become is up to them (and the advice their Mother’s and Father’s give them).  

So, what type of person do I want to become?

One just like my Mother.

Mar 29, 2014

What Kind of Person Do You Want To Be?

I remember, a million years ago, being young and confused (so, not much different from now) - and standing near the laundry room with my Mom - and (I can’t remember what led up to this conversation, but…) - asking her “Why are we here…why am I here”.  It’s that sort of question that hits someone (especially a Mom) off-guard and I don’t even know why I asked it anymore.  But, I did.  And the answer hasn’t left me (because my Mom is awesome).

She didn’t stutter and she didn’t stammer - and she told me “To figure out what kind of person you WANT to be.” 

I don’t even know if she remembers that day - but I DO.  And I haven’t forgotten it - because what I learned that day - that the reason we are here - is in our hands.  Fate and destiny aside - what we do with what we are given is UP TO US.  We have every opportunity given to us to be whatever type of person we want to become.  You can help people, or you can hurt them - that is a choice.  You can give, or you can take.  That is your choice.  You can hit, or you can comfort - it is all up to you.  The world is wonderful like that - time gives you that magical split second to choose the type of person you want to be…and it keeps giving you that opportunity over and over again.


"It is never too late in the day to start having a good day."


Good grief, I am nearly 40 (okay, give me a few years) - and still every day I am figuring out what type of person I am.  But, I know what type of person I WANT to be - that helps in those split-seconds of making up your mind and choosing what type person you ARE.  That decision - what type of person you want to BE - is never decisive (oh, the irony).  It is always evolving - and it changes every day when you wake up in the morning, and you need to make those decisions all over again.

You can take what you have been given - your gifts and your talents, the little things that come naturally to you - and you can weave all of it into something wonderful to send out into the world…and you know what?  All that wonderful will come back to you.  You may not have money, but you have words.  You may not be artistic, but you have actions.  You have so very, very much more to offer than you probably give yourself credit for.

If you know how to knit and have wool - and meet someone cold - why wouldn’t you knit them a sweater?  I think the “becoming the type of person you want to be” comes through in what you do for others, just because you CAN.

No conversation is too small.  No words you tell your children are too weak.  Trust me - when you are standing near the washing machine and your child asks you some crazy question - they are listening to your answer.  And, it can change their life, and the lives of the people they will meet one day.  Encourage your children and challenge them, and let them know and be certain that the type of person they want to be become is up to them (and the advice their Mother’s and Father’s give them).  

So, what type of person do I want to become?

One just like my Mother.

Mar 22, 2014

Little Heroes of Nevada

I can’t believe I’m flying out tomorrow to meet 6 incredible new little heroes as part of The Drawing Hope Project!  Seriously my mind is blown; it all happened so quickly (and these things do when you involve people like Diane Sawyer - more on that later).  It’s 6:25pm.  I haven’t packed yet as I’ve been running around gathering props and planning, goodie bags for the kids, and generally just wrapping my head around all of it!  I fly out around noon and end up with a long layover in L.A. (at least I’ll be able to say I’ve been to L.A.!) and land in Vegas at 7:30pm (Vegas time).  I think it’s something like 7000kms in total and about 13 or 14 hours of travel!  I’ll be at the NCCF (Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation) bright and early to set up and get to meet everyone…ABC is showing up at 10am to set up and filming and shooting starts at 11:00am sharp.

I can’t wait to meet each of these kids - their drawings are so awesome and their stories of strength are just mind-blowing.  I wish I could be there for each reveal when they see their photo for the first time!  After the shoot, I’ll be heading back to the hotel to edit…and edit…and edit!  We’re hoping to deliver 1 finished photo to one of the kids the next day.  I’ll take it - it will be the first time I’ve actually BEEN there when they saw their photo for the time!  The whole entire process is magical, but THAT moment right there…there’s no words for how that makes me feel! 



