Aurore Damant

Where did you grow up and when did you decide to become an artist?
I grew up in a small town in north of France, in the countryside. Despite a big house and a huge backyard, I was always in my bedroom, reading comic books or drawing (or watching cartoons). I decided officially to become an artist when I applied to go to Gobelins, the famous french animation school in Paris, after high school.

Did you go to an art school or are you self taught? How did you develop your skills?
I was self taught before I went to Gobelins, then in 2 years I learned more than in 10 years of self taughting. We had a couple of great teachers, some good classes, and mostly awesome classmates. I learned everything from life drawing to computer skills. And that's where I found out I wanted to be a character designer.

What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up ( artists, movies, cartoons, comics etc.. ) ?
Disney's features, Tex Avery's cartoons, french comic books like Asterix, Lucky Luke, Gaston Lagaffe; then japanim like DBZ and Ranma 1/2, then Cartoon Network shows like PPG, Dexter, Cow and Chicken.

Did you have a favourite subject to draw when you were a child and do you still have one today? If you do, what makes it so special?
I liked to draw kids when I was young. I could't draw adults, it was my pet peeve. Now I can draw pretty much everything (except freakin horses) but I like to draw animals the most (except freakin horses), only when they wear clothes though.

From the initial client idea to the final work: what goes through your mind when you are designing and what is the method you use when starting a project? Could you describe it?
If the brief of the client is precise enough, I generally have the vision of the character in my head. It comes pretty quickly. Then I simply try to draw the closest version of the character I had in my vision. Sometimes I struggle for a while but generally it goes pretty well. From this starting point everything takes place in my mind pretty easily, but sometimes I have to look for art references, specially when I want to try something new.

What is your process in colouring your art and what type of tools and media do you use?
I use Photoshop. I make a rough drawing of the character or illustration on the Cintiq (I don't draw on paper anymore) and I use either some brushes or simply the "tin of paint" tool (I'm not sure of the name in english!). Nothing fancy !

What part of the creation process is the most fun and easy and what part is the hardest?
The hardest part is definitely dealing with clients (or producers, or publishers) who don't know what they're talking about but still make all the decisions. Besides that I think I love all the parts of creation process, from the first rough to the final touch.

What projects have you worked on in the past and what are you working on at the moment (if you can tell us)?
I used to work mainly in animation. I created the designs of several french TV series, and created 2 other TV series (also with French studios) called "Jamie's got Tentacles!" and "ZipZip". I also worked briefly as a freelancer for The Mighty B! and did some visual development on Sponge Bob 2 movie. For 5 years I also started a career of children illustration, and that's what I mostly do right now. 

Working for a company or freelancing: what suits you best? And why?
In my 20's I was much happier in a studio with coworkers. Freelancing from home was very hard, I felt very lonely. But when I started working in illustration, I stayed at home more often and for 5 years I've haven't put a foot in a studio (except for a couple of months here and there). Freelance is now the only way to work for me. I'm my own boss and I work about 4 hours a day (all my friends hate me).

Many art teachers and schools suggest to their students that a commercial artist should always work in one consistent style if they wish to have a healthy career. In your own experience, do you believe this to be true?
Well I'm not sure there's a rule about that. I do think you should keep an identifiable style and touch, but you can play with different looks. It can help you to get more clients. In illustration, most artists keep the same style all their life, I can't do that. I get bored easily. I like a new challenge and I like to adapt my style on the project or the people I'm working with. But at the end of the day, I want people to recognize my work because it's consistent and special enough.

What’s your point of view about the industry today: what are the expectation for someone who wants to make a living with an artistic career?
Work hard, be openminded to other art forms and artists, stay focus on what you want to do, don't disperse, be determined, respect the deadlines, be an enjoyable person to work with, be confident in your work, GET THE PAY YOU DESERVE.

Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favourite designs out there?
Mary Blair, Ward Kimball, Ronald Searle, Quentin Blake, Richard Scary, JP Miller, Mel Crawford, M. Sasek, Marc Boutavant, Dan Krall, Lou romano... I just bought the book "Ronald Searle's America" by Matt Jones and it's fantastic.

We have a soft spot for hand drawn animation, what is your opinion about the future of this art form?
I love hand drawn animation, too. I actually married a hand drawn animator. I wish people stop seeing CG as the future of 2D animation, it's not. It's a different art form, and it's not fair that it has been removed and replaced by CG. Now the public think 2D is old school, but CG definitely doesn't make better movies. I don't know what will happen next to 2D. Maybe it will come back, if people are tired with blend CG movies. But I'm not very positive about animated feature films in general. Sorry !

Finally, Where can we see your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
My Tumblr ( ) I don't sell my art for the moment, but I have several books on the market, so you can buy them!

Thank you Aurore :)