The Heroine’s Journey of Irina French

  • What is the best thing that I love about my work?

As an artist and illustrator, I get to enjoy a creative process with each of my projects. It is fun to experiment and put my own twist on a chosen topic. I love expressing myself through art and I am often surprised what can come from imagination. It is never dull, there are always new ideas born in our minds.

  • What is my idea of happiness?

In general, happiness comes from peace and joy of being fully in the moment, knowing that all is well, you love and are loved and you have your place in this world to create and express yourself.

Professionally speaking, it happens from doing what you love for a living and being skilled enough to do it well. In this case, you go into a peaceful and exciting flow state, in which you are able to transfer your inner creative visions on paper or digital canvas exactly in the way you imagine.

  • What is my greatest fear?

Loneliness, losing loved ones and poor health, which would mean inability to create and follow my passions.

  • What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

Caring too strongly about opinions of others.

  • Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

There are too many artists I like but the ones who really spoke to me are Mélanie Delon, Marta Dahlig, Izzy Medrano, Martina Fackova, Henning Ludvigsen and Justyna Gil.

  • What is my greatest extravagance?

I do not think I am an extravagant person. It is the little things in life that make me happy: my perfectly imperfect garden where I can experiment and see nature at play, my kitchen where I can be creative with many spices, herbs and beautiful ingredients; and spending time with my wonderful family and friends.

  • On what occasion would I lie?

I find it so much easier on my brain not to lie in life. Perhaps, I would do it to protect my loved ones, if I felt it was the only way.

  • What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

Working as a freelance artist, I spend a lot of time on my own. Difficulties present themselves in any profession, but for me I get overwhelmed by being the only one to find solutions. Luckily, I have a few friends on the same path, as well as a helpful husband – always reliable person to ask for a second opinion.

  • When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

It is amazing to hear when something in my paintings resonated with other people: with each client, award, magazine feature or message saying my work stirred an emotion.

I feel so happy every time I finish working on an artwork and I am satisfied with what I have achieved. I feel I learnt a lot and “levelled up”.

  • If I could, what would I change about myself?

I would love to be more thick-skinned and relaxed in my everyday life. There are too many “should”s in my head.

  • What is my greatest achievement in work?

Working on my skill level and getting regular break-throughs in my ability, which resulted in faster and more controlled process every time I improve. Consequently, it brought recognition from fellow artists in the industry, as well as awards and magazine features.

Learning art is an on-going process. I am sure even the most skilled artists have areas they want to explore further.

  • Where would I most like to live?

I am really happy living here in the UK with my little family. Having moved countries once, I would not want to do it again, as it takes time to settle down and build connections. I no longer listen to “Grass is greener” mental chatter and I love having a permanent home. There are pluses and minuses everywhere, no matter the climate, culture or location.

  • What is my most treasured possession?

Apart from Intuos of course, being a keen cook it must be my kitchen equipment, in particular a grain mill. The taste of fresh baked foods is incomparable using it.

  • What is my most marked characteristic?


  • What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

I live in a small village. Nature walks are my most favourite activities. That is when I find relaxation and, subsequently, inspiration.

When I visit big cities with a lot of culture, I find architecture very moving, as well as the hustle and bustle of people from different backgrounds and in various stages of life.

  • What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

It must be my kitchen, which is also a big creative playground for me. My head is full of new ideas to try there, so it is never dull.

  • What books influenced my life and how?

Anything by Rupert Spira on non-duality, as well as Ayurvedic books (Dr Lad, Myra Lewin and Robert Svoboda). They opened my eyes to a different perspective on life and serve as a reminder to live in tune with Nature.

As for art books, there are a number of masterpieces that I own, like Andew Loomis’s guides to figure drawing, Light and Colour by James Gurney and the list goes on.

  • You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

Today I would say it would be The Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky but it will probably change. Silence is also great from time to time: very peaceful.

  • Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

It sounds cliché, but the first character that came to mind was Rey from Star Wars. Spoilers: I found her statement “I am the last Jedi” extremely moving: it is a reminder that new opportunity for fresh choice exists in every moment and does not have to be defined by anything in your past or somebody else’s opinion. No matter the circumstance, there is freedom to choose the good: kindness, love and peace.

  • Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

I admire proponents of peace like Thich Nhat Hanh. However, I consider a lot of people in my every day life heroes. Sometimes I get startled by incredible generosity of heart, hard work, patience and wisdom in perfectly ordinary situations.

  • Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

I am a big fan of huge productions, especially fantasy classics like LOTRs, but my favourite films would be the following two seemingly simple movies (I believe they carry a very profound deep meaning): “A Good Year” and “About Time”. The first one, in particular, is a masterpiece to me: the lighting, sound, camera angles… all aspects create an intense indescribable feeling in me, a very personal experience of what truly matters in life.

