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

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

If Aude did not directly follow a cinematographic path, cinema remains one of her greatest influences. Leaving school during the first confinement, she began to spend her time watching films and redrawing scenes from them: “I learned almost everything there: understanding how to frame an image, draw sets, put on the light and write a story”. It was also where she began to find the basics of her characters, focusing primarily on “the poses and the attitude that the character can convey through them”.

During this cinematic period, she was particularly immersed in French (post-)new wave cinema, notably the works of Guillaume Brac, Mikhaël Hers, Agnés Varda and Stéphane Batut to name but a few. . It is therefore logical that Aude is “very attached to the themes of everyday life, the banal and the invisible”. Looking at Aude’s work, these stylistic references are immediately apparent, with her muted tones, artfully composed subject matter, and portrayals of reflective solitude. But, in line with the French new wavers, Aude also likes to add a subtle surrealism in her work, “I really like the shift that is created when you add a surrealist element to these scenes.” A large menacing face in the background, or a ghost under a sheet that turns out to be yet another ghost, Aude incorporates elements of mystical absurdity very well, which perfectly complement the playful charm of her work.

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