I completely fell in love with Maelle Rajoelisolo’s illustrations when I first visited her blog. I find her illustration style to be very playful, yet her characters are beautifully crafted. The most impressive factor is that Maelle uses only colour pencils to create her works and this is very rare for illustrators. Today, I am very honoured to have her on Swide and to let you explore her illustrative world.
Hi Maelle, I am so glad to have you on Swide this week as my featured artist. So, will you please tell us what was the main reason why you wanted to be an illustrator? Other than fashion, do you also illustrate other subjects?
First of all, as obvious as it may sound, I've always loved drawing. I've been sketching since I was a child, and became really fond of fashion illustration 4 years ago. I used to draw Pokemon and Sailor Moon when I was 8, then a lot of magical girls with big eyes in my teenage years. I decided to study arts and graphic design only about 6 months before graduating from high school. I started drawing fashion illustrations only 2 years ago. The fact is that I would have loved to study fashion, but I don't think I could have the ability to create clothes on a regular basis. Moreover, I’m really clumsy - I just can't picture myself as a fashion designer. Therefore, I chose to illustrate fashion instead of designing it .
I sometimes try to illustrate other subjects for school projects. I'm a self-taught illustrator since I started doing it for fun. Now I'm working by myself to become a professional fashion illustrator and it is a pretty hard path.
I am glad you can turn your hobby into a career path and I believe you will succeed since I am a huge fan of your works! Now let me ask you a tough question, how do you describe your illustration style? Other than colour pencils, do you use other medium to illustrate your works?
My illustration style is very childish, because I don't feel the need to incorporate any serious or hyper-realistic touch in my drawings. I feel like it would kind of kill the fun of it if the characters looked serious. I don't use other medium for now other than colour pencils. I started to use this medium only a year ago and you can see my first attempts on my blog. Before that, I was using Photoshop. I know watercolour is considered as the best medium for illustration, but I don't like its random aspect.
I think you are very unique as I rarely see illustrators use colour pencils to draw, and this probably is one of the reasons why your works stand out. When I was on your website, I realized you have illustrated 2 different female characters. How do you decide which one to use when you are working on an illustration?
I think you are referring to Pamplemousse and Juni, right? I created them because I wanted to have my own fictional "icons". Usually, fashion illustrators like to draw their favourite celebrities like Kate Moss, Audrey Hepburn, or random models. However, I didn't want to head in this direction with my personal blog. I personally think that it's more interesting to have your own characters, so you can do whatever you want with them, and even create stories. Pamplemousse and Juni both have their own styles. I figure Pamplemousse is more of an exotic character, while Juni is a classic, ladylike woman. I want Pamplemousse to embody wildness and fun, while Juni will be the one to wear more dramatic and precious dresses. Pamplemousse stands half-way between my French and Malagasy culture, even though I still haven't figured out exactly where she stands yet.
I really like Juni and Pamplemousse, I think both of them are very adorable and of course, they always dress so nice! Here is another tough question for you, out of all the works you have done so far, which one do you think is your best work to date? Why?
What a difficult question to answer! When I look back at what I've done until now, I don't feel satisfied yet. I still have so many things to improve! My new goal is to learn how to draw backgrounds, homes and decors for my characters to live in. But if I have to choose only one illustration to represent me as an illustrator, I think I'd go with the Rodarte dress with the "Starry Night" by Van Gogh print. I felt really involved while doing it, and I think it expresses the whimsical feeling that I try to convey through my work.
Funny, because that was the piece that first caught my eyes when I was browsing your blog. Last but not least, what do you think of the Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2013 collection? Is there a particular piece you would want to own in this coming season?
Maelle Rajoelisolo's exclusive illustration for Swide
I loved it. I already like the latest S/S collection, especially the amazing vegetable patterns. The F/W collection feels like it's heading in the same artistic direction, with all those black and gold pieces, and those patterns with little angels. It echoes the S/S collection beautifully, and has a very strong Italian touch. The black dress with its baroque wallpaper pattern is exactly the kind of clothes I love. Although it has a classic shape, it has an iconic and timeless feel to it that completely seduced me.
For more Maelle Rajoelisolo on Cirque de Papier