Tous les articles par Laduchessederat

I'm a thirty something urban woman, who happens to be obsessed with words. I write stories in french and english and share them on my blog. I believe in positivity and that one day, marmots with rule the world. I talk writing, writer's life and many things books related. Duchess is one of the many things people call me. Feel free to enter, sit, relax and enjoy ;)

Kids and adults attention and impostor syndrome

My husband, my daughter and I have been spending almost all the last 6 week-ends in the mountains where temperatures are way lower than in the city, overheated by the summer sun.

Most mornings are spent at the municipal swimming pool. My  husband and daughter swim for hours while I enjoy painting on a long chair.

Obviously, kids get curious and ask to take a peek at my sketchbooks.

It doesn’t take more than 2 seconds for my impostor syndrome to kick in.

Awkwardness is also very close. Impostor syndrome is common among creatives. It is the sign of intelligent and sensitive persons who are very conscious of everything they still have to learn.

They know what could be expected from a seasoned creative person (writer, illustrator, painter, aso.) and feel like their work is not good enough. So getting attention is very intimidating. Showing very imperfect work is nerve wrecking.

What’s very interesting about connecting with children is their lack of filter.

They are sincere. They are genuine. They are constant learning beings following their interest and curiosity.

If what you’re doing interest them, they come to you without any expectations. To be precise, they do not expect to see something exceptional, they only expect to see something new.

And they dismantle your impostor syndrome by talking straight to you.

The first meeting I have with a kid by the poolside, I’m painting a rose. The kid, a 10-ish year old skinny blond girl with long straight hair keeps walking past and forth me and takes several peeks at my sketchbook while I’m painting. She finally finds enough courage to tell me she finds the rose beautiful.

It touches me a lot. I thought I’m the most intimidated one but that girl fought her shyness and found a way to tell me what she thinks.

She showed a lot of courage.

This little scenario keeps happening with other kids and some adults too.

The kids, most of them less shy than the shy blond girl, come and ask questions and want to take a look at my sketchbooks.

It taught me to be more relaxed when they come to me.

I also learned how to respond to them and make clear only my daughter is allowed to draw in my sketchbook

Adults follow. And the impostor syndrome crawls back.

Adults have expectations. Adults can be judgmental. Adults can chose to use their social filters. Or not.

But so far, I have only met curious adults who are not used to see someone paint or draw in public. They’re not that interested in what’s inside my sketchbook. They try to define what I can or cannot do.

And that is exactly when I feel awkward and see the huge path that is still ahead of me.

I do my best so shush down my insecurities in these situations but acknowledging I don’t know how to do certain things make me feel vulnerable.

I guess it’s because working in corporate environment has taught me to always be ready to meet my boss/colleagues/internal clients expectations.

But this doesn’t happen in a corporate environment.

The take away of this experience is, I guess, even if I see a lot of imperfections in my creations, others will find interest and pleasure in looking at them.

Part of the creative path is accepting that even if we find what we create very imperfect and not attention worthy, others will actually enjoy it.

Sometimes we are the worst judges of our work.


If you’re curious about what I’m painting these days, here’s a sneek peek :

How to work with a creative prompt

Have you noticed how creative prompts seem to be popping around the internet ? I see them all around Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr.

Chances are, if you’re like I was before beginning my creative journey, you don’t know what the hell you’re supposed to do with them.


What is a creative prompt?

It is an idea, a picture, a quote, a poem or a song that is meant to inspire you, a « coup de pouce » that is intended to help you start something personal.

If you don’t come from a creative background, you might be tempted to treat the prompt like a test, trying to figure out the right answer.

But there is no right or wrong answer with a creative prompt.

For example, two weeks ago, I published Order and Creativity, illustrated with a picture of my erasers neatly organised.

I would never have thought of such an article if I wasn’t responding to a creative prompt. In this case, the prompt translated into a blog article.

Answers can go in all directions. It really depends on who’s responding.

Check the prompt response page and you’ll see that everyone came up with a different proposition.


