I reviewed a terrific picture book last Friday, New York, DAY & NIGHT by Aurélie Pollet and illustrated by Vincent Bergier. I’m always keen to highlight European illustrators on my blog so I reached out to Vincent for this interview.
[JM] Illustrator or author/illustrator? If the latter, do you begin with words or pictures?
[VB] I’m author/illustrator, starting with pictures. For me to draw is in some ways similar to write. Telling a story with forms and composition.
[JM] Where are you from/have you lived and how has that influenced your work?
[VB] I’m from the east of France. I studied art in Strasbourg. I live in Paris. Maybe I’minfluenced by the « Dolce Vita » you can find here. At the end more than the pigeons!
[JM] Tell us a little of your beginnings and journey as an artist.
[VB] At first, I was drawing for a comix I created with friends called «Caramel ». It was very nice and stimulating. We had a lot of fun. After that I worked for children magazines and books. Now I make illustrations ans comix for children and adults. So, I do very different works which is very interesting.
[JM] What is your preferred medium to work in?
[VB] I love to work with a computer and graphic tablet. It’s more playful and funny. But pencils and gouache are pleasant. I like all of them.
[JM] Can you share a piece or two for us, maybe from a Work in Progress, and the process of creating them?
[VB] This is the first page of a story about Black lives matter for a magasine called Topo. Ifirst make a sketch, send it to my editor. After a few modifications I draw it cleaner in black and put some colors on it. All is made with a graphic tablet and a computer.
[JM] Which book do you remember buying with your own money as a kid?
[VB] It was an album of Lucky Luke, a very famous comic book in Europe. [I learned to draw copying some pictures of these books.
[JM] What does your workspace look like?
[VB] I share a space with 20 nice people, working in cartoon, illustration and comics. It’s called Kawanimation. It is closed to « Les Buttes Chaumonts », a very nice park, where I can have lunch with friends sometimes.
[JM] New York Day & Night is an unusual format with the translucent page between each spreadcreating much of the surprise element. Was this creation you and the art director collaborating, or in this instance was the author involved? And have you visited NYC?
[VB] The project started with a discussion with the author, Aurélie Pollet and me. Then weproposed it to the art editor, L’Agrume who found the best solution to build the bookas good as he could ! We were in New York with Aurélie and I made a lot of sketches there. A lot of characters in the book are real people of NY.
[JM] What artwork do you have hanging in your home?
[VB] It is an illustration I made for an exhibition in a lovely place there called Slow Gallery. It is on the wall in front of desk.
I have also as silkscreen print in my room made by a friend called Geraldine Allibeu.
[JM] What are some of the differences you have noticed between picture books in North America and Europe?
[VB] I don’t notice any difference. Maybe It’s not about geography but about author’s personality.
Five Fun Ones to Finish?
[JM] What’s your favorite park (state/urban..) in the world?
[VB] Central Park. It’s so huge and beautiful !
[JM] Agreed. I lived for 3 years near Central Park and love it. Cats or dogs?
[JM] Please recommend a coffee shop or restaurant for me to visit in your city/town!
[VB] Le Baron Rouge is a bar with very good wines.
[JM] Merci. I love fine wine! What was your first paid job out of high school?
[VB] It was a Holiday book for the editor Albin Michel. I had 60 drawings to do. At this time it was very big for me !!!
[JM] Go to snack/drink to sustain your creative juices?
[VB] Yes I like to work in a coffee shop to work sometimes, doing sketches and looking for documentation on internet.