Where did you grow up and when did you say to yourself: ‘’I want to be an Artist’’?
I grew up in Paris. I guess I never really « decided » one day to be an artist. I just enjoyed drawing since my childhood as far as I remember. That’s what I did the best and loved the most. I was quite shy when I was a child, so I spent most of my time watching cartoons and reading comics. I guess my love for animation really started when I discovered Mister Miyazaki’s work. So when I had to decide which studies I would do after high school, it came to my mind immediately. And that’s how my passion became my job and way of life.
Have you always been supported in your artistic path or has it been challenging to let your family and friends understand your choice?
My parents waited the very last minute to say yes. « Are you sure ? Are you really REALLY sure ? » But I am quite stubborn haha, so no matter how worried they were, they had to accept ! I think it’s getting more difficult today to do so because I just started to work one year ago as a freelance. I had to wait more than a year to find a job in a studio after many mails and portfolios sent. But in general my family or my friends are really supportive and have faith in my work. I’m lucky to know them.
What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up ( artists, movies, cartoons, comics etc.. ) ?
As I said in my first answer, Miyazaki’s been a great influence for me. Japanese animation and comics in general actually. Came later my years in Animation School, where I tried to discover new things, wandering in illustration and artbooks departments or simply artists websites.
Did you go to an art school or are you self taught? What helped you prepare to become the artist we know today?
I’ve been studying at « l’Atelier de Sèvres » and LISAA in Paris. The first one wasn’t quite specialized in animation when I went there. When I wanted to draw characters in my sketchbooks, a teacher told to stop drawing Mickeys. They were more focused on Plastic Arts. I really started to learn something in the animation field at LISAA. I couldn’t be good at every speciality (especially post-prod), but I’ve been taught a lot by some teachers about drawing. I guess studying real-life drawing and being « forced » to fill my sketchbooks with that has been the best way to improve my skills. Sharing speedpaintings on Facebook too in my last two years at LISAA. We were a few students to do it at the same time at school, with a timer. I had to be faster, and learn a few tricks for that.
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 drew a lot of the average clumsy anime girl character with hands hidden in pockets haha ! Today, I still enjoy a lot drawing women. I love drawing beautiful curves, I feel more at ease with that.
From the initial client idea to the final work: what goes through your mind when you're designing and what is the method you use when starting a project? Could you describe it?
I first ask many questions, almost too many. I’m pretty diligent about this. I want to be sure what they have in mind for their project. Then, there is a moment when you have to realize how free you are, what are the limits, how much of your inner world you can put in that project, and how far you have to stay away from your comfort zone. I always start with quick and rough sketches I send before more detailed work. For a character, I ask many things about its personality, way of life, wondering what kind of things it would do in some different situations. I could say it’s quite a work of deep empathy with the character. Then, in general, I gather a lot of references, if they are not already gathered in my refs folders or books.
What is your process in coloring your art and what type of tools and media do you use?
I mostly work on photoshop. I’ve been more and more distant from traditional tools these past few years, something I have to change asap ! I love using textures, playing with brushes and creating new ones. I start with a rough sketch, then main one-colored shapes. Then I add shadows, lights and textures included in these shapes.
What part of the creation process is the most fun and easy and what part is the hardest?
It probably differs depending on the subject. If I’m in my confort zone or not. It’s harder to do things you’re not used to most of the time. The learning phase is always hardcore, yet inevitable if you want to improve.
What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work/collaborate with?
Depending on the fact if I work as a freelance or in a studio my routine might be really different. But I try as much as possible to see my close friends and family frequently. They are my source of inspiration !
Beside my work, I’m part of two groups :
- Almighty CtrlZ created by Ramon Dela Cuesta García-Vaso, and including the other members Lucía Guirado Rubio, Celia Kaspar, Valentina Millosevich, Tatiana Cherniychuk and David Adhinarya Lojaya. We participate together in CDC creating a story for all our characters together.
- Cartoon Ladies Assembly, we are all french girls planning to make some fanzines, sell many things on Society6, etc. We’re still working on it. The group includes Cécile Déotte, Camille Gomes, Maimiti Chave, Chloé Ménager and Romy Yao.
What are some of the things you have learned from other artists who you have worked with or whose work you have seen?
Way too many haha. It’s kind of hard to pick just a few ones.
Is there something that you have designed that you are most proud of?
I enjoyed drawing my pirate and witch characters for CDC !
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 as a freelance on many different little projects (games, some researches for comics projects, etc). The most important one I’m working on at Ankama studio is the third season of Wakfu. I’m working as a background designer.
What is your longterm career goal and what would your dream project be? Working for a company or freelancing: what suits you best? And why?
I will answer to these two questions at the same time. Working all my life as a freelancer or at a studio only would make me disgusted I think by one of them (OVERDOSE). In the best scenario, I would like to work as a freelancer (comic projects ?) between two productions in a studio. But sometimes you’re not really given the choice. I will go where I can. I want to discover many ways of working, many teams, and collaborate with many scenarists for comics too. My dream project is simply a project funny to do, and appreciated by people.
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 find inspiration by going outside, to beautiful places, talking to people I love, reading beautiful illustrated books. Trying to forget drawing completely, not forcing myself. And then when I feel it, I go back to drawing. I don’t think there is just one way to deal with art-block. We’re all different.
Concept art, animation, illustration, comics, there’s so many options to choose and when you’re young, sometimes the only thing you know is just that you love to draw: what should a young artist take into consideration to make the right decision when choosing an artistic path?
This is the kind of question I ask to myself really often haha. I don’t even know myself if I want to choose between all of them. To me, it’s most of all a matter of opportunity. When you start, you don’t always have the job of your dreams. You have to go with the flow. And sometimes, it makes you discover new things, and realize you can do more than you thought. I consider myself better at character design, but I’m working right now as a background artist. I’m learning a lot. I’ve been studying animation, but when some scenarists came to me to talk about comics I was overjoyed ! Maybe if you ask me that question a few years later I could give you a proper answer !
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?
As a newbie in the industry, I still might be a little bit naive when it comes to expectations from this world. But not enough to think it’s easy it’s all I can say haha. No matter how good you are, if you stay all alone at home in a corner, or never post anything on internet it will be difficult for you to find a job. I just started, but it feels like you always have to know someone who knows someone, etc etc.
Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favorite designs?
I’m really influenced by the artists from the Metamorphose Collection, and Japanese animation. It’s too difficult again to pick just a few designs or artists. I love to find inspiration everywhere !
We have a soft spot for hand drawn animation, what is your opinion about the future of this art form?
I’ve a soft spot for that too haha ! That’s why when I see kickstarters for hand-drawn animation projects I’m really supportive of it ! It’s a shame we can’t find a balance between all the new ways of animation and more traditional ones. Budget is the word…
Social networks, crowd funding websites, print on demand online service, you name it. 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?
I would never complain about it because it helped me a lot ! I met many interesting people in the industry like that. Friends or for work, people started to follow my artwork, etc. I just had positive experience with that!
I hardly imagine negative ones. Maybe some trolls, but hey, welcome to internet ! You have to be strong-minded enough to ignore the unnecessary and non-constructive comments. Which, I imagine, can be hard sometimes. But I just had a few comments like that, nothing terrible actually. I’m quite lucky.
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 facebook page : facebook.com/Julia-Lullaby
My online shop : society6.com/julialullaby
Almighty CtrlZ : facebook.com/almitghtyctrlz
Cartoon Ladies Assembly : facebook.com/cartoonladiesassembly