"I’m going to be helping make a little mermaid come to life, a little boy be the baseball hero of his dream, a young lady become a lady bug princess, while helping another little guy fly around his dinosaur friends while wearing his super-Andrew cape. I’m going to help a dancer get to Broadway, and help another one rise to the top as a Super Popstar. Honestly - who gets to do that? I do. I am so, so lucky."

Here’s the awesome drawings I was sent (love!)


I will be blogging along my trip (when I have free hands!) and hopefully taking some video as well along the way, so you can all get to meet these kids and their families.  Then, to add some icing to the cake, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer is covering the story, and it’s being aired on Wed. March 26th, 2014 - so be sure to tune in!  I’ll be posting the video from that here and on the website too!

You can read about all the personal stories of the kids I’m going to meet by clicking here and flipping through the photos!  And, if you’d like to help support the project, you can (I have set up a GoFundMe.com campaign to help offset the cost of this and other trips, as I pay for the flight, accomodation etc on my own, to be able to bring this experience to these kids and their families).  You can help out here:


Please if you aren’t already, be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter, since that’s where I update things the most!  I’m feeling very blessed and excited right now.  I can’t wait to share this amazing experience and the final magical photos with everyone!  I guess I should pack!  I have a LOT of stuff to bring with me…but, anything is possible :)

Twins! And brothers! #bt #bostonterrier #dog  #love
Mar 21, 2014 / 1 note

Twins! And brothers! #bt #bostonterrier #dog #love

Mar 19, 2014

Dear Universe

Dear Universe:

They say if you don’t ask, you don’t get.  And I believe in the Law of Attraction.  What you send out, you get back.  What you ask for and position yourself to receive, you will.  I even have the words “Thoughts become things" tattooed on my arm, next to my daily reminder from the Dalai Lama to "use all my energies to expand my heart out to others".  I am going to actually ASK for what I want.

I want The Drawing Hope Project to become a global and incredible source of HOPE for families and children who need it.  I want to be able to get to as many children as possible, to help them see THEIR imaginations come to life.  I want to help as many people see, as I am seeing right now - that ANYTHING is possible.

I want someone to come up to me and believe in this project so much that they will fund it.  They will back the project and help me do this full time for as many families in as many places as possible.  I want to be a little bright light for so many people dealing with cloudy days.  I want to work with other photographers and photoshop geeks to be able to make these drawings and imaginations and dreams come true.   I want this to ripple around the world.  I want it to inspire people to register as organ donors.

I can’t do this alone.  I am very bad at trying to do everything myself.  I am asking for help, and on my wish list - I am asking for someone or something to come along and take this project under it’s wing, then help it fly.

I wish I was a millionaire.  I wish I could freely go to all these children in ever corner of the world - because there are no borders when it comes to the challenges these families are dealing with.  There are no countries or provinces, there is only the need for hope.  And that is boundless.  I wish I were 200 people, so I could go and give and do this for as many families and children as possible.  I do not need plenty for myself, I only need enough.

I am sending all of this out there in hopes the universe will listen, and send what I need to help this happen for as many children and families as possible.  I have a day job (the lucky ones in the world, do) - and I do this on the side, in between paying my bills, and for no profit, but the priceless reward I receive for meeting these children and their families.  It is better than any pay cheque.  

In a perfect world, The Drawing Hope Project will be my day job, and this is what I will do, every day, forever.  Dear Universe, I know I am asking for a lot, but this is what I want.

Sincerely,
Shawn Van Daele

Mar 18, 2014

15 Minutes

It’s said everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame.  And wow, my 15 minutes has now lasted a good 5 days and it’s mind blowing.  How do people do this?  I’m honoured and overwhelmed and thrilled that The Drawing Hope Project is getting so much needed attention and that the stories of all these little heroes are finally being told around the GLOBE.  So awesome.



In the last few days, I have been spell-corrected by the US Army.  I have interviewed with ABC, NBC and CBS.  I’ve responded to hundreds of requests from publications and magazines, blogs and everything else - around the world.  It’s so weird…seriously, just, weird.  

