Feature Friday: Des Sottises

Happy Feature Friday!
Today we have the fun, bright work of Margot Tissot who designs just about everything for her brand Des Sottises. You can find her illustrations on cards, posters and prints, tote bags, and even as pins — one of her favorite products to create! Her shop is based in Switzerland and we love getting to showcase amazing creatives and shops from all over the world! The images she illustrates are largely based off of things that inspire her, or are part of her daily life, which creates such a personal product! And we can’t help but just love that she illustrates veggies and makes stuff like broccoli and lettuce look pretty cool. Des Sottises has such an amazing diversity of illustrations and products, so keep reading to see more and learn about the maker behind the brand!

: Tell us a little bit about yourself!

: I’m Margot, I’m a 28 year old graphic/web designer based in Lausanne (Switzerland). Over the years while I practiced graphic design, I developed a passion for illustration and I’m trying to develop my little brand “des sottises” since nearly a year now. Beside this passion for illustration I am fascinated by the whole magical universe (I’m a Harry Potter fan) and I would like to think I’m a sorceress 😀

: How did your shop Des Sottises get its start?

: Des Sottises started in between two jobs. Last year, I lost my dream job for economical issues and I had a few weeks of unemployment. So I took advantage of this time to create my Etsy shop and created a lot of illustrations. I started with the animal alphabet, I made one illustration for each letters and searched for various supports to put them on. The animal alphabet poster, bookmark and pennant were my first items to sale.

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Feature Friday: Nat Guinamard

Happy Feature Friday!

Today we’re featuring the work of Nat Guinamard and we think you’re going to love her incredibly expressive illustrations! Nat was kind enough to share some details on her Drawing a Day Challenge, her artistic background, and her knack for drawing faces. She also answered some of our questions too! So keep reading to learn more about her work and creative journey.


Continue reading “Feature Friday: Nat Guinamard”

Feature Friday: Lauren Lee

Happy Feature Friday!

laurenlee_profile_2016Today we’re featuring the whimsical works of Lauren Lee, an illustrator who works in advertising by day but creates amazing illustrations every free chance she gets! We are in love with the characters and scenes she creates in her work – honestly we’re crossing our fingers a coffee shop gets her to design their cups, because we’d be there ASAP! Keep reading to hear more about her creative journey and see her fun coffee cup and sketchbook illustrations.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-12-45-47-am: I’m a twenty-two year old designer working in the crazy world of advertising. I use illustration as a way of release. Outside of design, I love animation films, re-reading Harry Potter, and binging title sequences.


Continue reading “Feature Friday: Lauren Lee”

Feature Friday: MIRA Apparel

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screenshot-50This week we talked to Miranda Kinkead of MIRA Apparel! We love how her apparel line came about, as she set a challenge for herself and then went on to achieve it. We also believe that you should find a way to incorporate what you love to do into your work/profession, and Miranda was able to take her passion of creating art and make it into a business. Read on to hear more about MIRA Apparel!

Castle Logo: Tell us about yourself.

screenshot-54: I have a passion for all things pertaining to the arts. I’m an avid moviegoer, a traveller, music lover, collector, jack-of-all-trades, master of none. And I am a second year Creative Industries student at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.


Castle Logo: How did your business get started? What made you decide to create t-shirts?

screenshot-54: Every year I like to set new goals and challenges for myself. At the beginning of 2014, I wanted to find a way to work doing something that I am passionate about. I have always thought of selling artwork but instead I decided to combine my love of visual art and fashion to create “wearable designs.” I worked all summer towards launching the Mira brand and then I received a grant through a program called Summer Company. Now Mira Apparel is running independently online.


Castle Logo: All of your packages come with a handwritten note in a bottle. What kind of messages do you like to send to your customers?

screenshot-54: Not many people receive handwritten letters any more so I thought it would be a sweet idea to write little notes to those who purchase from Mira Apparel. They are random messages so they can range from inspirational quotes, quotes from people, books, music suggestions, interesting words, dares. Some things I find and others I make up: all of which are carefully chosen and resonate with me or that I have some connection to. I really like the idea of spreading kind words positivity, and uplifting things (paying it forward). Hopefully I write something that gives the reader a little bit of happiness that day, and then I’m happy.


Castle Logo: How would you describe the type of person who wears (or should wear) MIRA Apparel?

screenshot-54: Mira Apparel can be worn by anyone. It is a brand for both men and women. The graphic designs will appeal to someone who appreciates art and something a little different. My sketches may attract individuals who prefer a twist to a staple piece like the t-shirt; and are looking for something a little different in their wardrobe.


