Our Peek Inside… series takes a look inside people’s journals to celebrate their imagination and inspire others. This week we are happy to welcome Carole Jacq, an art model and farmer from France who uses her Paperblanks notebooks as a diary and a sketchbook. Carole lives with her friends and partner in a community inside an ancient convent in the mountains of western Bretagne where they built contemporary yurts. They take care of their chickens, sheep and horses and work the land in permaculture, selling their organic products in the market of the neighbouring village. Take a peek inside Carole’s world!

A Little Bit About Me

I like to read all Giono bibliographies, I’m a fan. I like post-war science fiction novels. I’m a feminist and anarchist. I like to go to Trance Music parties and dance all night. Well, I used to like it before Covid. I like to hike in Bretagne with my dogs and horses and friends. I took a road trip in South India a few years ago and had the chance to visit most of Europe’s countries.

I began to use a diary at the age of seven, and I have kept the habit since. Later I would choose notebooks with leather covers, but often these were made with rough recycled paper, which wouldn’t allow watercolors. In 2011, a friend gave me my first Paperblanks notebook for my birthday. The cover was bright and colorful, with soft relief to the touch. I immediately liked it and began to fill it. 

What I Like About Paperblanks 

Ever since I was a child, I have filled one notebook each year with diary notes, drawings and comics. At the end of the year, when it’s complete, I carefully choose the next one. I like them with blank pages and a cover that fits the mood for the coming year, often with warm tones and inspired from great art masterpieces. What I most appreciate in those notebooks is the fine quality of the paper. It’s quite smooth but strong enough to allow water or ink painting. I’m messy when I work, I like to scratch and trouble the surface to express energy and movement, and that’s possible too! Lastly, I appreciate Paperblanks’ size and light weight, so I can draw quite big pictures, but it’s not too heavy and I can carry it everywhere in my bag. 

Preferred Mediums and Styles

I’m best working with plain black ink pen, fine point, coupled with a bright black marker which allows water diffusion. I draw quite quickly with those, mostly portraits, animals, landscapes or trees. I like to draw people while they’re talking and gesturing their hands and aren’t aware of me watching them. I try to express their features and movements. 

However, I like to change the medium I use, as often as possible, in order to break the building of habits. Moreover, when I feel I understand something new, I like to try my hand at it with a new tool. So, in my books you may open a page full of charcoal, and the next will be painted, and the next black with ink. One day I may draw very academically, and the next I would relax with a funny comic style or try to draw naked models as fast and clear as possible.

Finding Inspiration

I find inspiration in my everyday life. I spend a lot of time taking care of plants and animals, most of my time actually. I try to understand who they are, what they need, how we’re linked. What most inspires me is a walk in a forest with my she-dogs, or in a city with strangers all around. I feel the energy of the beings surrounding me and I want to draw them. I like to draw the trees, with their curves and lines so like our own; the horses, people and dogs in order to understand their shape. I want to capture the way they interact with their environment. The way our exchanges modify my own scheme. I draw to keep track of memories, to witness what moves me and to create a new way to be linked to others. Trying to decipher the shape and line of a being you’re already communicating with, moving out of your habits, creating something new. I like to draw the moments of communication. I would pick up what people say and write it down. Sometimes you look around and you see tenderness: parents holding their children, the kiss of two lovers, skin to skin contact between two horses who are friends. I feel connected to what I draw. When I like someone, I need to draw him or her again and again, until I can do it from memory. You may see all my friends and lovers in my notebooks, and the animals who share my life. When I’m not working on our farm I pose as a drawing model. It helps me keep in touch with arts and other artists. I sometimes have the opportunity to draw other professional models and I love it. It makes me quicker and more accurate. 

My Work as a Reflection of Myself

I live with friends and my companion in an ancient convent in the old mountains of western Bretagne. We chose to live in a community with partial food autonomy. We work our big garden in permaculture and sell a part of our vegetable production at local markets. We breed chickens and sheep for eggs, meat and sheepskins. The horses sometimes help to pull heavy things or to collect the good black earth we use for the garden; but mostly we ride them for fun! We share a house but to find intimacy we scattered our personal places across the land. We live in what we call in French “des habitats légers,” yurts and caravans. Life isn’t always easy in these conditions and we do work a lot. I think at the beginning, my friends and I chose to live in groups because it was cheaper, but we grew used to it. We have done it all our life. 

We now try to create harmony. We try to find a way to live with others, human and animals, and to create abundance with their help. We grew up in a world where human activity destroys nature. Species disappear and war never stops and we’re too many human beings trying to survive in harsh conditions. I’ve been angry and sad all my life, knowing that we have already lost too much. I grew up in Normandy, and by the time I was a teen I could no longer see fish in the streams of my childhood. No more butterflies and flowers to brighten the open wheat fields. No more snow in winter. I’m still angry but I’m not sad anymore. I think it’s time to change things and what we can do is important. People are powerful and nature is strongly resilient. Where I live, at sunset if you make no noise you may see otters fishing trout in the streams. When the night comes roe deer feed on our lands and walk the same path. People don’t hunt them anymore. They say that wolves are back. We are creators. We can draw on paper what we dream and then make it real with the ones we love.

We are continuously looking for People of Paperblanks to feature on this series. Please send us an email if you have a project that you would like to be featured.


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