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Interview with illustrator Laura Kientzler

Thursday 23 March 2017

French illustrator Laura Kientzler creates whimsical, playful and absolutely adorable work, often incorporating animals and nature. She has produced work for exhibitions, magazines, designed posters and postcards, and is currently in the process of illustrating a children’s book. Since 2013 she has also been creating silkscreen printed textiles and other handmade items under the moniker La Petite Jungle, where she sells her wares in her online shop.  We recently caught up with Laura to discuss her work

How did you get into illustration? What compels you to create? 

I have written stories and drawn for as long as I can remember! As a child I spent hours drawing my favourite heroes from books or comics that I read, and imagine new adventures with them. I naturally wanted to make it my daily job when I arrived the moment to choose something to do, because books and images always took an important part in my life.

How would you describe your work and its visual style? 

My visual style is a mix between reality and a naive way of representing it. I mean, recognisable objects, plants or living being, but without any respect of the rules of perspective or proportions, and a certain freedom with colours, forms and scales. I am obviously inspired by plants and animals; those are my favourite thing to draw in the world.

What’s your creative process? What materials or techniques do you use? 

Each illustration always come from a doodle in my numerous notebooks. It sometimes comes from words I read on a book or a detail I saw in a movie, sometimes from observing people living around me, sometimes from an idea arising out of nowhere. My favourite medium is collage because I can let random play with forms and colours. I mix it with colour pencils drawing and watercolour painting.

Do you have a favourite series or piece of work that you’ve created? 

It’s something I have to deal with each time I make an illustration : I often prefer the sketch than the final result ! The first one is more intuitive, without any pressure of quality, as if my hand knew it’s just to try. So, I’d say that my sketchbooks are my favourite piece of work.

What kind of briefs and clients are you drawn to? 

Until now, I worked mainly for press, online shops, museums and zines.

What’s your favourite form to create work for – publications, posters, books, postcards, for example? 

I really enjoy to create posters, postcards or patterns, but sometimes I feel frustrated when my illustrations only decorate walls. I would like to express more than a simple visual interest. Editorial illustrations and publishing are more interesting to me, because it bring a different level of reading, a little something that people can think about and not only find pretty. Even if it is nice to work on both, to also have fun and stop thinking too seriously !

Which commissions have you most enjoyed responding to? 

The one that give me the freedom and the time to make experiments with materials and forms. I feel badly inspired with expectations that are too pre-established and no way to explore…

Is there something you ultimately want to communicate with your work? 

My ultimate and lasting goal is to bring peace and love ! More seriously, as I said before, I would give to people who watch at my illustrations another way to see the world, call them on important matters or just give them something to think about with my stories. I don’t know if I succeed in it for the moment, but I work on it each day of my life.

What are you working on at the moment? 

I am working on a new series of illustrations for an online shop of posters, and on the preparation of a workshop with kids about garden and plants. In parallel with commissioned projects, I usually work on few children books ideas that would make me very happy to publish one day.

What’s your dream creative project? 

I would be very passionate to create decors for theatre or something that would give life to my illustrations, at human scale and exploring the three dimensions of a stage. Otherwise, if we talk about a very dream project, I’d like to have my own art gallery, that would also be a studio for workshops, a bookshop specialised in illustration and children books, and a cafe with very good pies.

Check out more of Laura’s work at www.cargocollective.com/laurakientzler and purchase her products on etsy.