Jun 6, 2014

Coraline - early sketches

I don't read books twice. It happens rarely and only if the first time they left an "echo" in the back of my mind, something that will eventually pull me back into that story. When I do is always after many years. I recognize the reasons why I loved it the first time, but I also find new layers of meaning, as I change and grow as an individual.
I was looking for a story for my black and white portfolio and for Bologna. I wanted something with older characters and a darker atmosphere. I picked up Neil Gaiman's Coraline, without knowing that this book had so much more to tell me now, than it did the first time. If you're familiar with the movie, do yourself a favor and read the book. Not only because it's so incredibly well written and full of beautiful lines, but because it also is a lot more complex and darker than the film.

In a world that goes so quickly, with the pressure of being successful and individualistic, how much time and attention do we give to those we love? Do we really know who they are or how they feel?
Coraline captures those big fears we all have as kids and often carry in our adult life. The need for attention and understanding. The fear of being forgotten or misunderstood. There is a reference to her name as a mark for her identity in different parts of the book. The cat tells her that people need names because they don't know who they really are. The Other Mother also says:

“Nothing’s changed. You’ll go home. You’ll be bored. You’ll be ignored. No one will listen to you, really listen to you. You’re too clever and too quiet for them to understand. They don’t even get your name right.”

They don't get your name right - they don't know who you really are, they don't care. And when you're offered everything you could ever want, will you be brave enough to refuse? A life might not be perfect, but still has a meaning.

The first time I read this book I wasn't a parent. Reading it now, after months of intensive deadlines and little time to play with my son, put this tale on a different scale. It's not just my own fears and insecurities (my name is often misspelled too!) but also the sense of guilt we feel for not having enough time. If you need a good book for the summer, read this great story. I hope you'll get lost in that big dark house as I did, only to resurface and give your kids a big hug.

May 26, 2014

Paper wings

I've finished my commissions and summer break is around the corner. If I could build myself a huge paper crane, I'd fly away and explore new places. There are so many new and old friends I'd like to meet. Unfortunately, I have a lot of planning to do in the following weeks, both for work and for my future life. Planning, saving and dreaming things up!
I always fear changes, big and small, but I also hate being stuck. When something doesn't work for me, when I feel I'm out of place or held back, I become restless… This should be the last blog update for a while. I'm struggling to give my portfolio an update and a new look. Me and web design are not good friends and it's a frustrating process.

I leave with good news! I'm now represented in the U.S. by the super lovely Teresa Kietlinski at Prospect Agency. This is a big change. I'm happy and very lucky. It's a new journey ahead!

Mar 25, 2014


April 11th is the release date for my ABC book. Published in France by Fleurus Editions, it's the first project where I had the challenge of drawing different types of vehicles, including bikes!
It's the story of Adrien, a firefighter who helps saving a farm and its animals during a thunderstorm.
Each double spread has a letter of the alphabet with three little vehicles and a full page illustrating the story. It's very nicely printed and the die-cut cover makes it even nicer.

You can see more images from the book under Featured Project ---> Mon Alphabet des Véhicules

Feb 5, 2014

Under the new Moon.

January came to an end with a big super moon. This year is going fast already!
What is new under my moon? Well, I've mentioned in another post that I was leaving several things behind. Professionally, this meant I closed my collaboration with La Marelle. It was a good two years, but not the right outlet for me and my work. Not the ideal conditions and arrangements to grow into a long term collaboration. If you are interested in the products I designed for them, you will be able to buy the new ones for another 6 months on their website, until stock lasts! 

One of my goals for the upcoming years will be to build a licensing portfolio that will have a separate space within my current work and a slightly different look. It will be a place where I can experiment with other subjects, while my children's illustrations will continue to features cute fairies, babies and fables. It will take some time, as I first need to find my way into this new adventure, but it's also something I've wanted to do for a while.  

My portfolio also needs a new space and with so many illustrations going to print in the next few months, part of the older drawings will go. They've had their time! I hope to do this big portfolio update during the summer.

In the meantime, I'm working on new books!
One will be out soon and it's an Alphabet of Vehicles published by Editions Fleurus. I've seen the first photos last month and I'm very excited about it. I'm still working with the design team on new titles, hopefully I will be able to share more in the upcoming months. I'm also illustrating a book for early readers with Editions Milan.
Each project is different and apart from the challenges of overlapping schedules and tight pace, I enjoy the diversity and I will be looking forward to see them in print.

It will be a full 4 months until the end of May, but worth every hour spent drawing. Then if all goes well, I will take a break and I hope other big and small changes will happen along the way.