Contemplative, slow-paced and confusing: a peak inside the portfolio of illustrator Elie Huault
Inspired by sci-fi and horror films, the Paris-based illustrator invites the audience to fully immersive themselves in his monochromatic comics.
- Ayla Angelos
- 29 January 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
During his younger years, Elie Huault found himself filling the typical cliché of a little boy, “always drawing cars and planes”. It was during Elie's adolescence that he started to become more familiar with the ways of telling a narrative, achieved through illustrative characters and transporting scenery. These are the details that bind the work of Elie, who now creates comic strips, illustrations and compositions that appear to have been plucked from a John Carpenter film – the kind that’s riddled with sci-fi, horror and tension.
It all started for Elie after studying in Strasburg, a period in time that opened his mind to other mediums and practices. “I think in a way, I have always wanted to draw,” he tells It’s Nice That, “but now I want to have a more editorial approach to my projects. I still try to touch on various things; it’s always good to be curious and evolve.”
Although attuning his style to one that draws from various inspirations, it also quite clearly centres around cinema. Elie pinpoints a time when he was ten, off “sick” at home and his parents were out of the house. “I saw the first Alien movie and at the time it was a pretty amazing experience,” he explains, “I couldn’t stop thinking about the beast and the mythology around it.” Carpenter (as mentioned), alongside Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg – known for his body horror genre, with films that depict the likes of bodily transformation and infection – are widely cited within his work. “But at the end of the day, I’m an illustrator so I cannot just watch movies; a moving image is something else entirely!”
Landing his style and with his influences in tow, everything seems to make a bit more sense. A masked character galavanting across a dystopian lands plays the protagonist in many of his illustrations, while deserted lands play secondary (but equally as important) parts and set the scene to be quite dreary. Further afield, he also cites cartoonists such as Shigeru Mizuki, Charles Burns, Matthias Picard and Clement Vuillier – “but there are so many inspirational artists out there!” – who each play a significant part in his pool of inspirations.
At present, Elie is located in his apartment in Paris, where he spends a typical day “trying to wake up early” and gets things rolling with his illustrative work right after breakfast. “But to be honest, I feel more efficient during the evening when things slow down,” he says. Either way, he keeps a handful of books close to his desk for reference – and for those inspirational lulls – and makes sure to check online for pictures. When the moment strikes, he will begin drawing with a quick sketch in pencil, comprising simple shapes that fill the entire page. “The big work starts when I use my Rotring pen and ink to draw the scenery more precisely,” he adds. “Music or podcasts are always good to get in the mood, and after one hour I’m into the flow of compulsive drawing.”
Currently working on a comic book as we speak, Elie points in the direction of a particular picture [above] – a nine-panelled black and white strip that sees a strange figure transform. Raising attention to the fact that we’d need to read the book to gain a proper understanding, he goes on to say how each page is like its own piece of artwork. “I want the pages to be seen on their own, like a single piece – a small scene,” he says. Drawing on the theme of mutation, each scene depicted throughout is in constant transmorphism. “That’s why the character is so lost; metamorphosis is a central point of the project and I think this page summarises the concept pretty well.”
As a whole, Elie strives to deliver the story of “someone getting lost” and, by doing so, that story is told through images. “It’s very contemplative, slow-paced and it can be a bit confusing sometimes; but that’s the experience I want to share.” Filled with texture-rich and monochromatic landscapes, his portfolio is intentionally immersive. He concludes: “I like to see these images like windows and invite people to take a break and be a part of the scenery.”