People: Introducing Illustrator Emma Farrarons
Name: Emma Farrarons
Creative Medium: Illustration
Blog: Un Petit Blog
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I grew up Paris and went on to study illustration at the Edinburgh College of Art and l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Art Décoratifs in Paris. I now reside in London where I make a living juggling two creative professions. I am a children’s picture book designer for Pan Macmillan and a freelance illustrator and art director where I specialise in editorial illustrations, maps, fashion illustrations, greeting cards and bespoke wedding invitations.
How did you get to be doing what you are today?
As a child, I was often kicked out of class for being caught drawing instead of doing my schoolwork and so it felt natural to choose illustration as a subject. At art college, I enjoyed silkscreening and book binding my own novelty books. This explains why I was drawn to work as a children’s picture book designer.
Do you prefer working in a publishing house or freelance?
Both have their advantages. Not to mention, it’s double the fun, double the challenges, and different experiences. So why put your eggs in one basket? As a designer, I get to I work with people I admire, from my inspiring designer colleagues to the editors who have a knack in unfolding a story. I get to meet and work with the talented illustrators. It is satisfying to read the finished picture book with my nieces and nephews. I feel I’ve learnt many skills such as learning to think fast, multi-tasking, prioritising and team work.
As an freelance illustrator, I get to work on diverse projects such as fashion illustrations, bespoke wedding invitations, maps and branding. As a freelancer, you are own boss and get to work directly with the client. There is no need to go through numerous meetings to advance in the project. The turnover and process is faster. As a freelancer, you learn from your mistakes and become more business minded. You aquire skills such as negociating, writing your own contracts, learn about your rights, how to price your work, about accounting, self-promotion, production, customer service. The best thing is that I’ve applied the skills I’ve learnt to both proffessions.
Who inspires you?
Artists I admire are Sempé, Saul Steinberg, René Gruau, Quentin Blake, Tomi Ungerer, Hans Christian Andersen (for his papercuts), Henri Matisse, Edward Gorey, Bill Waterson, Hergé, Jean de Brunhoff, Tove Jansson, Gustav Klimt, Kuniyoshi, Van Gogh, Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Toulouse Lautrec.
What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
There are three that spring to mind. The first one is a book entitled The A to Z of Style published by the V&A. It is a ‘quotitionary’ of fashion quotes collected by fashion historian Amy De la Haye. I got to illustrate the alphabet of fashion icons.
The second was creating the brand elements and wallpaper menu for a café called Bubble Tea Bar. I worked closely with architect firm Dyvik & Kahlen on this project. The challenge was to illustrate a coherent wallpaper menu with instructions on how to assemble your bubble tea drink. Working in such a large scale was new to me as the menu covered all three walls of the café. I hand-lettered the entire menu in German (which I don’t speak). I particularly enjoyed creating the little tapioca ball characters as part of the branding.
The final one was my own wedding invitation. This was a memorable project because my husband and I were the clients, therefore there were no restrictions. We wanted to create a card that would set the tone for the celebration, and give a taste of what was to come. The challenges was that the possibilities were without limit. And even better, this time I got the chance to play a lot more with the format, colour and style. As it was was a Danish and French union, I chose French handlettering, simple black and white linework and bold Scandinavian inspired patterns. All of this was folded as a concertina and sealed in a lemon yellow envelope.
Also, I've just started a blog called Un Petit Blog which I'm very excited to share. It's a minimalist blog where I post things that I like, make, find, draw, etc. . . Every week I look forward to posting something new. Come and have a look.
What is your favourite place in the world?
A café that serves tasty food and coffee brewed from freshly roasted beans, that has inviting interiors and a great view to watch the world go by. This can be anywhere in the world.
Which gallery would you most like your work to be exhibited in?
The idea of the outdoors as a gallery appeals to me. Perhaps along the gates of a park like the Jardin du Luxembourg. The walls along the métro or tube platform would be nice to be display one’s work. Or painting the facade of a building? Louisiana in Copenhagen is currently my favourite museum. Maybe exhibiting there?
What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators?
Give yourself short term and long term targets. Ask lots of questions. Share tips. Do work placement in companies that interest you. It’s interesting to know what happens on the other side. You’ll get an insider view of how illustrations are commissioned, briefed, art directed. It makes you understand your trade more and you can increase your network. Make your workspace a happy place. Surround yourself with creatives and people who inspire you.