Sunday, June 6, 2010

Interview with presenter Lapin

Lapin is a French illustrator, living in Barcelona, whose talent flourishes in magazines, fashion, advertising and editorial fields.
As a prolific sketcher, as of January, he has drawn more than 125 sketchbooks of visual journals.
His drawing style and his notebook is surely distinct. The elegant and elaborate line works plus sensitive coloring on the grid or lined paper is almost his signature. That is unique. I wonder if that notebooks have any kind of magic to make him draw on it.
I had a chance to meet him during his sketch travel to Japan in April. When I met him, my very first question was why he use the particular papers which are not made for sketch use, nor for watercolor.

When did you encounter this types of notebooks? What are the advantages and disadvantages of sketching on that kind of paper?
You have published a book of which the content drawings are drawn that kind of notebook.

- I’m sketching in notebooks for more than 7 years now, and very quickly, I was wondering which kind of notebooks will fit the best to me.
My love for the flea markets is part of the answer. I found there some old diaries of the 60’s and 70’s, and decided to bring one for a trip in mexico. I immediately fall in love for this lined paper that create a new dimension to my sketches, and I’m still amazed by the quality of this “vintage paper”.
Each time I show one of those sketchbooks to some other sketchers, they can’t believe that a paper that fine support some watercolour on the both side.
So I’m looking for new ones every time I go to a flea market along my trips.
I actually published 2 facsimiles of my sketchbooks nº98 and 108, which are some old Spanish book accounts, and prepare a 3rd one very soon.

It is a privilege to see you in action. I see you observe your subject well but you don't measure the ratio, just keep drawing one part and go on to another, so freely, and the result comes out perfectly consistent. I guess to become such level, daily practice and discipline must be essential.

- thanks kumi. I wish my sketches to be as “perfect” as you describe it ;)
I sketch daily, I must tell that I’m in a very bad mood if I did not produce anything for more than a couple of days. And I’m not that often satisfied of myself, so, I’m used to continue sketching until a “good” sketch happen.
My line is very free, and I work to improve it. So, I can’t measure and do some marks on the paper, it will work again the spontaneity of my technique. I start on one part, already sketch all the details of it, than continue progressively. It doesn’t matter to me if the result get some deformity, it makes my vision more personal.
For example, when I sketch cars, I’m seating front of it, at less than 1 meter, and the final sketch look like a fisheye picture. I like it, but I really can’t measure it. It just happen.

I am amazed by your great eye sight and keen instinct for finding subjects. You quickly take out a notebook from the pocket and never loose the chance to draw in the train. Could you give a tip about sketch tools?

- My favourites sketch tools are described here.
I need nothing more than an ink pen and a small sketchbooks to be operational.
The best tip I could give is that you must try sketching every where, every subjects, at every moment. Even when you are not in a good mood, or hungry, tired, (or drunk…), let’s sketch, the result could be very cool!

You are born in France, raised in a area where British culture was there, and now live in Spain, have traveled many countries, and just have visited Japan nearly for a month. I think you are very adaptable and tolerant to other culture. How about your works? Do you recognize any influence to your drawings after the travel?

- I feel very lucky to be able to travel that much this last years. I’m a kind of bulimic of foreigners cultures, and I’m very attracted by meeting people and learn from them.
I’m sure that my ability to observe (so to sketch) grow from it.
First, I feel lost in a new place. In Japan, everything was so different to all what I know that I needed a few days of adaptation. I also needed to find some way to represent an architecture I never sketched before, and practice to sketch portraits of japanese people that I’m not used to… all this is so interesting and enriching.
For the influence, I can’t tell myself if I manage more the composition since I came back from Japan, or if I could sketch “bigger” since I’ve been to Las Vegas…

And you'll be traveling to France for another book project, as I remember.

- exactly, I’m leaving today (at 6h30am, ouch!) for a small village close to Bordeaux.
I will spend 10 days there trying to sketch hundred pages, wish me good luck!

Surely You'll have great topics for the teach in Portland. What are you looking forward at the Symposium?

- I can tell form the workshop I participate to in Spain that the Symposium will be a very special moment. You can’t imagine the energy of more than 70 sketchers together for a few days, it’s amazing, inspiring and motivating for a long time. If sketching is a lonely job, I need to meet some other sketch addict and share my work with them.

• Lapin's weblog.
•Lapin's work in flickr.


  1. I'm totally amazed by the quantity (and of course quality) of sketches Lapin produces. What a discipline!

    Great Interview Kumi.

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