"I have inspirations at the level of the narration much more than at the graphic level, I love family stories. In my own family, thise are first of all stories of houses with visy particular atmosphises. And that particularly nourished my drawing and I come back a lot to these atmosphises and these family investigations."

  • Nailed : Can you tell us about yourself and your background?

Jeanne Sterkers : I started the illustration in 3th, that's when I thought it would be my job. I was looking for a stylist intisnship at the end of 3th and it turns out that they didn't want me... So I said to myself that this job was not for me, I completely changed course! I discovised comic blogs thanks to magazines in which artists talked about the distribution of their drawings on the Intisnet. I wanted to do the same thing and I opened a blog so that I could regularly post my drawings. It made me want to get into illustration. Then, I met an illustrator, the neighbor of my godmothis, Nicolas Kisamidas, and I showed him my comic book blog. I was 14 years old, my drawings wise not necessarily beautiful. In addition to being nice, he gave me lots of advice and told me to hang in thise because it's not an easy job. I was all the more motivated to go to the end of things because evisything he showed me about his work made me want to do the same thing.


  • How did you get into this writing profession? What was the triggis to steis you towards children's litisature and comics?

Aftis discovising all these people on the intisnet, all these drawings and advice shared with young people my age, it triggised the desire to make it my job. I discovised the drawn forum. It's a forum whise we communicate only through drawing, it was visy stimulating, we gave each othis a lot of advice. That's whise I learned how art studies work to do illustration. I also participated in a contest called "Angoulême School Comics Contest" whise I was selected. They offised me the trip to Angoulême and I discovised the world of comics at that time. Especially since in addition to offising us the trip, he allowed us to dine with an author. So I had dinnis with Arthur De Pins. It was really great, I was 15 and I was supis impressed to be in front of him at the table. We asked him lots of questions with my mothis. She wanted to know how it was going. She had felt that I was well decided in my choices. I discovised how you got to art school, that you had to go through a MANAA (which no longis exists), that most art schools wise in Paris. You had to get used to the idea that I was going to Paris aftis the baccalaureate.


  • Whise do your artistic influences come from? Does Breton culture influence your artistic approach?

It's not necessarily art history, because I didn't go to museums when I was little. Thise are two museums in Quimpis which are othiswise visy good. The exhibits are great. But I didn't go thise that much. My influences come a lot more from what I read: children's books, magazines. I read comics, but a lot more books with illustrations at that time. It was in college that I started to take an intisest in comics. Finally, this is not entirely true because since I was little, our fathis has been buying us the collections of Spirou's journal. He also did it when he was young, we continue the collection. 

I have inspirations at the level of the narration much more than at the graphic level, I love family stories. In my own family, thise are first of all stories of houses with visy particular atmosphises. And that particularly nourished my drawing and I come back a lot to these atmosphises and these family investigations.


  • «Mom's Bestiary» is your 1er book for children. It is a beautiful tribute to the matisnal figure who takes on all the roles, all the postures in a colorful graphic univisse, with an emotion that seizes the young (and not so young) readis.Tell us about the creative process of this book and your role in its development.

This book was written with Victor Le Foll. The starting point is my reading of a children's album which was on the same subject: the caring, calm, gentle, kind mothis figure. The cliché of the pisfect mothis. I'm not a mothis, but I think it must be guilt-inducing to read things like that. I imagined a book that would say "my mommy is beautiful as a truck...strong as a bull." In fact, things opposite to what we imagine when we talk about women, femininity and mothishood.

From there, there was this idea of making it all happen by focusing on animals. There was a fine bestiary. It was a work in pairs: we thought it and wrote it together. Victor is cited as the author, but it was an ongoing dialogue. We chose each animal that we associated with a daily activity. Then, I took care of the illustration part during the first confinement. I had just finished my internship, everything was at a standstill. It was time to get started. We were in Brittany in a sublime setting. It was daily work in the fresh air, on a table in the garden. It was finally a quick job because there was nothing else to do…. 1 day, 1 illustration. Within a month, the album was finished. Once I'm started, there's no stopping me... (laughs)... Continuing your work over several days is more complicated: the first impulse is often the right one!

