Category Archives: SKETCHBOOK

Things Change, And It’s Okay

Hi everyone!

Here is an early May update on my 100 day project.

All in all, things went okay-ish until roughly day 16. What happened is that little by little drawing for the challenge started to feel like a chore and it started feeling like a lot of the things I had been drawing were all over the place and like it was going nowhere (or at least not somewhere I want to take my art right now).

I was clear from the start that the challenge wasn’t so much about what I drew or how well I drew than it was about pushing through and moving forward.

But when you feel unhappy, stressed, frustrated and you’re not enjoying what you’re doing anymore then it’s not really good, is it?

So I reassessed what I wanted to get out of this challenge and the best way to get there.

I’m not quitting the 100 day project just yet. But I would rather take my time and come up with a hundred illustrations that I like rather than ending up with a hundred illustrations that make me feel bitter.

Things change, and it’s okay.

These first 18 illustrations weren’t all bad though. They helped me figure some things out, like the style I am going to work in for my next ‘big’ personal project (it’s still a secret for now) for example. I also really enjoyed working with Posca pens and adding pencil texture to some of my illustrations. So probably things that we will see again at some point in future illustrations.

While I slowly get back to it, here are illustration 7 to 18!

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My Most Northern Holiday

Hi everyone,

How are you today?

A few weeks ago I mentioned a big holiday that my boyfriend and I had been planning for a while. Well, I can’t believe it’s over now! If I’m being honest I’m even feeling a bit blue, which is an appropriate colour since we went on a cruise to the very top of Norway in the hope of seeing the Northern lights, so lots of blue skies, very deep blue waters and snowy mountains and fjords. (*sigh*)

MY TRAVEL SKETCHBOOK

When we were away I kept a travel sketchbook in order to immortalise some of the key moments of our holiday.

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I won’t write down everything we did because that would take ages, but you will find some comments below.

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On the first night we unexpectedly won the pub quiz. Our prize: a bottle of wine!

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We attended all of the talks about space that were given over the course of the cruise: we’re like that, we like to learn things even when we are on holidays. (Side note: we didn’t do too well in the later pub quizzes.)

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We visited an igloo hotel, went on a husky sledge ride, and went hunting for the Northern lights! Did we see them? You will have to wait until the end of this post or read my sketchbook entries to find out.

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We saw orca whales from the ship and won a bottle of champagne in a raffle! Yep, we don’t normally drink much at all but we won booze twice.

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We spotted E.T. on the upper deck! Just kidding. We went to the last talk on space which was about searching for extra terrestrial intelligent life. It was a really cool talk!

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It took us nearly 8 hours (instead of the 5 hours and a bit on the way down to Southampton) to get back home. A bit of a looonnnnng coach journey.

FUN & RANDOM FACTS FROM MY HOLIDAY

Because a holiday of this calibre wouldn’t be the same without a few stories, here are a few fun and random facts from our holiday that I thought I would share with you.

1) Snowflakes do have pretty shapes

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It might be a bit naive of me but although I have seen snow before, I had never seen the ‘star’ shapes of snowflakes in real life. Seeing the different shapes and how pretty they were got me all excited. All of a sudden I was 6 years old again.

2) Wrap up warm and feel supid – errrm, I meant epic

When you go this far north you want to make sure that you can survive in negative temperatures. This means wearing LOTS of layers of clothes and to put them all on, it’s a whole process. Apparently space suits take 45 minutes to put on. Snow gear won’t take you as long but when it’s not something you’re used to it will make you feel just the same: partly ridiculous, mostly badass (imagine yourself walking in slow-mo with the Armageddon music playing in the background).

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Source: Giphy

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See? Just the same! (Almost.)

On this photo I’m wearing 6 layers of clothes on my upper body and 3 layers around my legs (not counting underwear). At the same time you kind of have to when you go out by  -15°C to -25°C and you’re not from the area!

3) When you go on a husky sledge ride…

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Beautiful, isn’t it? It truly was. One thing we weren’t prepared for though is that the dogs do their business (you know what I’m talking about) while running. No ‘accidents’ to report, just a big surprise.

4) When you can’t use your fingers, use your nose

Okay, this is a bit of a weird one. After I nearly cried – okay, I cried – because of my painful fingers in the first port we visited my boyfriend and I came up with some ground rules. Rule number 1 was: “Camille will keep her gloves on at all times when outside.” But the thing is: how are you supposed to take photos with bulky ski gloves on? Well… I figured that using my nose instead of my fingers might work. And it did! All you have to do is put the timer on so that you can plan your shot and tadaaaa!

