Illustrator Interview – Christine Davenier

chrisChristine Davenier is an illustrator whom I have admired from afar for a while and only recently plucked up the courage to invite to our Illustrator Wednesdays. I was first wowed by her illustrations in the book, SAMANTHA ON A ROLL, by Linda Ashman. I love the movement and characterization in her work, and well, yes, there is a little bias for me in that Christine is French! I thought I would try something new in today’s interview and do it in French and English. There are different ways of doing this. I hope my format of question in English and then response in French and English, works ok for you.?Soyez la bienvenue sur Miss Marple’s Musings, Christine!

By Linda Ashman, illustrated by Christine Davenier

By Linda Ashman, illustrated by Christine Davenier

[JM] Author or author/illustrator? If the latter do the pictures or words come first.

[CD] Je suis avant tout illustratrice mais il m’arrive parfois d’ecrire aussi mes histoires et dans ce cas là je commence par l’histoire.

I am first and foremost an illustrator, but I do occasionally write my own stories, in which case I start with the text.

[JM] Where are you from and how has this influenced your art?

Touraine[CD] Je viens de Touraine où j’ai grandi mais habite Paris depuis 30ans ! J’ai aussi vécu deux ans à Providence Rhode Island ce qui m’a permis de rencontre judy sue goodwin sturges qui est devenue mon agent.

I come from Touraine where I grew up, but I have lived in Paris for 30 years! I also spent two years in Providence, Rhode Island, which gave me the chance to meet my agent, Sue Goodwin Sturges.

NB Editor’s note, Touraine is part of the wonderful Loire Valley wine region!

[JM] Please tell us a little of your beginnings as an artist. 

[CD] Dans mon  enfance j’ai eu la chance de vivre très près de la Nature , à la campagne, et près de ma grand mère qui peignait et m’a tout appris : la peinture , le nom des oiseaux, le nom des fleurs, la musique…..c’était une artiste !

Petite je dessinais tout le temps et très tôt j’ai pris des cours dans une ecole d’art.

I had the chance to grow up in the countryside living very close to nature and to my grandmother who painted and taught me everything I know: painting, the names of the birds, the names of the flowers, music… she was an artist!

[JM] I love the image you paint of your childhood and grandmother’s influence. J’adore l’image que tu nous donnes de ton enfance et l’influence de ta grand mère.

Do you have a preferred medium to work in?

[CD] Je préfère le crayon et l’encre mais commence à découvrir la gouache que j’adore et mon prochain album sera réalisé avec cette technique.

I prefer working in pencil and ink but am just discovering gouache, which I love and my next picture book will be using this technique.

[JM] Do you have themes or characters to which you return again and again in your work? 

[CD] J’aime beaucoup dessiner les personnages et travailler les attidudes et klé mouvement.

Il ya aussi une petite fille que tu retrouves souvent et qui me ressemble lorsque j’avais 7ans…….

I love drawing people and working on key attitudes and movements. 

And there’s also a little girl you will often discover in my work who looks a lot like me at age seven……..

[JM] What does your studio look like? 

[CD] Mon studio est assez petit car je vis à Paris dans un appartement. Il y a beaucoup de livres pour enfants, de crayons, de peintures, de photos et j’ecoute tout le temps la radio ou de la musique.

My studio is pretty small because I live in a Paris apartment. It is full of children’s books, pencils, paintings, photos and I listen to the radio or music all the time.

[JM] Could you share some art maybe from a WIP with us, and a little of your process? 

[CD] Je suis sur trois projets en meme temps ; un album pour un editeur français (flammarion), une histoire pour un magazine français et une biographie de Nadia Comaneci pour Harcourt aux Etats Unis. Les quatres illustrations ci-dessous sont de la biographie de Nadia!

I am working on three projects at the same time; one picture book for a French publisher (Flammarion), a story for a French magazine and a biography about Nadia Comaneci for Harcourt in the USA. The four sketches below are from the biography about Nadia.

nadia1

©Christine Davenier and Harcourt Publishing

nadia3

©Christine Davenier and Harcourt Publishing

nadia4

©Christine Davenier and Harcourt Publishing

nadia9

©Christine Davenier and Harcourt Publishing

[JM] I love your illustrations of Gerry in the Very Fairy Princess books by Emma Walton Hamilton and Julie Andrews. Can you tell us a little about this collaboration?

