Friday 24 February 2017

The Babetown Collective E-Retreat

The Retreat is happening really soon now so I thought I would let you all know that 1. If you haven't signed up yet, what are you waiting for?! and 2. I'm super duper excited about it and I can't wait to start!

I'm really proud to be one of the speakers and I'm so happy to share some of my knowledge concerning branding, design and everything in between! During my first course, I'll be focusing on the importance of having a brand that is professional, consistent and that truly represents yourself and your business. For the second one, I'll be sharing my process behind designing a logo and what I've learnt as a designer.

Want to know more? Check out the schedule RIGHT HERE! And if you're thinking of anybody that could benefit from this huge resource (Over 40 hours of content!), feel free to spread the love :)

See you there!

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Château de Clisson

Morning guys! Although we didn't explore much last weekend, about a week ago we went to Clisson and we LOVED it. If you've been following this blog since the beginning (I started 3 years ago, what the what?!), you know that we're crazy about historical towns and castles. Well, Clisson is basically a charming historical town with a castle, so saying that we were pleased to spend the day there was an understatement.

Although we had troubles finding the car park at the beginning as our sat nav was sending us to closed roads, we enjoyed getting out of the house and discovering a new place not too far from Nantes. As we're planning to move to Brittany, it would be a shame not to explore little towns outside of Nantes whilst we're here ;)

The entry tickets weren't expensive as we didn't choose to do the guided tour and we took our time going around the old ruins practically on our own as it wasn't busy at all (it was pretty cold and I suspect that people preferred staying warm inside their houses with a cup of coffee). Also, we felt really lucky with the weather as even though it was overcast most of the time, we didn't have one drop of rain!

Once we'd seen all the corners and read all the little signs around the castle, we decided to leave and follow the footpath around the river, which took us a good hour and a half. It starts right at the foot of the castle and carries on all the way to the old mill before crossing on a bridge to arrive at the Domaine de la Garenne Lemot.

The Italian-inspired vila and its gardens were utterly beautiful and we were gutted to not have enough time to go inside and explore a bit more. Oh well, we'll just have to go back one day! It started to get busier as we realised that a lot of the local people must be used to walking their dogs on this path. And to be honest, who wouldn't? The view is beautiful all the way to the town centre.

Before leaving, we had to stop by a bar/café and whilst Jason enjoyed the Hellfest special beer, I had a very hot and comforting hot chocolate that warmed up my poor frozen hands effectively. All in all, a perfect end to a great day out :)

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Step by Step Illustration Process

Hey guys! It's been a while since I shared a little behind the scenes in my design process and as I've shown you the children's book I've been working on very recently, I thought you might be curious to see how I illustrated it! Haven't seen the book yet? Check it out on my website :) 

You might call me old fashioned, but to me, sketching out my ideas on paper is by far the best thing to do when starting a project. I've tried a few times to sketch using my graphics tablet on Photoshop, but it's just not the same. So before working on the illustration digitally, I've been showing sketches to my client for approval. You can see that I had a pretty good idea of the layout already.

Right, this might look a bit messy to you, but it's basically all the drawn shapes as outlines. Depending on the project and the illustration's style, I find that not thinking about colours straight away helps me to concentrate on the shapes themselves. So in the book I illustrated, all the illustrations started out like that! I have to say, it's quite therapeutic to just follow the sketch, drawing away with some music in the background. Once I'm happy with everything, I start thinking about the overall artwork.

As it was one of the last illustrations in the book, I had already put together a colour palette that I wanted to stick to, so I just had to use the same colours as on the previous pages. I started out with the main characters as I didn't want to have the colours in the background clashing with the ones at the front! Toucan always has the same colours, so I coloured her first and carried on with the family. 

Then I look at the details all around the main elements and I usually try to make sure that there's enough contrast between all the individual elements so that everything is clear and balanced. The main thing is to make sure that the important graphics are standing out at a first glance.

When I'm pretty happy about the whole scenery, I adjust the background's colours and I start adding the text or extra elements needed on the illustration. It's quite fun to see it all coming together this way, even more when you look at the first steps which don't look very appealing! Before finalising an illustration, I make sure to check that everything is at its right place and it's at this stage that I amend/move around shapes and graphics. Sometimes I need to have another look at it and check that the layers are ordered properly so that none of the fence's pieces are behind a bush for example.

Tadaaa! Again it depends on the style we agreed on with my client, but for this particular project, we decided to add some texture on the actual elements as well as on top of the illustration. Can you see how Toucan's head is no longer smooth for example? That's a very handy tool in Illustrator that I like to use from time to time which changes the outline of your shapes and roughens them in different ways. Here's the one I used: Window > Brush Libraries > Artistic > ChalkCharcoalPencil. The texture on top is a Photoshop file with an overlay effect.

Hope you found it interesting and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions!


Tuesday 7 February 2017

Nantes' Historic Waterfront

Eager to explore a bit more of Nantes before we move out (hopefully to Brittany!), one Saturday we decided to visit Jules Verne's Museum. The entry is quite cheap (3€/person) and as it's been inaugurated in 2005, everything felt well thought out and looked after. You can tell that a lot of school kids must be visiting this nice building as the setting and layout of each room is interactive and fun.

We became a little obsessed with the magnificent book designs from various collections and in so many languages that they have on display. You can tell that these retro embellished designs are coming back! But how couldn't they? When looking at them, you feel that they'll never be out of fashion because they're way too beautiful for that. Also, it was really nice to know a bit more about Jules Verne's childhood and the fact that he was so inspired by the boats that he would watch everyday from the waterfront.

Plus, the view from this historical building is to die for!

We'd parked on the other side of the Loire, so we stopped by the Mémorial de L'abolition de L'esclavage as it was on our way back. My parents mentioned it to us as it's a structure that has been very recently completed. It retraces the story of slavery and how Nantes was a key port in transportations of black slaves. On top of the memorial, you can see hundreds of little glass plaques on the floor, showing the name and date of each boat transporting slaves that came and went.

It's cold and powerful, and all the quotes and memories written on the glass below the ground add to the terrible feel that you get when looking at this structure. It's so important to have a look back at the city's history, good and bad, but you can't help but feeling a bit uncomfortable. Yes, slavery has been abolished, but we're all aware that behind the scenes, there are still so many illegal slaves and child slavery is still so common in some countries. This memorial reminds us of all of this and I'm pleased that we have something like that in Nantes now.

If you're in the surroundings, don't miss it!