So, how to work with a creative prompt?

Best case scenario, the prompt sets your imagination on fire and inspiration is flowing like water out of the tab.

Rush to your work table and work these creative juices to your advantage.


Other case scenario, you feel like creating but the idea generating department of your brain is going MIA.


Don’t give up just yet. Try a methodic approach.


1/ make a list of everything that comes to your mind in relation with the prompt

2/ mind mapping works too

3/ sit back and spot your favorite association/ideas. Don’t second guess yourself, just go with the flow

4/ lightly sketch/ plot your ideas

Don’t go into details yet.

Play around with your ideas and figure out what gives the best result.

When you’ve settled for an idea that appeals the most to you, try to refine it a little bit, adding details.


5/ It’s time for research.

Feed your idea. Give it flesh and bones.


6/ Once your project looks good to you, go go go and only stop when you’re done.


Try not to put « perfection » pressure on your shoulders.

When working with a prompt, the process is more important than the result.

Breathe. Dive In. Enjoy.

Sketchbook Skool new class Let’s Make a Map

Nate Padavick, freelance artist specialized in map illustration  and founder of They Draw and Travel and They Draw and Cook websites teaches a lovely class on map making in Sketchbook Skool.

I was a little bit skeptic when I first heard of this course. It evoked tedious boring hours and frustration at not achieving perfection. I remember a time when I was maybe 10 or 11, trying my best in industrial drawing exercise (yes we had this kind of classes when I was a kid) and failing.

But the trailer won me over. It introduces us to the instructor and many examples of the kind of maps he would help us to illustrate.

The class isn’t about producing a perfect reproduction of an area, but it is more about turning the spotlights on particularities we love in certain places and in a fun way.

The above trailer made me feel very comforted in the idea that I can do it too because there are no drawing skills required. An no rulers and no ink smudges nor specific sizes and shapes of letters and numbers.

It’s more about  defining what you want to express, deciding which elements will be included in your map. Will you illustrate the savy food market, the indy theater scene, the children’s park and playgrounds or will you show the way to a certain location ? Nate Padavick teaches the method to prepare and draw a map, doodle fun icons and express our love for a specific place on this earth.

The home work assignments are very well paced and anyone can be able to illustrate a map after taking this class.

If you still feel like you’re unsure you want to attend this class,or do not have the opportunity to do so, you can get your hand on Nate’s book Let’s make Map art. It’s an easy introduction to map making and gives the tone for the course.

However the course does go further in the explanations and method than the book.


So, do you feel inspired to draw a map ?


❤ always


Inspiration exists but it has to find you at work

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Creative Revolution e-course

I have been lucky enough to be granted a scholarship for Flora Bowley’s creative revolution e-course.
This means I’m embarking in a seven weeks of creative, intuitive and completely new art-venture. I’m a little bit fidgety right now I must admit.

The course is designed to help its students develop their creativity via a series of creative exercises, meditations and yoga exercises.

It has started on June 5th and so far I’ve tried two exercises : Visual Riffing and Watercolor meditation.

I never really thought this kind of simple exercises would unlock so many things in me but Visual Riffing did.

New forms and patterns showed up in my grid at my first attempt and I’m really happy about it. A rooster showed up in my grid with a circle, a brick wall and a poppy made their way in my grid with a triangle.

My 4 year old daughter also tried the visual riffing exercise and she was absolutely delighted about it. She first treated it like a coloring page but could not resist the temptation to work according to her own imagination.

Since I decided to complete my creative journey with drawing and painting courses, I have gone in a lot of directions, looking for my ‘style’, my voice and I feel this course is going to help me think less and let my intuition lead the way.

❤ always.


Inspiration exists but it has to find you at work.


Order and creativity

I never thought order would be the companion to my creativity.

Actually I thought it was an obstacle because I always need to see my supplies or I don’t use them, there fore I maintained a conscious semi controlled chaos on my desk for years.

