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Cécile Gariépy


Illustration

March, 2017





I first came across Cécile's work on Behance. Her projects span from designs for homeware - towels, duvets and glasses - to designs for hand painted wall murals and more. Her digital design work is perhaps the most common though and she has illustrated for clients such as The New York Times, Red Bull Music Academy and Bosquet Magazine to name a few.

What I love most about her style is gentle colours which are both slightly autumnal but friendly, and the fact that they are left ambiguous in many cases - she often misses out facial features in her drawings. Perhaps my favourite illustrator to come out of Montreal, I was very happy when she agreed to let us interview her about life before she got into illustration, and her role as a storyteller.














Sophie
Could you tell us a little bit about how you got into illustration, and at what point did you refine your style to the way it is now?

Cécile
I was writing my master's thesis in Paris and was trying all the ways not to sink into madness because of my very academic research. I started to draw more and more, putting my characters on the Internet. Before I could realize what was happening, I got my first illustrations jobs - wait a second, I can get paid to draw?!

As for the style, it came pretty naturally: it is a blend between the love of stories, colours and shapes.

Sophie
Did you study your craft in Montreal, if yes - what is art education like over there and what advice would you give to new students of illustration?

Cécile
I feel like an impostor! I studied cinema and worked as a commercial and film director for 5 years in Montreal. I was loving it, but the illustration world surprised me when I wasn’t expecting it!

Now, I can totally see how a storyteller can be both film director and illustrator: its just a matter of what you tell as a story and how you unfold it.

I think it is important for new students to perfect their art skills and to develop a bold style. But we should never forget the importance of the message we put out there. Its really not just about the aesthetic.





“I think it is important for new students to perfect their art skills and to develop a bold style. But we should never forget the importance of the message we put out there. Its really not just about the aesthetic.”






Sophie
I love your colour choices - they’re warm and friendly. What is your process into choosing the right colours for that particular drawing?

Cécile
I try to keep a nice balance between flashy colours and neutral palette. This way I can put emphasis on some elements in the drawings, and keep the illustration visually compelling.

Sophie
In regards to your digital work - how much time do you spend planning / sketching out the drawing first before making it digital?

Cécile
I give great importance to the concept or the story behind my images, so I spend more time thinking about it than actually drawing it. When I start having a good idea of what I want to illustrate, I might do between one and three sketches before drawing the final one.

Sophie
Often you don’t use lots of facial features - sometimes just eyes - why is this?

Cécile
I like my images to be easily and quickly understandable. By reducing the number of details, I hope to succeed in sketching out the idea and going directly to the concept.

Sophie
What is your favourite kind of client or brief?

Cécile
I don’t really have favourites because I am always super excited to work with new people. I love the constraints! They allow you to see how far your creativity can go.




“I love the constraints! They allow you to see how far your creativity can go.”





Sophie
Who are your favourite designers / illustrators in Canada right now?

Cécile
I am inspired by a lot of people, but I can say that Mathilde Corbeil, Catherine Lepage, Vincent Tourigny, Isabelle Arsenault and Benoît Tardif are, in my opinion, amongst the most influential illustrators right now in Quebec.

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Find Cécile Gariépy's website here.


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