Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Coup de Coeur - Heikala's Art

Hey guys! I've decided to start a new series of blog posts called 'Coup de Coeur' (a French expression that can translate to 'love at first sight', something that literally captures your heart). I'm seeing so many artists and designers that I admire and inspire me everyday in my work that I thought it was about time for me to actually share it.

I'm opening the Coup de Coeur series with an artist that I've discovered very recently whilst looking at tweets from the Inktober challenge. She's known as Heikala (her first name is Laura), and I straight away fell in love with her illustrations. I started to follow her on Twitter where I've discovered the short videos showing her process. So clever! Also super relaxing. I could watch her illustrating those magical scenes and characters all day! Laura's talent is just so amazing and I've been obsessed with her artworks.

What I love about her work is the fact that it makes me think about all the magical worlds of Studio Ghibli but with her own style and imagination. Some of the characters she paints have a bit of a mystical quality and most of her artworks have such a peaceful, otherworldly feel.

A few examples below!

See what I mean?! Make sure to follow her on Twitter and have a look at her shop! I'm SUPER excited as she's announced that all her Inktober illustrations will be available in an art book at the end of the year. Her originals sold out super quickly and I think this is a brilliant idea if you'd like to have a collection of Laura's work all in one book.

I'd love to know if there are any creatives out there that you admire and would love to be BFF with! In the meantime, I'll try and share a Coup de Coeur every month or so. Keep your eyes peeled ;)

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Domaine de Suscinio

When my brother was staying with us last month, we had some amazing weather during the weekend so we thought it was a very good excuse to explore somewhere new with him. We drove about an hour south of where we live and arrived at the Domaine de Suscinio with its beautiful castle surrounded by the sea and its wildlife park.

The castle itself was stunning and really well renovated. It has this typical French castle vibe that is sometimes hard to describe, and we discovered that some of its decorations were typically Bretonnes and authentic.

The most amazing part though was this room on the last floor where they reconstructed the original floor from the chapel that the archeologists discovered in the 70's when they started off the renovation. The great thing about it is that they didn't try to make it look like a floor but more like a piece of art 'hanging' on the wall so that everybody can see its full extent.

Dreamy isn't it? We even went to the beach for a little break before going back home. You wouldn't have thought it was late October and a couple of brave people were actually having a dip in the sea!

It was such a good day and I would definitely recommend it if you're visiting Brittany and the Golf du Morbihan area. And if you're into bird watching, then it will be heaven for you ;)

Thursday, 2 November 2017

New Christmas Cards!

Yep I know, we're just finishing Halloween's celebrations that I'm already annoying you with my new Christmas cards! In my defence, I've seen many other businesses starting to promote their Christmas products in September so to be honest, I don't feel too bad about sharing mine in November!

This year I've only designed three of them as I felt that one in French, one in English, and one without any text was definitely enough to choose from and also, I've realised that in the past two years, when offering too many to choose from, I wasn't selling enough and some cards were just left behind (poor ones!).

So feel free to buy one, two, three (15?!) of your favourite one and I'll be the happiest of designers this Christmas :)


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Happy Halloween!

Are you guys doing anything cool tonight? I've been wanting to buy some pumpkins to carve, but in France, they seem to be SUPER expensive as they're quite rare to find and honestly, I could not bring myself to spend 10€ for two pumpkins, so there you go, no pumpkins this year :(

BUT, we've had my brother staying over with us since last Friday and I've planned a little Halloween feast with some cool films to watch so it's not so bad. I personally love to watch Nightmare Before Christmas on Halloween night as to me this is the best ever. I've seen it so many times and know it almost by heart now but whatever I do, I always come back to this one. It's tradition. It's a bit like watching the Harry Potter films on the run up to Christmas. It puts me into Winter mode and its magical atmosphere makes me feel ready for Christmas.

