Paris-based illustrator Théo Guignard has illustrated 14 vibrant and intricately detailed mazes for children’s book, Labyrinth. Published by Wide Eyed Editions, the book travels through all sorts of scenes, from deep sea creatures to a mansion full of weird and wonderful rooms, each with their own illustrative style.
Théo is an alumni of Gobelins L’Ecole de L’Image and has previously worked at French animated film giant Xilam, but now works at French animation studio Je Suis Bien Content illustrating backgrounds for the films. Aside from this obviously relatable expertise, he also had a passion for mazes that stemmed from his childhood.
“I drew mazes a lot as a child and filled pages with tiny ones that were almost impossible to navigate,” he says. “The mazes you usually see for children are often a bit sad: black and white with not much going on between the start and end. I wanted these to be beautiful and filled with detail, a bit like Where’s Charlie (the French equivalent of Where’s Wally)”.
For the eclectic group of illustrations, Théo says he was inspired by Escher, Gray Malin’s aerial beach photography and Rousseau’s jungle paintings, but also “more abstract things like mosaics and geometry”. His work takes the vector school of illustration into exciting realms, used as puzzles.
“My favourite maze is the one in the house,” he says. “It comes the closest to what I was trying to achieve, I was able to narrate so many things – it’s teeming with little stories. I saw that children sometimes spent more time looking at these little scenes and engaging with them than doing the mazes themselves. For my next game book, Titans that’s the direction I want to go in: more life, more detail, so that every time you reread it you rediscover these little scenes with characters that you passed over the first time.”