Seriously, one day nose photography will become a thing!

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Yours truly in action, setting up my phone for a “nose photo”.

Oh and if you are wondering whether we saw the Northern lights in the end…

We did!

Twice! (Hooray!)

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Photo courtesy of Glød

See you again soon for more updates and my latest artwork!

Mad Tea Party

Hi everyone!

This month MATS Bootcamp is all about tea.

The Mini

First, for the mini assignment we had to do some research on tea and draw anything and everything we liked about it. Not set rules. We could draw absolutely anything we wanted as long as it was tea-related.

I started by working on a piece about what tea means to me. Before we were given the mini assignment I had been working digitally and with textures so I decided to stay in the same vein of work.

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While I was working on the piece above I got slightly carried away when I did my hand lettering and started another piece (below). The “minis” are all about experimenting and having fun so I didn’t mind too much starting and trying different things.

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I love these green colours mixed with the white and the black of the hand lettering. After I finished it I realised that it reminded me a bit of Clipper‘s tea packaging (although I didn’t use them as reference).

I couldn’t stop there however, and had to move from digital to analogue.

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I worked freehand with felt tip pens and a limited palette (above), and I worked with Posca pens and colouring pencils to add some texture (below).

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I love the piece above so much! Not only did I have a lot of fun making it but I absolutely love the bright colour combinations. I feel that this illustration is very like me and looking at it makes me feel happy and excited.

The Main Assignment – WIP

At the beginning of this week the main assignment – still tea-related – was revealed. This time we are creating a journal cover for the gifts industry and the focus is on tea leaf reading.

How unusual and exciting!

I have to confess that I have become quite obsessed with the theme.

After filling many sketchbook pages I started dreaming about what my journal cover would look like.

At the moment it’s all work in progress.

 

Some of the artwork that I will be using in the final piece.

I also bought a proper tea cup (we only had mugs at home) to give tea leaf reading – or tasseomancy as it is also known – a try.

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My new V&A tea set for one I bought in a sale. The design by Anna Maria Garthwaite (1690-1763) was originally for a woven silk.

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First ever tea leaf reading.

I have one more week to work on my assignment and submit it to the class gallery and then I am off to a big holiday that my boyfriend and I have been planning for a year.

But that’s another story for another day!

See ya!

8 Lessons I Learnt From Keeping A Travel Sketchbook

Hi everyone!

I just came back from a trip to Austria where I went to visit some friends of mine. It was a great holiday and one of the things that I am super happy about is that I kept a travel sketchbook!

A lot of the time when I travel I take a sketchbook and some pens and pencils with me and I end up not drawing at all.

However, just before I went on holidays I got inspired by the fantastic Christine Nishiyama (also check her Skillshare classes, they’re great!) who had just completed a road trip and had kept a travel sketchbook which she shared on Instagram. Her illustrations were so simple, beautiful and fun at the same time that they made me want to give it a go.

So I decided that I too would draw my adventures!… And the thought totally terrified me!

I mean, there is so much great stuff on Instagram and the likes that I felt very pressured to produce something that looked awesome, even though the whole point of going away for a few days was to relax and have fun.

And then I remembered how Christine’s account of her road trip and experience of drawing in her travel sketchbook made it sound approachable and laid back.

I wasn’t too sure how and where to start but I decided to be brave, forget about the idea of making something perfect and I gave travel sketching a go – my way! And I learnt a lot in the process!

Here are 8 lessons I learnt from this experience:

  1. Drawing when you are away is not like drawing at home: some of the materials I brought with me were different from what I normally use which means that I had to adapt my drawing a little.
  2. Sketching the illustrations in pencil first made it feel too ‘controlled’. I was spending way too long trying to get things perfect so after 30 minutes of not being happy with my drawings on day 1 I erased everything and went ‘freehand’.
  3. Going straight into painting without sketching my illustrations first forced me to think differently about what I was painting/drawing, loosen up and not ‘care so much’ (it brought back memories from the last Inktober challenge!).
  4. I gave up on perfection… and it felt good! At first I was really disappointed with some of my illustrations that looked inferior to what I normally draw at home. As soon as I reminded myself that it was okay for things not to look exactly like my photos, I started to enjoy myself a lot more and funnily enough the illustrations got better!
  5. Drawing complicated stuff (like people kayaking) freehand when you are hungover is very difficult. Actually drawing anything when you are hungover is more difficult!
  6. Wait for the ink to dry! I really should have remembered this one since I work a lot with Indian ink. Except that since I used an artist brush pen instead of my usual brush and bottle of ink I didn’t quite think it through which resulted in small smudges here and there – lesson learnt!
  7. I added some text to my pages but I didn’t have a particular plan when I started writing. Like the rest, I decided not to overthink it and I just wrote whatever came to my mind. I might not win the Pulitzer Prize for it but it worked just fine for me.
  8. As the days passed and I started to let go some interesting things started to happen. I became more confident and it was reflected in every aspect of what I drew (use of space, colour, subject matter, etc.). Sure, it was maybe not the illustration project of the year, but it was mine, and I owned it!