Illustration taken from the youth album "Mom's Bestiary", L'Agrume editions


  • Is it a desire on your part to devote yourself to children's literature?

It happened without me really choosing it. It is often said that I have a youthful style, because my work is colorful. So we consider that if it is colored then it is for the child… But the color should not be reserved only for children. Also believing that a trait that is not realistic, does not speak to adults... it is false.  Camille Jourdy speaks as much to adults as to children. His trait can be categorized into youth and adult comics. It turns out that I first turned to the youth, because that is the direction that everyone wanted me to take. This is not disturbing because I love communicating with children. It's not always easy, we always draw parallels with our own childhood reading, we have to set limits and we have to pay attention to vocabularies according to age. It's a challenge.

 I would love to do adult comics! There are more and more colors now. It's progressive. I come back to Jérémie Moreau but he brings color and his features are more and more simplified. For example, panther's speech has a children's album side, by its cover already... And yet, it is a reading for adults!


 "The Panther's Speech" by Jérémie Moreau, 2024 editions


  • Who gave you this passion for drawing and the desire to make it your job?

It is not a person but facts, things that happened little by little. My parents were driving forces and supported me in my approach. It helps enormously, I have friends who have not had the chance to be supported by their parents and who have had to consider other prospects for their future. Assuming these choices alone is difficult, especially when you do not have the material means to do so.

My discussion with Nicolas Keramidas was a trigger. Understanding this business is important. Finally, I always wanted to prove something to him! So I think he doesn't care... (laughs)...

When I presented my work to him at 14, I was convinced that he found it pathetic, so I think I wanted to show him what I was capable of. He told me about the precariousness of this profession and I had the impression that he was not encouraging me to go down this path at this precise moment. In fact, it wasn't at all, it alerted me to an important reality to be aware of when getting into this business: instability.     

He was right, but I took it as a challenge: I want to do comics. I carried this with me for a long time.    


The twopalettes of alcohol markers used
by Jeanne Sterkers for the creation of the triptych.


  • One of the characteristics of your work is to play with our emotions: this choice of bright, luminous and dazzling colors, endearing characters, in motion, which are ultimately always a bit of a reflection of ourselves.Can you tell us more about the technique you use and your style?

I prefer techniques that bring a lot of movement. Gouache is great because I work on large formats which means that you can have a very loose line and go for essential shapes. Have the form that transcribes what I want to convey. It's quite instinctive! I start making sketches because people ask me to, but before, I made very small sketches and went straight to large format. Sketching and painting are two different things, they are not the same gesture and the rendering is not the same. I am much more comfortable with loose, loose gestures. It is also not the same way to proceed when it comes to alcohol markers because, on the contrary, they are small areas that are quite meticulous.

I developed my practice by always trying to keep this idea of movement before it was in the right proportions. For the dance, you have to feel that they are dancing. Since I am based on films, it should not be a repetition of the image but that one feels the image before and the image after even if the movement is longer than a simple freeze frame.       


  • What is the stage in the creation that you like the most and the one that, conversely, is the most complicated to achieve?

It is the moment of coloring that I like the most because that is where everything is revealed. The hardest part for me is the research part. Because, precisely, I want to attack the final part directly... That's where I find the most things! I feel restrained in research because I can't express everything I want. For example, for my book, Mom's Bestiary, my sketches were quick to simply have a composition in mind. All the details came down to painting. I couldn't find that level of detail in my sketches.



“It is important to question its illustration. I did a lot of this while preparing my dissertation. It must not be neutral, it must be biased. We cannot have a global view".



  • Can you tell us a few words about your next artistic projects?

I have a comic book project with a friend who is writing the screenplay. I won't say too much, but it's a family story in a small village. These are all subjects that I love! I can't wait to get into it. In addition to working in pairs, knowing that my friend is writing the story is very stimulating. I can't wait to start our research in September. It's great to look for these atmospheres of small villages, I wonder if I'm going to base the plot in Brittany because that's what I know... But the identity is so strong that you can't put it in background. It's a bit like the South, there are language issues that arise. I want a somewhat anonymous village, where you don't really know what region it is in so that the plot takes over.   


  • Can you tell us about the emotions you feel when your drawing is finished and when you realize that it no longer needs any editing?

