Agathe Bray-Bourret’s illustrations are “filled with clumsy nonchalant, soft characters”

The illustrator’s playful and profoundly silly fantasy worlds are “barely subjected to perspective or gravity”.

22 May 2024

Being a rather unserious person, illustrator Agathe Bray-Bourret loves to add humour into (almost) all of her works. Agathe works predominantly in watercolour and gouache, which has been key in achieving the soft appearance of her playful illustrations and animations, colouring each of her amusing characters. Amongst which are: a human bogey, a group of walking hands and a few dancing poos. It’s this medium, she adds, that “facilitates the expression of clumsiness and lightness” and allows her to “convey the feeling of floating through life” that her fantasy worlds so brilliantly evoke.

Agathe’s interest in movement arose while studying BA Film Animation at Concordia University in Montreal, during which she started to bring her illustrated works to life. As a people watcher and a natural daydreamer, Agathe says that her interest in “how people choreograph their daily life” has always been present. Even as a young child she was taking inspiration from illustrated characters, adoring Gaston Lagaffe in her father’s French comics “who I identified with a lot!”, she says. One of her biggest influences, however, is Jean-Jacques Sempé and the personality he put into his illustrated characters with so few distinct lines. An influence that Agathe now finds rather ironic as she develops her free and fluid style, quite the opposite to Sempé’s, as she illustrates “almost always without contour lines”, and barely subjects her characters to the harsh rules of “perspective or gravity”.


Agathe Bray-Bourret: A well respected crotte de nez (Copyright © Agathe Bray-Bourret, 2023)


Agathe Bray-Bourret: cottage wedding (Copyright © Agathe Bray-Bourret, 2018)


Agathe Bray-Bourret: Mon Valentin (Copyright © Agathe Bray-Bourret, 2022)


Agathe Bray-Bourret: financial times-shoeshine: D.A: Hannah Brenchley(Copyright © Agathe Bray-Bourret, 2021)


Agathe Bray-Bourret: Ronde de Printemps (copyright©:Agathe Bray-Bourret: 2022)


Agathe Bray-Bourret: financial times- digital nomad: D.A: Hannah Brenchley (Copyright © Agathe Bray-Bourret, 2022)


Agathe Bray-Bourret: breakdance (Copyright © Agathe Bray-Bourret, 2019)


Agathe Bray-Bourret: Piétons (copyright©:Agathe Bray-Bourret: 2023)


Agathe Bray-Bourret: genoux froids (Copyright © Agathe Bray-Bourret, 2023)

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Agathe Bray-Bourret: sexy ghost (Copyright © Agathe Bray-Bourret, 2023)

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About the Author

Ellis Tree

Ellis Tree (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a junior writer in April 2024 after graduating from Kingston School of Art with a degree in Graphic Design. Across her research, writing and visual work she has a particular interest in printmaking, self-publishing and expanded approaches to photography.

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