I am excited to share a new seamless pattern I recently developed for a range of application from textile, home decor and stationery items. This fun and quirky pattern can vary in size and colour as well, if needed.
First, I would like to invite you to visit the Canadian Women in Design website which showcases Canadian women in design who lead and inspire others.
As part of this great initiative, I have been invited to share my thoughts in an interview which got published earlier this week. It has been a pleasure to collaborate and be a part of such a great project, and I would like to invite you to do the same by nominating a Canadian woman that inspires you.
You can read my interview and learn more about me by following this link: https://womenindesign.ca/interviews/valerygoulet/
It has been a very long time since I wrote on this blog. Part of it is because I had a lot of things to take care of (client work and teaching loads) and also, I find the online media consuming a lot of my time. As a result, I have decided to close down the Valérydesignwrks Facebook page and hopefully spend more time here, where I can share my work and knowledge.
Recently, I rediscovered something I enjoyed a lot as a child: illustrating over photographs! Back then, I would illustrate on my grandmother's Châtelaine magazines by adding some black teeth and eyeliner to the models. This time around, I am creating some little stories by adding faces to things.
At first, I wasn't too sure what I was looking for with this project but I realized how inspiring this is and I would like to be able to collaborate with others in order to create more of those little collaborative stories!
If you would like to submit an image, please get in touch. I will be posting more visual on this blog.
Aujourd'hui, I simply wanted to share with you some simple process I go through when creating some of my illustration.
This personal project started as a very simple illustration created directly in Adobe Illustrator. The inspiration came from an image included in an email I received today. I found the colour palette interesting.
Keeping some of the elements from the photograph, I created the vector illustration below.
Finally, I brought this to my iPad and using Procreate, I added all the desired textures!
Last September, I took part in the Bulletin Board, a blog post series aimed at Edmonton based design students. Posts will be released throughout the Fall and Winter semesters. Hopefully, the information shared in them will help students with their journey of becoming a professional designer!
The series will be presented on the GDC Alberta North Chapter website. Since I wrote a large portion of this first post alongside my GDC peers I have decided to post it below. Enjoy!
*A special thank you to Alex Descôtes and Adam Goudreau for their help with this project.
Hopefully this summer was a great opportunity for you to unwind, travel and/or save up for the upcoming school year. Now what? Classes have started and everyone is excited about learning and discovering new things! To build on this excitement, we have created The Bulletin Board and have gathered some useful information that we hope will help you learn and grow faster on your journey of becoming a professional designer. Enjoy the first issue of The Bulletin Board and have a wonderful semester!
One challenging aspect of starting a new project is that students don’t always know the ins and outs of their design applications. Did you know that if you’re an Edmonton Public Library member you have free access to all Lynda.com tutorials and courses? The EPL membership is free!
As students often run on a tight budget, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the great discounts the school art and book store may offer. In addition, our city has a number of art stores that might help you find unique supplies. Below are a handful that are located in different areas of the city.
Special Book Collections
In this era, it’s definitely tempting to travel through the web for inspiration, but libraries are still quite unique and offer resources we can’t always experience online.
Make sure to drop by your school library and walk through the aisles. The great thing is that you can grab all of the books and magazines that interest you without having to buy any of them! Also, inquire about the artist book collections at both Universities as you don’t need to be a member to enjoy those great pieces while on site.
There is a ton of great online resources in addition to the printed material the different libraries have to offer. Below are some great recommendations from us.
Eye on Design – Website/Newsletter that covers a range of design topics
Lecture in Progress – an online resource offering advice about and insight into working in the creative industry.
No Plastic Sleeves – Blog that highlights inventive portfolios and promotional pieces.
The Strobist – Extensive blog covering different lighting and technical photography practices.
This concludes the first issue of The Bulletin Board. We truly hope that you’ll visit all the great spots and websites we shared with you. See you in a month with more great resources. Bonne rentrée scolaire!
