Q&A: Doodling in French with Guest Artist Anna Corba!

Today we welcome Anna Corba, artist and author of Doodling in French: How to Draw with Joie de Vivre. She shares stories of her time spent in France and how her surroundings influenced the idea for a book all about doodling.

From drawing and doodling to stamping and scrapbooking, you do it all! When did you first discover your creative talent?
I always loved drawing from a young age, but my creative journey unfolded slowly through many years of school and experimentation.  My art and craft style has shown many sides depending on the circumstance, whether for personal pleasure, to make a living, or as a serendipitous incidence. This book was a combination of all three.

Congratulations on your book, Doodling in French. Everything about it is meticulously and beautifully assembled, from the table of contents to the blank doodling pages in the back. Did you know exactly what images to sketch at the start, or was it an ongoing process of discovery?
When I wrote the book proposal, I did spontaneous drawings based on objects I saw lying around my studio.  It was only when I sent the proposal off that I realized all of these items were French and the title Doodling in French was born.  As I proceeded with the bulk of the book, I created chapter outlines to give me some sense of where I might be headed, but I didn’t always obey my own suggestions!

You’ve noted that your time spent in France as a young girl and on summer trips made a lasting impression on your appreciation for art. Is there a particular trip that you remember fondly?
I remember being in the town of Carcassonne, wandering about its winding streets and staring up at the walls that surrounded this medieval town, being really hungry and begging my mom and dad to find a restaurant that served French fries!  And when we did, I remember that we left a coin on a little china tip plate that was so perfectly pretty. Even at eight years old, I felt that this was very civilized and distinctly unique.

Living on both coasts must have been a great opportunity for you to experiment with different colors, textures, and scenery. Can you tell us a bit about the different art styles of the east and west coasts?
When I lived in Michigan, my palette was much muddier than the palette I developed in California.  Back east, mustards, olives, and rusts come into play as the leaves change color and we begin to hunker down for the winter.  There was also a bit more of an industrial edge to my materials, and I started to use discarded metals and rusty nails.  After moving to the west coast, my artistic edges began to soften; ribbons and buttons started to appear and the sunlight brought brighter, prettier colors to the forefront.  Because not everything goes through a hibernation period and needs to be “shined up” come spring, I intuitively felt more drawn to make art that was “prettier” from the outset.

Is there one sketch that you find yourself doodling more frequently?
I sketch bowls a lot. I find this shape to be beautiful in its simplicity and the way its form informs its function, so the latte bowl comes to mind.  I purposely kept the drawings simple so that I could dissect them for the reader.

In the introduction of Doodling in French, you mention that doodling in French is all about a dream. Now that you’ve published this book, what is your next dream?
I love creating books. I believe in them as objects of beauty and inspiration, so I would love to work on another book project.  I also consider France to be a country of inimitable style and hope to continue combing the flea markets and teaching workshops there.

What advice do you have for young aspiring artists who doodle on restaurant napkins and in spiraled notebooks?
Anyone who loves to doodle is involved in creating their own little world. These worlds are valuable for their originality and can be cultivated in so many ways.  You may choose to keep your sketches private or you may choose to show them to the world. Never be afraid to create your own opportunity.

Thank you, Anna, for sharing your artistic adventures with us! If you would like to be inspired by all things French as well, you can pick up a copy of  Doodling in French at The Shoppe, available for 10% off the retail price for a limited time.

We have one copy of Doodling in French to give away to a lucky fan! For a chance to win, comment below and tell us what French items inspire you.*

 
Update: The winner of Doodling in French is Sherry Loomis! Congratulations, Sherry! Look out for an email from us and we’ll send you your copy.
 

*Contest open to U.S. residents. Deadline for entries is 5/27/12. A winner will be chosen randomly and notified on 5/28/12.

 

 
 

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Posted: Monday, May 21st, 2012 @ 8:51 am
Categories: Contest, Guest Artist.
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66 Responses to “Q&A: Doodling in French with Guest Artist Anna Corba!”

  1. Diana Pyeatt says:

    I love ze tub!

