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!

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Vive les Mariés !

Aaaaaah! It was almost two months ago, but I still remember this very happy day vividly! From getting ready early in the morning as we were all in my parents' house (with only one bathroom!), to the mad rush to get to the Mairie, the ceremony where I cried like a baby and of course the rest of this amazing day at the Domaine... Pure joy!

We got married in the morning at the Mairie in Bouguenais (where my parents live and where I grew up) which is very similar to a registry office in the UK. It was perfect, just 11 of us and 'Uptown Funk' from Bruno Mars blasting out before and after the ceremony. As we wanted it to be a bit more personal, we asked to each do a little speech before the exchange of the rings and I'm so glad we did! My dad filmed it all and we haven't had the chance to see it yet, but it's a good thing I did my speech first as the moment Jason started his I was crying so much that I wouldn't have been able to do mine after haha. His words were so beautifully written and I was already very emotional of course, so I couldn't avoid it. Never mind the beautiful make-up my sister did!

Straight after the Mairie, we headed off to the Domaine de Rochevilaine, in Bretagne, to have our delicious meal and spend some time all together. We were lucky enough to have the sun out most of the day so it was perfect for the photos! We didn't hire a photographer so my dad took most of them on our camera and of course we managed to get more photos from everybody else. We didn't mind of course and had a lot of fun finding places to pose, even to the point of climbing over rocks with me being completely barefoot!

I can safely say that it was just perfect and Jason and I were so happy about it all. It felt very special indeed to share this great day with our closest family.

As a wedding gift, my parents booked a room at the Domaine for the night so when everybody left in the early evening, we went up to our room (with a beautiful view on the sea!), had a shower, and headed to the swimming pool in the luxury spa! The whole pool area was open to guests so of course we had to take advantage of it ;). We finished the day with another lovely meal at the restaurant (Jason still remembers the 18 year aged Whisky he had!).

In the morning, we had our breakfast sent to our room and we were lucky enough to have a massage booked just before going. It was heaven! Although I'd say the only downside is that we are not used to any sort of luxury like this and most of the time we felt like we definitely didn't belong there, but hey ho, it didn't stop us from enjoying it!

It was the most simple wedding of all time probably, but it was perfection for us, and we are now proud to be Mr and Mrs Chevalier-Roberts :)

Friday, 26 October 2018

Unexpectedly Amazing Dinan!

WOW. We were definitely not expecting this! On our last vacation day, we didn't want to just leave our Airbnb and go straight back home (depressing!), so we thought we would stop in Dinan on the way back as I'd heard it was a nice place to visit. Well, we had a slight shock when realising how beautiful the whole place was and we kept telling ourselves 'how the hell did we not visit this town before?!'

I think the photos will speak for themselves even though it's of course much nicer in real life! What I love about it is that it didn't feel touristy at all on that day and we could walk around the cobbled streets in awe of all the old timbered houses, not feeling like we had to move out of the way for somebody to take a photo of his wife (you know that feeling?).

It's like discovering a little gem and feeling so special about it haha. Anyway, get ready for quite a few photos!

We didn't take the time to head inside the castle but apparently it's a good one! To be honest, we were also watching our money and if we had to choose between a nice lunch and tickets to visit the castle, we would definitely choose the food (although it was hard because you must know by now that we LOVE castles, but food always wins) ;)

Actually, we found this great crêperie Au Coin de la Breizh which was very affordable and delicious, so we didn't regret our choice!

I think the best cobbled streets that you have to walk along is the Rue de Jerzual that becomes the Rue du Petit Fort. That's where we found the most authentic-looking houses and most of the photos above are from these two streets! Also, we loved walking on the fortified walls to get a better view of the town.

Oh and don't forget to have a look at the clock tower (Tour de l'Horloge) and the Basilique Saint Sauveur!

At one point I just felt so lucky to be able to see such a great place and living so close to it that we could come back whenever we feel like it.

