Have you heard of Voutch ?
This humourous illustrator makes me die laughter. He draws for numerous French magazines such as psychology magazine. He has agreed to talk to me about his job and how he creates his illustrations. Read the interview here :
What makes you laugh the most in life ?
Voutch : Idiots make me laugh ! Those who generate absurd situations.
I like absurd things; the only person who really managed to make the French love the absurd is Raymond Devos. He could lead people to territories where they would not have gone naturally through play on words.
Do your drawings make you laugh?
V : Sometimes I laugh, but it is rather jubilation at the beginning, when I find the idea. I laugh, imagining what I will do, but afterwards, when I get going I stop laughing.
When I do my drawings, I work on them so much that after a while, it disgusts me, in fact I know that a drawing is finished when I can no longer see it.
” The art of the artist is to give the impression that it’s done very spontaneously and quickly !”
V : Actually, it is very laborious: I draw all areas of a drawing: the underside of the shelf in the top left, that no one looks at, I draw it. It has to be there, so it does not interfere with the overall perception of the drawing. If the unimportant things aren’t there, it disturbs the eye.
What you should know is that in a drawing, the reader will think that it is good if it did not need much effort.
You must simplify the reader’s job by the atmosphere, composition and colors. It should not be a job but a riddle. When the reader has found the solution to the problem, they laugh because they are really happy. It’s complicated to make an image that is simple to understand. It is a discipline, it is not necessary that the eye wanders; our eye must go where we want it to go. If the idea is poorly made, it will pose a problem to the reader and they will turn the page very upset. They hate that.
Do you have a first audience to who you show your drawings to before sending them?
No just to me, by now, I trust myself; I’m always in a rush. I work for several days doing a drawing with watercolors takes a long time.
I ask for an outsider’s opinion for ideas because it happens that one can be wrong completely. Does my design show my idea and does it show it fast enough?
Do your customers accept your drawings the way they are?
V: Yes, always, I make them validate a rough drawing before, and they accept the design as it is. Retouching with watercolors is difficult and takes a long time. My authorship protects me. From the beginning you have to be bold. You have to be intimidating to get this status. It is easier to obtain for a cartoonist than an illustrator. It’s the essence of an author.
Do you define yourself more as a cartoonist than an illustrator?
V: Yes, as a designer of humor and not as an illustrator. Illustration is for me a completely anecdotal way to do something beautiful. I do not want make something beautiful, it does not interest me. For me, drawing is the vehicle of an idea. It is ideas that make the difference. For example the media know they will not find the ideas. For an illustration, if there is a fashion design problem, they feel competent, but when it is a design that conveys an idea, they do not know what to do. They choose a designer because they generally like what they do after that it is up to them to do their job, if they mess up then that’s their problem. Of course, if they mess up 3 times in a row, his collaboration with the customer could be in jeopardy.
Are you a merry person in life?
V: It’s not humorists’ general reputation! I think about Chaval, who was extremely depressed. There are many comedians who commit suicide. These are often two faced people. They’re often very pessimistic in life. I’m a little in-between. When I work, I’m studious.
It made me laugh when I heard an American actor say, “I love painting, it relaxes me.” I burst out laughing, painting, it’s does anything but relax you!
How do you get your ideas?
Everyone knows the answer, but it is not sexy: to find an idea you must search for it! But it’s not a dream! People would like it to be magical. You must get to work, with a white sheet and concentrate.
How do your ideas become drawings?
V: I look for oriented ideas. I look for the mechanics of the idea, and only after that I do the drawing, the staging part of things. Initially, I just have one idea that works, I make a small sketch, but most of the time, they’re just words. For example Sempé, does not do what I do; sometimes he does a drawing and then he waits for the idea to come from the drawing. I find the idea first, and then I do the drawing.
Could you have done another job?
I did have another job: I worked in advertising. I earned a living looking for ideas as well. I always made a living by seeking and finding ideas. From this point of view then it’s the same trade. I’ve just made a drawing that happens in a tattoo shop, and I thought, I would have been a very good tattoo artist!
Voutch thank you !
Voutch on Wikipédia.