Design, Guest Authors

Doodling in French

Anna Corba, creator of the beyond charming Doodling in French, is our guest blogger this week.

My friend, Jo Packham, woman of a thousand ideas, asked if I would be interested in doing a doodle book. But of course, I answered, knowing full well that I don’t doodle but unable to say no to an opportunity to create that wonder of all entities… a book! When it came time to do the proposal I thought hard about how I could take Jo’s idea and turn it into something that was “mine.” I went back to the root of my first creative endeavors many moons ago—sketching—and decided to combine this with collage, something I’ve been playing with for the past decade. When I looked around my studio for those first little images to draw, what did I see but so many things from my travels to France. A latte bowl, a fleur de lys covered pastry bag, a stack of cartes postales. It took a few afternoons to realize what I was up to, but it eventually dawned on me that I was doodling in French. Aha! A book of my own was born, one which became a labor of love from that moment forward.

 

Surrounded each day with decorative papers and vintage ephemera that I’ve gathered from flea markets through the years, I would begin with an assortment of scraps that could be an inspiring background for the drawing itself. I would then find ways to incorporate these random bits into a collage, building a story or simply providing a nostalgic “home” of sorts. It was great fun using my collections… postage stamps, handwritten letters, old receipts—all were fair game. Each page was cut and paste, I never used a computer. This was a maddening process at times, but for the most part, greatly satisfying for someone who still likes the feel of paper and scissors in my hands. In fact, once I got going, it was hard to stop.

These days, sketching has become a part of my process again and I’m thankful for this adventure that brought me full circle.

 

Are you a Francophile, and if so, what’s your favorite iconic French thing? Leave a comment on Anna’s post below and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of Doodling in French that we’ll reward to one randomly selected mademoiselle or monsieur (giveaway valid in the US and Canada only). Bonne chance!

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65 Comments

  • Karen Duffy February 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    When I think of France, I think of the iconic images of storefront patisseries or fromageries with all of those delicious items just begging to be bought — and eaten!

    Reply

  • Christine February 25, 2012 at 12:46 am

    favorite French thing: Macaron (or pretty much any other French pastry) for a treat that can make any ordinary day seem special! Actually… this may be in competition with the traditional Croissant. Or maybe financier… I eat too many pastries, obviously.

    Fleur de lys for "sealing" my hand-written letters, even though I wish I had an actual wax seal of it instead of a rubber stamp!

    Bensimon sneakers – the French equivalent of the Americans' Converse

    Okay… that's more than one… but there are just so many charming French icons! :-)
    And iconic French phrases: Joie de vivre, carpe diem!

    Reply

  • Jeanne DeMint February 25, 2012 at 3:41 am

    Reminiscing about my 1982 summer of study (and love!) in France, I am transported to a sunny table at a Limoges cafe, drinking Orangina… *sigh*

    Reply

  • mirabelle February 25, 2012 at 10:28 am

    the phrase "tout a l'heure" – so musical and so French

    Reply

  • Karen E. February 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Do you have to ask!? A french macaron, of course! Although, standing on "Monet's garden bridge" overlooking the water lily pond comes in at a close second. I'm so excited about Anna's new book. It's on my wish list.

    Reply

  • Sharon February 25, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Sitting at an outdoor cafe, sipping cafe au lait, reading a newspaper…one of these days!

    Reply

  • Katherine February 26, 2012 at 6:20 am

    What perfect timing! I'm going to France in May for three weeks for research. When I think France, I think blue and white stripes and macarons!

    Reply

  • Lee February 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I am obsessed with the bowls that cafe au lait come in. Every time I see one I feel the urge to add it to my collection!

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  • gaby February 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    During my last trip to France, I loved the potted red geraniums growing on balconies and window boxes. They seem very Parisian & French to me.

    Reply

  • Pamela Davis February 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    I think of artists such as Renoir and Matisse and how they inspired so many others. I also think of high fashion and the Tour de France. I think of the sounds of their words and how their language seems so fluid.

    Reply

  • Mary Meyer February 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    This is a enticing book and just in time for Spring when we want to make our journal pages fresh and joyful. Let's leave winter's gloom behind and dream of springtime in Paris, romantic and writing in our journals at sidewalk cafes, real or imagined.

    Reply

  • Jessica Poundstone February 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    A perfectly-fresh, perfectly-shaped, perfectly-crispy on the outside, perfectly-pillowy on the inside baguette. So simple, so French!

    Reply

  • Katherine February 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Blue and white stripes and macarons! YUM

    Reply

  • Tracey February 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Patisseries, a baguette and soft rind cheese, linen spray, these are a few of my favorite French things!

    Reply

  • sharon February 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    a sparkling nighttime Eiffel Tower, of course!