By Julie Andrews and Emma Walton, illustrated by Christine Davenier

By Julie Andrews and Emma Walton, illustrated by Christine Davenier

[CD] Pour The Very Fairy Princess je regrette de n’avoir jamais rencontré ni Emma, ni Julie !!!! J’ai été choisie parmi trois illustrateurs après avoir fait des essais.

Je decouvre le texte, je fais mes crayonnés qui ensuite sont corrigés par l’editeur et par Emma et Julie et pareil pour la couleur.

I regret that with the Very Fairy Princess books I have met neither Emma nor Julie!!! After a selection process I was chosen from three illustrators. 

I study the text and do my pencil sketches, which are then corrected by my editor and Emma & Julie. It’s the same process for the next step in color.

[JM] How come you have done most of your illustration work for picture books in English? 

[CD] Comme je te le disais j’ai un agent aux etats unis qui me tiens bien a-occupée !!!! Mais depuis deux ans j’ai multiplié les démarches ici en France pour faire plus d’albums en français…….

As I mentioned already, I have a US agent, who keeps me very busy!!! But for the past couple of years I have been working hard here in France to break into the French picture book market.

[JM] What art do you have on your apartment walls?

[CD] Sur les murs de mon appartement j ‘ai des photos de Carol Munder et Louis Bourjac qui sont des amis  photographes,et des gravures de John Martini un ami sculpteur qui vit à Key West. J’ai aussi plusieurs originaux d’amis illustrateurs.

On my apartment walls I have photos of Carol Munder and Louis Bourjac, who are friends, and engravings by John Martini a sculptor friend who lives at Key West. I also have many original pieces from illustrator friends.

Five Fun Ones to Finish

[JM] What ones word best describes you?

[CD] Je suis incapable de me décrire ! Tu dois demander à qqun d’autre.                          I find it impossible to describe myself. You’ll have to ask someone else.

[JM] If you could live somewhere else for a few months where would that be? 

[CD] J’irai de suite vivre aux Etats Unis  ou au Canada!                                                         I would live in Canada or the USA!

[JM] What is your go to snack while you work?

Je mange du chocolat toute la journée.                                                                                   I eat chocolate throughout the day.

[JM] Cats or dogs? 

[CD] J’ai un chat »poulbot » qui est en photo dans « a cat with seven names »                      I have a cat called Poulbot (street urchin), who is the cat you can see in the photo of THE CAT WITH SEVEN NAMES. 

By Tony Johnston, illustrated by Christine Davenier

By Tony Johnston, illustrated by Christine Davenier

[JM] Which literary villain do you like? 

[CD] J’aime beaucoup Proust et une jeune auteure française : Veronique Ovaldé.               I really like Proust’s villains and those by a young Frennch author called Veronique  Ovaldé.

All Christine Davenier’s books can be found here: http://www.studiogoodwinsturges.com

[JM] Merci beaucoup d’avoir été mon invitée sur le blog aujourd’hui. Ca fait plaisir de recevoir les illustrateurs d’autres pays. Je te souhaite une continuation de succès et surtout avec tes albums en France. Si jamais tu viens a New York je t’inviterai boire un coup. 

Thank you so much for being my guest on the blog today. It’s great to have illustrators from other countries. I wish you continued success especially with your French picture books. If you are ever in New York, we must get together for a drink. 

 

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29 Responses to Illustrator Interview – Christine Davenier

  1. J’aime le format de cette interview! You must do it again, Joanna; no pressure. LOL!

    What fun learning about Christine…in two languages! My French is so rusty, but it was fun to read her response and guess what it was before reading the translation.

    Christine’s art is so fresh and delightful. I really enjoyed reading about her youth and process. Thank you, both!

  2. Great Interview ladies. Love how we something new with each one you interview, in their processes and way they see their work. I love pencil and ink illustrations so of course love her work too. What a shame she hasn’t met Julie and Emma. Love the interative French and English, Joanna. Hmmm…. a possible good way to learn another language 🙂

    • Joanna says:

      Diane, thanks for your comments. I too love to see the early pencil sketches, still with so much movement, right?

