Illustrator Interview – Vincent Bergier

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.

Le jour/day

La nuit/night

[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?

[VB] Cats.

[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.

www.vincentbergier.com
https://www.facebook.com/vincent.bergier

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How to Walk an Ant – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: How to Walk an Ant

Author & Illustrator: Cindy Derby

 Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, March 2019

Ages: 3-7

Themes: ants, walking animals, humor, expertise, bonding over activities






Opening:

My name is Amariyah,
and I am an Expert Walker.
No, I don’t mean I walk perfect,
I mean I walk things.

Synopsis:

There are nine steps to becoming an ant walker, and Amariyah, the expert ant walker, is here to show you how it’s done.

This irreverent and quirky picture book follows a young girl as she goes through the process of walking ants, from polite introductions to tragic leash entanglements.

In the end, this unique book shows that as long as you’re doing what you’re best at, you may find a like-minded friend to tag along.

*Zero ants were harmed in the making of this book.
**Oops, 7 ants were harmed in the making of this book

Why I like this book:

Ants need exercise too, and that’s why our young expert, Amariyah, does such a detailed and splendid job of introducing us to a nine-step plan to the intricacies, pitfalls and joys of becoming a proficient walker of an ant (or thousands). All this information can even be transferred to walking other species like, ladybugs. So really you are getting a double bang for your buck with this beginner’s guide. Not to mention that you’ll be rolling around laughing at the same time. But just mind where you roll, please.

The predominantly grey/black palette with splashes of color (except that glorious wild middle spread) and the loose style add to the humor and make every page pop.

This is a terrific debut and watch out for any national ant-walking movements once this hits the shelves.

Activities/resources:

The terrific Seven Impossible Things before Breakfast had a terrific interview with Cindy last Friday.

DO NOT miss the glossary and two appendices: How to Conduct a Funeral and Ant Anatomy

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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Love, Mama – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Love, Mama

Written and illustrated by: Jeanette Bradley

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2018

Ages: 3-5

Themes: temporary separation, mother’s love, penguins, missing, longing

 

Opening:

When they reached the ocean,
Kipling waved goodbye to Mama. 
She called, “I’ll be back soon.”

Synopsis:

When Mama leaves her young penguin Kipling, he knows she’ll return home soon—yet he still can’t help but miss her. After all, Pillow Mama won’t read, Picture Mama won’t laugh, and Snow Mama is too cold to cuddle.

But then Kipling receives a special delivery from Mama, including a note that reads:

My love for you stretches across the wide ocean, 
through day and night, 
from earth to sky 
and back again.

And Kipling knows that no matter where Mama is, he is loved. Soon, Mama comes home, and Kipling ends the day where he belongs—right in her arms.(Publisher)

Why I like this book:

I am a sucker for adorable penguin books. Kipling and his Mama’s story has a familiar theme that no matter what may separate them, a mother’s love is absolute. In this story the separation includes physical distance as Mama goes on a trip, which is relevant for many kids for whom their mother’s work requires travel. But the whole separation anxiety is just as relevant for children separated for shorter or longer times from their mom for other reasons . There is another adult penguin at home, so Kipling is cared for but its isn’t quite the substitute for a primary caregiver in a little child’s life.

The Arctic scenes are terrific, and the soft warm pallet adds  charm to the story. I especially like the spread of Kipling creating his own heart letter to send back to Mama. Distance is well portrayed across the wide ocean, through day and night, from earth to sky and back again, etc. And I think everyone reading the story will be happy to see the resolution, in which Mama does come home because there are some pretty tense moments when little Kipling works through his understanding of her promised return. 

Also, I just love the name, Kipling!

Resources/Activities:

Have kids describe what they would send in a care package to a distant Mama/Papa.

This post is part of a series by authors and children’s literature bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

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