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Emmanuel Briand Interview
Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?
I was born and raised in France in a small country close to Paris in Normandy west-west .I have two brothers and one sister, one of my brothers is my twin and my other brother and sister are twins too. I have drawn since my childhood, I think this passion begun when I decided to do the same draw several times to be sure that it corresponds to what was in my mind at this moment. My first "real" drawings was certainly my family in front of my house, or maybe a castle and a plane .After a few years I went to applied art school named " Ecole Pivaut" where I learn anatomy, perspective, sculpture and the various animation processes and techniques .I think that my family is what helped me the most to become what I am today .and the different little things in life I had to overcome till now.
How do you go about designing, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?
As far as I remember my first approach about designing characters was the Disney’s .I think they were a kind of revelation when I was a child. The different values all placed in each character, color, harmony between the lines, and the animation all of this only put to describe a précised and alive expression. I think that is often what goes through my mind first when I start to draw a new character. Oh Marc Davis what you've done to my mind...
From start to end, So as I said it's probably some characters like Marc Davis has done for Disney films that brings me to create my first owns .When I start a design I'm always focus on contrasts I mean the number of values I could put in this character.
First of all, the shape, I imagine a global shape which could transcribes the character's behavior and then make a correspondence with the different parts of his body always to get closer to his main feelings, temper. Second the head, then third I start to think about what could graphically transcribe the information’s I need to place in this global shape (buttons, sleeves, shirt, glasses etc ...) .Fourth, how all this information could help me to emphasis the contrast inside the characters (size of buttons compare to eyes, size of sleeves compare to shirt and glasses etc...) all is about scales to give the rich vocabulary required to express character's feelings. And fifth, always this question of contrast but this time for the colors, I prefer using academic cold/warm contrast it works good.
What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work with?
Socks, jeans, t shirt and orange juice .I used to practice drawings after that and do some scans work with animation teams, but actually I'm studying how to draw by myself, I do exercises and stuff around .I mean I'm taking a rest it's been few months I don't work for any studios to prepare a portfolio, I' just doing a shared work on a short film project with friends of mine. My job in this team is lead background designer, not character designer.
What are some of the things that you have worked on?
Ahaha face to talented artists like yours I'm an ant ... I first worked on a video clip for the alternative Rock band "Radiohead" with "No Brain" studio based in Paris , I was intern an employed after that . I also worked as teacher for handicap children classes, where I did animation classes. I worked on a TV show called "WAKFU" as background colorist, props designer and graphic-concept visual developer , and during this time I was published on a book with the title "How to art" , a book explaining how to use animation techniques , a kind of Help guide.
I was also published in a book about the series .I worked also as a lead background designer and colorist on a TV show named "Les mystérieuses citées d'or" (trans: The Mysterious cities of gold" to build a production process based on Adobe Flash application program .And I am currently working on a short film collaborating with a friend of mine , the short is directed by him .It's the first film we're making together , and I'm at the second rank to do the next one ahahahah !
Is there a design you have done that you are most happy with?
hmmm...It's fun but I don't know . Probably Octave, a little bird who looks like a kiwi I did many draws of him, all titled "Les rêves d'Octave "(trans:"The Octave's dreams" )
What projects are you working on now? (If you can tell us)
I'm currently working on my portfolio to go beyond the Atlantic and work on bigger projects. Actually I'm doing the short with my friend.
Who are some of your favorite artists out there?
James Robertson, Marc Davis,Sterling Hundley, Jeff Turley ,Ashley Wood, Neil Campbell Ross, Paul Felix, Alex Kanevsky, Radford Sechrist, Milt Kahl, Martin Wittig,Hans Bacher, Paul Lasaine,Gustave Klimt , Oga Kazuo, Ralph Eggleston, Carter Goodrich, Ricky Nierva, Tony Fucile, Dominique Louis, Geefwee Boedoe, Robin Joseph , Teddy Newton, Charley Harper, Yuasa and Nishimi, Master Hokusaï, Claudio Acciari, Pete Oswald, Lou Romano, Ted Mathot, Andrew shek, Chris Sasaki , Kevin Dart ...And anyone who worked on Prince of Egypt , and many others and a lot of writers and film directors of course .
Could you talk about your process in coloring your art, as well as the types of tools or media that you use?
According to the second question , I use pencils ,scanner and after that, Adobe Photoshop, Flash or watercolors .I use to paint a simple “average" color first, and if the character needs to be placed under a special ambient I just put a linear gradient from "toes to head" .
What part of designing is most fun and easy, and what is most difficult?
Most fun and easy: The colors...
Most difficult: The structure...
What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?
I read lot of novels, watch lot of movies, and I try to keep myself curious .Don't tell, but... I also spy on life .
What are some of your favorite designs which you have seen?
Probably the young Tantor of Sergio Pablo’s in "Tarzan" .Maleficent from "Sleeping beauty”, the snake's bodyguards from "Amer Beton" (Tekkonkreet)of Yuasa, the evolution of Moses during "Prince of Egypt”, all the Marc Davis designs , and certainly Milt Kahl's designs too.
What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?
I love to draw faces because it's always something really interesting and full of information. The vocabulary you could use to define all types of faces it's always something new. I like this exercise cause it's a good way to experiment some new graphic lines ,graphic codes and shapes and this induce in a large bunch of possibilities all contained in a face full of expressions .
What inspired you to become an Artist?
My grandfather and my father some times after, were both artists they were a kind of example when I was a child. I remember my holidays spending my time sat on upstairs and watching huge drawings all stuck on the walls, all made with charcoal and amazing life drawings. My grandfather used to draw with only one technique, he was "the academic classes "representative side, and on the other side there was my father which one used to do cubism, more like Paul Klee. He always said to me that he were in research of composition with color and not just to draw , cause for him drawings will come on second. I will be forever blessed and honored to have been raised as an artist and as son by them.
What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?
I've learned from all of artists the importance of contrasts and values. It's essential to start something and for the entire process of drawing to develop a sense of contrast, show to the eye the largest vocabulary on the same subject, by colors, shape, lines, props, and even for a background, for instance a simple leaf on a tree will be always the same but it can be shown with many different values.
What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?
To draw more and more .Practice is often a better way to discover what we really are, nothing can replace the experience and it's often the road the most important and not the end of this road. I consider that as a train trip, it's probably weird but I like to travel by train more than the idea of being on a point A and go to the B I like what's in between .I'm always happy just one minute with what I have just done and pfff I always tell myself (I know it's little bit schizophrenic) so... why not do something else and start a new one after all?
If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?
Web page: http://tokyobanana.blogspot.com/
Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (sketchbook, prints, or anything) for people that like your work can know where and when to buy it?
I was published in a collecting book of artists with as titled "How to art” edition.ankama (ankama publishing) but there's only 8 pages of my works, It could be interesting and fun to be published by more.