Friday, 15 February 2019

Life Lately... 2019 so far!

Well hello guys! No, I'm not dead! I just took a very long break from the blog and let me say this: the past month and a half has gone by in a blur.

This year didn't quite start like I hoped it would. It was a bit slow and painful to be honest! We came back from North Wales at the beginning of January and went back to work on the 7th. I think it didn't help me to think that a week had passed already and I hadn't done anything in particular. I was putting quite a lot of pressure on myself to achieve more with my work at the end of last year (still kinda am) and because of this, I felt even worse about starting work again!

Getting back into the swing of things was a bit hard and I mainly felt like hibernating haha. But then I started to feel a lot more motivated mid-January and all of sudden, loads of ideas for personal projects came. Since then, I've been struggling to find a balance between client work (which really is the most important and pays the bills), my personal projects (which are important too as there are so many things I'd like to do!) and my private life (my poor husband and I are not having a lot of time to relax together lately...).

So I've been fighting against time the past month, trying to do everything whilst keeping a schedule that means I won't end up with burnout! I keep thinking: How do people with kids manage? Honestly though, we're working so much that when we're not working, we'd barely have the time or energy to look after a child.

We love to take some time during the weekend to go for a walk, get some fresh air, discover a new part of Bretagne and eat something nice along the way. These moments just the two of us are always so good and we definitely feel like we need more of this and less of work. But you know what, we love what we do so sometimes it's hard to switch off, and when we do, if I'm still at home, I'll find a way to get my iPad and sketch some ideas. Funny isn't it?! It's very hard to have a good balance, but all that said, I'm the happiest I've ever been for a while and it must be that we're doing something right :)

A few photos below!

From top to bottom: Afternoon shopping and bagels in Lorient / Winter walk in Pont-Augan / Sunny day in Guéméné-sur-Scorff where we visited Les Bains de La Reine and discovered the castle walls / Gloomy Saturday spent well in Domaine de Kerguéhennec

I've been creating more for social media as well, which has been really good for me as I participated in the #kidsincolorz challenge earlier this month and absolutely loved it! I have more ideas about templates and freebies (wallpapers mainly) that I'm planning on sharing on my stories and adding on my highlights as I'm probably not going to do wallpaper giveaways over here now. I'm still working on getting my new website right but I'm still at the stage of sketches and I only just started to create some custom typography for it, so you'll have to wait a little longer to see it!

You might have noticed as well that I've finally opened my Creative Market shop! Something I've been thinking about doing for a very long time. I've realised mid-last year that having a stationery shop on Etsy wasn't really working for me anymore. The main issue being the fact that I couldn't invest anymore in printing more goods that I wasn't sure were going to sell. I've been having a massive sale on Etsy since then as I would love for my little greeting cards to not gather dust in the spare room! On top of that, Etsy has upped their charges (which means that I'm loosing a bigger chunk on my profit) and shipping from France is getting ridiculously expensive. I mean, people don't want to pay shipping costs that are actually more expensive than what they're buying right?!

So I decided to take a step back, have a real good think about what would make me really happy to create and how I could potentially sell it, and I came up with the conclusion that digital goods was the best idea. There's no need for shipping or paying for prints up front not knowing if it will have any success, and I get to create illustrations and graphics that other creatives will use, which is kind of cool! I'm still at early stages as I have just a couple of bundles available at the moment, but I'm planning on adding more bit by bit :)

So that's pretty much it guys! Things are going well and we're happy with where we are at the moment, but we keep in mind that there's always room for improvement ;)

I'm so grateful that I get to live from my passion and for Valentine's Day yesterday, I decided to give a big shout out to all my followers. I wanted to send my love to each and every one of you that have been sticking around, following my adventures, supporting me and my work, and motivating me in my every day life <3

I hope you've liked this little catch up, and make sure to follow me on Instagram if you'd like to see what I'm up to!

Friday, 21 December 2018

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all!

I'm officially out of office until the 6th of January from this afternoon and I couldn't be more excited about it :)

This year I'm spending my first Christmas in North Wales, staying with Jason's family. Although I lived in North Wales for 5 years, I would always come back to France during the holidays to spend some quality time with my family that I didn't see very often at the time.

So we decided to take two full weeks off and really enjoy it all. It's definitely going to be different from the Christmas I know, but I'm sure I'm going to love it anyway (as long as there's good food) ;)

I'm taking the opportunity of this last post for the year (!) to let you know that I won't be 'blogging' as much next year as I'm trying to shift things around and focus on what I really need: a new website.

I'm hoping to create a new website on Squarespace (with Jason's much needed help of course!), and am planning on having a blog and shop section on it.

I'm also thinking that if I make the move to Squarespace and have a new blog on the same platform, I'll probably think about changing the content of my blog posts and will focus more on design and behind the scenes. I'd love to share more about my day-to-day work, how I illustrate and create in general... Something more in line with where I want my business to go! I've already started to refine my logo so that it represents my current style better. Exciting :)

I very much hope that you're going to enjoy the end of the year with loved ones (with a thought for the dear friends and family members that are sadly not with us anymore) and that your new year will start amazingly!

Friday, 14 December 2018

Portfolio Update - Christmas Tales from the Woodpecker Tree

With Christmas approaching very fast now, I thought that my last Portfolio Update of the year had to be this amazing festive book!

I loved working with Lesley on the first Tales from the Woodpecker Tree book so I was of course more than happy to work again with her on the Christmas one! First of all, her stories inspire me so much and I knew straight away how I would illustrate all seven of them. Her writing is so poetic that my imagination starts going crazy the moment I'm beginning to read her beautifully written tales. And I really think that's it's a great book for children of all ages, wether they're old enough to read them themselves or if they still need the help of a parent to read the stories, all comfy in bed on a cold Winter's night.

