Tag Archives: behind the scenes

Thoughts On Blogging

A lovely maker whose posts and content I love recently surveyed her Instagram audience about blogging, and more specifically about how to find things to blog about. Her question got me thinking because I used to ask myself the same question – I sometimes still do! – and after sharing my experience with her I realised that it would actually make a good blog post, so here we are!

How do you find things to talk about?

This question used to really bug me. I was reading so many blog posts that were either interesting, informative, beautiful or all three that it sometimes felt like I would never be able to write anything good in comparison. I also felt that I was joining the game too late: people had already written about such and such topics, and they’d probably done it way better than I would ever do. And then one day I read somewhere a sentence that went roughly like this (I’m paraphrasing): everything has already been done but nobody will ever do it like you would.

That sentence was a massive eye-opener. I realised that what I liked about all those amazing articles was that they reflected the author’s experience, their opinion, and that they were written in a style that was truly personal to them. I also came to realise that I liked reading articles that answer questions I ask myself and articles about things that I am curious about, like how other artists work, what their favourite art materials are, how people live in other countries, … those kinds of things.

How I find things to talk about

I can’t second guess what I think people would like to read about – well I could give it a try but there’s no guarantee that I would get it right –  whereas starting with what I’m interested in and what I want to share is a lot easier! And I figured that if I’m interested in a topic surely someone else, somewhere, must be too.

To find things to talk about I ask myself ‘what would I like to read about?’ and ‘what do I have to say on the subject?’ and then I start writing.

The behind the scenes of how I write my blog posts

Keeping track of my ideas

I usually prefer paper for most things but I had to face a tough fact: too many of my ideas were getting lost or forgotten because they were jotted down in various notebooks or on loose sheets of paper.

So now I use Google doc to write down every single blog post idea I have. Sometimes it takes the form of just a sentence and sometimes it’s a whole paragraph. Sometimes it becomes a post and sometimes it doesn’t.

I also like my lists to be very clean so that I can see at a glance what’s left to do (I’m the kinda girl who has a colour code for her daily to-do list based on whether the item is personal or for work and depending on its level of urgency you see). An electronic document gives me the flexibility to delete old or ticked items so that I only see the ideas that haven’t been used yet.

How I organise my Google doc for blog posts

My Google doc – which I used to write this post – is divided into three sections:

  • The rough ideas at the top: usually some sort of title or one line summarising the idea. I recently started adding dates next to the ideas because I find it interesting to see when I’m interested in what topics.
  • The blog posts in progress in the middle: I sometimes have several posts in progress at the same time, this enables me to chose what topic to write about depending on the mood.
  • A ‘completed posts’ bucket at the end: for some reason sometimes I like to keep a copy of my blog posts. When I do, I pop them in the ‘Published Posts’ section at the end of the document.

Another way to ‘write’ blog posts: dictating

I heard that some people use their mobiles devices to dictate their posts in Notes or in an email and then use AirDrop or email themselves for further editing. That sounds like a good idea to me because talking is sometimes more natural than writing and you might be less tempted to endlessly rephrase your sentences.

I tried it and and it sort of works, sort of doesn’t. I don’t know if it’s because of my French accent but the voice tool tends to change quite a few of the words that I say and it is sometimes almost more difficult to go through the whole text again in order to correct the mistakes than it is to write from scratch. That’s me though and I would suggest that you give it a try to see if it’s for you or not.

About writing faster

In the past few months I have also become quicker at writing my blog posts. I used to have a big complex because I am not a native English-speaker so I’m prone to making mistakes or to phrase things in a way that is not very natural in English. It took me a while (and some reading) to finally accept that this is who I am and that spending countless hours trying to write the perfect sentence is not really a good use of my time.

So what’s my technique for writing faster?

Well, first I start by writing everything I have in mind, everything that I want to say on the subject without worrying about how well it is phrased. Then I focus on the form: I edit my sentences and organise my paragraphs; by that point I don’t have to worry about the content anymore because it’s already all there. And finally, I stop editing when I consider that the post is good enough – note: not perfect, but good enough so that it communicates what I want to say. Working in this way saves me a great deal of time!


I hope this helps. Don’t hesitate to share your own tips and techniques for writing blog posts and other online content as I’d love to know!

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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).

Tea-Party_Camille-Medina

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!

Mid-January Update

Can you believe it’s mid-January already? Because I can’t!

My birthday is fast approaching, so is the exciting holiday that my boyfriend and I started planning  last year (more on this another time)!… Where has the time gone?

Since I got back to work I have been in a sort of whirlwind and I really wanted to share with you what the past couple of weeks have been like for me before it’s all gone.

