Watch the video of this interview on our instagram account: clouée_editions


"It is the human relationships that I put at the service of the adventure and the narrative. I don't want to do something purely documentary, I want my books to speak to everyone and for there to be this popular side to my work."


  • Clouée - Hello Victor, we are really happy to receive you. Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
    Victor Le Foll - I arrived in Paris in 2017 after a schooling in applied art in Brittany. I started studying comic book illustration at Auguste Renoir. I finished my studies 2 years ago and I launched myself as a young man active in comics  


  • How did you become an author? What made you decide to become a comic book artist?
    Since I was a child, I always told myself that I would make comics. At first, I thought I would do it in parallel with another job, in agriculture or agronomy. Then I finally decided to study art and illustration to become a comic book writer.


  • Where do your artistic influences come from ? Do your origins and the Breton culture influence your artistic approach ? 
    For the triptych, the inspiration is Breton but also for projects I am currently working on. Otherwise, on a daily basis, my influences are very vast. My sources of inspiration can come from my childhood readings or from more contemporary artists like Nicolas de Crécy or Frederic Pillot. I also meet new people.


  • Your childhood reading also seems to have had an impact on your graphic universe (I'm thinking in particular of Asterix)? 
    As a child, my mother read me all the Asterix books, and that had a very strong impact. It was really part of my daily reading routine, along with the children's books from the École des loisirs. We had subscriptions with the school. I always read a lot of illustrated books, so it was more complicated to read novels. I was monomaniacal with Asterix and I was influenced because they became my references very early. More so than Tintin, which made me laugh less than Asterix. When you are a child, even if you don't understand all the jokes, the drawings are funny... just the fights... (laughs)


  • Your first book "le bestiaire de maman" is a beautiful tribute to the mother figure who takes on all the roles, all the postures in a sparkling, colorful universe, with an emotion that seizes the young (and not so young) reader.  What was your role in the conception of this book?
    I wrote the text and the story but it was a shared work. I suggested visual ideas to Jeanne Sterkers because I like to add a touch of humor to the drawing. My role was quicker in the creation because Jeanne did the illustrations and worked on the layouts. My friends with whom I work as a scriptwriter consult me for ideas on specific themes. For this book precisely, we had the idea together. During a walk, Jeanne and I were discussing these children's books that are too maternizing: a mom is necessarily sweet, kind, cuddly... But sometimes moms get mad, are super badass, and not at all fragile. The desire to do something different!


  • Is it your desire to devote yourself to children's literature? 
    I've always loved children's literature. Then, when I'm doing a comic book, there's always a moment when I think: "what if I did a big children's book with text and pictures." These are moments when I move away from sequential narration because I want to work with large illustrations. Finally a bit of what I'm doing with you. But I always come back to comics. When I work alone, an idea for a children's book always ends up becoming a comic. I have to work in pairs to keep it a children's book. However, as a child, with my subscriptions to the École des loisirs, I had a new book every month. I discovered Claude Ponti, Catharina Valckx... many books that have deeply marked me and that still mark the new generations.  


"Many factors made me want to draw, many people encouraged me to continue my apprenticeship, pushed me to dedicate myself to comics (...) It is in fact a real family business..."


  • Who gave you this passion for drawing and the desire to make it your profession?
    Many factors made me want to draw, many people encouraged me to continue my apprenticeship, pushed me to dedicate myself to comics. The first drawings that stand out are those of my father as a child. They were huge frescos with collages of leaves. It was sprawling. 
    He grew up in the Monts d'Arrée in Brittany at a time when agriculture was being modernized. We were going from family farms to large-scale operations, which are even more impressive today. 
    He witnessed with his parents and grandparents a world that has somewhat disappeared. It fascinated me to see that he had recorded this and the human relationships through his drawings with a completely crazy visual universe. My parents were teachers and I always grew up in the country. But, as a child, I had no chickens, no cows. It was frustrating! I was jealous of my father who had known all this. I was lucky enough to know my great-grandmothers who were able to tell me certain things. My father was really an actor of all that and I found it fascinating to have succeeded in projecting these images. That was the first thing that made me want to draw. 
    My mother encouraged me a lot to draw. She would bring the tracing paper that would allow me to reproduce the comic. I had all the Asterix albums and I had a big problem because I reproduced them all. And then, after a while, when the tracing paper runs out, you have to draw yourself. After having drawn Obelix 15,000 times, I knew how to do it myself. And then she read me all the Asterix comics. 
    My grandmother used to draw a lot and she always encouraged me. We used to have drawing sessions together in the afternoon, trying to figure out how to draw this or that. She still encourages me today. And my other grandmother also bought me books of models, construction games that allowed me to redraw the models.  
    It's actually a real family business... (laughs)... 
    My father and grandfather had a gift for telling fascinating, detailed stories and characters that they recorded with an impressive memory. These stories lived or heard are part of the transmission.    


