Hello Nicolas, first of all, tell us something about your upcoming work. What are you into at the moment?
Right now I’m working a several gallery pieces for group shows (two in Paris, one in LA) and a couple private commissions.
Would you give a brief walk through your workflow?
To be honest, I have a perfectly chaotic process. Up until the final inking stage, my work is mostly improvisation, because I’m basically never happy with my stuff until it’s finished, so I’m always tinkering stuff here and there, changing the composition, making alterations. In general though, I start out with a bunch of thumbnails and when I find one that I like open it up in photoshop and move stuff around until I’m satisfied. I make a final sketch, transfer it on to the scratchboard and scratch away till my wrist hurts.
How has your work evolved over the years from when you where beginning?
When I started out, I was trying to make my way into realistic color digital illustration and it just wasn’t me. I was forcing myself to market a style that wasn’t mine, so after a while I completely abandoned the digital medium to return to traditional pen and ink about a year and a half ago and I haven’t looked back since… And I’ve never had as many commissions.
Tell us something about your clients, do you feel there’s something different out there, I mean, a different way to approach the creative process?
So far, my experience with clients has been pretty great and I’m not just saying that. The several art directors I’ve worked with have either given me complete creative freedom or helped me tremendously to turn an okay illustration into a good one. It feels very rewarding.
How have you handled the business side through these “horrible years”?
I only just got seriously into the business about a year ago so really, for me, business has never been better, heh.
How do you choose the next project to be involved in?
I go with my gut (and be honest, sometimes my wallet). So far I’ve only turned down a few projects that really didn’t fit with my style and overall, my commissions have been very eclectic in style. It’s nice to feel like you’re not being pigeon-holed.
Who’s the first illustrator that comes to your mind in a second?
Mike Mignola. To me, he completely reinvented black and white art.
What’s the place or what do you do when you feel you’re thinking in a bright way?
I just go hang out at the Louvre. I’m lucky enough to live a few metro stops away from it. If you go there at the right hours, in the right sections, it’s such a calm and contemplative place to hang out. You can generally find me on wednesday evenings hanging out in the french scuplture section, sketching out.
Something you’ve always wanted to do, but have yet to.
I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland and I’m doing that this summer. So excited.
Something you want the world to know about you.
I make an excellent chocolate cake. No really, it’s awesome.
Something that annoys or frustrates you about people.
Miscommunication. I try to speak as candidly and earnestly as possible with my clients and I generally ask that they do the same because I’ve had a few bad experiences with clients who didn’t communicate their needs well and the jobs ended with bitterness and resentment.
Your idea about social networks.
I tend to stay away from them and only use them for promotion. I realize they can be a fantastic tool but lately I see a lot of people who just cross post everything on the dozen different platforms we have now and it’s just getting hard and extremely time-consuming to try and keep up with everything. Things were easier when everyone was on Livejournal, eh?
What’s overrated/underrated today?
Instant gratification vs taking your time. I really don’t know that it’s specific to our particular time period, but the internet has certainly made people a little more impatient. Let people take their time and the end result will only be better.