Chloé Bertron is a French illustrator whose surreal, dreamy drawings explore human nature. She graduated from Haute école des arts du Rhin, Strasbourg last June and after five years producing art in a secure and creative environment, Chloé was forced to face the challenges of her profession. “Illustrators don’t just make images, they have to send tonnes of emails, build a website, submit their work for contests and accept a lot of rejections,” Chloé tells It’s Nice That.
Her peculiar figures come to life in Chloé’s newest publication 6-4-2, which is populated by men and women standing timidly side-by-side and showing little interest in one another. “Auguste, our lonesome main character, is spending time alone in the mountains. On his hand is written the telephone number of a girl he has just met but it fades away. He then meets Bruno and other faithful friends who want to throw a party. The party is really painful to Auguste but it gives him an idea,” Chloé explains. This visual fairytale is a mesmerising story of colour and movement. Her illustrations represent a world where characters act but do not interact.
“I tend to make books about things that bother me, this time it was about introversion and extroversion. My sister spent a semester in a small town in Sweden a while back. She called me during the first week, desperate, because she felt alone. This moment of despair – although she quickly moved on to make many friends – made me realise the difference between me and her: I was at ease with loneliness and she was not,” Chloé recalls. 6-4-2 is an expression of the inner thoughts and feelings of an introvert: “Happy to be lonely, happy but stressed to meet new people, quickly overwhelmed when there’s a crowd and wanting to deal with things in depth.”
Despite their emotional insight, Chloé’s illustrations are innocent and simple. Executed with immaculate attention to detail, every aspect of her drawings serves a purpose. For example, her landscapes are evocative of particular mental states and psychological universes rather than mere geographical locations. Her colours also reflect the development of the story and are fundamental to her plots. When Auguste feels overwhelmed by the party, the backdrop is black. Whereas when he feels creative, nature blossoms filling the page with reds, yellows and greens. Steeped in symbolism, Chloé’s work doesn’t give away too much: “I like to let people imagine what my stories might be about rather than handing them the key.”