  2. Kira Ashley says:

    I personally enjoy anything that has French written on it, because the language is so beautiful and when used as a background or part of my collaging and mixed media art it gives my piece a romantic flair. So when I go shopping for French pieces I generally look for older books or pieces of paper (like old merchant receipts), to cut parts out of and paste elsewhere! It adds a touch of whimsical and a flair for romance!

  3. Cathy H. says:

    I love French perfume bottles! I love the shapes and the beautiful, romatic nature of the wording on them. Doodling In French looks like a wonderful!! Thank you for the chance to win!

  4. Maureen says:

    I have just started playing with doodling and I would be so inspired by this book. I love the elegance of the French lifestyle and the pictures/doodles that you have shown in this post represent that. Thank you for the chance to win a copy, I cannot afford to buy it at the moment so I will pray I win!

  5. Laurie says:

    I took four years of French in high school and have been madly in love with anything French since then. These drawings of Anna are just priceless — simple but elegant! I’m not much of an artist, but these drawings inspire me to pick up a fine-point pen!!!! Thanks for the chance to win!

  6. jenni says:

    oh, i love anna corba and i love this book. why it would be like sitting right down next to her and watching her entire history spill out on the book’s pages. then to have a chance to doodle away in the blank pages at the end of the book…why it would be such a fitting end! i doodled during all those boring lectures in high school and college….on snatches of paper during phone conversations when i was tethered by a telephone cord to the wall. i still doodle to get inspiration going. i have several of anna’s books and would love to add this to my collection. thanks for a great interview to get me salivating and for this opportunity to win her book. i love you guys.

  7. Becky Kilpatrick says:

    I love everything French. The language is beautiful, the country is beautiful, and I agree their sense of style is great.

  8. Susan says:

    I love the simple ironwork shapes, like Anna shows in her mannequin and bed. So beautiful!

  9. Barbara J says:

    Love the instruction on creating the scrolls and curves. So beautiful!

  10. Joy Wright says:

    Without any forethought or intent I have collected a few mannequins of various sizes. They hold jewelry, scarves, clothing and on one I have draped an heirloom hand stitched lace collar from my great grandmother. I now realize, looking around my room that it looks decidedly Parisienne. Time for a fresh coat of paint and some French-inspired fabrics!

  11. LA Brown says:

    I have recently returned to my French language studies and am having great fun following many French blogs (in English and in French). Have returned to my love of art…especially watercolors. LOVE the colors used in French “doodling” and contemporary graphics. Would love to read this book :-)

  12. Anne_D says:

    The shapes of perfume bottles inspire me (also the pastries, but that’s another matter entirely).

    The book looks fascinating, and I’d love to win a copy!

  13. Nancy Patterson says:

    The sewing forms inspire me..my grandmother was French and an excellent seamstress. She taught my mother who make her own prom dress by hand (without a machine!) That skill was lost on me, but I have always admired them. Her dresses said “French” to me!! I miss them!

  14. Jackie says:

    I love all things French. The chandeliers in Versailles are one of my favorites. The Paris stone is very beautiful in its cream gray color and I love the look of the buildings that are made out of this stone. I doodle designs better than objects. I could learn a lot from this book.

  15. Jerry says:

    I love vintage fashion designs.

  16. Carol F says:

    I just love the french influence, would love winning and put it to work in my home!

  17. Oh la la! French pastries inspire me! I adore the idea of dooding macarons, and gateaux, and pretty patisserie shopfronts! The iconic Eiffel Tower of course, and why does every word look and sound so much prettier in French? I saw this book at a local art store, and was instantly enchanted with it! Merci for the chance to win a copy of my own to treasure!

  18. Outi says:

    Anything French, really, but I love the language, their way with words, but also all kinds of details in French interior design. Love those drawings of Anna’s!

  19. Ella says:

    This looks so magical. If we can’t escape to Paris, we can create our own version, how fun! I love so many images, but lately I’m drawn to le chaise. I started collecting little chairs and benches and have them scattered throughout my home. I love the swirly curves seducing us to take time out. Oui, time to reflect, time to relax, and time to daydream. Imagine we are in Paris drinking Cafe au Lait getting ready to go sight seeing! In my dream I also won this book ;D

  20. Dottie says:

    I am a major francophile. My favorite french piece is a marble top table with scrolled iron legs that I purchased years ago in Louisiana from a couple who traveled to France every year to buy beautiful antiques and treasures. My fantasy occupation!!!!

