“I always want my illustrations to be like a punch in the retina of the viewer”, says Baptiste Virot on his visually-explosive illustrations. As one half of the French-Korean publishing house Animal Press, that he operates with his girlfriend Jinhee Han, Baptiste produces a wealth of Risographed comics, digital illustrations and all sorts of other commissions simultaneously; explaining why we’ve written about his colourful work a couple of times previously.
Recently, the illustrator has been commissioned by Elephant Magazine, delivering his effortless style of an “iron punch in a velvet glove” with his tinglingly vibrant drawings. He habitually stands by his trusted Rotring pen, using nothing else throughout his illustration practice. “I’m really bad at painting, using pencils, inks and all this kind of stuff,” says Baptiste, “Thinking about the fact that I need to learn more trying techniques doesn’t cheer me up much either,” he adds with a touch of self-deprecating humour.
The zinging colours and compositions of Baptiste’s illustrations are in fact, made up of starkly simple lines. This simple yet effective technique, that most certainly does the job, comes down to Baptiste’s “wish for instantaneity” as he describes himself as “a very impatient person”. He likens his drawing style to the illustrative mode pioneered by Hergé, the creator of The Adventures of TinTin. Ingrained today in the general public’s psyches as an established style that’s been around for ages, Hergé popularised this flat way of drawing with clear and definitive lines and it’s a technique that has now been adopted and interpreted by countless illustrators.
When asked about his progression since we wrote about him last year, Baptiste says, “I think it’s impossible for an artist to see the improvement in his own work in such a short amount of time.” And though he doesn’t have much to say on the subject, he is continuing to strive to improve his technique while constantly jumping across a succession of projects that he feels his life is regulated by. Finally, he goes on to say, “I have a lot of things to do all the time, but at the same time, I can get totally distracted and watch YouTube for hours.”
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