Marie Larrivé’s atmospheric illustrations are sure to induce a serious case of wanderlust

Alongside her peaceful and pleasing scenes, the Paris-based illustrator and animator’s recent short film Noir Soleil proves there to be much more beneath her glistening seas and pleasing sun sets…

7 April 2022


Being born by the sea, illustrator and animator Marie Larrivé tells us, has had the greatest impact on her work. This, and how the “intense colours of nature” of her native Brittany “are always changing”. Influenced by Gauguin and the artists of the École de Pont-Aven, who painted near where the creative artist grew up, it is the immediate surroundings and cultural figures of Marie’s childhood that have informed the basis of her idyllic, artful scenes.

For as long as she can remember, Marie has been an avid painter. Originally introduced to the medium by her mother, she also spent her youth drawing inspiration from books, films and graphic novels. Being swayed by the written word, Marie entirely stopped her painting practice and went to university to study literature. Soon, however, Marie realised her skills lay best in the creative world and moved to Paris where she now lives, illustrates and animates.


Marie Larrivé: Hotel, still from Noir-Soleil (Copyright © Marie Larrive, 2021)

One of the most interesting elements of Marie’s recent work is her bold use of colour, especially those not typically associated with her natural scenes. In one piece, fluorescent pink ducks glide across a rippling lake, and in another, deep pink and yellow hues stain the sky and wide open sea, a figure ready to jump into the warm and inviting water. This interesting trajectory, Marie explains, is rooted in her recent discovery of Risograph printing, a method that lends itself well to bold and bright use of colour.

But, the real means by which Marie crafts such a sense of atmosphere in her work is her depictions of latter parts of the day. Her dreamy, daytime scenes shift seamlessly into dusky, purple skied night. “What I like is the dramatic aspect of the evening”, Marie explains, “it's melancholic and mysterious and it drives a story so well.” This ability to shift the tone of her work is expertly demonstrated in her painted animation film, Noir Soleil. A chilling story, the film delves into natural disasters, mysterious past lives and the “unexpected journey” of a father and daughter. This intriguing story, alongside the carefully crafted music and a slowly deepening sense of intrigue, builds suspense brilliantly, contrasting drastically with the idyllic nature of her illustrations and creating a sense that there is much more that lies beneath the surface of Marie’s glistening seas…

Wanting for “the viewer to feel like they were in front of the painting”, Marie ensured the film had an organic feel, with visible brushstrokes and subtle movements throughout. And, keeping her personal touch central certainly paid off. Premiering at the Festival de Cannes International Critics Week, for Marie the film is a vital step in her creative journey. Now looking to even further expand her repertoire of mediums, in the coming few years Marie tells us that she is excited to try her hand at animating a feature-length film.

Marie Larrivé: Noir-Soleil Trailer (Copyright © Marie Larrivé, 2021)


Marie Larrivé: Poster for Noir-Soleil (Copyright © Marie Larrivé, 2021)


Marie Larrivé: Etretat (Copyright © Marie Larrivé, 2020)


Marie Larrivé: Le bain, still from Noir-Soleil (Copyright © Marie Larrivé, 2021)


Marie Larrivé: Victoria Plonge, still from Noir-Soleil (Copyright © Marie Larrivé, 2021).jpg


Marie Larrivé: Victoria Plonge, still from Noir-Soleil (Copyright © Marie Larrivé, 2021).jpg


Marie Larrivé: Palmiers, still from "Noir-Soleil" (Copyright © Marie Larrivé, 2021)


Marie Larrivé: Canards Roses, Risographie (Copyright © Marie Larrivé, 2022)


Marie Larrivé: Le Rocher Blanc, still from "Noir-Soleil" (Copyright © Marie Larrivé, 2021)


Marie Larrivé: Pompei, screenshot from Noir-Soleil (Copyright © Marie Larrivé, 2021)

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Marie Larrivé: Falaise, Les Traversees (Copyright © Marie Larrivé, 2018)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English Literature and History, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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