Today I am chuffed to welcome Marion Billet to Library Mice.
As a French national I am always to see French illustrators being published in the UK, and was delighted when Nosy Crow published first the Noodle series (see my review of the first two titles here) and now the brand new Littleland (see my review here).
Hi Marion, thank you so much for agreeing to answer a few questions for Library Mice. Firstly, could you tell us a little more about yourself? How did you get into illustration?
As far as I remember, I always had a pencil in my hand ! I had no brother or sister so I was used to draw everywhere, at anytime to occupy myself. At the restaurant I always brought paper and pencils, they re really good childhood memories.
It was, by the way, quite obvious to me to do something around illustration. Then I went to Art School in France for 4 years and I was lucky to start working while still in my fourth year and did so alongside my studies.
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What technique(s) do you use for your artwork?
I draw on a graphic palette (Intuos Wacom) on Photoshop.
I do everything directly on Photoshop, from the rough stage to the final color version.
Can you tell us a little bit more about Littleland, your latest book for Nosy Crow. What did you particularly enjoy, and maybe also what did you find challenging, when working on it?
I had SO much fun working on Littleland ! First, it was a real pleasure to work with the Nosy Crow team, they’re really professional and fun to work with.
One of the great thing about this book is the size. Working on a quite big book was exciting , I could add lots of funny details and also things to find and spot.
That is the kind of book I would have loved as a child !
The challenge was to create a different color atmosphere for each spread but that’s also what I like the most.
Looking at Littleland and Noodle, as well as many of your publications in France, you seem to favour drawing animals rather than people. Is there a particular reason for that?
Because I love animals ! If I could I would love to have cats, dogs, koalas (I had the chance to hug one and it’s the softest animal ever !), donkeys and tigers ! Unfortunately I live in Paris, so that’s a way to keep me closed to them.
Only a handful of French illustrators make it across the Channel and are published in the UK. Could you recommend one French illustrator that our readers should look up? Why did you make this particular choice?
Well, the best french illustrator ever for me is Alain Grée. I’m sure lots of your readers already knew him but for those you don’t you have to discover his Art !
The colors he uses are brilliant and fresh. It looks like the kids are living in a perfect magical world and I love that. I was SO happy to be able to meet him in Paris, he is such a nice person.
It’s crazy to see that his graphic style have not aged at all in all those years. [Alain Grée’s books were first published in the 1960s and 1970s and have been reissued by Button Books in the UK]
Thank you so much for the invitation !