An interview with Marie Bergeron

By Ed Vinicombe on Sep 25th, 2013

Hey Marie, for those who are unaware would you care to introduce yourself?

First thing first, my name is Marie Bergeron and like most of you know I am a freelance graphic designer by education and illustrator by passion. Don't get me wrong here, I love graphic design like it was my only child but on the other hand I've been drawing practically all my life. As a youngster I was drawing a lot of Garfield, Disney character, Ninja Turtles... and as I moved forward movies and video games took a huge place in my life. I knew I loved drawing but never in my life I thought it would become a profession.
It all started to speak to me when people were actually writing to me, saying great stuff about my work and how important it was for me to follow this I did. I must say, I wouldn't be where I am right now if it wasn't my fans driving me forward. Thanks to all of them. Still, I got a lot to do to make this profession a full time isn't for now but I'm not giving up. It is a hard world for freelancers, there is so much talent that making your way on the top is a long & bumpy road. Never give up! Never surrender!

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Tell us about the design scene in Montreal, Canada. Are there opportunities for young aspiring designers to work there?

Oh! design in Montreal is one of the best places in the world to start a career. And I'm not talking bullshit here because it is my me is filled with talent, great mentor and amazing schools and it's growing so fast in the art field. Ubisoft, Moment Factory, Cirque du Soleil are all big enterprises known for their talent and innovation. A big success for Montreal is probably the fact that it is a city of multicultural and we are part of the UNESCO design city which New York, London for example are part of that too. Montreal is a place filled with inspirations so yes designers and artist are more than welcome is important to keep this culture a part of the city.

This is one of my favourite pieces as I am a massive Lord of the Rings fan. How do you go about choosing which film or movie star to draw?

Like I said before, cinema takes a huge place in my life. I do have a lot of respect for those who works in cinema, not only actors or directors but also photographs, writers, music developers, sound effects creators, anything you can think of that takes place in a team. So much creativity! From there, I choose what excited me the most, the movie that touched me, that made me believe in something else or the ones that teach me something about life. I can argue with a lot of people on a movie...if it was good or bad....for me there is no such thing as a bad movie. If it's not the actor that makes it, well maybe it's the script, if it ain't the script maybe it's the art director.
There is always something beautiful in a can't be judge by looking at the surface only. So yeah, I guess anything can inspire me to draw something from the movie. For actors, talent is what I seek of course. I can talk to you about Robert Downey Jr all day long (laughing), and most of my fans knows this. I think this kind of actor deserves to be where he is now...Not talking about his present movies with Iron man and Sherlock but go take a look at his old career like Chaplin, the Singing detective and much more...this is what inspires me the most, talented actors. Right now I got a huge respect for Michael Fassbender which is again one of the best these days, you'll see this is only the beginning for him...what a great actor! So yeah it is hard to say WHY exactly I pick one or another, I guess it's really a personal feeling and who I think makes a big difference in movies...
I always had this passion for movies, for me it's still is the epitomy of where different fields come together to create one big art piece.

Your style is so unique..did this come naturally or did you know what style you wanted to achieve from the start?

It's hard to answer this question because for me it's like I didn't find my style yet. Yes I know I got one, but I know it's far from being what I seek. I'm still learning, I still do shit work and I still switch from time to time to realistic portrait (with the style) to more cartoonish or bold stuff. It's like I want to draw everything at the same time, which most of illustrators or agencies will tell you that it ain't a good idea. But for now, I say it is wrong to say so...I need to explore, I need to switch from something to another just to see how I feel about it and where I'm the most comfortable. What bugs me the most is I know I want to draw for the rest of my life but do I want to create comics? editorial illustration? or hitting galleries?
These days what works the most for me it's people buying my stuff to be hanged in their office, workspace, living room...which is amazing of course but doesn't get food on my table, at least not for now. But if I do answer your question more precisely, I actually developed this style when I was working on my final project for my degree. We had to choose whatever we wanted, and I knew it had to be something about cinema mixed with illustration. At first I chose to create a book on my top 25 actors and actress of all time...I started with Nick Cage for the heck of it and at first the look of it was so-so. I tried another direction with the same portrait, again so-so. After several hours, I was just playing around and I realized I hit what I imagined (You can see the Cage portrait which is the final one). I was pretty happy about it and some folks told me they were in loved with that worked. But after talking to my teacher about the project, he wasn't sure... he thought that after few pages of portraits, the book could become boring and I agreed with him. So that is when I switch to 25 films which the scenery could change easily. So that is where "What are we watching?" was created and where my style was born.

What has been your favourite project you've worked on this year?

The most stressful but the most amazing thing that happen to me this year was to actually being invited to be part of a show in a new New York Gallery (Bottleneck Gallery) which is opening in September 7th for the first time. This show has more then 60 artists from all over the world and the theme is about Tv-Show. I was completely amazed about this invitation, I couldn't believe it, I mean NEW YORK!
But I was so anxious when I was creating. My art wasn't like I expected at first and of course I wanted to deliver something more, something that blew my mind away. I worked practically 2-3 months on these...I was crazy to do so, but it was my first time. It's hard to criticism your own work and when you do publish it online sometimes it's like a punch in the face literally. And that is why I tell people not to give up, because a few days after, my inbox exploded with great people writing to me once more without any reason. It's crazy how it can switch to disappointment to success just with a click these days.

When starting a new project what is the first thing you do?

It depends, for design project I usually start with a brainstorm. You mark any words that pops out in your mind...even if it doesn't makes sense at the moment, but maybe it will later on. For illustration, I usually sketch, but you should see my sketches hahaha it's more like children drawings than anything else. But I need to get some ideas on the table that's the main aspect of it. I write notes besides them just to make sure that I'll remember that what I drew is actually a dog (laughing). And after few sketches, I write some words down and then I go get inspiration on the internet. Like if I need to draw a bicycle well I do need a reference picture so I fetched for the one I want inspiration from...basically this is how I do my research.

Where do you go for inspiration when starting a new piece of work?

I have few sites that I always go on, like Dribbble, DeviantArt, Google of course and Behance. From time to time I go on Tumblr, where I keep my favourite shots on a blog and I have a file too where I keep other pictures or illustration that I know could be helpful one day.

Designers you would recommend checking out?

Oh god, I never know what is the best answer to this. Because like most of us we do have preferences but in different field and with different style. In graphic design Alfred Halassa is such a great mentor, Lino is illustrator-designer that I absolutely enjoy looking at his work. During my years in school I discovered great young designers/illustrators like Nicholas Ménard, or Pascaline Lefebvre...they'll probably be amazed by reading this if they do, but they are great! I wish I had their talent. As a comic creator I just love Liniers' work and I'm huge fan of Blacksad created by Guarnido & Canales. For digital artists, I think no one can work like Dan Luvisi, he creates perfection and I just discovered Sam Spratt...Wish I knew how he does it.

Design essentials? (e.g. hardware, software)

The essentials is to feel comfortable with what you work with. Some likes to paint in Corel Painter, some in Photoshop and some in Illustrator. I mean you choose what you like the most. Of course, a pencil (or pen in my case) & paper and if you do have the money Cintiq helps alot. And don't ask me if I'm a Mac or PC user, you definitely knows which one is the best for art (laughing)

Thoughts on the current London design scene?

Oh man! London is strong. Is part of the best cities in the illustration field and even in the design field. So much talent there and hope to go for a trip and learned more about this wonderful city. For me London is the new New York.

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