  21. Lisa M says:

    I’ve heard so much about the French flea markets; what an absolute dream it would be to visit one! Or five! Love the doodles; they’re so delicate and stylish.

  22. Lisa says:

    I have recently returned from a trip to France and I must say; I absolutely fell in love with Paris and everything French. I love the French style and I will incorprate that French flair in my art work with the help of this book.

  23. Annie says:

    Truly if it’s French, anything made by or influenced by Anna Corba or a Someresque piece of art, it automatically either goes in my “artful wishes” file, or “OMG I can’t wait to make that” I couldn’t pick just one thing…………it’s all beautiful

  24. Oh I love anything French, but I can imagine all kinds of things to do with the wonderful mannequin doodles. thanks for the chance to win

  25. Doreen says:

    Having just returned from a vacation in Paris, I’m inspired by the many colorful sidewalk cafes: blues and yellows, reds and white, pretty awnings, and the fanciful typography of the cafe names. And the flea markets are full of eye candy for the artful soul.

  26. I’ve really wanted to check out this book! I hope I win :) The lines and shapes inspire me :)

  27. Your book looks so beautiful – if I don’t win I will definitively be purchasing this one! I love all things french but vintage postcards or women and children are some of my favorites to work with. I also love very old French letters or old handwritten school papers found at the flea markets in France.

  28. What a fun idea for a book – I think the idea of doodling furniture is tickling my fancy right now – Thanks so much for the chance to win!

  29. tabitha grace jones says:

    Anna’s book looks absolutely amazing & inspiring.
    Getting a glipse of the presentation with so much beautiful eye candy just draws you in. I love metal – I just adore the wire basket with the egg in it next to the bird. Thank you for this generous opportunity & for the backgroud insight Anna provided as your guest.
    tabithagrace

  30. MARIE says:

    I’m always excited to hear about a great new book. This one sounds so lovely – doodling and FRENCH inspired – what a great combination. I love everything French – the food, the clothes, the furniture, and especially the language! Who doesn’t love a sexy French accent?

  31. Lynn says:

    Bicycles with cane baskets (potted up with pretty flowers) propped against a stone wall near a gorgeous blue door. I also love wrought iron tables and chairs with a terracotta pot of geraniums in the middle of the table. The table and chairs would be on the other side of the blue door, on a cobbled street. Of course, there would be a book, written in French and laying open on the wrought iron table. Plenty of scope with doodling wrought iron patterns.

  32. Carol B says:

    The Parisian Flower Stalls inspire me!

    Thanks for a chance to win!

    Carol B
    ciaoitalia2007(at)gmail(dot)com

  33. The book looks totally delicious! I love the prettiness of French design, the birds and cages, the sweet curliques on the wirework and furniture, the simple French countryside farmhouse. The doorways, the cafes, enamelware, old French documents and books…All so charming!

  34. Nancy Strickland says:

    I have been away from drawing and painting for quite a while but looking at this beautiful french doodling makes me want to jump in with both feet. I am so inspired by the tub that I want to get out my pens and pencils and get to work. NOW!!

  35. Jane says:

    The French sidewalk cafes and storefronts, paintings, books, language & paper ephemera. So inspiring in the art world.

  36. Eve says:

    I love everything French. I had a wonderful time there and can’t wait to go back…majored in French at college. I am so inspired by these drawings.

  37. Joan Morrison says:

    Love this book! Want one!!

  38. Madeline Rains says:

    I am married to a Belgian man and am enamored with all things French (though he would say Belgian) that come out of his mouth. I have always wanted to go to Paris. This book seems like a doorway there as well as a way to get better at sketching. Thank you for the chance to win one!

  39. Michele says:

    I love my notion of what I think life in France must surely be like…delicious food, outdoor cafes, beautiful buildings, unhurried dinners, the freshest bakery eaten every morning for breakfast with a perfect shot of espresso…LOVE!!!!

  40. Cindy says:

    I love all of the scrollwork that is evident in many of the french items. I also love the term joie de vivre! It seems so happy and carefree! Thanks for the chance to win this beautiful book.

