What do fairies and guns have in common? Not much, except when you’re translating the name of August’s Designer of the Month. La Fée Carabine, translated “The Fairy Gunmother,” is the brainchild of French graphic designer and mother of three Carine.
Carine’s designs are as different from one another as…well, fairy dust and firearms. Find out more about what inspires Carine’s diverse Showroom.
Even with a demanding job, Carine finds time to create designs for her Showroom. They range from designs for schoolchildren or nature lovers to colorful geometric designs. This super-mom of three boys took a little time out of her busy life in the south of France to tell us more about her Showroom.
Age: 39 years old
Residence: Frouzins (Toulouse), France
On Spreadshirt since: March 2018
Hi, Carine! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. How would you sum up your career as a graphic designer in a nutshell?
I’ve always been passionate about drawing and crafts (as a child, I even created a paper handbag for my mother with a paper wallet… very durable ^^). After a Baccalauréat (high school diploma) in literature with a major in visual arts, I studied art history before returning to graphic design with a degree in visual communication.
What is the connection between Carine and La Fée Carabine? Big Daniel Pennac fan (author of a novel also called La Fée Carabine)? Or was that your nickname in high school?
Why the Fairy Gunmother? It is one of the only assigned readings from school that really left an impression on me. I can’t really say why, because it’s not the kind of book I normally read— but the story stuck with me. Besides that, I really like the title “The Fairy Gunmother” because it mixes the magical, childish and innocent with “gun,” which has a more negative connotation. It creates a contrast and I like that. “Carabine” is also pretty close to my first name, Carine.
It’s a very unique name. The themes in your Showroom vary a lot! From school themes to wedding designs to patchwork, what is your main source of inspiration?
As far as my inspirations are concerned, half of my designs were created for the Spreadshirt Design Contests (Nature Design Contest, Back-to-School Design Contest, Wedding Design Contest, etc.). I really like participating because it’s inspiring, it allows me to create designs that I would never have thought of otherwise. It lets me think outside the box. And it’s actually paid off… I’ve sold a lot of the nature-themed designs I created for the Design Contest. So thank you, Spreadshirt!
As far as my other designs go, yes, I’m inspired by my experiences and the people I love. For example, A ton étoile refers to the song my sister and I used to listen to when we were teenagers and the Biker-meets-Baker design is a nod to my husband. The designs connected to Grimm’s fairytales remind me of my childhood.
So, how do you create your designs? Do you start on your PC or make some initial sketches first?
When I start a design, I often have a clear idea in mind right away. In this case, I create it directly on the computer. If the idea is still unclear, I sketch on paper until inspiration strikes. But most of the time I already know what I’m going to create by the time I sit down at my computer.
How do you promote your Spreadshirt Showroom and designs?
I have a Facebook account for La Fée Carabine where I publish all my creations. It also gives me a place to showcase designs I make for work. I also publish my floral arrangements from the time I was working as a self-taught florist, my creations on Spreadshirt and my pencil drawings, etc. I also have an Instagram account. But I admit that I don’t do as much promotion as I should. Even without much promotion, I’ve been able to sell. I’ve sold in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, and more. I think it’s great to imagine people wearing my creations. It’s just the lack of time that’s holding me back from promoting my Showroom further.
There are so many online sales platforms nowadays. Why did you choose Spreadshirt? Are you also present on other platforms?
I chose Spreadshirt as my online sales platform because it’s simple and convenient. I didn’t look elsewhere because I don’t see the point. And it’s already a lot of work to sell online, so I prefer to stay on one platform.
Well, we’re happy to have you. Do you have any plans for your Showroom in the future?
I have no concrete plans. I create when the feeling moves me, according to current trends. I have some new design ideas I’d like to finish before the end of summer — I’ll have to work on them before the school year starts.
We can’t wait to see them! Which design in your Showroom would you say best represents your personality?
The design that best represents me is the Cactus of wisdom that refers to the three wise monkeys. I really like this design for what it represents… and because I love monkeys. “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” If we live by that maxim, it can only bring good things. I used cacti instead of monkeys because they are known to absorb bad vibes, which fits perfectly the theme perfectly.
Could you tell us an anecdote about one of your designs?
Back to CP, features a teddy bear holding a book upside-down, which refers to my childhood. I was in kindergarten and my brother and sister were in elementary school. They were doing their homework at the dining room table. I wanted to have homework, too, so I sat at the table, took my brother’s book and pretended to read… except that the book was upside-down, which made my mother laugh a lot. The Minute papillon design is a little wink to my fifth-grade teacher, who used to use that expression all the time. (It means “Just a minute, butterfly!” In English, we’d say “Hold your horses!”)
Thanks again to Carine for giving us an inside look at your designs. Good luck in the future!