Intervju: Illustratør Cécile Dormeau til European Design Festival

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– The world doesn't need perfect girls - it just need great girls, sier den franske illustratøren, som startet karrieren i reklamebyrå og nå jobber freelance fra basen utenfor Paris. Kjent for sine humoristiske og fargerike tegninger, ofte med et spark til samfunnets oppfatninger av og forventninger til kvinner, er Cécile en viktig stemme og penn i dagens noe kroppsbesatte samfunn. I starten av juni kommer hun til Oslo, for å holde foredrag under European Design Festival.  

Av Dorthe Smeby

Årets European Design Festival går av stabelen 1.-3. juni, og arrangeres for første gang i Oslo med både foredrag, utstilling, studio crawl, morgenbad, illustrasjon- og designmarked, prisutdeling og fest - for å nevne noe. En rekke foredragsholdere fra inn- og utland er booket for å gi deltakerne kreativt påfyll, med en line up representert av utøvere innen mange ulike deler av bransjen. 

Den franske illustratøren Cécile Dormeau studerte ved kunstskolen École Estienne i Paris, og gikk ut i 2011 med et diplom med spesialisering innen grafisk design og reklame. Etter en rekke praksisplasser innen grafisk design og illustrasjon i både Hamburg og Berlin jobbet hun to år i det anerkjente reklamebyrået OgilvyOne i Frankfurt, før hun startet karrieren som freelanceillustratør fra hjemlandet. Siden har hun jobbet for store internasjonale kunder som Google, The Sunday Times, It´s Nice That, GQ og ASOS, og har en Instagram-feed med 129 000 følgere som burde være daglig obligatorisk lesning for alle.

– After several years in the advertisement industry, how did you end up as an illustrator?  

– After my limited contract in advertising ended, I was unemployed and unable to find a job. So I started to draw for myself these ideas and projects I had been thinking about a long time; change the representation of girls in media and draw them just the way they are. I started by showing the drawings to my friends, then I put it on internet, and then different blogs and sites started to share my work. 

– There are many who have tried to define your design aesthetics - how would you describe your own style as an illustrator? 

– Simple, colorful, and honest - I hope! I try to put some lightness and humor in this kind of very complex topics I'm drawing, like self-acceptance, different emotions and doubt. As my goal is to help girls to de-dramatize their images and their feelings, I try to do the same by drawing with simple lines to make it look easygoing and uncomplicated! 

– You tend to draw strong women, can you say a bit about your motifs and philosophy regarding this subject? 

– We live in a society obsessed by image and body. Medias and advertising are showing us a pursuit of perfection which make girls feel insecure and complexed. In a society obsessed with the “how you are supposed to look” I want to draw girls how they really look. Nobody is perfect, having flaws is completely normal, and we really need to celebrate diversity. Some of the girls I’m drawing are strong and  sassy, but other can also be shy. And others are depressed, gross and so on. It is important for me to try to draw all these different facets than girls can be. As the media show us that our appearance is the only thing that seems to matter, my illustrations are a way to say to self-conscious girls “Move on girl because you’re worth much more than that”. This world doesn't need perfect girls, it just need great girls.

– Where do you find inspiration to your motives?  

– I just draw what is around me in my daily life. All the observations I can make in my drawings are about my feelings or the ones of the people around me. The late-night drunk talks I have with friends, my sister's craziness, people I happen to see on the street, something I've read, and try to make fun of. Anything really. Drawing things which are not often brought out in the daylight, hidden actions or details that we are too ashamed to share, taboos, etc. are the main themes that I like to work with. I want to celebrate imperfection! I'm following a lot of talented illustrators on Instagram, and this is such a great platform to discover so many new artists. But I try not to look too much at it and compare.

– How is your design process when working with a client - and what do you emphasize as the most important? 

– I would say that I spend a lot of time on the very first sketches just to find the right idea and composition that will translate the best and in the most striking way the client project. But it really depends on the client. When I'm working with advertising, which doesn't happen so often, most of the time, they already know what they have in mind and they just want to use my style. But usually, working on the idea is the major part of my working process. I will always show several ideas as sketches after reading the article that I have to illustrate, for example. Sometimes the client will tell me the tone, or propose me an idea to illustrate, but most of the time they're open and happy to listen to my propositions. My regular clients don't give me any direction and just forward me the article. I always try to propose a lot, to see which specific point they look like to focus on, or which tone, even if it sometimes is not so politically correct I try not to censure myself. I'm mostly illustrating articles, but when I have to create a character for example, my clients can give me one specificity of his/hers personality, or not. Either way I'm always proposing different characters in shape, but also in mind. If they tell me "funny" or "sportive", it can be so many different possibilities that I try to explore the complexity of this personality aspect, to make the character as real as possible, so that people can identify with it. It's the most important part for me in my work, that identification process.

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