Paris-based illustrator Vincent Mahé’s approach is in the Ligne claire style (French for “clear line”) pioneered by Hergé and most popular during the 1950s. The limited colour palette adds to the crispness of Vincent’s work and the narrative in his illustrations is also kept simple. Vincent has been repeatedly commissioned by The New Yorker, Vanity Fair France, Washington Post and the Harvard Business Review which all seem to gravitate towards his communicative illustrations. “I like the fact that it’s not just about making a nice drawing on a blank page but almost like a partnership with writers/journalists,” says Vincent about working on editorial briefs. “Your images and their paragraphs are meant to mix into each other in the reader’s mind.”
The challenge in these commissions is the quick turnaround and finding the right angle and appropriate form straightaway. “The topics can be touchy sometimes, so you cannot be too literal,” says Vincent. “I always try to have some distance.” As a big Edward Hopper fan, Vincent enjoys drawing “lonely people in big cities” and he’s demonstrated this in previous projects as well as more recently. We see solo figures dipping their toes in the pool of a glittering LA mansion, an astronaut in adverse conditions and many other images where we the viewer are alone looking into a crowded apartment block or restaurant.
With strong shades of purple, blue and red, Vincent’s depictions of people and places is consistent and expressive. “I am obsessed with the effect of time on people and things,” he says. “I would like to succeed in capturing this idea in an illustration.”
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