    Reply

  • @Sherpagirlzeal February 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    One of my favorite things about France is enjoying cafe time! Sitting for more than a moment, chatting with friends, or people watching, taking your time and just enjoying life. In those moments are when you get to see, and feel a little of true French culture.

    Reply

  • Shelley Savor February 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    French signage on menu boards, markets, patisseries is iconic to me – always elegant and delightful to look at.

    Reply

  • @thebooktramp February 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I took my daughter to London, Paris, and Iceland this past summer to celebrate her high school graduation, but she felt so sick that we ended up spending an entire day in the urgent care of a Parisian hospital. Nine hours, one ultrasound, a CT scan, an x-ray, and several bags of IV fluids and antibiotics later, she was diagnosed with a pulmonary infection. When I asked if I should pay, the doctor looked aghast: "No, madame. This is FRANCE!"
    My favorite thing: the French attitude! (Although I also really appreciate the socialized health care.)

    Reply

  • Lana February 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I love how you layered the ephemera. Wanna see more!

    Reply

  • se7en February 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    This post just looks like such a happy place to be!!! It really looks fab – who wouldn't want to Doodle in French!!!

    Reply

  • Lori-Ann February 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Mm, sidewalk cafes, petites gateaux, and scarves wrapped around necks

    Reply

  • Laurie Rice February 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    The entire city of Paris is my favorite French thing.

    Reply

  • Narineh February 28, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I was completely immersed in everything I saw in France last spring. The labels on bottles, the signs outside the local patisserie, the metro, the designs and ironwork on the architecture. The beauty is so subtle, but so expansive when you finally take a look at it. Its hard to choose just one, but I'd have to say the garden at the Rodin museum, especially with the Eiffel Tower peeking into the view at very specific angles.

    Reply

  • Lily February 28, 2012 at 10:58 am

    The outdoor cafe table and chairs!

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  • @KayliBarth February 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    My favourite French thing? Poutine, of course.

    Reply

  • Kelly February 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Macarons and pastries!

    Reply

  • Candace Dallas March 1, 2012 at 6:03 am

    I will go to Paris one day. I will!

    Reply

  • Sherri S. March 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Ooh la la, who can choose just one? I love the Eiffel Tower, Amelie, Versailles, pain au chocolat…the list is endless! Thanks for the chance to win what looks like a tres jolie book!

    Reply

  • Andrea Delumeau March 4, 2012 at 4:31 am

    i live in france, but if i win, the book could be sent to a friend of mine in the US, who would love to have it!
    my favorite thing? a beret, the cheese, thei eiffel tower, picknick lunch on the champs de mars?
    andrea

    Reply

  • Shirley Windham March 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Yes, I'm a Franciphile and high on my list are the Wallace fountains. They're so beautiful. How about the intricate door knockers? I wish My handwriting looked like theirs. Can you?

    Reply

  • GirlChris3 March 16, 2012 at 6:27 am

    I wouldn't know where to begin! Since it's breakfast time where I am, I will go with pain au chocolat for my favorite French thing. Or a crepe with Nutella….which I think I ate daily on my last trip to Paris. Mmmmmmmmm!

    Reply

  • Sharon Gross March 16, 2012 at 6:31 am

    My favorite French experience…well they say you never forget your time in Paris. I collect antique bakelite jewelry. On our first trip there, wandering through neighborhoods down winding streets I came upon an antique store filled with bakelite jewelry. I looked all around and for some reason decided not to purchase, being careful to watch my spending. By the time I returned home, I had regretted my decision. A year later we found out we would be returning to Paris. While there, one afternoon I decided to dragged my husband and son, through streets to find that shop.I was determined to go back there! Lo and behold, I found the shop. And there sitting in the window, was the pin I had wanted to buy, the year before. I went inside and made the purchase, as it was waiting for my return. No you never forget your time in Paris!

    Reply

  • Christy March 16, 2012 at 6:33 am

    My daughter went to France several years ago and my granddaughter went last year. Having never been myself, I would have to say my favorite iconic French thing would be the Eiffel Tower.

    Reply

  • melissa ph March 16, 2012 at 6:53 am

    How can I pick one favorite French thing…the art, the people, the culture!! I love it all! Not to mention the French Countryside is the most idyllic!!!

    Reply

  • Kshoo Design March 16, 2012 at 7:02 am

    I love all the french flea markets and Eiffel Tower..

    Reply

  • edina March 16, 2012 at 7:10 am

    For sure it's le délicieux macaron!

    Reply

  • Nysa March 16, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Canneles!

    I spent a year in Bordeaux, in the rain ("c'est pas normal!" everyone told me but i still don't believe them), and at that time canneles were a special treat you could only get in Bordeaux. Now of course you can get them at La Boulange (because the guy is from Bordeaux!).