Anyway,  everything has been going pretty well for us lately and we're both really busy with some great projects so even though we're tired, it's a good tired. We're enjoying the darker evenings lately and we're making sure to take some time to relax, which is much needed as I've been ill a whole week earlier in the month! Now that we're going to be in November from tomorrow, I'm finally embracing the season and I'm ready for the whole whirlwind of Christmas gifts, markets with mulled wine and cosy nights with candles. By the way, I'm getting my Christmas cards ready to be sold on my Etsy shop so watch this space!

I hope you all have a great Halloween and that those with kids will get to steal as many sweets as possible from them (don't forget to film their reaction haha)!

Monday, 23 October 2017

Something Different...

Happy Monday! Today I thought I'd be sharing a personal project that I've been wanting to work on for a little while now.

I discovered the Japanese anime film 'Wolf Children, Ame & Yuki' a few months ago and I've been very moved by it. Those who know me will already know that I love this type of film and I'm also a huge fan of everything Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, but the atmosphere and the characters were so different from everything I'd already seen that it kind of stuck with me. I felt so inspired that I knew I needed to illustrate what I had in mind, which is something I usually never do.

When thinking about the style and how I wanted to express it, I thought I would need to use a dark colour palette to represent how sad and moving some parts of the film are. It took me a while to take time to work on it purely because it was completely out of my comfort zone and I never work with dark colours and no brief whatsoever. But then I started drawing a basic sketch and felt more confident with my idea.

I started off with Yuki's face and realised that I wanted to show some kind of roughness about it all as I didn't feel that it would be right to show a 'neat' representation of her. So I started to create the shades and bits of colours with some random small lines and it felt right. When I moved on to the Wolf (which is a mix of her and her father), I knew exactly what I was doing then and was very surprised to realise that it didn't take me long to finalise it.

I showed it to Jason very unsure about myself and what I'd done, but as he liked it so much, I thought that I didn't do too bad in the end! The more I look at it, the more I like it and the more it makes me want to carry on. I really want to make some time to create more illustrations like this one!

It really opened my eyes to the fact that I can do different creative things and it would be a shame to stop here ;)

Thursday, 19 October 2017

An Unforgettable Experience

I heard of Parc Aquanature a few months ago and I immediately knew that we had to visit this nature reserve during Autumn. This amazing place of 80 hectares counts more than a hundred deers living in the wild in a protected area. Sounds incredible right? Well it was!

During late September/beginning of October, the males get all kinds of virile and start doing a strong noise to rally their females around them. Although we can usually walk freely all around the park, during that period the owners prefer to avoid that in case the males get uneasy. So we decided to hire one of the few off-road buggies they had to explore the whole area. We didn't regret it! Deers are afraid of people but not the buggies as they don't feel it's a threat to them and we managed to get super close!

Our camera was unfortunately struggling a bit with the light (it rained a couple of times!) but I managed to take a few cool photos ;)

We're usually limited to 1h in the buggy but we were so amazed at the sight of all the deers and little bambis jumping around that we were way too slow at the beginning! Jason was driving it and was like a kid with a new toy, sometimes driving faster on the rough path just to scare me a bit!

Now I want to come back in June next year to see all the tiny fawns that will just be born as it will be the right season. I'm so glad we found this place, and the fact that it's only 45mins away from our house is a huge advantage.

After meeting the deers, we did the 1h walk along the river heading North of the main area. The owners were telling us how beautiful it was at that time of the year so we didn't want to miss it.

The atmosphere, the humidity, the colours and landscapes... Everything made me feel like I was back in North Wales for a short moment. Honestly, it was so weird! It just reminded me of our long walks and hikes in Betws-y-Coed and in the Snowdonia valleys. I think we did well settling in Bretagne ;)

Also, I have to mention this incredible mushroom that looks like it's been taken straight out of a cartoon. I found it so cool as I'd never seen a real one like that before! The colour was as vivid in real life as it is on the photo.

Stay tuned for our next adventures or follow along on my Instagram :)