We feel privileged to have worked with Carole. She is an amazing person with an incredible talent. We cannot thank her enough for bringing Prenderland to life with such fantastic illustrations. We were delighted when Carole agreed to this interview, as it means that you can all get to know her too.
1) When did you first discover your love for drawing?
My interest in drawing started when I was studying Art in college, I knew already at that time that I wanted to pursue a creative career but wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do yet. During my years in a private Graphic Design school in France, I was pushed to use my hands more than computer software to create graphical elements, typography and illustrations, which really helped me in my process.
I began to get better at illustrating when I started my job in a design agency. It was a revelation! It felt a lot more natural for me to pick up some brushes and paint, and start to draw whatever I needed to or wanted to. With a bit of practice, I started to really enjoy it and decided to do more illustrations outside of work for myself and various clients, and well, here I am! I’m now pursuing a freelance career as a designer and illustration is what I love to do the most.
2) How do you come up with new ideas?
It really depends as I would usually work on a project that has been commissioned by a client. In this case, I follow the brief given and get some inspiration by putting together moodboards which help to define the type of style I will work on.
However, I do make a point of working on personal projects as often as I can, and it gives me the freedom to do what I feel like doing at that time. When I started my Etsy shop with illustrated greeting cards, I wanted to experiment with illustrating in Photoshop, using my graphics tablet, and I couldn’t wait to create cute illustrations of cats. Recently I decided to come back to one of my first loves: fashion illustration. It’s always quite liberating to create ‘just for fun’. Ideas come to me when I’m not thinking about my work, it will usually be something that will come naturally to me. I guess that’s the beauty of being creative, in a way, you can’t force it! Sometimes I just need to see an interesting piece of design and that will spark a new idea in my head.
3) What do you do when you are really struggling to come up with a brilliant illustration or design?
I always make sure to take a break if I’m stuck with one of my projects. I’ve realised that if I’m too tired or stressed, I won’t be able to work properly and my motivation and inspiration will be down. Sometimes you don’t have the choice and you need to keep going, but if I’m struggling, I know I won’t be 100% happy with my work.
So I take a walk, go on an adventure (big or small!). Getting some fresh air is so important to me. Sometimes just the fact that I’m away from my desk for a little bit will help. I would read a book, work-out a bit, or prepare myself a cheeky snack. This way, the moment I get back to my screen or my sketchbook, I look at my artwork with fresh eyes.
4) Who or what has most inspired you the most?
I guess the area I live in at the moment does inspire me a lot, but I have to say that I get most of my inspiration on the internet, and particularly on Pinterest and by following my favourite blogs and design websites.
When I was still studying, I would always get inspired by contemporary and pop art pieces. I think I was always drawn in by the clever mix of colours, the boldness of the artwork and the modern layout. Maybe it was a sign that I would get into graphic design a couple of years later! I didn’t have a favourite artist in particular, to me it was more about seeing this type of art on a bigger scale.
5) Who is your favourite children's book illustrator?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Teagan White’s illustrations, but to be honest, any book that has an interesting style always stands out to me. I think Teagan’s style has always been one of my favourites as it’s so delicate and sweet, but there are so many talented illustrators out there that it’s hard to pick an absolute favourite.
6) What do you love most about being an illustrator and graphic designer?
The fact that I’m doing a creative job, and something that I love, everyday of the week is so rewarding and I’m really passionate about it. I love the opportunities I get thanks to my job. Meeting new clients (most of the time online!), and getting to be a part of something important to them, is very special.
I think one of the main things I enjoy about it all is to make my clients happy. There’s nothing better than a client that is very pleased with what you've created for then. You know you’ve done a good job and it allows you to be proud of what you do. I’m always looking forward to new exciting projects and I love everything about the whole process. It’s so satisfying to see a piece of design you created finally printed, or out there in the wild world of the internet. Sure, there’s always a bit of stress and things can get overwhelming, but in the end it’s all worth it.
7) If you weren't an illustrator and graphic designer what would you love to be?
This might sound a bit random, but when I was in college, I studied psychology for 8 hours a week during my last year, and I was obsessed with it. I think if I didn’t manage to be a graphic designer, I would have probably been studying psychology further to become a therapist or to write about it. I’ve always loved to write too, but I have the feeling I wouldn’t be so good at it!
8) What is your best piece of advice for children who would love to become an illustrator or designer?
Practice is key, along with imagination. These don’t go without each other I’m afraid. You can have a lot of imagination, but with no practice, you might not be able to get to the level you want to. And on the other side, sometimes it’s easy to copy different styles and practice a lot, but without creativity and a good dose of imagination, you might struggle with new projects and coming up with clever and unique ideas.
So my advice would be to identify which skill you would like to develop and really concentrate on it. With enough practice, creativity and patience, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to make your dream come true. I do think that it also doesn’t depend much on the school you go to. There are plenty of famous designers that are self-taught. I think as long as you have the motivation to make it work, nothing will stop you!
9) What is your favourite children's book?
Without a doubt, it would have to be Harry Potter. It’s a funny one because I’ve always been a massive fan of Stephen King’s books (quite a big contrast with Harry Potter!) and I would exclusively read books written by him. I started to read the first Harry Potter just out of curiosity as everybody was talking about it. I really got into it and enjoyed reading the whole series of books in French so much that I bought the English versions to re-read them when I moved to North Wales! I think the whole world that J.K Rowling created is a work of genius and her writing is amazing too.
10) If you could spend a day with one of the PrenderPals who would it be and why?
I love them all, but if I had to choose, I think Clara the Chinchilla would be my favourite to spend a day with! She looks so happy and cheeky, and also really cute with her little wheelbarrow full of books. One of my favourite activities is to talk and laugh, and having fun in general, and I have a feeling that Clara would be the best to join me!
If you have a project that you would like Carole to help you with, please visit her website.