  • What role plays art in my life and work?

To me art is ultimate freedom, creativity and play. It is both work, leisure and inspiration.

  • What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?

Our life circumstances are varied, but we all share the same ability to create and experience life. As long as we listen to what feels most natural inside of us, what inspires us, we are able to make right choices in order to build a fulfilling and unique life.

  • Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My husband has undeniably been there for me through the ups and downs of this journey. I am forever grateful for all the support and encouragement he has given me throughout the years.

  • Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2020? 

It would be incredible to work for Wizards of the Coast LLC on their Dungeon and Dragon’s art books or Magic the Gathering cards, for White Wizard Games on their card artworks, Asmodee on boardgames (including Fantasy Flight Games).

It would be amazing to create illustrations for publishing companies like HarperCollins, Orion Publishing Group, Pan Macmillan and others.

Having just named the industry’s giants, I am equally excited to work with small and medium publishers of card games and fantasy books.

  • Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would i love to meet in 2020? 

I would love to meet and learn from Mélanie Delon. She is an inspiration.

  • What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on?

I am excited to work on Dungeon and Dragon characters and personal explorations of fantasy heroes.

  • Where can you see me or my work in 2020?

My website is

I am also active on most social media platforms:

  • What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

If you connect your life with what you love, professionally or otherwise, you will have a fulfilling, fun and rich experience that will bring meaning to your life. It should never stop: life is a creative playground.

  • Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? 

Mélanie Delon, Marta Dahlig, Justyna Gil, Martina Fackova, Helena Cnockaert, Christina Myrvold, DM Cain.

  • How can you contact me?

My email is or feel free to reach out on social media.

Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey 


Are you a creative leader or creative professional looking to develop your business skills and storytelling?

Amidst today’s uncertainty, it is more important than ever to reconnect with yourself and others, develop your creative business, and build your story. Dive deep into your unique business style and areas for growth with the coaching of Peter de Kuster.


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    You are a creative leader or creative professional  who is interested in developing yourself, your business, and your story.

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    You are aware that there are no quick fixes. Learning is a journey that works when you are fully committed to it. Coaching can bring awareness and help you navigate, but in the end it’s you who is in charge of your growth.

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    You want to learn more about how to resource yourself, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.

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    You are curious and want to engage in online learning.

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    You are motivated to work in-between sessions on yourself (e.g. working on homework assignments that will help you develop new storytelling, skills, and behaviors).


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is all about your development. To make the most out of your sessions, we ask you to prepare topics to work on with Peter. These topics can serve as a starting point for further in-depth exploration with Peter.

These coaching topics typically resonate with the creative leaders Peter works with:

How can i tell the most powerful story possible about myself and my creative business?

How can I handle self promotion and marketing of my creative business better?

How do can I stay authentic and with focus when having difficult conversations with potential clients?

What are my creative values and how do I align these with my business values?

How can I manage my time and energy better?

How can I radiate confidence to my clients while feeling anxious inside?

How can I steer myself towards creative excellence without becoming rigid?

About Peter de Kuster

Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project,  a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.


Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing,  MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.

individual coaching for leaders


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching online sessions last 50 minutes and the fee is Euro 189 excluding VAT per session. The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is suitable for people at any stage in their career.


Who can sign up for The Heroine’s Journey online coaching?

Creative leaders and creative professionals who wish to improve their business story and develop their business skills and mindset.

Should I choose 1:1 coaching?

Our The Heroine’s Journey experiences in world cities allow you to learn not only from the coach but also from your peers. For the small group coaching (1 – 4 people), we have selected important, relevant topics that we find regularly come up for creative professional: purpose, storytelling, creative confidence, self promotion, time & money and resilience.

If you would prefer to work alone or on a different topic, individual coaching is a better fit for you.

What language do we speak in the coaching sessions?


Can I buy coaching for my organization?

Yes, you can! We support many organizations around the world with their coaching needs. Please contact us for more information.

Can I bring my own topics?

Yes, for individual coaching you get to choose your own topic.

Are coaching sessions confidential?

Yes. Peter will not share anything that is discussed in the coaching sessions.

Where will the coaching sessions take place?

Sessions will take place online (as per the times we live in) via an online tool like Zoom or Skype. Peter will let you know.

How do I sign up?

Send Peter a mail to to start booking your coaching sessions.

How do I pay?

After you send the mail, you will receive an email with a link to pay.

How do I book and reschedule sessions?

Once we’ve received your payment, Peter will contact you and book your coaching sessions. He will also support you with rescheduling sessions if needed.

What is your cancellation policy?

Individual coaching sessions can be postponed up to one week before the session.

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