Recently, I had the pleasure of developing a new line of stationery for little ones. I have always enjoyed illustrating greeting cards in my spare time, but the audience was always for adults. This time around, I thought about kids having the opportunity to share the simple pleasure of the hand-written note. Inspired in part by the French designers working at Papier Tigre, as well as other great designers residing all around the world, I wanted to create a high-quality product that is functional and adorned with great typefaces, graphics and illustrations.
The first collection I am launching is the kid's stationery set Les amis Géo. This little stationery set features six different geometric illustrations on the front with space to write (or draw!) a message on the back.
Each of these cards are printed on high-quality paper allowing you to write easily using the pencil (or crayon!) of your choice. The cards are also very thick which protects them from unwanted folds. A colorful seam runs through the middle of each card. Each note comes matched with a high-quality, white envelope to which an ultra-coloured printed lining is added.
The option for personalization means you can have your child's name printed right on the card. A minimum of 25 cards is required to customize your card.
It is also possible to purchase a single card. For this option, you (or your child) can write their name on the card. This stationery is available in English, French and any other language of your choice!
You can currently order your stationery set online. As we go, the list of stockists will expand! Stay tuned!
As some of you might know, I occupy the Education Chair of the Graphic Designers of Canada in the Alberta North Chapter. Along with the design community, I help shape the future of design.
On Saturday, March 4th we would like to invite you to our Annual General Meeting taking place at the Plaza Bowl to connect with our design community and perhaps play some bowling with us!
It’s been too long! The reason for this post is to share great news with you all!
Things are going well and I haven’t a chance to actively write on the blog since last November. I have been busy preparing the new year's workload and developing projects that will see the light of day pretty soon.
But to get back to the great news: One the rebrands I worked on for the Alberta Construction Safety Association is currently a finalist for the Marketing Award of Distinction of the 2017 Alberta Business Awards of Distinction! The winners will be announced on Friday, February 24 and I am really excited for them since the ACSA team I worked with on this project was truly amazing. It’s awesome to see great clients get rewarded.
For this project I worked in collaboration with The Met Agency and I was responsible for the overall Creative Direction and Art Direction. I also designed the new visual identity, stationery, banners, brand book and branding guidelines.
It always feels good to complete a project because it means that there is now more room for a new one! With every project comes a load of new learning experience and for this illustration, I was excited to give my new iPad Pen a try.
Additionally, it was recommended for me to try out the digital painting app Procreate, which demonstrates lots of great functionalities. Since both tools were fairly new, I didn't feel confident enough to work solely on my iPad for this commissioned piece but I have decided to try those tools out and sketch with them.
As you can see in the video below, I first sketched my illustration on paper, digitalized it and then I traced over darker lines within the app to clean the sketch up before I could send it to the client.
From there, I brought this sketch in Photoshop and completed the illustration with my Wacom tablet, which I felt more comfortable with.
Discovering new things is always very exciting and I am looking forward to the next illustrative project!
In closing, I would like to invite you to grab a copy of the next issue of Avenue Edmonton Magazine to read the story this illustration accompanies 'Crestwood, now and then' written by the talented Lauralyn Chow.
I can't believe it has already been 3 months since I last wrote on my blog! So many projects saw the light lately, and I am definitely planning on sharing them with you! For now, I simply wanted to share one great book I found on the topic of Surface Pattern Design, since it has occupied a lot of my time recently.
I have been developing pattern designs for many years now, applying them to different products such as clocks, tumblers and gift wraps. It has been a fun experience and a great side project.
Last summer, I went to the ICON9 conference in Austin and there was a lot of discussions around licensing. It made me consider getting even more information about this industry and I have been working towards bringing this project to the next level.
The first step for me was to research on the topic. I looked for books, websites and people that could help me find what I was looking for. I spent hours browsing and looking for useful information. I found that there is a lot of resources on 'Surface Pattern Design & Licencing' but I define those as 'inspirational resources'. It is great to be able to discover surface pattern designers and their amazing work but I was personally more interested in the history and business side of it, which I found really hard to get.
Patternalia: An Unconventional History of Polka Dots, Stripes, Plaid, Camouflage, & Other Graphic Patterns written by Jude Stewart, has been an amazing book. It plumbs the backstories of individual patterns, the surprising twists in how each developed, the parallels between patterns natural and invented, and the curious personalities these patterns accrue over time. I definitely recommend you start with this little book and I wish you a great reading time!