So here we go…

I’m starting the year with a minor shoulder injury, most likely caused by my first day back at the gym. I go to the gym several times a week and didn’t have that a long rest over the festive season (I mean, my boyfriend even got me to go for a run on the morning of Christmas Eve!) so I’m not sure what happened there. My first workout of the year did feel challenging (as it should) but not more than usual. Anyways. It’s not as bad now as it was the first week and I have booked an osteopath appointment for in a few days.

After a few years of not celebrating it, I introduced my boyfriend to the French tradition of the galette des rois (“king cake” in English). On the 6th of January French people traditionally celebrate the Epiphany by eating either a frangipane-filled pie or a brioche depending on the region of France you’re in. There is a lucky charm hidden in the pie/brioche and whoever gets it is crowned king or queen for the day. I made the pie version – it’s easier than making a brioche and it’s my favourite – and I got the charm (I didn’t cheat, I promise)!

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At Christmas I got some new neon acrylic paints and I’ve been having lots of fun with them so far (I can’t wait to use them again soon!).

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I finished working on a big and exciting client project that I had started before Christmas. I can’t reveal much more for now but more info on this as soon as I can.

I also started working on a fun collaboration with a French blog about expat life called l’Allée du monde. If you don’t already you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to see a new illustration come out every Wednesday until the end of the month. And if you can read French I really recommend that you take a look at l’Allée du monde: it’s full of fun facts and anecdotes about what it’s like to live abroad as a French person. Gabrielle (the author of the blog), who I met for the first time in July last year, is a very lovely person and when she asked me if I was interested in working with her on this project I was over the moon because I love the way she writes (her blog is basically the expat blog I wish I had).

After taking my first Make Art That Sells Class in October last year I am back into MATSland! Lilla Rogers’s way of teaching is highly addictive and I had to have more. And since I really want to up my game and develop my career as a whole further in 2018 I thought that signing up for a bunch of her classes would be a fun way to make sure I do it (it can be tough at times to find the time to create your own artwork but it’s important to do it!). The MATS Assignment Bootcamp started again Monday last week and we had to draw what’s in our bag for the first mini assignment of the year.

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I challenged myself to draw “freehand” (no pencil lines before tracing) to keep it very spontaneous so that’s why it’s all a bit wonky. But I like it. And funnily enough the easiest item – the pen – is the one that I had the hardest time drawing (three attempts, no less!). Sure, I was getting a bit tired by the time I got to it. But still! It’s a freakin’ pen!

That’s for for me!

I hope that 2018  is treating you well so far. Do you have any goals for this year? Did you make any good resolutions?

Have a great week!

 

 

 

Bye Bye 2017

Bye-bye-2017

I can’t believe that 2017 is nearly over! I’m pretty sure I say this every year but there it is: this year has gone so freakin’ quickly!

Since it’s that time of year again, I took some time this afternoon to reflect on 2017 and set my goals for 2018.

I feel that this task was more difficult today than it has been in recent years.

One of the main reasons is that art-wise, 2017 was a bit of a confusing year. My illustration style evolved in a direction that is making me question where I want to go with it. Don’t get me wrong, it is super interesting and fun! But it threw me (as well as my previous goals) off balance and now I am trying to rethink everything I thought I knew.

I am also battling internally with ‘shoulds’ (those things that I feel I should do for x, y, z reason), ‘wants/don’t wants’ (the things that I want or don’t want to do) and an incredible portion of doubt.

I ended up writing a long list of questions. I guess I was hoping that I would get all the answers by end of day today but that didn’t happen (cough – obviously – cough).

Anyway.

My hope for the new year is that it brings me a new compass that will help me navigate the confusing waters so that I can set sail towards some exciting new worlds and hidden treasures (yo ho!).

 

 

Why I am an illustrator

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Hi everyone,

As per a recent post on my Instagram I wanted to come back on some of the reasons why I became an illustrator in the first place.

I love to draw, that’s a fact.

But loving to draw doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to draw professionally. If it had been just about loving to draw I could have carried on what I was doing before and drawn in my free time like I have been doing – like – forever.

No. I became an illustrator because I love to draw AND because I want to move people with my art.

I want to make you smile, I want to make you laugh, I want to give you a short mental break from your daily life.

And I want to be one of those people who sets an example and inspires you to follow whatever path you choose because everything is possible.

“You can do anything you set your mind to.” (Benjamin Franklin)

So be free! And have a lovely Friday!

Doodle Week

Hi everyone!

I hadn’t done one of these catch-up video in a little while and I was starting to miss them.

This week in the studio: sketchbook doodles, summer and product photo shoot!

Have a great week!

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!