Sylvain Bordesoules is a young artist and illustrator based in Paris. He started his career as a storyboard artist for cinema and is now about to publish his first graphic novel "L’été des charognes" through the French publishing house Gallimard.
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Could you introduce yourself for those who are unfamiliar with your work? What is your artistic background?
Hi, I am Sylvain Bordesoules. I am a 29-year-old French author and illustrator based in Paris. I graduated from the comics and illustrations school of Cesan in Paris in 2020. My first graphic novel will be released through the Gallimard publishing house in Spring 2023 and I am currently working on my second one which should be released in late 2024.
You are known as a Bande Dessinée artist. Along with Japanese Manga and American comics, Bande Dessinée is a major genre and has a long tradition in comics. Could you tell us about Bande Dessinée and how it relates to your work and career?
I am a very dreamy person and I always liked created universe and imaginative stories. I was drawing from when I can remember things and for me Bande Dessinée is the natural way to put all what I have in mind into something. The Bande Dessinée style has really evolved, and it was something kind of codified, in term of numbers of pages and physical aspects. Now it is something very free. I think the opening to other genres like, manga or superhero comics, really helped to create a medium where you can fully express yourself and experiment. It’s really for me a way to express myself and also, in some way, to discuss with the audience that I reach. I feel like people who read my book will be okay to go for a walk with me and listen to what I have to say; it’s very nice.
Your artworks are filled with a ‘story’ and look like scenes from a film, or even contemporary art. Who and what inspires you?
I worked a little for cinema, and I made some storyboards for movies. It was my first professional project and I think it has really helped me since. I try my best to put attention in every drawing like what do I want to show, what is the feeling of this moment, so I am very happy if you feel a story in my artwork! Doing a movie and a Bande Dessinée is quite similar for me actually. You have to think of the angle, the pose, the background, the actors/characters, what is the best for the story etc. I like to think of it as kind of the same thing but with a lower budget (laughs). So yeah, I am definitely inspired by cinema. I watch all sorts of films with movie directors and it’s not uncommon that I stop a movie to take a capture of a pose or a lighting that inspires me. I realized that I feel an attraction for the impressionist painters like Monet, Renoir or Hopper. It’s like not being so precise in the lines but more about having the vibes of the moments and telling something not by precision but by the feeling. I really like that.
What is the most favorite artwork that you have created, and why?
It’s a tricky question... my favorite artwork kind of change every day (or every minute). I could be really happy of a drawing at any moment, but I may want to burn it away the next second (laughs). But I would say, for now, it’s the one in the water. For the reason I’ve said this before, but it’s just the sensation, not much the lines, just the colors give the feeling of water, you feel the summer and a fresh feeling, maybe a little nostalgia.
When and how did you get to know of Copic products? Why did you decide to use Copic?
I first found about Copic in high school. I was in art class and one of the professors showed us the markers. I fell in love with it, and later at my comic book school I was like “Okay, I have to do something with this.” I used to work with colored inks, and I had my blue, my yellow, and my red, and I made some experimental colors out of it but it wasn’t enough. I felt like the colors weren’t full enough if it makes sense. So, I took my first Copic colors and it was a true revelation! My teachers just kept complimenting me for the creativity in my drawing with it and it was very natural for me to use it. I didn’t have to think of how I will use it but I just took the marker and that was it.
Why did you pick Copic in an age where people start with digital tools? What is your insight for using analog tools like markers?
First to be honest I would say I am terrible with digital tools. I would love to use them but I really need to feel of paper, the pressure and the tools I use. I was looking for a working method that allowed me to get rid of the maximum number of superfluous lines and I really wanted to express with colors and create drawings not with a pen but more in the sense of sculpting in colors. Like I said, colored ink wasn’t a match for me, painting was nice but it’s not a really easy and fast way to work when you have to draw a lot, so markers were a big YES to me. Copic markers are the best for me because the colors are rich, it’s really easy and fast to use, and it allows a transparency that no other markers can provide. You can be subtle and don’t have to put noisy colors if you don’t want to, and really, not all markers can do that. I didn’t really have a feeling of choosing Copic, it was just what it provides.
What is your favorite shade or color number of Copic and why?
When I started using Copic I had a big crush on BV31! It’s a lightning lavender blue that I use all the time to add some shade; it’s definitely a must have for me. Now that I use more colors, it’s more difficult to pick one! E04 is a color that I use all the time when I want to put some more contrast in the shadow of my character. It’s a really beautiful natural color and really helps me when creating shapes. Also, all the warm gray colors are absolutely delightful and allow some beautiful nuances and offer an alternative to the black or white problems.
Could you tell us about your entry titled “Someone is missing” which you submitted to Copic Award 2021? How did you feel about participating in this global contest?
It was really nice actually! It was fun to have an occasion to show my artwork to the world and I had a lot of nice comments which is always nice to receive. My entry Someone is missing was a part of my school diploma project. It is a story about the one who stayed when the other person in an old couple passed away. Yeah, it is a little sad... For now, I keep this story tidy, but who knows, maybe one day I will do something with it.
Would you tell us about your current/next projects?
My current project is an adaptation of the novel L’été des charognes made by Simon Johannin, a young French author who is making a really nice career in France. The novel takes place in a rural part of France in late 2000 and follows young boys aged from 11 to 18. It talks about the difficulty of getting out of a certain social condition when you are born in a family that is not really rich or cultured.
We judge people a lot, and I want to show that beauty is everywhere and that all people are interesting when you take the time to follow them and listen.
My next project is in the same vein. We follow a journey of two sisters in Nice in the south of France.
With their problems, difficulties, and joy. It will be like a memento of what life is like some people in France in 2022. The aim to make people look at each other and understand the beauty of life.
Do you have any messages for your fans and the Copic community around the world?
Yes! I would say go for your dreams, draw, and believe in yourself. Everything is possible.
I never imagined that my dream of being an author would be something else than a dream and now it’s real. I was in art class in high school and then for multiple reasons I had to stop my artistic studies when I turned 18 and worked in the real world. Life was going on; I had an unhappy job in the food industry, and I used to dream of making comic books without seeing how this would happen. And then I went back to art school at 25 and life gave me chances and I am now publishing material right after school! So really, it’s never too late. Make chances happen, take time to discover yourself, what you want to do, and how you want to do it. And give Copic a try if you are attracted to it. Don’t wait a lot like I did (laughs).