  • One of the characteristics of your work is an authentic drawing, generous with a thousand details, a subtlety in the use of color, the emotion of your characters, with always a little touch of humor and irony. Can you tell us more about the technique you use and your style?
    Regarding humor, irony and details, I have always liked to observe the people around me, be it my family or friends. I'm always inspired by the people I meet or know, the way they express themselves, the way they hold themselves. 
    I like this diversity between all my characters and they always have very strong personalities.  This leads to some pretty funny dialogues. 
    For the drawings and my universe, I address all the public: that it is child or adult and that it makes everyone laugh. Because I am turned towards humor. As a reference, I have authors who draw perfectly with the profusion of details, the constructions of quite sophisticated and complex images. I like that you can linger on the settings, the details... that there are lots of little stories in the stories. 
    When you read Asterix, for example, there are always details, things that happen in the background. There is a perfect mastery of the drawing and the composition of the settings.     
    This idea of projecting the images you have in your head is really fascinating. You can create anything when you can draw. And in fact, anyone can draw. We invent a story, a place that we like... it's motivating in the creation process. 
    I'm working on a comic book located on an island with fishermen and it was important to visualize everything: its architecture, the streets, the objects. These are flashes, ideas of colors, atmosphere, etc... and this desire to project myself on paper as I can move in the drawing. And to meet the characters as neighbors and that is what motivates the creation.


  • Which step in the creation process do you like the most and which one is the most complicated to achieve?
    There is nothing I don't like about the creative process. 
    From the writing phase where I have all my ideas intermingled, I have to know how to sort them out. It's not easy, but this moment is particularly stimulating because you have to write down everything so as not to lose a crumb. I like it when it's dense and when we exploit the maximum potential of the story. It's a long phase. 
    Then, the storyboard is a great step because we draw in small format and the compositions are perfect. Then, I enlarge my storyboard and I go to the pencils by putting the details in the clean. It's very satisfying to have a clean pencil. 
    To finish, I go to the painting part with all the emotions, the colors that will pierce the drawing. It's not easy but I like all these steps.  


  • Can you tell us a few words about your next artistic projects? 
    I have a project in publishing, in comics, a big project that I approach on the world of fishing. A comic book and books targeted at youth. 
    You are in the double hat: scriptwriter and draftsman. Is it an advantage to make a comic book? 
    It's a big advantage because you have the right to get angry at yourself and there is little impact. It's also a lot of work because you have to think about everything. I often want to do both at the same time, which is not possible and makes it hard. You start writing, drawing, painting, then you have to redraw because you have rewritten in the meantime... So you have to be meticulous in your approach. I know illustrators who do it by feeling. I need to write everything beforehand, storyboard everything, pencil everything, then paint everything.   
    This sometimes leads to redundancy, but that's how I'll write a good book, I hope... (laughs)... 
    I learned how to write scripts with Asterix and by reading René Goscinny's synopses. There are no drawings, so it's a matter of making a first general synopsis and then cutting out page by page, box by box. It's a lot of work for the dialogues and the writing that sets the tone. The tone is set by the text.  


