Whoa! No! This girl repurposes her old Moleskine journals to paint pictures of birds with gouache, graphite pencils and aquarelle? There are too many of my favourite things in one sentence. I love Moleskine , I love birds and I love illustrations.
I was grinning like someone who had just seen Beyoncé in person.
Stumbling on Fran Giffard’s illustrations was a massive disintegration of time. It almost felt like serendipity. For so long I had thought that there is no pleasure in the world bigger than going through old journals and discovering those little adventures and narratives that consumed your days and shaped so many memories. But there is.
Skimming through someone else’s journal!
Discovering a trail of notes, reminders, lists among magnificent plumage of birds so beautifully sketched and painted, you want to look away to readjust your eyes to all that creativeness. Fran Giffard is a London-based artist whose work combines a wonderful sense of colour against the white backdrop marked by the memories of days gone by. The result is incredible body of artwork that captures the natural elements of ornithological world. It’s just the sort of work that makes you want to know more about the person who created it. So here is Fran Giffard quelling our curious minds. Thank you Fran for interviewing with Blank Paper Project.
To start of – What inspired you to create your beautiful and intricate ornithological drawings on Moleskine journals?
I was given an expensive sketchbook many years ago, and I wanted to fill it with drawings of birds from the Natural History Museum in London. However, I was so nervous at wasting the paper, that all of my drawings were tentative and bad. I decided to do some practice sketches using my Moleskine diary, and found I really liked the combination of my bird drawings along my notes and diary entries. I drew more confidently and enjoyed the compositional challenge of fitting drawings of birds in the spaces left by my notes.
Give us a sneak-peek into your typical day. What does a ‘A Day In Life of Fran’ look like?
My studio is in my home so I can start drawing as soon as I wake up. I spend all morning and early afternoon drawing. I listen to various audio-books and BBC Radio 4 while I work. I always go for a long walk in the afternoon and enjoy sketching the taxidermy birds at my local museum, The Horniman. On other days I feed the birds at my local park. On returning to the studio, I’ll draw for the rest of the afternoon, breaking to cook supper. I love cooking so this is a fun diversion. Depending on my schedule, I’ll work late into the night. In preparation for my solo exhibition ‘All My Beautiful Boys’ at Northcote Gallery (opening on 12 March), I’ve been drawing every day for the past three months.
What do you feel when you stare at a blank page, before your illustrations take shape on the whiteness of the sheet?
I always feel nervous when I first start a new drawing. As Moleskine diary paper is so thin, it is essential to get the initial sketch right first time, as any erasing will show.
If someone issues a search warrant through your sketchbooks, what are they likely to stumble upon?
Many people comment on the amount of recipes contained within my diary drawings. I love cooking and am usually jotting down entire recipes, or ingredient shopping lists. You’re also likely to find plans with my friends, hand-drawn maps, colour swatches, and to-do lists.
Which journal are you using currently?
I am currently using a daily Moleskine diary. I also have a weekly planner too.
What are your can’t-live-without stationery essentials?
That’s easy: an excellent sharpener!
Fall in love with here sketches here