Have a look on my website to see a bit more about the book and get your copy in time for Christmas!

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Portfolio Update - Not Very Lady Like

Well, here's a project that I couldn't wait to share with you all! I've been working with Lauren for more than a year now and I'm so glad that our collaboration is still going strong.

When she contacted me, her Etsy shop Not Very Lady Like was just starting out and she had loads of ideas for new designs inspired by her feminist side and Harry Potter (although you'll also find some other themed designs too). Our process is very simple: She comes up with the ideas, I work my magic on the designs, and she then embroiders them beautifully on carefully sourced clothes.

Lauren is so talented and I can't wait to see what we come up with next!

See more of the designs I created on my website and shop these amazing embroidered items on Not Very Lady Like :)

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Wallpaper Giveaway - Slow Down

Hey guys! It's time for a new wallpaper giveaway, full of good vibes, cosiness, and soothing pink and purple hues :)

It's almost December (say what?!) and when I realised that, I thought it was time for me to relax a bit more and slow down. I'm not talking about work really, because to be honest, this time of year is always a bit busy with clients wanting to get things done before Christmas (and it's great!), but I'm talking about everyday life. I love the fact that my days are buzzing with new projects to work on, but I also enjoy taking it slow in the evenings and weekends to recharge the batteries.

Although in the Summer I always feel like doing something, going outside and exploring, when Winter comes, I tend to be less eager to do all that and prefer to stay cosy in the house. I think this is mostly because passed 5.30pm it's completely dark outside ;)

This year has been a bit crazy again and I think I'm ready to relax for the last month of 2018. When thinking about the new wallpaper I wanted to create, I couldn't help but want to add a nice cup of hot chocolate with some Christmassy inspired pattern as I felt it was a good representation of December!

You'll notice that I used the same style for the steam as I did with the smoke on my Folktale illustrations. Well, what can I say, I thoroughly enjoyed creating the Folktale Week illustrations and it taught me quite a lot in the end! This challenge really helped me figure out a lot of things with my way of illustrating and I came from it feeling more confident about my work and my skills :)

Anyway! If like me, you're ready to slow down a bit, feel free to download these new wallpapers!

These wallpapers are free as usual but I would just like to remind people that they're only for personal use, thank you :)


Thursday, 22 November 2018

Le Manoir de Correc

Last weekend we were lucky enough to be able to visit the private manor house called Manoir de Correc in Saint-Gelven, thanks to the autumnal festival Le Bel Automne that's been happening all around the Côtes d'Armor area in Bretagne this year!

The owners themselves did the guided tour (well the husband mainly) and their story is quite amazing! His wife spotted that manor house in 1991 when it was in a shockingly terrible state and they still went on and bought it. Since then, they've been working very hard to restore this traditional Breton building built in the 16th century to its well-deserved glory, and when you see the photos when it was bought, you realise the amount of work they've had to do! The gardens were completely overgrown, parts of the walls were falling apart, the roof was in a very bad state and the wood beams inside were almost all rotten...

They were a lovely couple and I don't think they realised just how many people would turn up so they were a bit taken aback! We loved going around the house and learning about the work they've had to do in each room and outside. You can see photos of some of the rooms below :)

They were quite elderly people and the husband even joked about the fact that the manor house might not even be finished by the time they pass away! I have to say though, they've done an amazing job already and I could tell that they love their house and they're passionate about the whole process. I guess you have to be when you're starting this kind of project ;)

It was such a great afternoon, the air was cold and crisp and the trees were different shades of oranges and yellows everywhere around the building. We had a break after the guided tour and ate some yummy crêpes outside (there was a little food stand for the occasion).

Towards the end of the day, as people started to go, we spotted that a classical band was getting ready to play inside the house so we had a look and managed to grab some seats before it started. We didn't regret it! Although it's not the type of music I would usually listen to, it always feels different when you hear it live and the fact that we were in that beautiful building made it quite special :)

We came home at the end of the day when it was pitch black, very content of our well-spent afternoon.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Folktale Week Challenge

I'm in! When I heard about this challenge a few weeks back, I thought that it would be perfect for me. First, it's only for a week (I could never do Inktober properly for a whole month for example), and secondly because it's the right type of challenge that will push me to illustrate more scenes and characters!

Of course, I love working on children's books and every time I start to illustrate a new one, it's always a little bit of a challenge already, but I've been waiting for an opportunity to really push myself a bit more in terms of my illustrative skills and technique (hello Kyle's brushes in Photoshop!), and also my overall style and how I illustrate characters.

I do have some other projects on obviously that I will have to prioritise because they're paying clients (and I need money because Christmas is coming!), but I'll try and do my best and will share as many illustrations as I can. Of course if I could do all seven that would be great, but I'm realistic and I know that it will already be amazing if I manage to finish four or five ;). Fingers crossed I'll manage to post all of them on time!

I wrote my own little stories for each prompt when working on the initial sketch instead of following an existing one. I was very inspired and I hope you'll all like them! They're actually linked to each other so that all seven illustrations have something in common.

Make sure to follow me on Instagram if you'd like to see the illustrations I'll share! The first one will be up at the end of the day ;)

If you're interested, the prompts are below!

And here's the original explanation from the talented illustrators behind this challenge:

How it works:
On October 29th, we’ll release the prompts. Then, for seven days starting November 12th, follow the prompts and create a piece of art. Interpret the prompts any way you wish and with any medium you like.

Use the hashtag #folktaleweek and #folktaleweek2018 to show your work and interact with other artists. The challenge hosts will be pulling work from the hashtag to promote in our stories! At the end, we’ll share our favorites in our feed!

This challenge was created to encourage artists from all around the world to share stories and explore character creation and visual storytelling. We want to see your bewitching characters and dreamy scenes!