Where did you grow up and when did you decide to become an artist?
I grew up in a small town in the north of France. When I was a child I used to draw all of time, but I wanted to become a heroine as Sailor moon or a detective! Only later, when I was a teen ager, I decided to become an artist to create illustrations for the video games (I have played a lot in my childhood, thank you big brother).
Did you go to an art school or are you self taught? How did you develop your skills?
I went to the Art School Saint-Luc (in Belgium). It’s a good school and also.. looks like Hogwards! For develop my skills I have worked very much, practising all time, day and night. My the goal has always been to do better.
Have you always been supported in your artistic path or has it been challenging to let your family and friends understand your choice?
The choice I made to become illustrator was very evident since the very beginning and my family has always supported me. I’m very lucky.
What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up ( artists, movies, cartoons, comics etc.. ) ?
The cartoons “The Animals of Farthing Wood” and “The Moomins”; the movies “All Dogs go to Heaven” and “Beauty and the Beast” had a big influence on me. The video games “Monkey Island”, “Rayman”, “Grim Fandango” and “Spyro the Dragon” too.
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?
Animals! Again and always animals. When I was child I love drew cats, dogs, squirrel, fox, birds and other little beasts. I still draw animals today (and I think I always will). I like to think they have a secret life and live exciting adventures.
What is your process in colouring your art and what type of tools and media do you use?
My colouring process is not the same for all my illustrations but, generally speaking, it’s pretty basic. I start by sketching my idea, then I add the line-art with black ink (sometimes I use the brush, sometime the pen). Once I did this, I scan my drawing and I use Photoshop to render it with colors. I start with by flat colors and then I add lights and shadows. I use a lot of layers and play a lot with the transparency tool.
What part of the creation process is the most fun and easy and what part is the hardest?
The most fun it’s to find the character-design and the ambiance of the illustration. The hardest it’s to find a good composition and the correct pose or gesture for my characters.
What are some of the things you have learned from other artists who you have worked with or whose work you have seen?
To always draw, to take risks and not be afraid to fail.
What projects have you worked on in the past and what are you working on at the moment (if you can tell us)?
I have worked for several editing house (Bordas, Larousse, Hachette..) for both storybooks and school books. Recently I have created a pack of animals stickers (Auzou Editions). And concerning my future projects.. it’s a secret :)
What is your longterm career goal and what would your dream project be?
My goal it’s to keep working on exciting projects, draw all the days and to save the world (but that it’s an another story). My dream is to work in the video game industry or to illustrate my own series of stories.
Working for a company or freelancing: what suits you best? And why?
I've always worked as a freelancer from home, it gives me a lot of freedom and I really like it, but it also requires a lot of discipline and it’s not easy to work by yourself all day. I believe that working in a company must be great for the motivation you get from team spirit and the exchange of ideas and advices. In the end, I think that working for a company or freelancing have both pros and cons, it depends what are you looking for.
What advise would you give to an artist who is dealing with an art-block? How do you boost your imagination and keep yourself creative?
I don’t have a miraculous solution, I think it's different for everybody, but personally I get out to look at the world around me or I go back to the books that inspires me. I take a big break, I clean all my desk and here we go again!
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?
Not necessarily. I understand it’s important to keep a coherent style to be recognizable, but for evolve it’s necessary to test different thinks and different styles.
If you had to recommend only one art book (a comic book, graphic novel, children book, ''how to''book) to a fellow artist, what would it be and why?
It’s a very difficult question. There are so many fantastic books. I would go for “Le trop grand vide d’Alphonse Tabouret” (Capucine, Jérôme d’Aviau and Sibylline). This book is magical. The story is so different from all the ones I have read before. It is amazing, poetic and it surprised me.
Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favourite designs out there?
Luke Pearson, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Joann Sfar, Cyril Pedrosa, Marc Boutavant, Clément Lefèvre and many others.
Finally, Where can we see your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
You can follow my work on Tumblr ( zoziho.tumblr.com ) and on Facebook ( facebook.com/deregnaucourtceline ). Feel free to contact me :)
Thank you Céline :)