Lucille Clerc’s beautifully detailed drawings dance off the pages of Jonathan Drori’s new book Around the World in 80 Trees… We caught up with this talented nature-loving illustrator to find out more.
Tell us a bit about your background, do you come from an artistic family? What did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up in Nancy where Art Nouveau started in France, between the city and the countryside which might explain my taste for ornamental patterns, and nature-related topics.
My most precious influences come from experiences, from the real life. They are the people who raised me, who are not officially artists but who have a great curiosity for arts, literature and music and who both have a very special way to look at life and the little things on the way. My father who was an architect teaching landscaping could draw beautifully and taught me a bit, and my mother who had quite a demanding job, took me with her in all her trips since I was little. So lots of books, and exhibitions, and music and travels, and lots of very open-minded encouraging people to be surrounded with whether they were family, people I’ve met while travelling, friends and now clients.
What did you study in France? And what brought you to London?
I graduated with a DSAA in visual communication (which is equivalent to an MA) from ENSAAMA-Olivier de Serres in Paris. And another MA in communication design – editorial design from Central StMartins. So I have worked in both graphic design and illustration.
Can you tell us a bit about your studio space? Do you work alone or with other people?
I have a small room to work at home and a studio above PrintClub London where I work on my screenprints.
What do you listen to while you work? What’s most likely to distract you?
Lots of music and radio, the news are probably must likely to distract me as I like to keep in touch with what’s happening.
Do you start with a blank screen or a blank sheet of paper?
Your pieces are very intricate – is everything carefully mapped out or is there room for some improvisation?
I usually have a general idea but I always improvise on the way, and the result is often quite different from the general initial idea.
Apart from your computer, which piece of studio equipment would you find it hard to live without?
I can live without a computer but not without a sketchbook and pencil.
Tell us a bit about working on 80s Trees…was it nice to have a project that you could really get your teeth into? Did you learn a lot about trees?
I did learn a lot about trees yes, I surprise myself recognising them and being able to name them now!
Did you get through a lot of green pencils?
Tons of 0.5 pencil leads for my Criterium! 🙂
How do you switch off?
I go for a weekend in the countryside or a day at Kew Gardens, this always works for me.
What’s next for you?
I’ve been shortlisted for a World illustration Award for a series of illustrations on the Jungle Book, and I’m currently working for Historical Royal Places, on a mural as part of the renovation of one of the palaces in Kew Gardens.