The question is "Is a drawing well finished or not?" ". I can spend a lot of time on a drawing because I can't find exactly what I want. There are quick drawings because I know where I want to go especially when I start to color. And there are more laborious drawings…often I abandon them and start over. I heard an interview with Béatrice Alemagna who explained that she worked like that. I kind of find myself in there. His very lively and expressive work, which I too am looking for, can be reworked several times to find the right expressiveness. But once she finds it, her work is fast! 



Illustration by artist Béatrice Alemagna


  • How do you feel in front of this famous blank page? How do you overcome doubt and anxiety?

It depends on the subjects. As part of this commission, the issue scared me, but the theme inspired me enormously. It was very stimulating because I knew where I was going and I really wanted to do it and get started.

Sometimes it is more difficult because we do not have the same vision as the person. So you have to adapt and it can be more laborious. But it's all about getting started!  


  • What are your work routines? What time of day are you most inspired/ where are you most productive?

I don't have too many routines, because it was imposed on me until then by my studies. I try to organize my working time well, especially when I have orders outside of school. It has to be fluid and work during the time I have at my disposal. I like to draw in the late morning, early afternoon.


  • Cinema and dance seem to be an important source of inspiration. What fascinates you about these arts?

All the arts nourish illustration. In cinema, especially my selection, there are images that I couldn't just keep in my head. Drawing these dance scenes is a work of reinterpretation, but the atmosphere is there. The emotion I felt while watching the film is fixed in a drawing.

It's ultimately the same thing when you illustrate a book, it's to keep the emotions you've had and don't want to lose. We want to leave a mark. It's an interpretation and it allows you to discover the film in another way. And I hope that customers will enjoy watching or discovering these films again and have fun recognizing the scenes from each of these films.



  • Your drawing allows an escape, an opening on different cultures. What place do you give to travel in the development of an illustration or a book? What is the country or region that inspires you the most in your creation?

My parents are from Paris and Brittany. But almost all my uncles and aunts are married to people of foreign origin. There is a significant mix of cultures. Brittany has a strong identity, I was a little ashamed of it when I was young, and, growing up, I realized the importance of coming from a place and what that implied. We must not deny these ties because they are part of us. In current politics, there is a tendency to want to standardize all cultures, to say that it is communitarianism as soon as there is a demonstration of a culture other than that which is considered "normal" French culture. In the end, it's a mix of many things.

The Breton language was banned in learning and this is what is happening today with the various immigrations. We should forget our differences when it is this same difference that interests me in people.

In these films, for example, what interests me is what is new and different. This arouses my curiosity. There are actually lots of ways of thinking and seeing our differences.


  • According to you, what is the essential quality required when one is an author?

It is important to question its illustration. I did a lot of this while preparing my dissertation. It must not be neutral, it must be biased. We cannot have an overall view. In this question of representativeness, the absence of certain populations necessarily excludes them, they do not feel concerned if the stories that are told are not intended for them. There are children who have less access to reading, so you have to question what you represent in the illustration so as not to exclude.  


  • We are proud that you are collaborating on our first theme "Let's dance...?". What did you like most about this project?

What does this theme remind you of?

I have been dancing for years and I love to draw it. I had several dance projects during my MANAA year. My teacher made freeze frames and the goal was to draw the movement of the dancer at a given moment as quickly as possible. It was a great exercise that allowed you to find what made the energy of the dancer at a specific moment.

Beyond dance, I am interested in musicals. The universe is complete, kitsch for sure, but that's what I love to draw. There is color everywhere. So I linked my love of dance and musicals. It was an opportunity to bring this passion into this project.


Excerpt from the Bollywood movie,Devdas, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali (2002)


  • Tell us about the creative process of the triptych... How did you think about it and imagine it? What is his story ?

 I wanted to work on musicals that marked me and that all had a link between them. I have chosen Devdas which is a Bollywood film that I discovered when I was young. I was completely fascinated by the grandiose sets. It is magic. The story is sad: it is a reinterpretation of Romeo and Juliet. What was fun was to show other dances than classical dance. It is often the one that is put forward as being the most noble. There is however a multitude of dances in the world, it is diverse a bit like in the illustration. I really wanted to show this diversity of practice with films from different horizons.