But as Jazza says in his videos, having an orderly work space is an invitation to create and invade the space in the process.

On the contrary, chaos seems prolific and creative but it is just… chaos, hence noise, hence a disturbance to express any creativity. At he end it’s something you have to deal with before starting to create.

There is a satisfaction in sorting and aligning our possessions.

Artist Lisa Congdon explored the artistic appeal of order in one of her photographic series called small things organized neatly.

For an entire year, she took pictures of her belongings and private collections, every batch being organized neatly.  And people loved it so much she was offered a book deal that pretty much launched her career as a professional artist.

For this article, I’ve decided to pay an humble homage to her work by presenting you with my erasers, organized neatly.

I got three of them with the Scrawlrbox (the Derwent, the Staedler mars eraser and the Tombow mono). Whilst already having them, I bought the Caran d’Ache and the Mono sand one.

Why ?

Because each one of them is better at erasing a particular kind of mark than the other. The Mono zero is very precise, the Mono sand gently scratches the paper allowing ink to fade away, the Caran d’Ache does wonder with graphite and the Derwent and Faber Castel form a great team for removing colored pencil without smudging the paper.

When I’m concerned, order is often antagonized by the hoarder in me. Especially when it comes to art supplies.

What about you ?

On which side are you ?

The order or the hoarder ? Do you relish in buying new arts supplies ? Which ones ?

❤ always

Inspiration exists but it has to find you at work

This post is a response to the prompt posted in the Daily post bog : order

How to find time for creative activities

Carving time for creative activities never leaves the top ten concerns of non professional creators.

There is the job, there is the house, there is the family. There are duties everywhere we look, so grabbing our pen or brush or our glue gun seems selfish at best.

The following tips might help you find the time to create. It’s about giving yourself permission, reduce your screen time, getting up early and keeping your art projects close to you.

1/ Give yourself permission

You need to give yourself permission to create.

Yes I know it’s difficult and there are many reasons why you shouldn’t. The workload won’t go away, that’s for sure but the guilt doesn’t have to linger there.

It’s okay to take time to create, even everyday, even if you think you are not talented, even if your direct surrounding does not value creativity.

Engaging in a creative activity will make you happy and increase you self confidence as you’ll learn to enjoy the process of creation rather than the result.

So go for it !

2/ Reduce your screen time

TV, Computers, tablets, phones.

How much time per day to you actually spend watching something?

Does everything you watch deserve that time? Or would it be better used on creating something ?

Does the show you’re watching at night bring you more pleasure than engaging in your creative hobby?

Keep watching the shows for which is answer is YES and question the other ones.

I truly got in my daily creative routine the day I decided to restrict my screen time.

I bet you’ll get at least an hour back from your day. An entire hour.

Just think about it.

3/ Get up early (go to bed early)

I did not believe in getting up early (before 7 am) until very recently. But I have to admit that it does work pretty well.

Why ?

Because when you get up early, there is a chance the other ones in your home are still asleep. So you’re in for some me-time until they wake up.

You can start your day with one of your favorite activity and slowly but surely raise your conscience into the day.

No rushed shower, no coffee spill or burn because you’re on a hurry.

Just yourself and your favorite activity.

When the rest of the house wakes up, you’re already out of the coton brain zone and filled with benefits of your early creative session.

This also means you’ll get tired sooner in the day and will go to bed early. But it’s so worth it.

4/ Keep your project close

Writers keep a notebook, illustrators keep a sketchbook, knitters keep their needles in their bag. (I do not know what he others do. If you happen to know, please feel free to share in the comment section).

Why ? Because it allows them to jolt down ideas the second they have them. It’s also a good way to use time wisely during the morning/evening commute.

Keeping your creative project as close to you as possible helps you move forward bit by bit instead of waiting for the « right time ».


Do you have any other time carving tip you would like to share ? Please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

❤ always

Inspiration does exist but it has to find you at work.

How to prepare your travel journal (prompts edition)

Summer holidays are just a few weeks away and I am already thinking about my travel journal.