A couple weeks ago, I was invited to sell some of my illustration work at Curioos, an online store that sells mostly exclusive art prints. After some research and after having interesting discussions with other current Curioos' artists, I felt it was a great fit and I submitted my first design.
All prints are manually numbered, signed, embossed and shipped with a certificate of authenticity, which I thought was also pretty interesting.
The first piece I submitted is Lapin de laine, a personal project of mine. Each illustration can be reproduced not only on heavyweight fine art paper but also on canvas, acrylic glass and aluminum.
Between teaching my three classes and working on other client projects this past winter, I had the opportunity to work with Art Director Natalie Kress for the April 2016 issue of the Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine. The article I illustrated for this client speaks to the sinking stocks and how they don't necessarily presage an economic downturn.
Working for a new client is always a little stressful and very exciting as you want to make sure you create something that both of you will find interesting. For me, each new project is an opportunity to learn and improve myself. With editorial illustrations, you want to make sure your message is well communicated and that your illustration captures the essence of the article you illustrate well. This is easy to say but sometimes the ideas are not that easy to find.
With each client, my creative process needs to adapt to them. To better understand my client's expectations, I always get started with some rough sketches and share different ideas we could work on. Since most of my editorial illustrations are created for clients that are often located in different cities, many of our conversations take place through emails. With this project, since the article wasn't fully written at the time I started, the Art Director sent me the following information:
Ahead – The Bear Market, 1/3 page - We are thinking to have two bears peeking out of a cave
Below is the very first document I sent to my client. Those sketches were accompanied by a short sentence. With editorial illustrations, I feel that the image must speak for itself. If you need to write up a long story that explains it, it is probably because you didn't get the right idea in the first place.
Once the concept was selected (Idea no.3), I recreated the bear illustration with the Adobe Draw application.
Once the bear was completed, I imported the illustrations in Illustrator, where I added the colours and created the simple graphic elements that compose the illustration.
Lastly, I completed the illustration in Photoshop before I could send my final illustration to the Art Director.
This assignment was really pleasant to work on. Finding the right idea is probably the toughest part of a project of this kind. I had a lot of fun creating this illustration and Kiplinger's Art Director Natalie Kress was amazing to work with.
If you have any question about this project, please feel free to send an email and I will be happy to get back to you.
I can't believe we are at the end of May already and that I couldn't find a moment to write on my blog until this evening. I am really good at managing my time and I have to say that it has been an exceptionally busy year so far. I started 2016 with a teaching load of three classes. Back in December, I was afraid of the idea, since I have never taught that many classes in a term. My university students were amazing and I enjoyed sharing my knowledge with them. In return, I had the opportunity to mark amazing projects and I have decided to share some of them with you.
The project below is a book cover created by Jamie Craig (@mellowkittehh) for the DES 496 illustration class at the University of Alberta.
'Steal like and artist'
Below is an illustration inspired by @mengju and created by Song Park. The objective of this mini project was for the students to create an original illustration inspired by an artist of their choice without copying them.
As a variation, the students had to choose a masterpiece and illustrate it in the style of the artist of their choice. Below is the work of Marie Espenido who based her illustration style on Juan Carlos of Jotaka Illustration.
Also, I wanted to share one of the numerous animated .gifs we created in February. Nikolina Mileusnic is the author of this funny one.
Finally, because so many great projects were created this past 5 months, I didn't want to include them all in a single post. I am preparing some more for you to keep up with my 'fabulous' creative life. À bientôt!
I have always had a lot of admiration for illustrators that could simply draw something on an object, a wall or any other surface with ease, and without any 'mistake'. Last year, I forced myself into a project that would allow me to develop such a skill. I created this '5 Minute Face' portable booth, in which I create a portrait of the person sitting in front of me with an inked pen. Having a person in front of me, waiting for their face to be illustrated felt extremely uncomfortable at first but also really exciting at the same time because I was challenged to do great work. Since then, drawing people's faces doesn't stress me anymore and I feel quite confident doing so. Over the last year, I have attended multiple corporate events as well as weddings and I have illustrated over 500 faces! I don't think I am quite as good as I originally wished to be, but I am getting there, and this experience helped me improve my illustration skills by a lot.
