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Happy Birthday Charlotte Bronte & Thank You For Jane Eyre | #TakeMeHomeThursday // Illustration

ay before the Kindle even existed and e-books were generally unheard of, my Mam had given me a game for my Nintendo DS that deepened my love affair with 19th century storytelling.

The name of the game was “100 Classical Books”, and I spent my daily commute to Munich for school with Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and the Bronte sisters. And, while I love Jane Austen and Charles Dickens – it was particularly the Bronte sisters that stuck with me.

Reading The Professor, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre [amongst others] deeply resonated with me back then – and today. Where Austen is often ladylike in her subtlety, humorously ironic and pleasurably romantic, the Bronte’s are angry, shockingly passionate, and demanding.

My sixteen year-old self, was particularly drawn to Charlotte Bronte and her “poor, plain, overlooked governess” (Harman 2015, 227), who makes for a very unconventional heroine.  After reading Claire Harman’s book “Charlotte Bronte: A Life” recently, my love for Jane and compassion for Charlotte has only deepened.

May I present to you my piece “Jane Eyre” (2017) 

Illustration Artist Art by Cat De Pillar victorian illustration steampunk aesthetic jane eyre charlotte bronte

“Jane Eyre” (2017) by Cat De Pillar | Click Here To See Print

I am a firm believer that every creator leaves parts of themselves in their creations that transforms their work into little time capsules. Their emotions, their thoughts, their experiences, their favourite colours and smells – through their work we are able to experience little moments of life, even after the creators have long passed.

What has always appealed to me in the character of Jane Eyre, was her strength as a woman to stand for her own opinions and decisions, but also her willingness to believe that she was worthy of love – even if she could not boast of beauty.

Like her heroine, Charlotte and her sisters believed that no matter how horrible and humiliating the outside world was, “it was preferable to the state of feminine inertia” (ibid., 87).  I think many women can appreciate that point of view even today.

That’s why, for Charlotte’s birthday today on the 21st of April, I wanted to do something in not only her honour, but in appreciation of the woman she created: Jane Eyre.

Jane Eyre was the first fictitious woman I consciously was aware of who expressed her rage and who’s anger was allowed to “rush through the narrative of her life like the storm winds […]” (ibid., 226). As a woman who was unable to honestly express her anger and true emotions for a very long time – she is a great inspiration to me.

However, after reading Charlotte’s biography, I also know that she carries the ghost of Charlotte within her: The suffering, the misery, the defiant anger at the world and the role of women in it – the hope for a life lived in alignment with her vocation.

It’s all of this – and so much more that I cannot express – that I want to acknowledge and appreciate today, and with this illustration.

Happy Birthday Charlotte, and thank you for the heroine that has accompanied me ever since I tapped on your book on my Nintendo DS.

If you are a Jane Eyre lover as much as I am and want to take home a print, then have a look in my Etsy Shop here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/526292623/charlotte-brontes-jane-eyre-illustration?ref=shop_home_active_1

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#TakeMeHomeThursday | “Ruling the World (from My Couch)” Watercolour Illustration for Planners and Dreamers

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“Ruling the World (from My Couch)” (2016) Watercolour Illustration by Cat De Pillar | Click to view print options

As a videogame aficionado (heck, I’m actually pursuing an academic education in this field) I love seeing people wearing t-shirts with some variation of “achievement unlocked: [what you managed to do].”

Not only do they make me laugh, I always end up making up my own versions of the phrase, which I find highly entertaining.  Some of my favourites are:

“Achievement unlocked: I left the house today.”

“Achievement unlocked: I washed myself”

“Achievement unlocked: I tackled my to-do list and survived”

But my most favourite phrase – and interestingly, the one I usually think of first – is:

“Achievement unlocked: I changed out of my pyjamas today.”

YES! I admit to it – judge me all you like! [we both know you are guilty of this too]

I am one of those people who, if they don’t have to leave the house and have a day to putter around for themselves, they stay in their pyjamas. *I usually throw a XXL, bulgy, and absolutely unflattering jumper into the mix, just for good measure

And that, my friends, is what this illustration is about. [Although, it’s less about the disgusting, unwashed side of it, and more about that constructive emotional and mental space we enter into on those days.]

As we lounge on the couch, ideally with a hot cuppa and a notebook (the new one, not the thousand other ones you bought and are saving for “something special”), we are able to rule the world from our couch – by starting in our heads.

It is that beautifully cosy moment where we take some time to plan and and become clear on what we want in life. [or for dinner] Where we lean back into the soft cushions and imagine where we want to go, where we want to be, and what we want to achieve.

Where we surround ourselves with all the books that we have only read half-way through, but that inspire us just by lying in sight. Where we finally jot down the next steps we want to take; the next projects we want to tackle; the next experience we want to allow.

Where we take some time for ourselves; where we let go of pretences, and get to work on what is happening inside.

Where we are so much closer to ourselves and what really matters to us ,  that magic is possible.

Illustration Details: 

Watercolour and ink on 150 g/qm watercolour paper.

Let me know what you think and share it with all your friends to give them a subtle hint! [that staying in your pyjamas all day is awesome, of course]

I send you my love and a big hug,

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Share, if this was valuable to you! If not: Connect with me & tell me why! xo