"I immediately wanted to represent the snow falling, in the silence. I then asked myself, what if someone was dancing in the cold, happy that the snow had arrived..." 

Clouée: Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
Léa: After a MANAA (Mise à Niveaux en Arts Appliqués) at Ecole Duperré in Paris in 2016, I did a DMA Illustration at Ecole Estienne. I have been working as an illustrator for 3 years now. This year is an important turning point in my work, I'm launching into comics!

How did you become an author? What was the trigger that led you to illustration?
I don't think I ever felt like I had a trigger, I didn't think "oh, this is what I want to do now". I grew up in a family of artists, I used to draw whenever I could, at home, at school, on vacation, always on drafting paper and with black pens. Drawing was a way for me to express my emotions, and it was natural. I never had to ask myself "could I do this job? For me, it was "I draw, and I want to keep drawing for the rest of my life." I was very eager to start art school.

Where did your artistic influences come from? Who gave you this passion for drawing and the desire to make it your profession?
The children's books that marked me as a child are still a source of inspiration for me. I was attracted by images that conveyed strong emotions, that captured a precise movement. I wanted to be able to do the same. That's what I'm always looking for in my art practice. I love works that I stand in front of and think, "This is so strong! What emotion!"
In elementary school, I discovered manga. I was stunned by the black and white, the mastery of contrasts. I have a rather obsessive relationship with manga. Then, as a teenager, I discovered dance, through a documentary on a work by Pina Bausch. Her choreographic language overwhelmed me. I regularly go to see dance in the theater, I feel very strong emotions in front of the expression of the bodies, it nourishes my practice enormously.
I am the last of my family, my first memories of drawing are moments when I tried to copy what my sisters were doing. My grandmother taught me that it was important to observe what was around you, and understand what you were looking at. I took all of her advice very seriously and tried to apply it to my practice.
I drew a lot in my mother's studio, I watched her work, I talked to her about what I was doing, I showed her my drawings. I was in direct contact with these creative professions, and it was a great opportunity, I was very free.

Can you tell us more about the technique you use and your style?
I use a glass pipette as a tool, which is found in some small ink pots. I like to work in monochrome, with blue or black ink. When I draw, I attach great importance to the emotion I want to convey, and I like to play with the white of the paper and the ink.

What is the stage in the creation that you like the most and the one that is the most complicated to achieve?
I particularly like the moment when I can create without asking myself any questions, when I can immerse myself completely in the drawing. I feel like my head is directly connected to my hand. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, everything seems easier, and it's a great joy to be able to say through the drawing exactly what I want.
Can you tell us a few words about your next artistic projects?
I have been working on a comic book project since April. I can't really talk about it for the moment...But I can tell you that I use the black ink pipette...amazing isn't it!

"I used to draw a lot in my mother's studio, I would watch her work, talk to her about what I was doing, show her my drawings. I was in direct contact with these creative crafts, and it was a great opportunity, I was very free." 

Can you talk about the emotions you feel when your drawing is finished and at what point do you accept that it doesn't need any further editing?
I consider a drawing to be finished when I have succeeded in expressing what I wanted. I try to put my drawing down quickly, I force myself to say that it is finished, because I tend to want to add details...
Since I use an eyedropper, I put a lot of ink on my paper, which takes time to drink. I have to be careful when I put my drawing on the ground, on a cardboard. When it is dry, it is finished. If I like the drawing, I take another paper, I am full of energy, and I make 2 or 3 others. If I don't like the design, I stop.
What are your work routines?
 I often start my creative work in the middle of the day. The ideal time when I'm piping is when the sun has set, I listen to some inspirational music, and I draw.
We are proud that you are collaborating with us on our "Extreme Cold" theme. What did you like about this project?  What does this theme evoke in you?
I really liked the fact that 6 illustrators were given the same theme, to create different atmospheres. It's always interesting to have an imposed theme, to get out of your comfort zone, and to discover what the others found as ideas. This theme reminds me of silence and wind.

Tell us about the creative process of your illustration... How did you think of it and imagine it? What is its story?
I immediately wanted to depict snow falling, in silence. I then asked myself, what if someone was dancing in the cold, happy that the snow had arrived... 
What is the artist who nails it for you ?
Mathurin Méheut (especially his sketches and drawings).

A movie, a series, a comic book, a book that keeps you in bed?
A movie : A sun by Chung Mong-hong
A series : Nowhere Man by DJ Chen
A comic book (manga) : Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki
A book : The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

The last thing you framed and hung?
I (finally!) framed an illustration by Lily Borraz Korngold. It's a very sensitive piece that I really like. I hung my best friend's graduation poster, who is a clothing designer, on my door.