Does this change anything?  No.  Does it make anything different?  Hopefully.  To know the stories of these kids and the message THEY carry is now (finally!) travelling around the world - wow.  THAT right there is awesome.  That is why I started the entire project.

What can “15 minutes” do for other families like the ones already involved in The Drawing Hope Project?  It can bring them a few moments of happiness.  It can save lives (and it does - I know, mind-blowing, right?)  ART can SAVE lives.  That idea right there is something worth pouring your entire heart into.  I can’t ever say “I don’t know why I’m here” or “what is the purpose to life” - because, it sort of found me.  I’m pretty sure I’m here to keep this message going, and to encourage other people to save other people’s lives, and if you can’t do that, then you may as well inspire others.  Then, if you can’t do that - can you at least make them smile?  Warm a cold heart-string or two?  If everyone just did a LITTLE something with the gifts they were given, that help other people smile - what a world this could be.  And it is - google it!  The incredible stories that are out there of people helping other people - for NO REASON other than to help them - it will make your heart swell and grow. 


"When you help others, you can’t help helping yourself"  — - from Avenue Q

I don’t think I even have the capacity to recap what has happened the last few days.  Something triggered something in ONE PERSON that started all of this.  I wish I knew who they were so I could thank them.  They’ve made a difference in MILLIONS of peoples lives. 

To name just a few, here’s what has happened, on that wonderful beast called the World Wide Web (and holy smokes, Twitter, slow down already - you have WAY too much energy):

  • The Huffington Post - front page!
  • The Daily Mail
  • ABC.com -
  • TrendHunter.com - shot to #1 on their entire site in less than 2 hours
  • The TODAY Show is sending a crew to interview me and 2 families part of the project
  • ViralNova featured us
  • We’re on the Weather Channel
  • And we’ve appeared in newspapers everywhere from Belgium to Italy.
  • It’s appeared on some of my favourite websites, like Demilked and DesignTaxi
  • …and I could keep going.  I have about 1000 different emails from different publications, blogs and websites I have been responding to who have helped spread this project around the world

What is important about all of this?

It has inspired something in people world-wide.  It has made people - around the globe - take a moment to retweet over 1 million times the magic of believing that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.  It helped me raise over $1300 in 16 hours to go see a very special family that could use some magic in their life.  It is helping to bring more families to me, so I can turn around and bring them some magic, too.  

The internet, when used correctly by people with good hearts - can make magic happen.  And even weirder - it can save lives.  Wow.  Seriously?

I am not so naive as to think this 15 minutes will or could ever turn into half an hour.  I am thrilled with this, and grateful for every soul that has put a tiny bit of effort into telling this story to their own audience.  To helping that ripple…keep rippling.  I am thrilled that it has helped to breathe such life into this project, and will in turn help me meet so many other families who can be part of the project - and inspire them and their family.  It truly is a ripple, that will and can just keep going. 

Thank you to everyone who has helped to make the world smile lately, through the stories of all these incredible children and their families.  I can’t wait to meet so many more in the next year.  Art can save lives and ANYTHING is possible. xo Shawn

Visit the official Drawing Hope website here: www.DrawingHope.ca

Facebook: www.facebook.com/drawinghopeproject

Twitter: @ShawnVanDaele & @DrawingHope

Instagram: Shawnerific

#artforfreedom @madonna #friendship #love
Mar 16, 2014

#artforfreedom @madonna #friendship #love

Mar 15, 2014

I Am Not The Drawing Hope Project

Well, I sort of am.  But, I’m just one of the many art supplies that makes it possible.

Who is The Drawing Hope Project?

Every child and family that made it possible.  Every struggle and heartbreak, every sleepless worry-filled night.  Every tear and every terror.  Every family and child that didn’t know what tomorrow would - or will - hold.  Every hope and ever fear, every warrior bead and and every moment of absolute despair.  I am NOT The Drawing Hope Project.  

