It's no secret that, when done well, illustration has the power to affect how we think and feel. For Lucie, a French illustrator and graphic designer, she uses her medium to tell personal stories of pain, joy and sadness.
Lucie Corbasson-Guévenoux refers to herself as a "spectator of the world". In this sense, the French illustrator and graphic designer – who also goes by the artist name of Lucie Louxor – observes every tiny detail around her. "People I see, scenes of life, the colours and the textures; those elements build my sensibility and my inspiration," she tells us. This transpires directly into her illustration's subject matter and style, which is bold, optimistic, colourful and littered with emotion.
Growing up in the countryside, Lucie's first steps into the world of work started as she passed her French HS diploma in science. After which, her parents allowed her to study whatever she wanted, inspiring her to move to Paris and study a foundation at Duperré, a public school specialising in fashion design. A year later and she was accepted to Estienne, this time focusing on printing and graphic design.
"At this point," she continues, "I was drawing for myself on the side, but my career path was not about illustration. I was young, and I thought I would never have the possibility to make a living off illustration. I was a bit lost." This was only heightened by rejections from a handful of schools until, fortunately, one of her best friends, Paulin Dujancourt – a knitwear fashion designer – invited her to London, where she was studying. "We went to Central Saint Martins, and we spent hours speaking about our dreams and our futures. She told me I should come to London to finish my studies. I was kind of laughing at her; why would Central Saint Martins, one of the best art schools in the world, accept me when none of them did in France? Plus, I didn't know English at the time."
Despite these concerns, Lucie tried her luck and was accepted onto the graphic design BA course. She specialised in moving image, while her illustration skillset increasingly developed, and she started taking on freelance clients such as Aula, GoHenry and Livity UK. But then the pandemic hit, disrupting her plans of travelling around Australia for a couple of years post-graduation. Stuck in her flat in Melbourne and experiencing a loss of jobs and clients, Lucie found herself turning towards illustration as her remedy; she'd draw every day. "In a way, I started focusing on me and not what people were expecting from me," she says, honestly. "And it felt so good."
Back in France, Lucie now works as a freelance illustrator and, on a typical working day, will begin the workload with some sketching – picking anything from a word or moment she previously jotted down. She tends to have multiple ideas buzzing through her head at any given time, so opting for just one idea is always a tricky task. Once she's chosen, she'll start to build on the composition, proportions and message she wants to convey. "This can take me a whole day sometimes," she admits. Next, her favourite part of the process is adding the colours, details, and textures. "I'm always so impatient to arrive at this step. First, because it means I'm happy with the overall drawing, and then because it will become alive!"
Colour and tactility are indeed important factors throughout Lucie's work. Frequently, her pieces are bright and pink, hinting towards a joyful subject matter and playful topic at hand. Others can be a little moodier and are usually represented by a deeper and darker palette. Le monde est à Toi, which translates to 'The world is your oyster', is one of her favourite pieces, created with Lili Nguyen for the Oracle deck The Venice Witch. Displaying a peaceful and spiritual body sat amongst some luscious long grass, Lucie adds, "It spoke to me when I read the description of the card. In short, it means, 'you deserve the world and more'. I went through really difficult times, and I remember speaking with a stranger who told me, 'The world is your oyster. Focus on yourself and your dreams. You will see: things will come through. I promise'. They helped me, and this is my take on it."
Above all, Lucie hopes that her audience will feel connected to her illustrations – especially since she uses the medium to express her feelings, pains, joys and sadness. "Some people do that through writing and photography. I am doing it through illustration," she concludes. "For a long while, I thought I had to be super positive all the time. I learned that being positive all the time can be toxic. I just want to let people know it's okay to go through different kinds of feelings, the good or the bad. And it's okay to share them."