If you were ...
a comic book character: Haddock (in Tintin)
a fictional character: the little boy in this book (Click year)
a song: Le Langage oublié (Gérard Manset)
a musical instrument: a piano
a board game: my entire life…
a recipe culinary : a simple chocolat cake
a city: Lyon (France)
a monument : Angkor Temples
drink: a Coke !
a proverb: Little brooks make great rivers
Gil - Tell us a little bit about yourself. When did you start to work with illustrations and how this path led you to board games?
I’ve always loved drawing. After a period of US Comics, I got interested in role-playing. At first, I was fascinated by the illustrations. After that, as I grew more excited by the alternate worlds. The art made me dream, and I had one wish – to do the same thing with my own art.
I was born in France in 1976. I studied the illustration and the computer graphics art at the Ecole Emile Cohl ArtSchool in Lyon, France (graduated in 1997). I started to be freelance illustrator the same year and from that time I created many illustrations for famous editors around the world.
Most of my work is children’s books. About ten years ago, in order to expand my horizons, I contacted some game publishers, which resulted in some interesting commissions. It’s only really been since 2010 with Water Lily and Tikal II that I got really deep in the world of board games. The proof is the growing number of new gaming collaborations.
Gil - How many games have you done the artwork for, and in which projects are you working right now?
I worked on 15 games and I’m working now on « Lewis & Clark, The Expedition » with the publisher Ludonaute.
Gil - Your style varies from the more “serious” or to the more cartoonish, how do you coordinate the line of work for the different styles of board games?
I usually have a very detailed and realistic style, but with a style and technique that allow to me find different lands, even different worlds. I adapt easily. I first talk with the publisher to find the better way to illustrate his project, to find the most appropriate style.
Gil - where do you get your inspiration and how do you do the research for your drawings?
I admire the American painters of the early twentieth century, especially Newell Convers Wyeth. Wyeth was a painter and illustrator, as was his master Howard Pyle, who I also like. Not to mention Dean Cornwell, Frank Schoonover, Harvey Dun, Maxfield Parish… The list of painters and illustrators that I like is rather long. Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, John Howe, Joseph Clement Coll, James Gurney, Frazetta, Alan Lee, François Boucq, Mathieu Lauffray, Cosey, Taniguchi, Otomo for comics, Miyazaki for animation and many others! I spend a lot of time online and in bookstores searching for new artists, new books and collections of illustrations to complete my library. I have a huge collections for artbooks at home and I just discovered amazing woodblock japanese artists, Kawase Hasui et Yoshida Hiroshi.
Gil - How do you credit the success of a game to its illustrations? How important they are to the success of a game?
Most of the games could be played simply with numbers and colors… The illustrations MUST increase the game feeling, the mecanics. The illustrations are not used only to « look pretty ». Illustrations MUST have an efficient role in the game. I greatly prefer to share, discuss and participate in the development of the game. This is how I work. Il always ask to work very closely with the publisher, and I can bring ideas to the game for everything visual, making it make sense, thinking about what colors work, the best image framing for components, et cetera. This is when I get to really be an illustrator, and not confined just to ‘draw.’
I only work on the illustrations. But it fascinates me, and I routinely ask questions on the designs and implementation of the art to get an overview of what will be done, and thus to better be part of the development process, to be as efficient as possible. This is crucial, whether for a game or a book, to know where my art will be used, and understand all the aspects, from the technology, broadcasting, or printing.
Gil - Which are your favorite games and your favorite games designers?
I am a casual gamer and I like to play to all the games but only good games ;)
This is always a difficult choice, as each game brings a different experience and different feeling. The games I can play again and again without tiring are Ticket to Ride and Small World. And Tikal II.
Gil - Do you think that board games can be use for an education purpose?
Sure ! My daughter, 7 years old, learned how to count, manage, bluff and lie (ahah) with board games. Il think the games must be part of eductation.
Gil - What you know about Portugal? Have you ever visited Portugal?
I never visited Portugal and I hope to travel to your country soon ! I always hear really good words about Portugal.