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.