Here is my second children book published this fall, «Arlequin, Charlot, Guignol &cie».
The project came at the last minute, it was to be done within a month and a half, but the idea was interesting and the art director, Kamy Pakdel, with whom I've already worked in the past, is so great I thought it worths the ride.
The concept behind the book is a bit difficult to explain because it consits of a serie of 25 characters whose names have become expressions in the french language. So it's almost impossible for me to do justice to the text and to translate all the names and their meanings, but I'll try my best.
As it happens sometimes, the publisher needed the cover first and fast for promotional needs.
Since I had not started to sketch a single image for the inside, we agreed with Kamy, that I could do something not definitive but final enough so it would still be appealing. It's tricky to come up with an ambiance on the cover that reflects the book when you have not done anything yet.
Anyway, so after we got the visual we wanted, I've done it with Photoshop.
In the end, we all still liked the cover so I've painted it and rework the type.
Chimène, from the play Le Cid; look at someone with Chimène eyes means with eyes of love.
Charlot, the french name for Chaplin's character, stands for someone you can't take seriously.
Matamore, from the spanish comedy, is now used when to describe someone acting tough but who is a coward.
Chocolat the clown
Gogo, someone with no brain, a fool, a simple mind.
Double Patte et Patachon
Here is Guignol, an old french puppet character from 1808, still pretty well known, and whose name nowadays means fool or joker.
La mère Gigogne
Riquiqui, now means really small!!!
Tartuffe, from Molière's play, means hypocrite and rude.
«Un verger dans le ventre», could be translated as «An orchard in the belly», one of my two chidren book to be published this fall is finally out, at La Courte Échelle publisher.
It is a great text, by a talented writter, Simon Boulerice, about a young boy who is worried an orchard will grow in his belly because when he eats apples, he also eats the seeds.
After the publisher proposed me the text, I immediatly thought it should be done with a different technical approach than my regular one; it needed something lighter, something a bit more naive.
In fact this is closer to my natural way of drawing, the kind I do when on the phone or when I sketch things fast. But I knew drawing a little something on a piece of paper is not the same thing than thinking and doing a complete book.
Still I needed an approval from the publisher, which I got.
To be fair, I was not 100% where I was heading with this, although I knew it had to be done differently.
I only had a vague idea of how I would proceed with the colors, but I was so happy and thrilled to do something different that I worked hours and hours just to come with something simple I may like. I'm not a photoshop specialist, neither a technical freak, I'm far more intuitive, which could be a problem with a computer.
I did many, many, many tests, and sketches; for the lines, the colors, the textures, the types,... name it. Working late at night after editorial assignments.
But when it's fun, we all know hours do not count the same.
I guess it is pretty obvious to most of illustrators out there to play with these dozens of layers, multiply and overlay stuff, but it was not for someone like me who doesn't know most of the time which colors, neither where, I'm about to apply when painting.
Intuition is sometimes a pain!
Anyway, I have to admit I got so much fun working on this project, thinking about every little details, the type, the design,... A fantastic ride.
Thanks you Nadine Robert and Mathieu Lavoie for trusting me.
As we're about to enter fall, which is pretty short up here, I thought I could share briefly some pieces done during summer.
The first one is on the cover of a great magazine about illustration and visual arts, Linea Curve, from Spain.
My work is showcase inside, as well as Yuko Shimizu's.
A special thanks to Francisco J. Carrasco.
My oldest client, Jocelyne Fournel, from L'actualité, called me to do a cover about the new situation of oil in america.
An image for an article in The New Scientist about law enforcement agencies that have begun to replace human police by facial-recognition algorithm.
Opener for the Guidepost
Cover for E.L. Doctorow's new novel, «Andrew's Brain»