    Reply

  • M. Wilson March 16, 2012 at 7:28 am

    a little quilted Chanel handbag. I bought one in 1989, during my Junior Year Abroad, and I still have it. <3

    Reply

  • Susanna March 16, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Everything about Paris….the flea markets, the cafes, the pastries, the museums, the bistros…..

    Reply

  • lizzie_nyc March 16, 2012 at 7:43 am

    The iconic blue and white striped sailor shirt is my favorite French thing.

    Reply

  • Sage March 16, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Que c'est jolie, votre livre! Chose préférée en France: le pain au chocolat, bien sûr!

    Reply

  • Maria McMath March 16, 2012 at 8:39 am

    My favorite iconic French thing is French rap music. Don't know about it, who or why? Check it out: http://drhiphop.wordpress.com. My book won't be a doodle book, though this one looks beautiful!!!

    Reply

  • Ethel March 16, 2012 at 8:39 am

    "J'aime planer sur les grands boulevards," just like Yves Montand.

    Reply

  • Bonnie March 16, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Oh, this book sounds delightful. I adore France and French everything. The French language is beauty in itself. Chocolate croissants are crazy good. The food is always fresh, especially the salads and strawberries. I sleep next to a postcard of Eze su Mer. Ile de Saint Honorat is one of my favorite memories of the peaceful island full of green everywhere. Its wonderful how film is appreciated as a true art form. Overall, it seems the French take time to smell the roses. I never see them stressed. …and best of all, there are no 7-11s, and many steps to climb instead of elevators.

    Reply

  • Betsy March 16, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Favorite French thing: the food, of course! Croissants. Breakfast sandwiches made of a piece of baguette slathered with fresh butter and country ham. Radis au beurre. And that's just morning faire — I could go on and on!

    Reply

  • T. Camille Herman March 16, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I'm on my way to Paris with the tots–a perfect book to have in my carry-on!

    Reply

  • Mercedes Lawry March 16, 2012 at 10:33 am

    First trip to Paris- I cried (with joie de vivre)& fell in love with the roofs!

    Reply

  • Ruth Hynds March 16, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I went to my sketchbook and found little girl's dresses, coifs, profiles of men on trains, women with cats, dogs at the feet of outside tea tables, canopies of trees overhanging sun-bright streets in Antibes.

    Reply

  • trig hardie March 16, 2012 at 11:50 am

    my favorite iconic image are cafe chairs. i feel the french have the most beautful language and the best food. and both are “done” while sitting in a cafe chair. thank you for sharing your art with us. seeing it make me happy!!!

    Reply

  • Julie March 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    My favorite iconic French thing- I have to say things, because it's a tie between the Eiffel Tower and a french poodle!!

    Reply

  • diane March 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    The styles of nearly everything in Paris – clothing, bottles, food, pets, etc.!
    Thanks!

    Reply

  • Sherri S. March 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    The joie de vivre! The little metal chairs and plane trees…the Tuileries. All of it!

    Reply

  • Charlotte March 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Ladurée Macarons

    Reply

  • Anna Marie B March 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    A grey tiger cat asleep beneath a grand gatheirng of red geraniums growing in an ancient clay pot.

    Reply

  • Lisa March 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    a pain au chocolat!

    Reply

  • John March 16, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Warm buttered croissants with fresh jam. Oh what a delight!

    Reply

  • JustVal March 17, 2012 at 5:47 am

    What a wonderful book. Can not wait to experiment with the collage ideas!

    Reply

  • Anne March 18, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Excellent coffee while sitting on a patio – fresh flowers on a table in early morning sun.

    Reply

  • Mlle Lonnie Best Jarvis March 18, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Sacrebleu! A chance to win your “all things French” doodle book sounds too tempting! My favorite French thing can be found in charming villages off the beaten path in the south of France. St. Paul de Vences is one of the better known villages, but there are smaller ones in the vicinity where local artisans display their wares. I am so fond of French pottery: from gratin dishes to little ramequins. Placed on a Provençal tablecloth around a table on the patio on a delightful spring afternoon under the wisteria , the warm yellow tableau could momentarily transport you to a scene in one of Monet’s gardens.

    Reply

  • Connie Wright March 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    That would be sitting at a sidewalk cafe watching the people go by.

    Reply

  • J. Miller March 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I like the Mona Lisa, or more precisely, tacky commercial reproductions of the Mona Lisa. My favorite was a set of salt and pepper shakers, one being a three dimensional representation of the figure, the other that of the frame!

    Reply

  • Grace March 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    I love the pastries and bread!

    Reply

  • Laura October 28, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Spending time walking around Paris with Anna Corba!

    Reply

  • Shannon October 28, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    What I like is: Joie de vivre! French art, dance, food, language … and love!
    Joie de vivre (French pronunciation: [ʒwa də vivʁ], joy of living) is a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit.

    Reply

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