  • Can you tell us about the emotions you feel when your drawing is finished and at what point you feel that it doesn't need any more touching up?
    The emotions I feel are, at times, almost euphoria, the fact of being happy to draw, a moment of laughter. When I have an idea for a scene, I cut out the squares and prepare a special sequence and I have a good laugh. These are really the best moments, the ones that are fluid. 
    I drew, for example, a letter carrier who is chased by seagulls, who falls down the stairs, who gets a dog bone, who goes over the stairs ... when I imagine this scene, I don't have the anguish to do it. 
    But sometimes, I have trouble redrawing a character's head that doesn't suit me... It's my manic side. 
    The work of scriptwriting comes by itself but it can be very annoying because between my idea and the realization, it happens to have another idea. It's hard afterwards to get back on track... (laughs) For example, on the comic book I'm working on, at the beginning my intro was in one page... then the rhythm is frantic with lots of characters coming in all directions. It was important to have an introduction that dives into the story. So I added 10 extra pages... Instead of starting with an album that is 100 pages long, it is 3 times longer! But that's how I get my satisfaction from the project and that's what makes me want to do it as long as there is no constraint to do it.  


  • How do you feel when faced with that famous blank page? How do you overcome doubt and anxiety?
    There are inevitably some doubts, but I have more doubts about the painting at the end. Will the color match the atmosphere I want to create? 
    Finally it's pleasant because I find myself doing different things than I imagined at the beginning and it brings another tone to the story. 
    The coloring brings doubts. Jeanne gave me advice on how to paint because at the beginning I was doing watercolor, which is less legible. With the gouache, immediately, one has a certain opacity. 
    It brought me back to what Frédéric Pillot does, even if I am a worm next to him. He has a perfect mastery of painting, of light, of shadows. For the moment, the way I work with shadows and lights is a bit fantastic with surreal colors! This brings fantasy to the story, which can sometimes look like a testimony, a bit documentary...  
    The color will bring an aspect to Terry Gilliam, they are shimmering colors, beautiful. It seems that everything has been painted, the sets are sumptuous with a cardboard side. The lighting gives incredible shadows, Terry Gilliam touches many different emotions: nightmares, dreams, fantasy. 


  • What are your work routines? At what time of the day are you most inspired/where are you most productive? 
    No routine, it's completely anarchic at the moment because there are so many things mixed up. But there was a time when I still had a routine... between September and January, I worked on the pencils for my comic book, they were long days of work. I would stop to cook, to read. But work routines are: you work as long as you can! We stop when we're tired of it! 
    Brittany seems to be an important source of inspiration for you. You draw with so much detail, humor and subtlety this region turned towards the ocean. The reader becomes a spectator of this wild nature, with capricious weather and contemplates the fishermen. What fascinates you about this job?
    I think this story is related to my father. He was a direct witness to something that was disappearing. I am jealous of that. I was lucky enough to know my great-grandparents who could tell me about the canneries in Brittany. Today it is completely modernized. It was the farms in central Brittany for my father. 
    And I work in the fishing industry. It happened after the death of my grandfather, memories resurfaced. I said to myself that I had never been a direct witness but I collected testimonies, stories of neighborhoods full of emotions, of all these fishermen, these men, these women. 
    I am lucky to have been as close as my generation can be. I want to do something with it. I like adventure stories so I distorted what I was told but I kept the base. 
    I have a lot of ideas for different projects with political life, especially in the small Breton villages because that's what I know. It's not only Brittany that inspires me, it's the people I meet. Their stories are linked to Brittany but I would have been Basque, Corsican or Parisian, it would have been the same. 
    It is the human relationships that I put at the service of the adventure and the narrative. I don't want to do something purely documentary, I want my books to speak to everyone and I want there to be this popular side to my work. 
    I'm not a fisherman, I'm not a sailor, but everything I've been told about the fishing world is more than adventure. My grandfather was a midshipman, a young sailor and a fisherman for a few years and my great-grandfather was a fisherman all his life. It's a dream for me. I relate it to stories but it's not something I've experienced unfortunately. There is frustration but at the same time it is a source of fantasies and meetings. 



"These artists bring their subtleties, their colors, their atmospheres. They are the witnesses of their time, I draw my inspiration from them because there is already a whole graphic vocabulary that exists with these paintings and these artists. Then I adapt according to my sensitivity and my style". 


