Violaine Briat

Where did you grow up? At what age did you start thinking about pursuing an artistic career?
I grew up in a little french town called Abondant (not even the French know about it). I always drew and always wanted to be an artist, it just took me a little bit of time to realize what specific career in art was viable haha.

Did you go to an art school or are you self taught? How did you develop your skills?
Yes, I attended Gobelins, but I also had to keep drawing a lot in my free time to catch up with the artistic skills that are expected in the French animation industry. Lots of life drawing, lots of observation drawing.

Have you always been supported in your artistic path or has it been challenging to let your family and friends understand your choice?
My dad wanted me to pursue a scientific career, especially because I was a "straight As" student (translate that to the French curriculum). Most renowned art school in France have a tough entrance exam, so the trial for me was to prepare during a year to test for these entrance exams. If I could make it to at least one of these schools, then my parents were ok with letting me off the science hook.

What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up ( artists, movies, cartoons, comics etc.. ) ?
I remember reading books of French illustrator "Claude Ponti". I used to read a lot of kids picture books in kindergarten/elementary school. Then I moved on to french-belgian comics, and later to manga. My older sister would buy a lot of manga which I borrowed, I remember liking the boys manga (Shonen) better than the girls manga (Shojo).

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 used to draw mostly animals. I've always had a problem drawing human characters. I remember as a kid I thought humans were boring, so I didn't feel compelled to draw them. I still struggle with human characters nowadays, I just like drawing monsters much better. Maybe I still feel like humans are boring.

From the initial client idea to the final work: What goes through your mind and what is the method you use when starting a project? Could you describe it?
I usually try to brainstorm in an abstract manner: I'll try to list words that relate to the idea. After I have a list of words I'm satisfied with, I open Google Image and start looking for fun pictures to save, and then I'll paste all of them on a "poster". Using this big piece of reference, I start drawing rough ideas to explore all the (hopefully) fun direction to go in.

What is your process in creating your art and what are your favourite tools?
When I work professionally, I do only digital (Toonboom Storyboard Pro or Photoshop) and use a Cintiq. When I work for personal project, i'll use only traditional, mainly markers, ink and ball point pens. I feel like working traditional has really helped me out digitally. I never wanna stop drawing for myself/in my personal time, so separating work-digital with personal-traditional has helped me keep thing fun. 


What part of the creation process is the most fun and easy and what part is the hardest?
This is actually a very interesting and hard question to answer. In the beginning, when just playing with idea, it's easiest for me to be motivated and keep exploring, but it's hard starting to put my pen on paper. Then when I actually start executing the idea, thats where it's hard for me to keep being motivated, but it's easy to draw.

What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work, collaborate or share your creative time with?
I now work at Nickelodeon on the loud house. I work with Jordan Rosato, Ari Castleton and we often get visits from Ashley Kliment and Gene Goldstein. We started bouncing ideas off of each other on a weekly basis, it's great! I also talk a lot about animation, comics and art with my roommate Kevin Bailey who works at Disney. Being in animation, you never really run out of fun people to be creative with.

What are some of the things you have learned from other artists who you have worked with or whose work you have seen?
That we all struggle the same, and that i shouldn't be too impatient. Things come with time, practice and a lot of effort. Never giving up. And trying my best to always have fun with my art.

Is there something that you have designed that you are most proud of?
Not exactly. I'm never exactly proud of anything i do hah! I just like doing whatever I'm doing heh, I like the process better than the result.

What projects have you worked on in the past and what are you working on at the moment (if you can tell us)?
I started on a few french TV series ('Ko Bushi', 'Troll de Troy', 'Marcus Level', 'Calimero', 'Noddy's Adventures in Toyland') and I'am now working on Nickelodeon's show 'The Loud House'. I'm also currently developing 2 TV shows and a short for Nick Uk.

Do you have a longterm career goal? What would your dream project be?
I would want to direct/showrun a TV series. Ideally, I would love to do it here in the US. But where will be depending on which is the broadcaster interested by my ideas :)

Working in-house for a company or freelancing: what suits you best? And why?
I love working for a company in house the best. It gives a healthier lifestyle: you work at the company, home is a different story. Plus you get to talk and hang out with people!!! I go insane when I'm freelance.

What advise would you give to an artist who is dealing with an artist's block? How do you boost your imagination and keep yourself creative?
I have made a small tutorial for that on my blog, HERE is the link. I made a series or tutorials too that people can read!

Concept art, animation, illustration, comics, you name it. There are so many careers and when you are very young, sometimes you know only one thing: you simply love to draw. In your opinion, what should a young person take into consideration to make the right decision when choosing an artistic path?
It all depends on what kind of a person you are. There not one single similar career. You may start as an animator and later go into comics or vice versa. All artistic paths are difficult. If you are serious and willing to commit, no matter which way you start, you may always later reconsider and be able to change. Heck who knows, one girl went to Gobelins and ended a firefighter. Things are never set in stone.

In your own experience, what would you suggest to someone who is inspired by your work and wants to follows your footsteps: should they work in one consistent style, or work on different ones?
HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and practice. Practice. Practice.

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?
The first thing that pops in my mind right now is Jeff Smith's Bone. Not only is the art beautiful, but the storytelling is great, plus it started as a self published comic and now it's super popular.

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?
Working in animation and being known as a storyboard artist in both France and (a little bit) the US without a family to support, I think you can make a pretty good living. Starting in France has been rough, storyboarding is a very demanding job especially in TV. Be prepared to work hard. But it gets easier. It's just the first couple of years that are very painful, you have to be willing to make the sacrifice.

Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favourite designs out there?
I'm in love with everything Jesse Balmer draws, with Littleduke funny designs, and I'm extremely excited for Cartoon Network's new show 'OK KO'.

We have a soft spot for hand drawn animation, what is your opinion about the future of this art form?
I think hand drawn will survive in TV. But i also think you can do great CGI animation, just look at David Oreilly's art. I don't mind the medium as log as it s fun, new and has good storytelling.

Social networks, crowd funding websites, print on demand online services and so on. New media on the internet are connecting the artists directly with their fans like never before. In your opinion, how is this affecting the industry and what are the pros and cons?
This is actually how I got hired to work here in the US, so obviously I'm gonna have a Pro stance on this. However, the cons is that now artists have to also know how to market themselves and basically be their own agent. It's a lot of time and energy. I think nowadays artists are asked to be a lot more diverse in their skill set than before.

When clients contact you for a commission, what essential info should they include in their very first email in order to communicate with you efficiently and effectively?
I just want to know what the project is in a few words, what aspect of my work they were attracted to (giving links to a few of my pictures is best) and also what the schedule and rate is.

Finally, where can we see your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
I'm on all social media, so please look me up on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook! My email is on all my bios, and I have an online store where you can purchase my art ( )

Thank you Violaine :)