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!

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 :)