  • What importance do you attach to documentation when you write a book ?
    Since my childhood, all the testimonies and memories I have collected are recorded in my head. The main documentation is the people I was able to talk to, whether it was in the world of the farm or fishing. The two worlds are mixed. All the little stories about the harvests, the working days, the preparation of the fishing campaigns, all the routines of life are my basic material. They are not photos but experiences. 
    There are things that I have been told but that require research. When people tell me that seaweed was burned on the beach, I know that it was done but I didn't know that there were seaweed ovens on the beach. A lot of technical things that I don't know how they work. It was at this point that I got a lot of important information from books.
    A friend of my parents, a historian in Douarnenez, wrote books full of postcards. They are an incredible source of documentation. There is often some staging on these photos that simplifies the understanding of the operation. In this case, for the seaweed, it is a big market for the families of fishermen, in particular the children who went to collect these seaweeds and made them burn towards the factories of canning. 
    It's a technical thing, I need to understand them whether it's through writing, photography, documentaries, museums. I'm currently working on a project about the sewers of Paris and I've watched a lot of documentaries to get a feel for the history, the atmosphere. 
    Beyond that, the paintings of artists who work on identical subjects will be an important source of documentation. It is perhaps this work that inspires me the most, like Henri Rivière who came to paint in Brittany, in Pont-Aven. He was a direct witness. These artists bring their subtleties, their colors, their atmospheres. They are the witnesses of their time, I draw my inspiration from them because there is already a whole graphic vocabulary that exists with these paintings and these artists. Then I adapt according to my sensitivity and my style. 
    There are 3 files in this documentation work: what I already know, what people tell me, what I have to look for. Finally, the testimony of artists on the same subject. These artists can also come from the world of comics. 


  • We're proud that you're collaborating on our first theme, "A Taste for Life and a Thirst for Living." What did you like about this project? What does this theme evoke in you?
    It's been a long time since I've worked on illustrations because I do comics, so everything is in boxes. It's stimulating to work on 3 large illustrations and to tell a mini story. 3 big illustrations are also full of details that we can put on them and we focus only on these 3 actions. Then the theme... even though I never have much trouble finding inspiration, it immediately reminded me of reunion scenes. Since I'm currently working on projects related to fishing, I wanted to work on this area. And to focus on a moment of this universe, which is the reunion. My characters come back from a fishing trip. These are things that my grandfather used to tell me. They are stories and memories that his father told him: reunions after long campaigns in me of a few days, a few months. It must have been quite moving and that's what I wanted to transcribe for this triptych.      


  • Tell us more about the creative process of the triptych... How did you think about it and imagine it? What is its story?
    When I draw comic strips, it's always humorous. So I thought it would be great to come across the joke in a big illustration. From a distance, there are no jokes visible, but you only have to get closer to realize that on each page, there is a gag. From there, I wanted one gag per illustration and at the same time there has to be an ending, a punchline. That's how I wrote my story. 
    The fisherman comes back to the port thinking about his wife. His wife, who is waiting for him in the harbor, is thinking about him. That's the funny part. 
    In the second box, we see them leave with a joke from the ship's boy who says he caught a whale when it was a sardine. 
    In the last square, it's a scene of reunion with the friends with the prospect of going for a drink all together. I integrated a speech bubble in each illustration that brings this visual gag.


  • And what was the last thing you framed and hung?
    I'm going to be framing a lot of stuff since I'm moving. I have a lot of illustrations from my fellow illustrators.  
    Which artist inspires you the most?
    There are so many, but if I could relate it to my current work, it would be Frederic Pillot who nails me on each of his new paintings.


  • A movie, a series, a comic book, a book that keeps you in bed?
    The movie I can watch a hundred times is "The Adventures of Baron Münchhaussen" by Terry Gilliam. Hilarious, I love it!
    I discovered Fanny Sidney's series called Brigade mobile. It takes place in Auvergne with flying paintings and a bloodthirsty assassin who is rampant in the region. A colorful character, quite funny.
    My comic book is obviously an Asterix. More particularly "Asterix and the fight of the chiefs". Absolutely brilliant as much for the drawing as for the story. Everything is perfect: the drawing, the settings, the characters, the humor, the pastiche.
    My bedside book is The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and the series too. Funny and endearing characters. There is also obviously the history of France, adventure and travel.    


Thanks a million, Victor,  for this great moment!