Features / Here 2016

How I got Here: Malika Favre, illustrator


Michael Driver

In the run up to It’s Nice That’s annual symposium, Here 2016, we’ll be introducing each speaker who will appear at the event. We have asked each of them to share an early piece of work and a recent project, to reflect on how they’ve progressed between the two.

Malika Favre is not only a woman with a superb illustration career, she’s a woman unafraid to make her interviewers blush and for these reasons we just can’t wait to hear what she’s got to say at this year’s Here conference.

Born in France but based in London, Malika has been responsible for projects including 2013’s Typography Kama Sutra, a very saucy take on letterforms; and last year’s posters for the BAFTAs. Her illustration work is distinctive in its structure and use of block colours, which Malika puts down to her background in graphic design.


Sloth (2005)

What is the work? Why was it created?
This piece was created for a kid’s tee for the Airside shop on my first year working there. All of us had the freedom to create objects and things in our spare time and back then I was slightly obsessed by chubby animals, hence the sloth design. Back then I was drawing a lot of characters and animals for animations with a very Kawai aesthetic which was the DNA of Airside.

What did you learn while doing it?
I think this piece represents a turning point in my aesthetic. The constraints of screen printing on a tee pushed me to simplify my design to the minimum and limit my colour palette. These rules later became key to my illustrative approach.

What do you think of it now?
The curves are a bit wonky in parts and I would probably approach it differently now but it still makes me smile.

How does it relate to your current work?
The sloth is the little seed that started it all but what I do now is more mature and grown up. I left the cuteness behind to focus on my complex themes and visuals. The underlying humour is still something I cherish though.


The Leftovers (2014)

What is the work? Why was it created?
This piece is a cover for the Washington Post summer Film & TV preview about the HBO show The Leftovers. My brief was to create a summer themed image that touched with the idea of people disappearing all of a sudden for no apparent reason. I remember starting with a lonely swimsuit and objects placed on a beach towel but it was missing the surreal and random nature of the disappearance. I had to find a solution to express the idea of sudden disappearance and this is when I decided to experiment with the idea of showing parts of the body disappearing in a very graphic way. It was a great visual challenge for me and the opportunity to explore optical illusions and visual tricks.

What would you tell your younger self about this work?
I would tell myself that illustration has no limits but for the ones from in my imagination. I would also tell myself I will soon be glad to have majored in maths and physics. It will come in handy when it comes to optical tricks and shadow play.

As well as Malika Favre, Here 2016 speakers include artist Bob and Roberta Smith, design director of the New York Times Magazine Gail Bichler and visual artist Yolanda Domínguez.

We will also be welcoming creative director at MTV Richard Turley, co-founder of Turner-prize winning collective Assemble, Joe Halligan and Omar Sosa and Marco Velardi, art director and editor-in-chief of Apartamento magazine.