This year, I was wondering what kind of cards I should be creating for my clients. I had this idea of creating a digital illustration of something whimsical. After spending some time sketching, I realized I wasn't thrilled about any of my sketches and just for fun, I started illustrating cards on blank card stock for my family and friends. Drawing for them is always fun because they know me well and whatever I come up with, they smile at the quirkiness of my drawings.
After drawing a dozen of cards, I realized that this was pretty fun. I actually liked the fact that none of my reindeers was the same on any card and I started adding some little characteristics to give each of them a little bit of personality. I kept creating family members for Rudolph thinking that my clients would probably appreciate this handmade card, since most of the ones that they will receive will be printed. Once more, I challenged myself with something I have never done before and I am pretty happy with the result!
I wish I had enough time to document the whole project and had digitalized all the different reindeers, but forcing myself into this helped once more building some confidence in my own work.
If you wish to receive or give a reindeer card, it is possible to purchase them in my Etsy shop.
I recently shared the fantastic work of the talented illustrator Victo Ngai with my students and I thought it would be a good idea to also share it with you here.
Victo Ngai is a New York based illustrator from Hong Kong who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. "Victo" is not a boy nor a typo, but a nickname derived from Victoria - a leftover from the British colonization.
Victo creates art for newspaper and magazines such as the New York Times and the New Yorker; makes books for publishers such as the Folio Society, Abrams and Tor Forge; and works on advertisement campaigns with companies like the McDonald's, IMAX, MTA Art for Transit (New York subway), Lufthansa Airline and General Electric.
Not only is her work fantastic but I also found the following video to be quite true to the reality of most professional illustrators. You can discover more of her work by visiting her website.
On every Friday of December, Valérydesignwrks is giving away a set of 5 greeting cards to a lucky Instagram follower! To participate, simply 'regram' the appropriate image and you are in!
For the first giveaway, starting the week of November 30th, Valérydesignwrks will be giving away the Monsieur Santa card set! Now, in order to prepare accordingly, make sure to follow @valerydesignrks on Instagram! This giveaway is open to people from all around the world!
In case you really want to own this Monsieur Santa card set, it is possible to purchase it in the Valérydesignwrk's online boutique!
This week, while preparing my material for the illustration class I teach at Grant MacEwan University, I discovered the amazing work of Mouni Feddag, a UK based illustrator who graduated from the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt in Germany.
Her work is incredibly colourful and each piece is so interesting! She works mostly with lead pencils and black ink on inkjet paper and she colours everything digitally.
Lately, I have been experimenting with Linocut. As I was researching the topic, I discovered great illustrators and artists and I wanted to share their work with you. To start this series of posts, I chose the work of Olga Ezova-Denisova, who is an artist and illustrator based in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Her work is fantastic. She not only applies her illustrations to a range of paper mediums, but also to fabric and it is definitely gorgeous.
I also read an interesting interview she did with Frankie, an online Australian Magazine. You can find more of her work on her website as well as her blog. You can also follow her journey on Instagram and Behance. Enjoy!
Below are some projects and images of her process I found interesting and beautiful.
Because it is my first couple weeks of class and I also want to share as much as possible with my graphic design and illustration students, I have decided to introduce you to some of the tools I have been using, along with some comments so you can decide for yourself if you would like to add them to your set for the new school year.
As far as I can remember, I have always appreciated pens and pencils. Shopping with my mother for my school supplies was always exciting for me. These days, I love to look for new tools I can share with my students and friends.
Our local art stores have a lot to satisfy us in that regard. You can go there and spend minutes trying their demo pens to finally find one or many that feel good for you. In Edmonton, I like to go to Colours and DeSerres. They carry different brands so you have a lot to choose from.
I also like online shopping, as the sent parcel feels just like a surprise bag and I am always excited to see if my purchase was great.
