Michelle Estalilla, Creator of ForTheKids


Sometimes it’s the little things that remind us how impactful we can be. Born and raised in Mississauga Ontario, Michelle Estalilla, found her passion for Calligraphy and began to pursue her calling. For as long as she can remember, Calligraphy was a way for her to uplift and motivate not only herself but those around her.

She began growing and perfecting her craft over the last two years. Michelle has partnerships & commissions for her artwork with many small businesses across Mississauga. After deciding that school was not benefitting her, Michelle took the non-traditional route and decided to withdraw and work elsewhere. It was at Starbucks, where she worked for 3 years, that she fell in love with Calligraphy and decided it was time to go for it.

Michelle clearly remembers the day that she invested and bought herself an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. From there, she began drawing away. Michelle currently works at Kindred Culture and The Infamous Scars & Strops Barbershop as a Front Desk & Social Media Coordinator. Both places allow her time to hone and focus on her craft, all while surrounding herself with positive-minded people and inspiration.

Fast forward a few months, and the campaign “For The Kids” is born. Partnering with Kindred Culture and World Vision Canada, Michelle took the initiative and designed limited edition logos, apparel, and accessories for their mission trip to El Salvador. The campaign surrounded bringing awareness and emphasizing the importance of ‘Child Safety’ and the impact that the Arts can have on the lives of children. A percentage of the proceeds went towards their unified cause!

We had a chance to catch up with Michelle and ask her about the trials and triumphs of starting anew, overcoming doubts, and any advice she had for all the creatives out there!

She told us,

“For the longest time, my mission with Calligraphy, in general was to uplift people through, how I write things. No matter how pretty or how ugly it is, as long as it has an underlying message that people understand, I just hope that it uplifts them when they’re down or if they need a pick me up.”

We asked, “At any moment did you ever doubt yourself?”

She laughs while explaining,

“Consistently, everyday. I think financially it’s an issue all the time, I’m pretty much putting 100% into this and trying to find gigs while working odd jobs at the same time. Often times I find myself, especially doing freelance stuff, where I feel like I don’t know if I’m qualified for this, but the thing that someone told me was that these people believe in you and trust you enough, so no matter what just keep doing it.

Michelle reminds us that perseverance and growth are extremely important to keep moving forward. Her advice for those starting out?

“Just go for it at 150%, it’s okay to experience some sort of failures as you go along because that will only help you grow and to not let the small failures stop you from doing what you really want to do in life. Keep practicing your art and perfecting it, and learn different avenues to take, whether it’s painting, digital, traditional calligraphy because it will only help you out at the end of the day...Being able to schedule things that are important and work on that in a timely manner as well but another part of that is to always take a break - no matter what.”

She also lets us in on having a strong support system.

She explains,

“It helps to have people who believe in you. I think it’s because being surrounded by all these positive and likeminded people that I’m able to just be the person that I want to be and push for this calligraphy thing and I’m really having a ton of fun doing this.”

Creatively, it takes quite a lot to put yourself out there and take the non-traditional route. Michelle reminds us to, “Take things day by day and always celebrate your small wins.”

Be sure to check her out at @miichellabella // miichellabella.com!

Written by: Amanda Monisha

David Luong