Castle Logo: What are some of the challenging aspects of having your own business?

screenshot-54: The main challenge would have to be being an independent owner. I do everything myself when it comes to the designing, social media correspondence, management, accounting shipping and so on. Keeping on top of all those responsibilities while being a student and maintaining a social life can be difficult at times.


Castle Logo: Where do you see MIRA Apparel going in the long-term future? Do you have any plans for the expansion of MIRA Apparel’s merchandise line?

screenshot-54: Future collections will be released featuring new sketches and designs. I have also considered expanding the line to include either accessories or trinkets for some sort, even posters, but we will have to wait and see. 😉


Castle Logo: What is the process for designing and producing your shirts?

screenshot-54: It all starts with a sketch that I create in my sketchbook. I think of a concept that relates to the Mira theme and then a draw it out. Afterward, I scan the sketch to turn it into a computer graphic and then I may manipulate some elements to make the sketch fit for a t-shirt. This is the longest part. After the designing is finished I take the graphics to a local printing company in Toronto and they screen print the designs onto 100% white cotton tees.


Castle Logo: What’s your favorite part about what you do?

screenshot-54: I love being the “boss”. It is quite the learning experience to be able to create your own business from the ground up and run it independently, especially at my age. I feel like I will gain a lot of vital knowledge, experience and insight from this venture and I’m excited about the future of this brand. It is also really awesome that I get to put my artistic passion into a lucrative pursuit. And being passionate about what I do always makes it worthwhile. Also doing this while being a full-time student affords me the opportunity to make mistakes and learn as I go along.


Castle Logo: Name three things that you can’t live without.

screenshot-54: This is actually really difficult! There are many things I can’t live without so 3 out of several would be:

-Great Music

-Sunlight & Late Nights

-Positivity & Contentment

(sorry, kinda cheated ^ :P)


Castle Logo: Do you have any mentors that helped you get where you are today?

screenshot-54: I have always had my parents along side me and through out my life they have been my biggest supporters. I can go to them for an opinion or advice for a plan of action and I am really grateful for that.


Castle Logo: What advice would you give young entrepreneurs?

screenshot-54: You have to have a clear motive in mind. Know exactly why you are pursuing your business venture because a clear objective will drive you. You should also be passionate about the endeavor because it will help to maintain your motivation. And it always helps to constantly set goals to stay on track, focused and organized.


See more from MIRA Apparel!:

Feature Friday: Dart Designs


Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!
Profile PicThis week we’re featuring Curtis Dart of Dart Designs. He’s the perfect example of how you don’t have to stick to just one thing, as he is a designer, illustrator, photographer, apparel designer, and the creator of his own clothing label! We love his designs and since I’m a huge sucker for graphic tees, I could see myself wearing one of his shirts in a second! We can’t wait to see where Dart Designs and Kingfruit Apparel goes. Keep reading to here about how he got started and his plans for the future.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

dart-logo: My name is Curtis Dart, and I am a designer/illustrator & photography enthusiast living in Sydney, Australia. I have been illustrating since I was a wee-lad, and designing for going on 7 years now. I also operate my own clothing label ‘Kingfruit Apparel’ as a way to show case my work and have some fun.


Castle Logo: How did you start Dart Designs?

dart-logo: I started up Dart Designs just after finishing design college, taking on small freelance jobs as a way to diversify the type of work I was doing. At the time I had taken a junior design position with a large Australian company, working in their Design Department. The work was becoming boring and mundane, so I jumped at any other type of design work I could find, to keep the creative juices flowing.

Feed Me Tablet

Castle Logo: You have a variety of work including, typography, branding, graphic design and illustrating among others. Do you have a favorite?

dart-logo: By far my favourite type of work would have to be illustrative, as to me, there is nothing better than the feeling of creating something with just your hands, a pen, a pad, and your imagination. Although in a close second would be branding, as the restraints and specific goals required by the client provide a challenge, requiring a more strategic approach.


Castle Logo: What technical design skills do you find the most useful? Any skill/program you advise designers to learn?

dart-logo: Not everyone would agree with me, but I maintain that to be a successful designer, you need to be able to draw. Having the ability to quickly sketch up a concept/idea to a client, so they can physically see what you are talking about is a great advantage– as the faster you can work, the happier the client will be, and the more jobs you can take on.

I find the ability to draw most useful, in the way that I can sketch up all the ideas I have, both good and bad – then develop the best suited concepts further, before taking them onto computer, where most of my time is spent polishing up the designs, to be presented to the client.


Castle Logo: Is there a big difference between your personal design aesthetic and what you design for clients?

dart-logo: There are only a handful of lucky designers that have made it to a point where a client comes to them and says ‘do your thing’ – so yeah there can be a big difference in what my style would be, and what clients would want. I don’t see this as a bad thing though. Having a client want something different to what I would personally do, makes me think outside the box, and pushes my design skills and thinking further than what I would personally be able to do.