In hindsight there’s a bunch of stuff that I would now do differently.

But you know what? It actually doesn’t matter so much. Yes, there were a few bumps but there were some really cool things too!

As imperfect as they are, not only do those illustrations tell the story of what I did during this trip but they also show how I grew in just 6 days and that, in itself, is amazing!

And I am so proud that I committed to drawing every day and that in addition to the photos I took I also have illustrations of my holiday!

Editorial illustration practice and the lessons I learnt

Every now and then I like to make some time to learn new skills, get better at the ones I already have, and to challenge myself.

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that my challenge of the month is Inktober. Not long before that, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and to practise editorial illustration as this is something that I would love to do more of in the future.

Luckily I found Ed J Brown’s class on Skillshare which enabled me to ‘fake’ the conditions of a commission and set a strict deadline to my practice.

I picked the article about US economic growth as I felt that starting with an article that was a bit dry might help to make other articles after that easier in comparison. And this was challenging indeed!

DAY 1

After reading the article a few times and highlighting the key points I started taking a few notes and doodling, which was quickly followed by some rough sketches (I drew 14 in total but am only showing my top 5 favourites)..

Notes and initial doodles

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Top 5 favourite sketches

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DAY 2

Sometimes it’s a good idea to sleep on what you’ve drawn and to look at it with fresh eyes the next day. In the case of my editrial illustration practice, I felt that I wasn’t quite there yet and sketched 8 new images. I ended up choosing the sketch below.

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DAY 3

After facing several problems with my illustration and trying different colour palettes while trying to maintain my usual style I had to come to the conclusion that it was just not working and that if this had been a real assignment, I would have failed miserably .

Below some of my unfinished attempts:

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DAY 4

I decided to give myself another chance, because who likes failure? So I cheated and allowed myself to work on a few different concepts knowing that if this had been a real assignment my Art Director would have probably not been very happy with me, or he/she wouldn’t have allowed it altogether.

Besides my clear composition and planning problems, I think that my main issue was that I ‘cared’ a bit too much (read: I was taking it all a bit too seriously).

Fortunately, Ed was an absolute star and as well as giving me some constructive feedback, he gave me some words of encouragement that made me more determined than ever to finish that mock assignment and more importantly, to have fun while doing it.

So I simply followed Ed’s advice to not care so much. And it worked!

I started with a red background because I liked the contrast with the black and white illustration…

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But while I had chosen colours that I liked, I had forgotten an important detail: the article was about growth and red wasn’t quite the right colour to convey the positive message of the article. Ed’s feedback confirmed my own thoughts. So I tried a green and a blue version instead.

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And ended up choosing the blue one.

 

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CONCLUSION

Past the disappointment resulting from my failure to finish on time and to finish the illustration that I had initially selected, I was really glad that this was practice and not a paid assignment. And I was glad that I got to learn so much in the process.

Here is what I got out of the exercise:

  • Plan my illustrations more carefully in the future: take the final dimensions of the illustration and the title placement into account earlier in the process.
  • Keep calm: I didn’t mention this and it probably ties in with the first lesson I learnt, but I was overexcited when I started working on this personal project. This probably resulted in me rushing things a little (at least at the beginning).
  • Pick colours that reflect the message of the article.
  • … But don’t overthink it.
  • And have fun!

I really enjoyed Ed’s class and strongly recommend it if you too want to practise editorial illustration in near-real assignment conditions.

 

Inktober 2016, 7-12

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Splish Splosh

Il pleut, il mouille

C’est la fête à la grenouille

Il pleut il fait pas beau

C’est la fête à l’escargot

In this kind of weather I can’t help singing the nursery rhymes of my childhood and they are obviously in French (sorry folks!).

Here is something everyone can understand though:

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rain-boots

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Which puddle would you want to jump into?

(Inspiration: Cécile Hudrisier)