Interview with Parisian Illustrator Marie Bretin

I love how a good illustration has the power to capture the predictability of the daily routine and create a visual record of it. While listening to Jenny Owen Youngs F Was I on loop I stumbled upon a design website that brought me to the edge of my seat. The playful compositions were so heart-warming! Since then I have been drooling over the sketches, admiring the illustrations and wishing I could create such bittersweet stories too.

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Marie Bretin is a Parisian illustrator who turns small anecdotes from life into beautiful sketches. “The ‘absurd is a recurring theme in my work” she says.  Marie’s illustrations not only show us with open-heartedness the vulnerable side of our existence , but also indulges our need to record every aspect of our shared human experience.


And while we were busy curating, documenting, reflecting and dumping the various experiences of the year gone by, it felt great to be a part of this creative community who fight the monsters of unpredictability and self-doubt and turn it into beautiful pieces of art. To celebrate this out-with-the-old-year, in-with-the-new one yay existence, also known as the New Year’s Eve, I had Marie to join us for an interview.

Tell us what inspired you to start Marie Bretin design and illustration site?

At first, I started my website to present my work to the world. This is why I created a Tumblr page that I feed every day. I also have Instagram where I post one illustration each day.  I still have to add a lot of categories and illustrations.

Your illustrations are quirky, minimalist and a witty visual meditation on the various aspects of human life. How would you describe your style? 

I like to draw ironic and dreamlike illustrations. I love duality in our surroundings – when it’s spicy and sweet at the same time. That is why my illustrations portray difficult situations of life, express strong ideas, without taboos or complex.
By drawing I like to take the drama out of the situations. It’s my way to externalize my fears and my anxieties.

Are there any designers that you particularly look up to?

I am very curious and always attentive to the world around me, I love to spend hours in the Parisian art bookshops, especially in the children’s books sections . Each time I discover wonderful designer like Laurent Moreau, Vincent Godeau, Amelie Fontaine and lots more!

What do you feel when you stare at a blank page, before your designs and illustrations take shape?

If I have a very clear idea of ​​what I want to draw, the blank page does not scare me. I can even say that I get very excited and impatient to start drawing. But if I have no idea, the blank page is like a monster. In this case, it is my enemy. That’s why I never put myself in front of a blank page without having an idea in my head.


Which magazines are you reading currently?

Currently, I am subscribed to the CLES magazine. It is a French magazine that talks about philosophy, psychology and wisdom. It helps me to find those moments of absurd life. Another one of my favourites is the Wrap magazine that features current illustrations, designs and creative culture! It’s a little jewel!

What are your can’t-live-without craft-room essentials?

Black pen is my most faithful ally, but I love just as much to work with watercolours and acrylic paint.
I cannot live without my kit pens, my scanner, my computer and my tablet (also my caramel, my boyfriend, my coffee and my cat). But when I have to move, I wonder how I will fit all these essentials in my suitcase. So I have to make a very difficult choice….


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