Or what I hope will be my travel journal. I thought about a few things I would enjoy drawing and some techniques I’d like to try.  I listed all the skills I need to acquire and enrolled in several online classes.

In this article you’ll find the prompts I’ve thought about and the list of the online classes I’m taking to improve my lettering and drawing skills.

I hope they will inspire you too.

Thematic prompts

1/ Brush letter the tittle page
2/ What’s in my suitcase
3/ My creative tool kit
3/ Transportation mode : plane, car, train, boat, cycle, bike, balloon…
4/ Self portrait (before and after the holidays)
5/ Map of holidays location
6/ Do a series : choose an object draw it every time you see it.
7/ Draw a yummy meal and or cocktail
8/ Draw the funny road or shop signs
9/ sketch people waiting around you. easiest models : people who read or look at their phone.

Technical prompts

1/ Work in monochrome
2/ Work in black and white
3/ Do a collage
4/ Add journaling inserts
5/ Use frames or create a comic-book like spread
6/ Use a limited color palette
7/ Work in watercolor
8/ Work with kids pastels
9/ Blind contour drawing
10/ Continuous line drawing

Online classes

Lisa Congdon’s creative bootcamp on Creative Bug (monochrome, restricted palette)

Courtney Cerutti’s collage class on Creative Bug

Peggy Dean Brush lettering classes on Skillshare

Ohn Mar Win’s classes on Skillshare

Danny Gregory’s class on Sketchbook skool « How to draw without talent »

Skillshare and Creativebug are both online learning platforms that require you to suscribe and pay a monthly fee.

However they both offer free trials (1-2 months) and you can unsubscribe anytime you like.

If you’re interested in Skillshare, click the following link to get 2 months free : 

Inspiring Instagram accounts

Liz Steel
Koosje Koene

Are you going to engage in any creative activity during the holidays ?
How to you prepare if you prepare at all ?
Any thoughts on how to keep creating while being surrounded by toddlers and middle school pupils ?


Please feel free to also share any Instagram account that inspires you, or a link to an online class you loved in the comment section so everybody can enjoy them.

Any input in the comment section will be greatly appreciated 🙂

❤ always

Coffee time : late spring detox

Following yesterday’s post, I deciced to do a spring detox on the blog.

I haven’t changed the theme since the creation of the blog and I feel like it’s outdated now.

Also, there are way too many visual elements on the pages.

It needs to be simpler, somehow quieter, and feel like fresh air is blowing through the pages.

What’s going to change ?

You can look forward to a new theme, a new visual identity and a simpler navigation.

I’ll have 3 main categories : inspiration, creation, organization, plus 2 other ones for maintenance  for site updates and social posts.

I really hope you will enjoy all the changes and embrace the new focus of the blog.

❤ always.

Back to blogging

Hi Guys !

I have not written or publish anything in many months. I know I should have informed you about what was going on but the truth is I had a very hard time figuring out in which direction I wanted my blog to evolve.

Besides having a lot to deal with (like everybody, I know…), I encountered technical difficulties and time management challenges with translating my articles.

Bottom line is I lost myself in the process.

Months went by and I did not want to come back to the blog without a clear vision. During these months, I have taken a step back from writing, both non fiction and fiction and I have taken many online classes in drawing, painting and art in general. I loved it. And I have thought of you guys almost everyday.

This experience gave me an idea : expanding the focus of the blog from writing to creativity in general.  At a slower pace. I think I’ll start with one article a week, English only.

I have already thought of some articles I’d like to write : e-courses reviews, book reviews, plan with me (on my arty Bullet Journal).

Don’t hesitate to tell me what subjects would interest you in the comments section below.

Magazine n°1 disponible dès maintenant

Vous l’attendiez ? Le numéro 1 est enfin disponible ! Jetez-vous dessus sans hésiter, il est entièrement gratuit 😉 Nous espérons qu’il va vous plaire ! (pour rappel, sommaire ici) Cliq…

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