We definitely don't have a lot of money (I mean, hello, we spent our honeymoon just a couple of hours away from home), but money isn't everything and I know for sure that some people can't even afford to go somewhere, even if it's not far from where they live, purely because they can't afford to take time off or book an Airbnb for a few nights. So I do feel lucky and I do cherish these rare moments.

We also know that our real honeymoon will be our trip to Japan in a few years time, which we are saving for, so we're definitely looking forward to it!

Monday, 22 October 2018

Portfolio Update - Arthur Bee

I'm finally taking the time to update my portfolio lately and as the second Arthur Bee book launched very recently, I thought I'd take some photos and share a bit more about these two books I had the pleasure of illustrating!

Although I did a bit of character research when starting the illustrations for Shaun Millea's first book, I had a clear idea of how I wanted Arthur to look like. Shaun wanted Arthur to be represented as a bit of a cheeky chap with a bent antenna, so I instinctively included a big smile on his face and gave him a stripey jumper. Don't ask me why with the jumper! I just didn't see him without any clothes on haha.

I loved how Arthur and the other characters turned out in the end and I really enjoyed working on the whole book. So when Sue from Team Author UK and Shaun contacted me again this year to illustrate Arthur's second adventure, I obviously didn't say no! It's been such a great experience and I'm really pleased about how the second book turned out too.

You can check out my website for more photos and the links to get your copies :)

Thursday, 18 October 2018

The Fortified Town of Saint-Malo

If you're on the North Coast of Bretagne, you cannot miss Saint-Malo. This old fortified town has such a unique atmosphere and is really worth exploring! Although like with Mont St Michel, it can get very busy in the Summer, so I would definitely recommend to visit it outside the months of July and August. Otherwise, you might have a lot of trouble finding a parking space and walking along the fortress walls (some bits are narrower than others and I can imagine how it would be tricky to enjoy it when super busy!).

It was a bit overcast when we arrived in the morning but I was still snapping away, too happy to be in this beautiful place with my brand new husband ;)

In the morning we decided to walk on the fortified walls that are still standing strong all around the town, which really made us work up an appetite as by lunchtime, we were absolutely starving! I didn't take any photos of the meal we had at La Bouche en Folie, but honestly, if you're searching for very good typical French cuisine, you need to stop there! It's quite small so I would recommend to book in advance, but the food was absolutely delicious. A tad expensive for us, but it was our only treat during our holiday :)

We were lucky enough to be exploring St Malo during the festival 'Journées du Patrimoine' where historic buildings and places exceptionally open their doors for free, or spaces that are usually not opened to the public. For the occasion, the cathedral allowed people to visit the cathedral's bell tower with a guide and we managed to be part of one of the small groups that went up! We felt so privileged to be able to climb up to the highest tower and discover Saint-Malo from above.

By the end of the afternoon, it was very sunny and warm so we did what a lot of people did then: we made our way to the beach! Like Mont St Michel, Saint-Malo has some very changeable tides throughout the day, and parts of the beach that were submerged under water in the morning were completely dry by the afternoon. Tourists could even walk to the nearest island to visit the Fort National! It was so nice to enjoy some time on the beach and it allowed us to have yet another different view of Saint-Malo.

Before leaving, we thought we'd enjoy a nice beverage at the very well-known and quirky (get ready) "Le Café du coin d'en bas de la rue du bout de la ville d'en face du port"! We loved it there! It's so different and a bit crazy. At the bar, you could sit in swinging chairs from an old fairground ride and you couldn't find one piece of the wall that was bare. We were very surprised to see that it was a bit quiet as we were expecting it to be absolutely full of intrigued tourists like us ;). Definitely a great experience!

Oh, and let's not forget about the most scrumptious doughnut I've ever had in my life (apart from the first time I tasted one from the same place back in 2014) from Maison Hector! Apparently their waffles are to die for too. Just seeing this photo makes me want to have another one right now!

So yeah, did a lot of walking, but also ate a lot of food that day!