I’m just like a crayon that anyone who is part of the project used to draw something they believed in; I’m just something that became part of their hope for some dream to come true.  I am NOT the Drawing Hope Project.  The Drawing Hope Project is every family that chose to be a donor and save a life; it is every individual who chose to donate blood.  It is every family that has fought and believed that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

A camera and photoshop does NOT make magic happen.  Real people and their stories make magic happen.  Real hardships and strength makes magic happen.  Belief and HOPE makes magic happen.  

I am feeling very blessed to be one little part of all that magic, and honoured to be in the company of families and parents with more strength than I will ever know. 

#artforfreedom @madonna www.DrawingHope.ca Drawings by kids with serious health conditions turned into magical photos starring themselves. Anything is possible. Read: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4959011?utm_hp_ref=good-newswww.DrawingHope.ca Drawings by kids with serious health conditions turned into magical photos starring themselves. Anything is possible. Read: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4959011?utm_hp_ref=good-news
Mar 15, 2014

#artforfreedom @madonna www.DrawingHope.ca Drawings by kids with serious health conditions turned into magical photos starring themselves. Anything is possible. Read: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4959011?utm_hp_ref=good-newswww.DrawingHope.ca Drawings by kids with serious health conditions turned into magical photos starring themselves. Anything is possible. Read: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4959011?utm_hp_ref=good-news

Mar 14, 2014 / 1 note

Understanding Failure

Well, holy smokes.  I feel like a huge plug has been pulled from my invisible creative-and-happiness drain that has been clogged up for the last year.  I don’t even know what to attribute it to: listening to a palm reader I met on a sidewalk on Royal Street in New Orleans?  Letting go of something to someone I know can do it a million times better?  Finding new creative outlets (writing) to get out what wasn’t meant to come out some other way?  Being grateful and honest for every challenge and success in my life? 

Honestly? I don’t know.

Whatever it is and why-ever it’s happening, I am so grateful.  There’s such release in accepting your failures and trying again:


"Failure isn’t diving on your face, or hitting rock bottom. That’s just being human. You only fail when you decide to not try again. So it’s entirely in your control. Once you understand failure, it’s impossible to fail."  — Some guy from Humans of New York


You only fail when you decide not to try again.

That’s really what it comes down to.  Trying.  Again, and again.  Be it losing those last 10 pounds, quitting smoking (I’m a professional fail-er at this) or reaching some dream achievement you set you sights on.  You only fail when you decide not to try again.  It’s easy to blame the world, your circumstances, everything and anyone - everything but yourself and your own decisions.  Failure can only be created by your choices. 

Everything isn’t black and white, there’s a million universes full of greys in between “this” and “that” - and the same goes for that area between success (whatever that is) and failure.  For the record, I define success as whatever makes your soul smile.  Choosing not to try again at something is choosing failure, and choosing to ignore something that satisfies your soul.  Add all that up, and it certainly sounds like failure to me.

Quit Wasting Your Time

If there is ONE thing I have learned over the last few years it’s this cliché: life is too short.  Well, if it’s a cliché, it’s because it’s true.  Quit wasting your time starving your soul of the things that make it shine.  Every self-doubt and choice to not try or to try again - you are wasting precious and irreplaceable time that you will never, ever get back again.  The irony there is though that time is gone forever - it will haunt you forever, too, one day.  Everything you did not try again at will never go away.  Every wasted moment.  Every choice to not try again.  Every opportunity to forgive.  When you run out of time to choose - all those wasted opportunities will come back and remind you.

Failure Isn’t Falling On Your Face, Or Hitting Rock Bottom

"You only fail when you decide not to try again".  Like every time you fell off your bike learning to ride, every time you stripped the gears learning to drive manual and every flubbed up first kiss - trying again, you got better.  Trying again, you gained confidence.  Trying again, you forgot about that failure, and you were flying down the road on your bike with the wind in your hair, and every scrape and scratch and bruise forgotten.  You needed to falter while learning, you needed to make mistakes and wrong judgements - without them there was no lesson. 

I really think I’ve come to understand failure this week, and it has only been through being okay with it - that I’m no longer afraid of it.