An Interview with French Illustrator and Art Director Sophie Rocher
Sophie Rocher is an art director and illustrator based in Paris. Here’s a Design Instruct exclusive interview.
We just love showcasing hardworking and successful artists here at Design Instruct. There’s nothing more motivating and more inspiring than seeing artists and creatives doing what they do best.
Like many artists, Sophie Rocher gravitated towards art at a very young age. She worked hard to nurture and hone her skills and today she is an Art Director at a design agency in Paris and a children’s book illustrator. She’s making her mark and we couldn’t be more excited and honored that she would allow us to interview her here at Design Instruct.
On her origin story and how she got started with illustration:
As a child, I always enjoyed drawing, painting and building stuff with my hands. At age 9, I asked for an easel as a birthday present. At the time, I was living in La Reunion Island and my dad used to set it up for me in the garden so that I could draw trees and flowers. Naturally, I got myself into Art studies. I completed a BA in Art and Design at the London Metropolitan University in 2008. Soon after, I started working as a freelance Illustrator making 3 children’s books.
On the things that interests her and how it affects her work as an illustrator:
I am a very curious and passionate person. I love exploring the world but also my own city, Paris. It’s a huge inspiration to me. I always carry a sketchbook with me to take notes, hand draw letters and sketch little pieces of life. I love cities, cultures and subcultures, trends, street art, architecture but also nature, landscapes, everything is a potential resource of inspiration to me.
On how she gets her work done:
I have always been a hand drawer, my main tools being a pencil, a Rotring, and some watercolor. When I started studying design, I discovered how important the digital tools and software was to make something out of my design. I was very resistant at first but eventually I ended up making it an essential part of my creative process. I have always kept a sketching step in my design and research processes and I now use Photoshop and Illustrator to push my design further. My tools has evolved a lot through the years and I am now using a Cintiq tablet that allows me to draw directly on a screen making quality vector while keeping the hand gestures. This tool really changed my life, I love it !
On the kind of work she loves:
For the last 5 years, I have been working as a Web Designer and then Art Director for a digital agency. I produce website designs, graphic identities and illustrations for various clients. I like being given a subject, produce work for people, and help them grow their business.
I always keep some quality time on the side to make personal projects. This gives me space to experiment with various illustration styles and techniques on any subject that inspires me.
I believe my balance is right when I have those two things in my daily work. They complement one another and are nourishing to me.
I have recently open an e-shop where I sell limited reproduced illustrations. This new project really excites me and I hope to expand it in the near future.
We asked her about her favorite artists and her sources of inspiration:
Some of my favourite artists include Tom Haugomat, Matt Carlson, Mary Kate MC Devitt, Lauren Hom, Tituan Lamazou, Florent Chavouet…
I am also a big fan of Shepard Fairey, C215 and street art in general.
My influences are divers and I spend quiet a lot of time on Instagram, Pinterest and Behance looking at other creatives works.
On the moment she knew that becoming an artist was right for her:
I have more or less always wanted to be an Illustrator. I first realized it would be possible when I had the approval of my teachers at university. When I started working, I got the idea it was quite hard to live only on illustration work. This is the reason why I expanded my area of work to graphic and web design. Nowadays, I enjoy very much working on various media and tasks as it keeps me away form a certain kind of routine.
On what it’s like being an artist in Paris:
I am not a kid from Paris. I am born in sunny French Riviera and grew up in the Caraibes. However, I have to say Paris is one of the most beautiful and inspiring cities in the world. I feel very lucky to be here and I explore this city whenever I can. I often sit in a cafe sketching daily scenes and get nourished by the life happening around me.
A piece of advice learned from her work:
Always produce some personal work on the side of your paid work. I believe this is where your creativity can be expressed at its peak, without being restricted by time, client requests, or people’s tastes.