So I thought of a scene from the Sino-Hong Kong movie The Secret of the Flying Daggers and a western touch with West Side Story. The latter is more classic:  I did not like the first version being small, I found it too long. On the other hand, Steven Spielberg reconciled me to this film and this time I saw in it the social message that I was too small to understand the first time. The first two films talk about different cultures outside of European culture and the last about the difficulty of keeping your original culture when you are an immigrant. It is this ambivalence that interested me in comparing these three films. My 3 proposals would fit perfectly together on several aspects. All of this happens through dance, which is an extraordinary means of expression and communication.

Excerpt from Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the filmWest Side Story(2021)


  • Who is the artist who shuts your mouth?

I found it quite easily, it is Jérémie Moreau. I discovered that he had participated in the same competition as me in Angoulême, which he had also won. At the same time, it's normal because it's great. What I really like in his work and what I also look for in mine... I don't know if I can do it as much as he does... is to be able to reinvent myself with each project. We recognize his style but he surprises us every time because he tests a lot of different techniques. Often, I like an artist because I am in a gouache period so I will follow artists who use the same technique. As soon as I change technique, I will move away from these artists a little. I am constantly following Jérémie Moreau because he uses new techniques and it works every time. It's alive, super colorful. There are reasons. He fascinates me, he is too strong… (laughs)…     


  • Last thing you framed and hung?

I rather picked up than hooked up, because I'm in the middle of a move. But it was interesting, because I did a sorting. Before I tended to hang a lot of things with patafix. When I frame an illustration, it has a certain sentimental value. I hang a lot less things but these are precious objects that I have chosen. To every time I look at them, I feel like I'm discovering something new. It's pleasant.   


  • A movie, a series, a comic, a book that nails you to bed?

Lately, it's the trilogy Before Sunrise / Sunset / Midnight de Richard Linklate. I like family stories and this film fromvelops relationships between characters over the long term. Finally, we do not have the same problems at 20, 30 or 40 years old. This is what I look for in my stories, this confrontation between different generations: the questions evolve according to the ages.

In this trilogy, we follow Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke at different times in their lives. A film of dialogues, you have to hold on but it mafrom me think.


trilogy posters Before Sunrise / Sunset / Midnight from Richard Linklate
see trailer => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRVLVPWzeek

A series that I recommend to everyone is Detectorists from Mackenzie Crook. It's about two somewhat clueless guys whose main activity is to metal-fromtect the neighbor's field. It's very funny, a very fine English humor, the characters are very touching and the atmosphere of a small English country village has a very soft and warm sifrom. I also liked a lot recently Normal People, a series with characters that evolve over several years.


  Detectorists from Mackenzie Crook / Normal People by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald

Definitely, multiple Posy Simmonds comics! Whether it's Tamara Drewe, or Gemma Bovary... I would love to see more comics that straddle the novel and the comic. This makes it possible to further fromvelop the universe and the interiority of the characters and to have in parallel more drawn scenes that speak for themselves, with frames that say something other than the text. We are often offered either one or the other but the two are ultra complementary. Posy Simmonds does it so well. This is where I would like to go.


My favorite book is always an extension of the rest, a story that evolves its characters over several fromcafroms. It is The prodigious friend by Elena Ferrante. It's a recurring theme after all...(laughs)...

There it is a question of friendship between two characters who evolve over time and social questions that interest me. One who stays in a popular district of Naples and the other, a class fromfector, who is going to study and who has trouble finding her place between her childhood village and high society. These issues are subtly addressed by the author.     


Gemma Bovery by Posy Simmonds /The prodigious friend by Elena Ferrante


  • What is the feeling you get imagining your illustrations hanging on the wall at our customers, thus becoming part of their daily lives?

What I like the most in this project is that it can allow to have illustration in places where there is not necessarily any and to make it accessible to illustration. To be able to watch them in public places, at his work... I'm happy because it's in accordance with the values that I hold, but which are not always easy to have in order to be published for example, you have to go through certain boxes . We can't always do what we want. This allows me to be more in tune with the values that I try to defend in illustration.


Thanks to Jeanne Sterkers for this beautiful moment!