Who has had a major influence on your work? Flow asks illustrators about the designs or artworks that continue to inspire them. Sanny van Loon talks about her favorite source of inspiration: Alain Grée.
“Vintage children’s books—especially those from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s—are a great source of inspiration for me, and Alain Grée is one of my favorite illustrators of that time. I’m not sure anymore exactly when I (re)discovered his work; I knew his books from before—they were already very popular in the Netherlands in the ‘60s—but I didn’t grow up with them. All I know is that it must have been while I was at the art academy studying illustration. During my studies, I was busy developing my own style and when I came across Alain’s work, I immediately fell in love with it.”
A nostalgic feeling
“His illustrations are graphic, while simultaneously being charming and playful. I love how, in educational children’s books, he explains things in his own style: colorful, cozy, with fun characters and a touch of fantasy. He makes beautiful images, in which everything can be seen and children can easily learn from, and he creates a world in which you want to live. What’s more, his work is also fun for adults because it delivers such a wonderful nostalgic feeling and it fits so well together. I’ve watched a video that shows how he works: he sketches an illustration with pencil, copies it onto a new sheet and colors it with a beautiful pallet of watercolors. He also writes most of the texts himself. I really admire that.”
About Alain Grée
“Alain Grée (1936) is a French illustrator and author. He has published more than 300 books in 25 languages, has worked as a journalist, sailed around the world and still works as a graphic designer. Because he has produced so much, I’m continuously discovering his work and he continues to inspire me. I therefore have an ever-expanding collection of books in my cupboard that I regularly delve into. It’s a big dream of mine to start writing and illustrating children’s books myself. I already have a few ideas, but I would like to mull on them for a bit longer and continue to develop my style. To be continued!”
- You can also read about what inspires Valesca van Waveren, Nina Cosford and Agnes Loonstra.
- To find out more about Sanny van Loon and to see her work, take a look at her website.
- There is an interview with Alain Grée in Issue 12, still available in our web shop.