However, in saying that – like an artists uses a particular brush stroke, I always strive to add my own little twist or flavour to any design I do.

Vector Mash up

Castle Logo: What has been your best experience with a client?

dart-logo: I am not sure if this is my best client story, but it was one a learnt the most from.

I have been lucky to work with some pretty good clients, that have had a good idea of what they want, or are happy to take my direction on projects. However I have had a couple clients, that in my opinion have the worst kind of trait– these are the clients that say ‘I don’t know what I want, you’re meant to tell me,’ but all along really know what they want, and just want you to show them.

I was doing a large 4WD wrap for a company director, with the design brief being ‘I need it to be wow!’…. that’s it!

After 8 or 9 concept designs and having them all rejected, as not being ‘wow’ enough, I was really disheartened and questioning by design talent. I realised that I was wasting my time and needed more of a design brief than what I had. After trying to draw blood from a stone, I finally got more info out of the client, giving me a new direction to take the design.

After designing and re-printing the graphics three times because of production issues, the design turn out to be an epic rusted out old 4×4 wrap, that I was truly proud of, and the client was absolutely stoked on.

The lesson I took away from the job was that you can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig. If you have a client that can’t give you the necessary information you need, and rejects all of your concepts, it’s not that you are a bad designer – it’s that you just haven’t asked the right questions, or the amount of questions needed to get the proper idea of what they envision. Designers deal with visual communication, and the key to being successful, is translating spoken words and other peoples mental thoughts ideas into something you can understand, and then transfer to visual matter.

Peacefull Pool

Castle Logo: What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

dart-logo: Living in Sydney, there are some of the worlds best beaches within 25 mins of anywhere, and any chance I get, I’m always down at one of them having a surf. I’m lucky that work still facilitates me being able to fit 3-4 surfs a week in, as there is no better way to shake the blues off, than getting out in the salt water. On top of surfing, I won’t say no to the odd game of golf, or in the winter to the odd weekend on the snowfields. I have found that my hobbies, particularly the board sports, have played a major role in shaping my design work, drawing inspiration from old and new school graphics and technologies.

On top of that, I also love getting out and fine tuning my photographic skills, in-particular my landscape/seascape ones. I love to get up nice and early when I can, to catch the sunrise over the water at one of the local beaches. The colours are amazing for just a brief window, and it’s always special capturing a part of the day rarely seen by most people.

Maroubra Bomb

Castle Logo: What do you do when you have no inspiration for a project?

dart-logo: At first I try to force creativity, by trolling the internet’s many design websites for inspiration, but usually just get side tracked, and find myself looking at stupid meme sites having a laugh.

After that fails, I always find the best option, stepping away from the computer and the design work, and just trying to clear my mind and reset. The best way for me is to go for a surf, as it forces you to be in the moment, leaving no room for other thoughts. This isn’t always possible, so even just going for a walk or grabbing a coffee – anything to take my mind off the fact that so far, I have only had crap ideas for this project.

Most of the time, my best ideas come after this period, and I look back and ask myself why I stressed in the first place.

Colour coding Album

Castle Logo: What are your future goals for Dart Designs?

dart-logo: One of my goals for Dart Designs is to grow my business with a larger focus on my illustrative work, as it is the area I have the most fun doing, and would really like to establish myself as a more prominent Illustrator in the Sydney/Australian market.

The other goal is to further showcase my work and design skills through my clothing label Kingfruit Apparel, as I find this to be one of the best ways to advertise to a larger audience in a physical and interactive way. Social media is great and has its advantages, but I still find someone walking around with my designs on their t-shirt to be a more direct and larger impact form of advertising.


Castle Logo: Any advice or tips?

dart-logo: The first bit of advice I would give to anyone that wants to get into design, or has just started out, would be to practice, practice, practice. Colleges and design courses give you the basic tools and principles to design and become familiar with design programs – but the more you play around on the computer, and push the limits of what you think you can do, the better off you will be. Jump onto the web and look up design tutorials and just give them a go. You will be really surprised with the tricks and tips they teach you.

The second piece of advice would be to take on as many different types of design jobs you can. The more diverse your portfolio of work is, the more attractive you are to potential employers. This doesn’t have to just include jobs for clients – if you are into illustration, don’t be afraid to sell your designs as prints or on t-shirts. I have friends and people I know in the industry doing everything from selling brooches to selling plants inside old hardcover books – basically anything you can apply your skills or styling to will expand your knowledge and creative capacity.

