toronto art

People are loving this 20-year-old Toronto woman's beautiful notes and penmanship

A young Toronto woman's penmanship is sparking interest among a digital generation.

Helen Wang is a 20-year-old commerce student at the University of Toronto. While most students have to take notes for class, Wang does it for fun — and she's getting a lot of attention for it.

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Helen Wang began doodling her "emotis" when she was only 15 years old.

Wang, known as thecoffeemonsterzco, posts her notes, planners and bullet journals on social media. Her videos have recieved hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and she boasts over 90 thousand followers on Instagram

Despite her young age, she has already been doing this for five years. She told blogTO that she originally started posting photos of her drawings and writing on Instagram and eventually expanded to making videos.

toronto art

Thecoffeemonsterzco is known for posting planner designs, notes and stickers.

"I started my business when I was 15. So I think I was in grade nine or 10. A lot of older people really liked my doodles and they wanted to support someone younger with their art journey," said Wang.

Along with her beautiful penmanship, Wang draws characters called "emotis," which she turns into stickers that people can use in their own notebooks. 

While her penmanship looks almost computerized, she says that it wasn't always so pretty. 

"Oh, my gosh, [my writing] definitely wasn't always nice. But practicing through years of writing and posting on Instagram really improved it," she said.

Originally, Wang began sharing her notes for fun, but now she has turned it into a whole business. She opened an online store when she was only 15, where her fans could purchase her designs, as well as other stationery items. 

To fund the startup costs Wang compiled hundreds of her doodles into an e-book and sold it.

toronto art

Helen Wang sells planners, stationery and washi tape through her online store.

"On the first day, I sold about 200 copies, which was absolutely insane to me. For a grade 10 student $2,000 is like being a millionaire," she said.

This was enough money for her to open Etsy and Shopify stores and finally her current online store. She says she owes her success to an amazing stationery and bullet journal community and is grateful she is still so passionate about what she does.

toronto art

The calendars are filled with doodles and decorations.

"I think consumers can really tell when someone puts their love and energy into a product and they're willing to support the business for the person behind it and not just the products themselves," said Wang.

She hopes to continue growing her business and is applying what she learns in school to do so. She told blogTO that she is looking to expand to a bigger office space and hire full-time staff.

toronto art

Helen Wang posts photos of her personal journals and lists on her social media pages.

While she admits that she types her school notes like everyone else, Wang remains optimistic about the future of penmanship.

"People like me and everyone in the stationery community just enjoy the experience of putting pen to paper. Although I still do type my notes sometimes, I feel like I don't retain the information and I don't get the same joy out of it. 

"I don't think [penmanship] will ever be fully replaced," she said.

Photos by

Helen Wang

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