Draw­ing a fa ntasy eco-tale

A real-world set­ting pro­vided the back­drop to Claire’s suc­cess­ful se­ries of comics, Les Lu­mières de l’Amalou

ImagineFX - - Claire Wendling -

The most ex­ten­sive work in Claire’s port­fo­lio is the pre­mium comic se­ries Les Lu­mières de l’Amalou, cre­ated along­side writer Christophe Gi­belin dur­ing the 1990s. It com­prises five books in to­tal, of 48 pages each: Théo, Le Pantin (The Pup­pet), Le Vil­lage Tordu (The Twisted Vil­lage), Gouals and Cen­dres (Ashes). The five books were later re­leased as an ex­ten­sive graphic novel.

Through­out the project, Claire was able to let her love of na­ture take over. “We were pissed off by the de­struc­tion of en­tire val­leys with huge dams in places we loved,” she says. “So our char­ac­ters were con­fronted by that, be­com­ing home­less af­ter their world was de­stroyed.

“I had to cre­ate that world and I was chal­lenged by ev­ery page be­cause I was still learn­ing my trade. What I liked the most was cre­at­ing a story in a set­ting that I knew. It takes place in the south of France. It was hard to draw it cor­rectly and ev­ery­thing was chal­leng­ing, but in­stead of draw­ing real hu­man be­ings Christophe got me to draw fan­tas­tic ones. I pre­fer fan­tasy char­ac­ters – they help me han­dle the real world.”

Iguana Bay, and in 2003 she re­vis­ited them, re­work­ing and cor­rect­ing many of them in pas­tel or ink. This collection was re­leased as Iguana Bay 2.0 in 2003.

Scary mon­sters

She also worked on the com­puter game Alone in the Dark IV: The New Nightmare, de­vel­oped by Dark­works. It was part of one of the big­gest se­ries in French video gam­ing, and came out in 2001. You could play as ei­ther the hero Ed­ward Carnby who takes on an ac­tion role, or as Aline Ce­drac whose game­play in­volved more puzzle solv­ing, like the pre­vi­ous Alone in the Dark ti­tles. They delve into a hor­ri­fy­ing mys­tery in­volv­ing rep­til­ian mon­sters.

Claire got to work on the ti­tle by chance. “It’s a fun story. At first a friend of mine was sup­posed to cre­ate the mon­sters, but he was too busy and was not as com­fort­able

I just draw, try­ing hard to vi­su­alise how what I’m imag­in­ing would work

draw­ing an­i­mals to do the job quickly, so I told him, ‘Hey, I can give it a try.’

“So I drew the crea­tures log­i­cally enough to be 3D an­i­mated. It was fun to cre­ate things that the play­ers would kill at first sight. I have worked on a few other games too, like Kaos, but these con­tri­bu­tions were smaller and I’m not re­ally a gamer at all.”

From comics to films and on to com­puter game art­work, the va­ri­ety of me­dia in Claire’s port­fo­lio just goes to show that if you can draw well and can ap­ply yourself, there are end­less op­por­tu­ni­ties. She sees her own ap­proach as highly adapt­able, and even as she re­cov­ers her health she’s talk­ing about de­vel­op­ing her style.

“Gen­er­ally I try to adapt the style to what I want to ex­press, and that’s the big­gest part of the job,” she says. “I’m still pas­sion­ate about learn­ing too.” She continues: “When I have some­thing in my head, in­stead of find­ing a ref­er­ence I just draw, try­ing hard to vi­su­alise how what I’m imag­in­ing would work. When I’m done with that, if I’m not con­vinced, I’ll check some ref­er­ences to make cor­rec­tions. I know it sounds silly, but I didn’t take aca­demic draw­ing lessons at school. I did it my way.”

DARK

LO VE A rare glim­mer of the sin­is­ter ap­pears in Claire’s art­work for the book Aphrodite.

LOOK­ING

GLA

SS Fans are hop­ing that

now she’s re­cov­ered from her ill­ness, Claire will re­turn to her Alice in Won­der­land project.

AVENGER

S FAIR

Y TALE

S Cap­tain Amer­ica and the other Avengers took part

in this Marvel mini-se­ries along­side Peter Pan.

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