The enthusiastic graphic design of Patrice Biron-Vannier
FR - If you are interested in drawing, you will undoubtedly find all the inspiration you need with our guest, Patrice Biron-Vannier.
The illustrator offers courses for the youngest at the Sainte-Anne elementary school and for the oldest at the Saint-Firmin secondary school, while participating in different workshops, between the association of the Petites Mains and the MJC of Uzès, where he is in charge of the very first workshop of creation of fishes for last April 1st.
But his creations do not stop there. His talents as an illustrator and graphic designer also give him a place of choice in the more professional world of corporate marketing, with, for example, the creation of logos, posters and letterheads.
You draw your life with a pencil stroke. How did this passion come to you, what was your training and since when do you practice your profession?
I am what we call self-taught. I have been drawing since I was 5 years old. I was immersed in the Marvel and DC Comics movements and I was fed by these heroes!
Today I continue to train myself through the study of comics (manga, Belgian comics, Spanish, etc.), by doing study drawings (anatomy, landscape, etc.) and by surfing on various platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, etc. which are also very useful to see what is being done and continue to train myself in new graphics.
Professionally, I started my activity 12 years ago as an artist-author, registered with the Maison des artistes. I have since completed my activity as a self-employed drawing teacher (courses in schools and workshops).
Between pencils, felt-tips, pens, brushes... Do you have a favorite material, a favorite support? If yes, why ? It necessarily depends on the subject of the course, on the inspiration of the moment?
I don't have a favorite medium. I like to innovate by testing new materials and supports... But you have to know that both the material and the support will be guided by the demand.
If it's a client for a logo or a poster for example, it's often the client who will lead the way and integrate the material constraints.
For drawing classes, I will often stay with more classic materials and supports adapted to children. The workshops are a little different and allow a little more freedom in the choice of materials because we have more time and the children are often older.
What is your method for teaching drawing to your students?
I show them the drawing to be made, then from the blank sheet I redo the drawing with them, step by step.
During the class, I encourage them to modify the drawing by adding details that are unique to them (different hair, different clothes...). The goal is that they understand that drawing is creating, inventing and doing what they want. I encourage them to follow their imagination, their "madness". This is usually difficult during the first few classes, as the children are not used to "letting go", but very quickly they start to get into the game and make more and more creative and personalized drawings.
During the class, I explain to them the tricks of professional illustrators to make a drawing. The folds of the clothes, the expressions, the hands... This way, they can easily reuse them for their own drawing when they are in the family or with friends.
You offer face-to-face drawing classes in schools. Can these courses be offered to all age groups in other structures? Is this part of your plans?
For the moment, the courses in schools are limited to the Sainte-Anne school and the Saint-Firmin college. Ideally, I would like to give classes in other schools, but for the moment, exchanges have not been fruitful.
On the other hand, I develop projects in associative structures like Les Petites Mains in Uzès, the MJC...
The COVID has encouraged me to expand my video classes, allowing me to reach a population that is a little further away from Uzès or that does not have access to face-to-face classes. I also sometimes give lessons at home, especially in Vers, for children.
The idea, in the future, would be to develop courses within these various structures.
As far as age groups are concerned, as I work with comic book/manga illustration, the classes are more for children and teenagers. But sometimes, depending on the year, I have adults on video who want to improve their line and come to me for help on this or that point.
You also like mangas. A completely different universe, as much in the conception as in the subjects approached. How did this attachment to this very particular oriental discipline come about? What is your approach to teaching it? Is it possible to speak of a French approach? What would be the difference with Japanese manga?
Manga is an integral part of the comic culture. It does have its own codes, but these are increasingly used in other non-Japanese comics.
Children are often very interested in this way of drawing. However, the drawings envisaged are often complex, so we have to find tricks so that the children can easily reproduce this style. I show them the recurring elements in the drawing (the shape of the face, the expressions...) so that, little by little, they understand how to build the character and the scenery.
Sometimes I choose simpler drawings that I integrate in the classes, in the kawaii style (cute Japanese) for example, or I take only some parameters (style of the eyes, hair...).
For me the importance, again, is to teach them to draw by themselves. Whether it's manga or a more classical drawing, the technique is the same. Only a few details differ (size of the eyes, nose, framing of the drawings, etc). The approach is the same as for any other drawing.
Your activity as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer leads you to other, more professional spheres. You design posters, flyers and many other media for companies. Since when do you collaborate with these companies? Do these collaborations focus on the Gard region or do you also participate in projects on a national or even international level?
My freelance illustration business started 12 years ago and the clients have evolved over time. I often respond to local requests (more and more since the COVID), but my clients can potentially come from anywhere (I've had American, Asian clients...). The fact that I work on a digital medium, a real business booster, does not necessarily require me to physically meet the client and I can therefore take on a contract for any part of the world.
My work as an illustrator is a collaboration with Ekodesign, a freelance graphic designer whose spouse I have the privilege to be. This allows us to respond to any contract, whether print (poster, logo ...) or web (banner, site ...).
What are your goals for the future?
My goals for the future? To continue my activity of drawing teacher without any doubt and to make it evolve, without neglecting my passion for the graphic illustration and its use in the supports of my region.
Every year, I participate in the Art and Heritage days in Saint-Siffret and design the treasure hunt for children. This allows me to put the exhibiting artists in the spotlight and to make the children aware of their art, while spending a pleasant day hunting for treasure.
On a personal note, I am currently finishing a comic book about the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard that I designed from A to Z (history, drawing, color...) and which is based on the history of its wash houses.
Good to know: the drawing classes are also held in video!