Joël Jurion is a French comic book artist born in 1975. He started his artistic career in 1999 and by a chance meeting with Thierry Cailleteau at Normandiebulle festival, Jurion was asked to illustrate Cailleteau’s upcoming project, Anachron. Starting in 2001, the series went on for six years and was very successful. Straight after, Jurion was snapped up for a new series, Les Démons de Dunwich, written by Steve Baker.
René Bouët-Willaumez was a French aristocrat born in Brittany, in 1900. After abandoned engineering for art, he began working for Vogue in 1929. Joining the industry in the midst of change, where photography was becoming the dominant means of reporting on fashion trends. This, however, did not hold Willaumez back. His unhesitating and incisive ink drawings illustrated the hubris and elegance of fashion in a way that had not been seen carving out a demand for himself.
Within just a few years, Willaumez had honed his craft and his monogram “RBW” became a familiar fixture on the pages and covers of Vogue magazine. By the mid-1930s he was heralded as top of his profession, with his only substantial equal being Carl Erickson. Willaumez was a few years younger than Erickson, yet a professional, sometimes fractious, rivalry developed between the two and remained through the course of their careers.
Their work shared notable similarities. An untutored eye would be forgiven not distinguishing between the two. Erickson’s was softer in contrast to Willaumez’s crisper line. Erickson’s medium of choice was charcoal allowing him to create numerous subtle variety of edge. Whereas Willaumez used a pen, allowing for precision and an assured response. The two almost certainly recognised their essential differences and work towards widening them. Their paths inevitably crossed on many occasions, and though they were not friends, they found mutual professional recognition.
Willaumez had moved around a lot from Paris to London and then New York. Throughout the 1940s, whilst in New York, the American editor of Vogue made good use of his à la mode style. Willaumez worked with Vogue up until the early 1950s, where his appearance in the magazine abruptly drop. His work last appeared in the American Vogue in 1953. He did contribute to the occasional European edition, but 1958 saw his association with the magazine end. He left New York and returned to France.
Erickson, who was still working for Vogue, was suffering from failing health died in 1958. Willaumez, retired by then and remarried (for a third time). He died a few years later in 1979, at the age of seventy-nine years old. The passing of Erickson and the retirement of Willaumez concluded a chapter in Vogue’s and concurrently magazine history. By the early 1960s, magazines were using photography exclusively.
If you are interested in finding out more about René Bouët-Willaumez, I highly recommend picking up Fashion Drawings in Vogue: René Bouët-Willaumez. It is filled with his pen and ink illustrations, many in full colour and does a great job of painting a picture of the industry at the height Willaumez’s popularity.
Presenting the exquisitely intricate work of Jean-Charles Desevre. A French graphic artist based in the picturesque coastal region of Normandy. He has a penchant for old-timely graphic design reminiscent of the ostentatious designs of the Victorian era. As such, his work is apt to premium and luxury products.
Desevre’s designs have embellished restaurants, wine bottle, cigars, cheese, and playing cards. The set of playing cards, Medallions, produced by magic trick aficionados theory11 spared no expense. The case features ultra-lux matte paper, embossed, and covered top to bottom in a striking gold foil. In short they looked amazing, and as such quickly sold out. They produced a second batch which, unsurprisingly, sold out again.
All of Desevre’s illustrations are produced in Adobe Illustrator. At first, that does not strike you as a big deal, but when you start to look at the labyrinthine of detail, the consistently organic curves, and the distressed appearance some his emblems have, you quickly appreciate the skill and time he has put in.
To see more, check out Jean-Charles Desevre’s work on Dribbble.
Amid much of Paul César Helleu’s lifetime he was famous on both sides of the Atlantic. His artistry was praised by fellow impressionist painters Manet, Monet and Renoir. Yet, his name seems is less widely known to the public today.
Helleu was an exceptional oil painter, a skilled draftsman adept in pastel and maestro of drypoint. He was an influential part of the Impressionist movement, who created many still lifes, landscapes and portraits, most famously of beautiful society women of the Belle Époque.
Born 1859 in Vannes, Brittany, France. Helleu went to Paris to begin his academic training in art. At age 16, he was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts where he studied with Jean-Léon Gérôme. Attending an Impressionist exhibition he met artist John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, and Claude Monet for the first time. The showcased works were modern, employing the bold alla prima technique. All of which made a lasting impact on Helleu.
After graduating, in order to make some money, Helleu started working for Théodore Deck hand-painting fine decorative plates. All the while Helleu was becoming more and more discourage. He had not sold a single painting and was on the verge of abandoning his studies. Upon hearing this, his now close friend, John Singer Sargent went to Helleu, priased his techniques and bought a one of his pieces for a thousand-franc note.
In typical artist fashion, after being commissioned to paint a young socialite named Alice Guèrin, Helleu feel in love with her and two years later they were married. They became part of French social elites, and Guèrin would introduce Helleu to many aristocratic circles of Paris.
In 1885, on a trip to London, Helleu was introduction to James Jacques Tissot. This meeting opened up Helleu’s eyes to the possibilities of drypoint etching with a diamond point stylus directly on a copper plate. Embracing this technique wholly, Helleu would apply his same dynamic pastel style to his etching. His prints were very popular, with the advantage to create several proofs, people would often give them to friends and relatives as gifts. Over the course of his career, Helleu produced more than 2,000 drypoint prints.
In 1920 Helleu exhibited his work in New York City, but the experience brought a sudden realization for him that the Belle Époque was over. Helleu felt that his had lost touch and after his return to France he destroyed nearly all of his copper plates. However, a few years later he started planning a new exhibition with Jean-Louis Forain. Sadly the exhibition never came to fruition when in 1927 Helleu died.
There is a few places you can find out more about Paul César Helleu, a nice collection of his work and more information can be found here and here. There is also a beautiful book of his work by Frederique de Watrigant both in English and French.
Born in France, Ben Fiquet is an animator and illustrator for video games and comics. My first introduction to Mr Fiquet’s work was the 2006 short animation he, and his fellow Gobelins students, produced for the Annecy Festival called Pyrats. It is one of my favorite Gobelins animations to date, and I remember at the time of seeing it hoping it would become a series. I’m secretly still holding out for that one.
Equally adept in character and environment design, Mr Fiquet puts that to good use in his comic work. Titles include Les chevaliers de la Chouette and four volumes of Powa. More recent he contributed to the star-studded, and much anticipated, Kickstarter project Masters of Anatomy.