  41. Jamie Herron says:

    I have been a francophile for most of my life (a long, long time!). I surround myself with as much french and french-inspired art and signage. I would LOVE to create my own french artwork! I am so glad to know this book exists! (And I hope I win it!)

  42. Shellie says:

    Good question. I like everything French. Of course, the Eiffel Tower. How could you not? Even the pink light inspires me. I took 3 years of French in high school because I was intrigued. Everything seemed more elegant and beautiful if it was French. I would love to have this book (and finally win something)!

  43. Alice says:

    Maybe we all have a little French in our creative spirit, and this could help bring that out. It sounds like an adventure I would enjoy.

  44. Nancy says:

    It’s a beautiful book that I would love to own. I like all things French but mostly would like to doodle the food and dishes myself. But I am always drawn to anything with the Eiffel Tower on it too!

  45. Anni says:

    Looks lovely. All of Anna Corba’s work is gently wrought, whether dark or lightheartedly rendered.

  46. Tammy Graves says:

    What a wonderful opportunity! I hope to win a copy of this sweet book and start doodling soon!

  47. Jami says:

    The French Poodle! My Toy Poodle Flash recently died at the age of 17. He was my little Frenchman and I miss my baby terribly. He was red as a baby, but turned a grayish brown in his old age. He was a lover!

  48. Nan says:

    I am in love with anything French, from the Magnificant old architecture such as the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, to, statues, clocks, windows with shutters and wrought iron railings. Don’t forget the romantic chateau’s, Moulin Rouge windmill design and sign, Pont du Gard structure, beach umbrellas in Nice, beautiful street signs on des Champs Elysees, Rodin Museum, Parisian street Lamps, beautiful bridges, wine glass and lovers kissing in a warm embrace. This book is fabulous and takes me straight to France in my dreams. Thanks for the opportunity to win such a wonderful, creative, work of art in itself.

  49. Nan says:

    and lace…..don’t forget French lace. That would make for some wonderful doodling.

  50. Cecile Palou says:

    Lamp posts and wire bread baskets are some of my favorite. They tend to be “doodle designed” and are truly inspiring.

  51. Rhonda says:

    French ephemera and old French paper boxes influence me the most. The more torn and aged the better. I was in Paris last year and dream of another trip soon.

  52. Sandy Z. says:

    I often feel intimidated when doodling. Your step by step instructions is simple and beautiful. It gives me confidence and inspiration. Thank you.

  53. Barbara I. says:

    I was born in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, France and attended kindergarten there. I still have my petit cahier — a little pink covered “notebook” that includes work I did during the school year such as addition, subtraction, ordinal numbers and writing in cursive. I started kindergarten when I was 4 years old. Looking at my little notebooks inspires me! Thanks for the opportunity to win Anna’s book.

  54. Melissa says:

    Love doodling French fashions- dresses, scarves, purses! I am inspired by the women’s sense of style and the way they hold themselves. Also, the outdoor markets, bread and French desserts- yum! Thank you for the delightful look inside of Anna’s book and thoughts!

  55. Alexis says:

    Clothes & all the crystal items like goblets & perfume bottles & inkwells. :)

  56. Roxanne Hawley says:

    Thank you for the change to win this book. French items that inspire me are the French Beret (because I’m an artist and I identify with this), Paris and French sidewalk cafes.

  57. Vicky Weaver says:

    I love the way you simplified the drawings, while keeping a total easy going French feel to all of them.

  58. Susan Bullock says:

    I soooo love any thing French!!! My favorites are dress forms and of course anything with the Eiffel Tower. Thanks for the chance to win ~

  59. Lauretta Lundquist says:

    I am going to France soon to celebrate my 25th anniversary. I am hoping to find lots of old books to manipulate. Now that is inspiring!

  60. Emily says:

    Love French script and sidewalk cafes.

  61. Susie Cross says:

    The Eiffel Tower inspires me to create art.

  62. Karla says:

    Ms. Corba’s work reminds me that art is to be enjoyed just by the doing. With all the stresses of life, I enjoy perusing her book and being inspired to relax and just “do.”

    For my “found” moments of serenity, thank you Ms. Corba.

  63. Angelique S says:

    My 6-year-old daughter just finished doing a report on France. We loved all the pictures of the Eiffel Tower! So elegant- thanks for the peek inside this book!