Jetpens is definitely my favourite. They have so much, so much stuff! Often you can read the reviews so your purchases are in most cases, good ones. With our dollar value right now, it might not be the best deal you can find, but they definitely have some special gems you won't be able to access easily elsewhere.
My day-to-day pen is a simple Pilot Rasor black pen. I find I can either write or draw with the same tool which is quite convenient. I often bring this one with me at meetings as well as at working sessions.
Now, when it comes to a specific illustration style, I've discovered a ton of great tools over the years. For my '5 Minute Face' illustration booth, I use the Staedtler Marsgraphic 3000 Duo in black. Since it is a hard one to find, when I get my hands on it I usually buy a box of 12. I currently buy them from Colours.
Since the Marsgraphic 3000 Duo creates thick lines, I like to pair it with my very old 00.30 KOH-I-NOOR Rapidograph. The advantage of those technical pens is that you can refill them at any time. They are quite durable and you can keep them for years if you take good care of them. Unfortunately, they require some serious maintenance. You can't leave the ink in the pen, otherwise it will dry and clog it.
If you are buying any rapidograph, you should also think about getting an Ultrasonic Cleaner. Mine is doing an excellent job and it was fairly cheap.
With my Marsgraphic 3000 Duo brush pen, I got quite excited about brush pens and ordered a bunch of different ones to see if I could experiment with different brush thicknesses and lengths. I bought the Double-Sided Brush Pen Sampler (set of 5 brush pens) from Jetpens and was absolutely delighted by the range of styles. I would definitely recommend anyone to buy it. Some of them are super soft and others are quite hard. Also, one was similar to the Staedtler Marsgraphic 3000 Duo I own. This set simply gives you an opportunity to try brush pens and see if it suits your illustrative technique or not.
Finally, always under the brush pen topic, I wanted to share with you the Akashiya Sai Watercolor Brush Pen as well as the Pentel Colour brush. Those types of brush pens are truly made just like a real paintbrush. They have bristles and the line can split if you push too hard while drawing. I like them because they offer a wider range of stroke widths from super thin to really thick. They are a little harder to get used to but once you are comfortable with them, you will certainly adopt them forever. The Pentel Colour brush is refillable. You can either buy refills or attempt to refill them by looking up how others do it on Youtube.
I was planning on getting into the digital
Tools I use and Love by Lisa Congdon
Lettering Gear Guide 2015 by Ryan Hamrick
This time around, I want to walk you through the most recent illustration I've completed for the Avenue Edmonton magazine 'Living on the Fringe'.
For many illustrators and designers, the process is what they struggle with the most. With editorial illustration specifically, because the budget is often tight, having an efficient process is really important in order to stay within budget.
For this assignment, I started with reading the article I had to illustrate and highlighting the group of words I felt were important and that I could represent somehow in my illustration.
• Whyte avenue
• meet Edmonton
• dazzling sun
• melody of sounds
• sweet, salty tang of food
Once I had this list, I started imagining how they could be translated into images and started sketching on blank sheets of paper. Some people like to sketch with a pencil, I prefer to sketch with ink. In this case, I used my Pentel brush pen since this brush was inline with the look I was going for.
After I illustrated some elements, I started to think about my layout and then created images to present to Pete Nguyen, the Art Director on the project.
Once those sketches were presented, the Art Director and I both agreed that it would be interesting to complete the first sketch. He also suggested that we illustrated most elements in monochrome and have the couple being fully coloured.
Once you have your idea and your plan, it is way easier to get into the final execution of your illustration. All I needed to determine was which tool I would be using for the final execution. In this particular case, I wanted to keep the style of the brush pen but wanted to have something that looked cleaner so I recreated all the elements using my iPad, stylus and Adobe Draw.
That app is great for a clean brush pen look. You can certainly also create the same effect in Illustrator but I found using the app faster and more natural.
For the most part, I worked in Illustrator. I refined the layout and coloured the illustration using that software. Once I was happy with it, I brought my illustration into Photoshop to add the textures.
It was a very efficient process and my client and I are happy with the result! If you have any question about this project, please feel free to send an email and I will be happy to get back to you.