The final piece of advice I would give is to have fun, and not to take things too seriously. Design is one of those practices that flourishes in fun and upbeat environments. If you over think things, and let little issues or bumps in the road get you down, the work becomes ‘work’ and creativity becomes harder to come by. I’m not saying that doing design is all sunshine and lollipops, but just remember why you do it. I always find my best work happens when I’m in a good head space, so I seek out things that help me get into that head space.

See more of Dart Designs and Kingfruit Apparel at:

Dart Designs:
Instagram – @dart_designs
Website – www.dartdesigns.net

Kingfruit Apparel:
Instagram – @kingfruit_apparel

Feature Friday: Illustrator Holly Sharpe

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!


Today we’re excited to feature illustrator Holly Sharpe! She has an amazing collection of work that spans from illustrations simply done with pencil, to those done digitally. We love how different her pieces look, but that you can still tell they are made by her. Her aesthetic really stands out and has caught the attention of companies like Marks & Spencer, Marie Claire, and Chloé; all whom she has worked with. Her illustrations are so vibrant and detailed, yet the brush strokes and drips make them free-spirited. With this unique take on illustrating it is no wonder that Holly is getting calls from some big names. We’re sure there is only more to come in her future and can’t wait for you to hear more about her!


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: How did your art career start?

holly: It is definitely not something that happened overnight. In some ways it has been a work in progress most of my life. I went to art college and after graduating from there I went on to do freelance work as a textile designer and then secured a full time position. Meanwhile I was trying to keep up my own drawings and illustrations on the side. This was all great experience and I probably wouldn’t be doing what I do now if I didn’t take those steps to break away and do my own work full time.

Sorry, that was a long-winded way of saying, my art career started by 1. Getting a 1st class honours degree and then 2. Working very hard and getting lots of experience!


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Describe the style of your work?

holly:  I would say my work is delicate but powerful. Usually it has attention to lines and detail and when I’m not sticking with monochrome, lots of bright colours. I don’t know how to describe my style as such, but a lot of people tell me that I have a very distinct style and that it is “different”.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What is the greatest lesson you learned while pursuing your passion?

holly:  Tough one, I’ve learned a lot along the way. I would probably say, to believe in yourself, stand strong with that belief and don’t let people take advantage of you and your work. I am a pretty positive person and I hate to be cynical, but unfortunately there are a lot of people/companies out there that will prey on an artist’s ‘desperate’ need for work and take advantage. So remember to value your work and what you do, even when some people don’t.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What can others do to bring their work to the next level or gain clients?

holly:  Keep trying, keep pushing your work to get better, try new things, and don’t stay in your comfort zone. Try and have a clear focus on what it is you do and what it is you want to do/achieve. Who are your dream clients? Try to offer something unique but focused. It is better to master one thing, and for that thing to be crystal clear, than to try and offer a million different styles and have no clear direction. Clients need to know what they are getting.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Who are some of your favorite artists, musicians, creatives etc.?

holly: Ah, so many… a few of my favourite artists are – Stina Persson, Lucian Freud, Egon Schiele, Conrad Roset, Kelly Beeman, Alexandra Levasseur, and Paula Bonet. As for music – this changes a lot, and I am always on the lookout for new musicians, but generally I love electronica-type music with nice female vocals. I love The Knife, Grimes, Kavinsky, Phantogram, Poliça… Oh and Arcade Fire is always a band I go back to. Right now I love working to, or doing yoga to Dr. Toast, his music is incredible.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: How have you overcome obstacles and discouragements in your career?

holly: When I think back, I have realized that I’ve developed a pretty good knack for forgetting about the things that didn’t work, or didn’t go ahead. It is important to have something of a mourning period for the biggies that can be a bit heartbreaking, but you cannot dwell on them. I just try and move on and work towards a new aim. I focus on the things that did work, which is always a boost and outweighs the obstacles and discouragements.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24:  Name one of your careers greatest highs?

holly: Doing a cosmetics collaboration with Marks & Spencer earlier this year!


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What career/artistic goal are you working towards next?

holly:  Ah, so many, my head is a bit all over the place at the moment. But I think my main goals are to have worked published in a book (or publish my own book…?!) and also to get more exhibitions across the globe.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What inspires you to create?

holly:  Everything. I’m sure a lot of artists say this, but sometimes the inspiration to create, is more of a need, an urge, almost an unexplainable desire to create something beautiful.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Tell us a little bit about who you are.

holly: I am an artist/ illustrator from Scotland. I love to travel, meet new people, and do yoga. I have brown hair, green eyes and a stupid laugh.


Keep up with what Holly is doing next and make sure to follow her on social media for more!
Twitter: @hollysharpe