  64. Aubrey Challman says:

    I love most everything French, but what inspires me most is the food! The French have perfected the art of making beautiful food, worthy of anyone’s admiration :)

  65. Debbie House says:

    Anything at all in French is so beautiful. I mostly love the architecture of the buildings and the countryside.

  66. Carolyn Hendry says:

    The Fashion………..so stylish!

Leave a Reply

Gabriela ContestGuest Artist

Today we welcome Anna Corba, artist and author of Doodling in French: How to Draw with Joie de Vivre. She shares stories of her time spent in France and how her surroundings influenced the idea for a book all about doodling.

From drawing and doodling to stamping and scrapbooking, you do it all! When did you first discover your creative talent?
I always loved drawing from a young age, but my creative journey unfolded slowly through many years of school and experimentation.  My art and craft style has shown many sides depending on the circumstance, whether for personal pleasure, to make a living, or as a serendipitous incidence. This book was a combination of all three.

Congratulations on your book, Doodling in French. Everything about it is meticulously and beautifully assembled, from the table of contents to the blank doodling pages in the back. Did you know exactly what images to sketch at the start, or was it an ongoing process of discovery?
When I wrote the book proposal, I did spontaneous drawings based on objects I saw lying around my studio.  It was only when I sent the proposal off that I realized all of these items were French and the title Doodling in French was born.  As I proceeded with the bulk of the book, I created chapter outlines to give me some sense of where I might be headed, but I didn’t always obey my own suggestions!

You’ve noted that your time spent in France as a young girl and on summer trips made a lasting impression on your appreciation for art. Is there a particular trip that you remember fondly?
I remember being in the town of Carcassonne, wandering about its winding streets and staring up at the walls that surrounded this medieval town, being really hungry and begging my mom and dad to find a restaurant that served French fries!  And when we did, I remember that we left a coin on a little china tip plate that was so perfectly pretty. Even at eight years old, I felt that this was very civilized and distinctly unique.

Living on both coasts must have been a great opportunity for you to experiment with different colors, textures, and scenery. Can you tell us a bit about the different art styles of the east and west coasts?
When I lived in Michigan, my palette was much muddier than the palette I developed in California.  Back east, mustards, olives, and rusts come into play as the leaves change color and we begin to hunker down for the winter.  There was also a bit more of an industrial edge to my materials, and I started to use discarded metals and rusty nails.  After moving to the west coast, my artistic edges began to soften; ribbons and buttons started to appear and the sunlight brought brighter, prettier colors to the forefront.  Because not everything goes through a hibernation period and needs to be “shined up” come spring, I intuitively felt more drawn to make art that was “prettier” from the outset.

Is there one sketch that you find yourself doodling more frequently?
I sketch bowls a lot. I find this shape to be beautiful in its simplicity and the way its form informs its function, so the latte bowl comes to mind.  I purposely kept the drawings simple so that I could dissect them for the reader.

In the introduction of Doodling in French, you mention that doodling in French is all about a dream. Now that you’ve published this book, what is your next dream?
I love creating books. I believe in them as objects of beauty and inspiration, so I would love to work on another book project.  I also consider France to be a country of inimitable style and hope to continue combing the flea markets and teaching workshops there.

What advice do you have for young aspiring artists who doodle on restaurant napkins and in spiraled notebooks?
Anyone who loves to doodle is involved in creating their own little world. These worlds are valuable for their originality and can be cultivated in so many ways.  You may choose to keep your sketches private or you may choose to show them to the world. Never be afraid to create your own opportunity.

Thank you, Anna, for sharing your artistic adventures with us! If you would like to be inspired by all things French as well, you can pick up a copy of  Doodling in French at The Shoppe, available for 10% off the retail price for a limited time.

We have one copy of Doodling in French to give away to a lucky fan! For a chance to win, comment below and tell us what French items inspire you.*

 
Update: The winner of Doodling in French is Sherry Loomis! Congratulations, Sherry! Look out for an email from us and we’ll send you your copy.
 

*Contest open to U.S. residents. Deadline for entries is 5/27/12. A winner will be chosen randomly and notified on 5/28/12.

 

 
 

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