Melanie Grandgirard

Melanie Grandgirard

Represented by Good Illustration
Melanie Grandgirard Interview

Melanie Grandgirard

Children's Illustrator

Who or what made you want to become an illustrator?

Ever since I was young, I always loved to draw. I knew that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I studied art for 4 years and enjoyed discovering many different mediums, such as sculpture, painting, graphism, and animation.

Upon graduating, I initially wanted to work in cartoon animation, but wasn’t entirely comfortable with the animation side of things. Children’s illustration was the area I was most drawn to and recall as a child how fascinated I was by the illustrations in children books.

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Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?

I spent 4 years at a French university and came away with a master’s degree in art. After that I took a year-long comic book course, and it was during that time I knew I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator.

Where do you currently live and where did you grow up?

I grew up in the east of France, near the Belgium border. Now I live in Lille in the north of France.

Was creativity part of your childhood?

Yes, I would say so, I did lots of arts and crafts with my mum as a child. When I was younger, my father was a Forester, and we lived a house in the forest. I spent part of my childhood in the forest, and I think that it’s the perfect environment in which to enhance your creativity!

Have you always loved to draw?

Yes, ever since I was young, I used to draw all the time.

Who or what have been some of your major artistic influences?

There are two books that stand out for me. The first is Tomi Ungerer’s ‘The Three Robbers’. I really love the story and graphic illustrations. The second is «Le monstre poilu» illustrated by Pef. This book is so funny and when I was a child, I loved all of Pef’s books.

What was your first commission as a professional illustrator?

It was for a magazine called Charlotte aux fraises, I illustrated a story about an imp and Santa Claus.

Describe your working technique and how you came to perfect it.

I always start by sketching the story. I love to draw with gouache and colored pencils, but when the deadlines are tight I color up using Photoshop or Illustrator.

Tell us about the creation of your favourite character from one of your books.

My favourite character is Moustache. He’s a slightly awkward cat who’s very funny and does lots of silly things. I love this character because he was one of the first personal projects I did. I love cats, and I realize that I tend to draw a lot of cats in my illustrations.

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Talk us through the process of creating one of your latest illustrations or books.

Currently, I’m working on a series of musical books. They allow small children to discover a few famous French singers like Gainsbourg. I love this collection, because I get to immerse myself in a different universe each time. I listen to each song in order to feel the universe of the singer. This project requires me to do a lot of research about the singer and his art. And I also love to put a few details in the illustrations for the parents who read the book.

What do you do in your spare time?

I love spending time with my family, surrounded by nature.

Take us behind the scenes and describe your studio / workspace.

Currently, I work in my house on the second floor. My partner made me a desk and I have a cabinet with a lot of shelves filled with books, paper, pencils .... it’s a nice place, but I would ultimately like to find a nice workshop space outside the house. I would enjoy having some co-workers to share ideas etc.

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What things affect your creativity?

Definitely nature and animals.

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When you are not drawing, how do you like to relax?

I like making things, I recently started sewing and find it really relaxes me.

If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be doing?

I think I would like to work with nature, something like a florist.

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