Cinephile Aude Bertrand on how her charming illustrations are inspired by a love of French (post-)new wave cinema

Cinephile Aude Bertrand on how her charming illustrations are inspired by a love of French (post-)new wave cinema

Being the youngest in a whole family of drawers, in her youth illustrator Aude Bertrand often ended up comparing herself to her more experienced family members. Feeling “less legitimate” as an illustrator, she instead decided to seek a different creative path and wound up studying for a degree in film. But, lacking a sense of belonging in this field as well, Aude felt a little lost. However, after attending a small illustration school three years ago, she reconnected with her love of drawing and hasn’t stopped since.

Whilst Aude may not have directly pursued a filmic route, cinema still remains one of her biggest influences. Leaving school during the first lockdown, she began to while away her time watching films and redrawing scenes from them: “I learned almost everything from it: understanding how to frame an image, draw sets, set the light and write a story”. It is also where she began to find the foundations for her characters, primarily looking at “the poses, and the attitude that the character can convey through them”.

During this film-focused period, she particularly immersed herself in French (post-)new wave cinema, including the works of Guillaume Brac, Mikhaël Hers, Agnés Varda and Stéphane Batut to name but a few. It makes sense, therefore, that Aude is “very attached to themes of the everyday, the banal and the invisible”. Upon viewing Aude’s work, these stylistic references are instantly apparent, with her muted tones, artfully composed subjects and depictions of thoughtful solitude. But, in line with the French new wavers, Aude also loves to add subtle surrealism in her work, “I really like the shift that is created when you add a surreal element to these scenes.” A large looming face in the background, or a ghost under a sheet that is revealed to be yet another ghost, Aude very successfully includes elements of mystical absurdity, that perfectly compliment her work’s playful charm.

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