As a child, illustrator Marjorie Blais was lonely and shy. Her drawings were a way for her to come out of isolation and draw people to her. Her colourful, childlike, and naive world is a way for her to reveal herself, one pencil stroke at a time.
“Drawing has always been my passion. It’s extraordinary to be able to imagine a world of my own, with my own characters, and bring it to life on paper.”
When she was little, Marjorie Blais Simard drew “little characters”. Even today, she knows she also has to work on the scenery, but what she loves most of all is creating friends! When the time came to decide on her field of study, she chose graphic design for her DEC and BAC, since illustration seemed less interesting to her for earning a living. “I loved graphic design. I am a very Cartesian designer, so I thrive within boundaries. Work never stands still in this profession: every time we fall into new universes, from one creation to the next, we push our abilities further and further.”
After working in this field for a few years, she took the plunge and started her own business. Then she contacted the Quebec children’s clothing brand Souris Mini. “I sent them a cry for help: I want to do children’s illustrations! I recognized myself in their collections, so I knew we would be in harmony. And that is indeed what happened.” Marjorie Blais has been an illustrator at Souris Mini for almost 10 years.
“I am a designer in the broadest sense. I am still a child. I like everything cute and imaginative. I love children’s books, graphic novels, baking, and video games. Some games make me cry, they are so beautiful and poetic!”
Little Butterfly Spreads Her Wings
Over the years, she has developed a desire to pursue personal projects on the side. She has illustrated children’s books, created tapestry designs for Décor Imprimé, and stocked her Etsy shop … and, of course, collaborated with Demain Demain!
“Illustrations are not just beautiful in books or on walls. They are beautiful everywhere, on bags or placemats; they tell us stories. With Demain Demain products, we can enjoy them in our everyday lives.”
When she begins a new project, Marjorie always starts with a pencil. She then scans her drawing on the computer to complete it, while retaining a more pencilled style. Her creative hours are in the evening or at night. It is in this more relaxed state that her best ideas emerge, with a steaming cup of tea at her side.
For many years, the illustrator has been fascinated with Japan. “It seems that the Japanese have no limit to their creativity. In Japan, illustrations are everywhere, all the time. They are sometimes soft and poetic, sometimes colourful, noisy and completely kawaii.”
“I evolve more in the children’s
style than in the adult. My universe is feminine, vintage, with old pink. When
I draw more masculine worlds, I fall into the retro, 30’s people with no
elbows, spaghetti arms and the old Mickey Mouse aesthetic.”
A word about the “making of” Le monde des Crocs: I followed Anne’s order and adapted it to a style I liked. The result is absurd with a hairy man, and the plants have an incredulous look… Humour flows from this illustration.
A word about the “making of” Jardin des merveilles: It’s a rather precise idea that Anne (Chabot, president of Demain Demain) had in mind. We wanted to create an adventurous girl with fantastic characters. In the illustration, you can tell she’s going to do something extraordinary! It’s like a freeze frame in a movie before its climax.
A FEW QUICK QUESTIONS
An illustrator you admire?
The Japanese artist LoveSoup. She has her own YouTube channel. Her work is infused with softness, she draws cherry leaves, small animals. Her illustrations inspire me.
Your favourite children’s books?
Anything illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, whose pencil stroke is magical. If I could, I would wallpaper my house with the illustrations from Jane, the fox and me. I also really like the books The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home. These are really different from Isabelle Arsenault’s style, but they are so cute, and I really like the texts! It probably speaks to my tendency to imagine little living characters around me, even more so if they are little pencils!
The illustration that makes you proud?
The adventurous little girl I drew for Demain Demain! I went back to my college days when I used to draw strong women, warriors. I really like characters in action, and also the work of light and colouring of this illustration, which create a beautiful atmosphere. And then, you’ll recognize the nod to a certain Japanese character dear to my heart!
Where to find MARJORIE’s creations: