The pleasure of colors
| Sheltering in the quiet of a small room of the 101 Degrés workshop in Lyon, Agathe took the time to answer my questions. It is in this self-managed coworking of the Croix Rousse that she currently works as artistic director and illustrator alongside other freelancers.
It cannot be said that the illustration arrived by chance in Agathe’s life. Daughter of the youth illustrator Pascale Wirth, she was attracted from an early age by drawing. “When I watched my mother draw, I told myself that I didn’t want to work, I wanted to draw,” she says. Mother and daughter draw side by side and her mother’s enthusiasm for her first drawings gives her a taste for artistic creation. However, a few years later, when Agathe began her studies, her mother, faced with the difficulty of this profession, dissuaded her from embarking on this path. She then turned to graphic design and took a liking to EPSAA, the school of visual communication of the city of Paris.
In Paris she made her debut in the design agency Brandimage. She works on brand identity and visual identity for large companies. After returning from a two-year trip, she began a career as a freelancer. But it is only in 2019 that illustration takes a place in his life. One day, his coworking neighbor, Lena Piroux, lends him his Ipad Pro. It’s the favorite. She in turn equips herself and begins to draw her first professional projects as an illustrator.
A naif and sparkling style
Her very colorful drawing is imbued with the illustrations of the 50s and 60s that she particularly appreciates. It refers to the poster artists of the last century, to Raymond Savignac and his trouville posters, to Sempé and his touching characters. Her inspirations range from Christian Robinson, a contemporary American illustrator, to Matisse with brilliant colors, to French illustrators such as Eglantine Ceulemans, Emilie Ettori and Charlotte Molas. If Agathe’s drawing is part of this heritage, she confesses that she is not absolutely looking for a style: “I have the impression that I have not yet found what I want to do. I do not contradict myself to a particular technique, wireframe drawing or pastels for example. Everything remains open. At first I was obsessed with finding a style. Today, every time I choose a style, I feel restrained in my freedom.”
In March 2020, during the first lockdown, she produced her “drawn playlist”, a small series of illustrations that includes emblematic musical hits. We find the magnificent Malian singers Amadou & Mariam, the Jackson five, Stromae, Sister Smile (I confess that this collection is my little favorite). When asked what work she is most proud of, she turns to her first travel diaries. “That’s what’s most natural for me. You draw directly on a paper. I’ve never managed to have as much freedom as by doing that. Usually, I can’t like my drawings for long. But I have liked these notebooks for ten years now,” she tells me.
Agathe works on Ipad Pro with Procreate software. Although the technique is digital, it has fun finding the rendering of traditional techniques. “I put a white reserve and I shift the layer a little bit as if the color had not fallen in the right place. This gives a screen printing effect. Each color is separated by layer. I work with an line drawing at the beginning. This is what takes the most time.If her technique is close to screen printing, she admits that she has never had the opportunity to work with this process before. This is one of the dreams she has not yet realized.
“These skaters are among my favorites. I drew them the day before I gave birth. I thought, this is my last drawing and then I stop. I finished at 11pm. The next day, I gave birth.»
Today, she collaborates in illustration for the brand of care and hygiene products Respire and for the newspaper Le Particulier. She is now represented by the Parisian agency Monica Velours. She can be found on her website or on instagram.
Raymond Savignac, Jean-Jacques Sempé, Christian Robinson, Charlotte molas, Vriginie Morgan, Henri Matisse
Ipad Pro + Procreate
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