Today I'd like to welcome Carole Chevalier, a French illustrator. Thanks so much for stopping by, can you start by telling us a little about yourself.
Bonjour! I'm Carole, a 28 year old French graphic designer & illustrator. I love the outdoors, cute cats and eating loads of cheese (of course!). I grew up and studied graphic design in France and started my career as a creative in North Wales, UK, back in 2011. After more than 5 years living in this beautiful part of the world, I came back to France to continue pursuing my freelance career. I’m now happily living with my Welsh fiancé in Brittany!
I started off specialising in illustration but quickly developed my skills and passion for all areas of graphic design. Even though I enjoy working on many fun projects, my true love is for colourful children’s book illustration and beautifully hand-crafted typography.
I’m always very excited to work on fun and unique illustrations for books and I love bringing stories to life, using a lot of imagination and a touch of magic. In the past year or so, I’ve had the chance to work on a few children’s books with some very talented authors and it’s been such a great experience!
If there was one thing you wished authors knew about illustrating what would it be?
Tricky question! I think one thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes, authors don’t realise how long an illustration can take to complete. There are so many steps, from the initial sketch to choosing the right illustrative style and even down to deciding on the right colour palette. Also, when we need to think about illustrating characters, there’s always a time of research purely to decide on how the character will look and how it will be represented. Does he/she need big cheeks, small or big eyes, short or tall legs? You get the idea!
However, I also think that it’s up to the illustrator to talk about all this to the authors as some of them have never done this before and I find it logical that they might not be familiar with the whole process. We’re also here to guide them in a way :)
How do you communicate with the author on a project? Do you like it when the author gives a lot of direction or just lets you have creative license?
I always ask for as many details as possible about the story and characters before starting anything. It’s crucial for me to make sure that I’m getting the right idea and that the illustrations I create will represent what the author had in mind. I either ask to have a meeting on Skype with the author so that we can be on the same page, or I send a list of questions by email to help the author put together a small brief about their book.
It’s nice to have a lot of direction from the author but it’s also great when they’re happy for you to get creative based on their brief and put your own stamp on the illustrations and layout. For example, when I worked on the illustrations for ‘Who Can, Toucan!’, Jenne (the author) had a look at my website beforehand and although she had a few requests about the characters, she was happy to let me do my thing and see how it goes. She was very pleased with the result and I really enjoyed the fact that I could follow my instincts. If you trust your illustrator and love what they do, sometimes it’s best to give them full creative license!
What do you typically charge per illustration?
Every book is unique and illustrations will never look the same from one book to another. Once I have a good idea of the type of illustrations the author would like to go for (style, amount of details, dimensions, etc.), I can then think about how long one illustration will take me to complete. It’s very important for me as I charge per hour and some illustrations could take only 2 hours to complete whilst others will most likely need at least 6 hours.
Because of that, the cost per illustration is never the same! I charge at least $30(US) per hour so for example, an illustration could cost as little as $60 but can be more around $150 depending on the direction we’re going for style-wise and what the illustration will be representing. The best thing is to contact me to discuss first about the project and see what type of budget you’ll need ;)
What has been your favorite project to work on so far?
Although I’ve enjoyed working on so many projects since I went freelance, my favourite so far has to be the children’s book ‘Tales from the Woodpecker Tree’. Lesley, the author, was a pleasure to work with, and I knew that I would enjoy working on the illustrations from the moment I read her stories. They truly talked to me and are the kind of stories I love reading myself. I felt inspired straight away! The project went very smoothly and when I received my printed copy, I was very proud.
What is your preferred method to illustrate in? Digital? Pencils? Watercolor?
I used to prefer illustrating with watercolour and various pens and brushes in general, but I’ve quickly realised that it had a lot of restrictions and the result would sometimes not match what my client was after. So I decided to develop my skills in digital illustrations and now it’s my favourite way of illustrating! I got more and more comfortable illustrating on Illustrator and Photoshop thanks to my graphics tablet and I love the fact that it’s very flexible. If I create an illustration and I receive some feedback to change a certain colour or element, it’s a lot quicker to amend it digitally than on paper.
Your illustrations look like a lot of fun. I wish I had that talent. Any last words before you go?
Thank you Sarah for having me featured on your blog and I hope you all enjoyed reading my interview. It’s always a pleasure to talk about my work and experience, and if any of you out there would be interested in working with me, feel free to get in touch!
Where can we find out more about you?
You can have a look at my work on www.carolechevalier.co.uk and to contact me, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for sharing with us today Carole. Don't forget to check out Carole and more of her illustrations. Happy Reading!!