An artist turned the shadow of a teapot into an elephant. Then he kept going.

Vincent Bal is a Belgian filmmaker with four full-length movies under his belt.

He loves making movies. But he was getting bored.

As a child, he wanted to be an illustrator or cartoonist before his life led him in a different direction. As Bal started to get frustrated with the lengthy production schedules and other time-consuming processes of his chosen art form, he started to think about drawing again.


At first, drawing mostly served as his means of escape and relaxation (although it did occasionally come in handy for storyboards, too). "Doodling is a way to relax for me, and I always feel that it’s my hands that do the thinking. It’s all very subconscious," Bal says. "Very relaxing after working on a script which is a much more rational undertaking."

But during a scriptwriting break in May 2016, one of his doodles took a different turn.

Bal had become distracted by the shadow of a teacup on his desk. The negative light from the curves of the cup cast a curious shape on a piece of paper. So he took a short break from writing to add a few lines where the shadow fell — and suddenly, the shadow was an elephant.

Image by Vincent Bal/Instagram, used with permission.

He posted his "shadow doodle" on Instagram, and it was an instant success with his friends — and with strangers all across the world.

"From Indonesia to Saudi Arabia, to Germany, to the States ... I guess we all share a strange and silly sense of humor," Bal says.

So he kept going, challenging himself to post a new doodle every single day.

Almost all of them are accompanied by some kind of silly pun. He calls the project "Shadowology," and he has already started expanding it into posters and prints, with a possible book and stop-motion film to come.

Here are just a few of the delightful shadow doodles that he's done so far this year:

1. This little swan is the jewel of the pond.

2. This guy's foolproof disguise is an all-in-one package.

3. An investigation through a looking glass.

4. Heavy is the head that wears the ... ring?

5. My, grandma! What big leaves you have!

6. International ocean travel.

7. Hieroglyphics.

8. ♫ Robber ducky, you're the one! You make bath crime lots of fun! ♫

9. Even Dracula could use a pair of dentures.

10. You know what they say: The pencil is mightier.

11. And this catdog is just so amazing that it has to be seen to be believed.

"Shadowology" started as a playful escape. But something really resonated with people in the way that Bal created delight out of darkness.

That wasn't Bal's intention, of course; there was no philosophical statement behind his fun and silly pastime.

"I just like to add something positive and light to the world, without it being stupid," he says. "Some people react to my drawings by saying they look forward to seeing them every day because they bring a smile to their face. In today’s world, that’s not a bad thing to do."

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."