  3. More please! A double-the-fun interview should leave me satisfied, but I suppose I need to check out more books to quell my newly whetted appetite! Good strategy, Joanna!

  4. Merci beaucoup, Christine et Joanna! C’est vraiment une bonne idée d’écrire dans les deux langues en même temps.

    I have always enjoyed the movement, vivacity and, yes, SPARKLE, in Christine’s illustrations of Gerry, the Very Fairy Princess. I recently requested The Cat With Seven Names from our provincial library system, and it came in yesterday! Talk about perfect timing! I will dive into it as soon as I finish writing this response.

    I always enjoy hearing of someone else whose grandmother was a great influence. Those of us who can say that are privileged, indeed.

    And thank you for listing Canada as a place you’d like to live!

    • Joanna says:

      Merci, Beth, je suis contente que le format t’a plu!

      How special that you just picked up THE CAT WITH SEVEN NAMES from your library. I need to put this one on hold!

      Yes, like you, Christine’s grandmother was an enormous creative influence. Sounds so special.

  5. Lucky you Joanna! All of us who are familiar with The Very Fairy Princess have been curious about Christine’s beautiful illustrative work. For me her illustrations dance off the pages, including the ones above. And, I enjoyed knowing how much her grandmother influenced and encouraged her talent — so beautiful! Lovey interview ladies. Fun seeing the interview in both English and French.

    • Joanna says:

      Love the way you express that, Pat, very accurate. This is part of the fun of this interview series, connecting with such wonderful people, some of whom I have gotten to meet in person. Un jour peut-etre!

  6. Mercia, Joanna! J’adore Christine Davenier!

    I feel so fortunate to work with her on the Very Fairy Princess series – each time we see her sketches and paintings for a new installment, they never fail to delight us. Her contribution to Gerry’s character and the stories as they unfold is immeasurable! I’m also sad we haven’t had the chance to meet – YET – but hope we might soon… and because we haven’t met, I can’t choose one word to describe Christine, but here’s one to describe her glorious art… l’esprit libre! (Free spirited!)

    • Joanna says:

      Mon plaisir.

      The collaboration between you and Christine has been very special even at a distance. I do so hope you get to meet soon! Ta description est parfaite de l’art de Christine!

  7. Lovely bi-lingual interview! I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with Christine on several books and she’s a brilliant talent! Check out MABEL DANCING by Amy Hest as well as the DESSERT FIRST series by Hallie Durand that Christine illustrated, too! Delicious fun!

    • Joanna says:

      Thank you, Emma, and for urging me to contact Christine for the interview. Christine replied immediately. 🙂 Thank you also for these recommendations!

  8. C’est bon, Mademoiselle Marple! 🙂 (is that spelled right?) Fun! 🙂

  9. Lori Nichols says:

    Wonderful interview Joanna. I have loved Christine’s work for years and it’s so nice to see her process and hear about her story. Thank you both.

  10. Joanna says:

    Thanks, Lori. It is such fun to see how many of you know and love Christine’s work!

  11. Nicole says:

    It’s a complete discovery for me… never heard of Christine before. Shame on me !
    belle découverte ! je ne connaissais pas Christine.
    merci beaucoup Joanna. 🙂

  12. Dana Carey says:

    Waou! Je viens de decouvrir le travail de Christine— merci pour ça, Joanna! C’est excellent. Et je trouve son parcours très intérressant. Je me demande si Christine aimerait bien faire quelque chose avec notre petit groupe de SCBWI France?

  13. Joanna Marple says:

    J’ai pensé la même chose! Ca vaut la peine de demander! 🙂

  14. Rhythm says:

    Well, that was quite fun Ms Marple!! Thanks for the lesson!

  15. Merci Joanna et Christine! Quel jolie illustrations!

  16. Linda Ashman says:

    Hi, Joanna — What a wonderful interview! I love Christine’s work — so full of warmth and energy and humor. I feel very lucky that she illustrated Samantha (and would love to have another book together!).

    • Joanna Marple says:

      Linda, I remember winning SAMANTHA from Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog! I hope you get another chance for Christine to illustrate one of your picture books!

  17. Pingback: Illustrator Interview – Olivier Tallec | Miss Marple's Musings

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