Friday, June 10, 2011

Geneviève Godbout Interview

Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?

Hello ! I grew up in a small town, near Quebec city in Canada and I have always loved to draw. I left home at the age of 16 to study traditional animation in Montreal (at the Cegep du Vieux-Montreal) and then moved to Paris for a 3rd year diploma, still in traditional animation, at Gobelins l’ecole de l’image. It was such a beautiful experience to study and work with passionate talented people and it definitely helped me being the “artist” I am today.

How do you go about designing, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?

I always start with visual references and then make little thumbnails for the general composition. I then go on sketching and try different options, different poses until I am happy with it. The trickiest bit is to translate the whole drawing into my final with color pencils without losing its initial energy. Sometimes I have to restart several times from scratch. I like to keep my concepts very rough so I can allow myself more freedom and spontaneity on the finals, a bit as if they were new drawings !

What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work with?

I’m not very good with routine, so each day is kind of different (as long as it starts with a good coffee). I always try to mix work that has-to-be-done and work that is fun… It’s a really hard question… I don’t really know what else to answer !!!

What are some of the things that you have worked on?

I haven’t worked on anything “major” yet (except perhaps my student film at Gobelins, Sebastien), but I believe that whatever I’m doing, even the most boring job, it is important I do it with love and care.

Is there a design you have done that you are most happy with?

I always try to be very hard on myself so I’m rarely content with my work. But one thing I am particularly pleased with is my bloc for Ghana “sisters”. I looked through childhood pictures of my sister and I for reference and it brought back so many sweet memories that I enjoyed every second of it !

What projects are you working on now? (if you can tell us)

On the side of my day to day job at Disney consumer products, I am also illustrating two children books (and perhaps a 3rd soon !). One of them, called Joseph Fipps, has found a publishing company (La Pasteque, based in Montreal). The other one, Rose a petits pois, is still awaiting…

Who are some of your favorite artists out there?

I very much love the impressionism movement and artists like Monet, Degas and Mary Cassatt. I could spend hours looking at their paintings and drawings. Obviously, I also love Mary Blair who was such a creative lady with a perfect sense of design. And some of my favorite illustrators are Sempe and Brian Wildsmith (just to name a few).

Mary Cassatt


Brian Wildsmith

Could you talk about your process in coloring your art, as well as the types of tools or media that you use?

I love to use color pencils, more precisely Faber-castell polychromos. I draw my concepts and finals on basic animation paper. I like the transparency of it and also the fact it isn’t precious or expensive. It’s far less stressful and I don’t feel bad to restart again if needed. Since I did my art bloc for Ghana I also loved the feeling of color pencils on wood. So that is something I am now working with too !

What part of designing is most fun and easy, and what is most difficult?

I’d say that nothing is easy… It all depends on inspiration and if I’m having a good day or not ! But surely I enjoy every step of it, from sketching to final !

What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?

I’m trying to be curious and to look for new things. I like to find inspiration elsewhere than in animation and illustration when I can. I read a lot. I discovered a real passion for classic literature and it stimulates a lot my imagination. I also love everything related to the fashion industry.

What are some of your favorite designs which you have seen?

There are so many ! At 14, I remember falling in love with the designs of “it’s a small world!” in Disneyland. At the time, I didn’t know they were Mary Blair’s. I also love love Rob Ryan and his paper cut beauties. It’s naïve and quite poetic.

Mary Blair

Rob Ryan

What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?

I like to draw cute ladies in pretty clothes ! But what I like (and hate) the most is to be challenged out of my comfort zone and to draw things I’ve never drawn before. Afterwords, either I feel like I have achieved something new or I feel like there is still a lot of work to do and more things to learn.

What inspired you to become an Artist?

I don’t know… I just felt it was the only thing I would ever want to do. It just felt right !

What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?

Working hard and questioning yourself are the key to create interesting art.
I’m not sure I’m working hard enough at the moment though !!!

What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?

It is very personal to every individual. I think it is important to stay curious and opened. Having doubts are part of the creative process and failing makes you learn more things than success. And most of all, enjoying every step in the making is primordial, otherwise what’s the point ?

If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted? (Email, Web page)

My email is on my blog, so it’s definitely the easiest way to contact me !

Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (sketchbook, prints, or anything) for people that like your work can know where and when to buy it?

Not at the moment, but I’m happy to make prints (of existing artwork) or custom requests.