La Gourde's illustrated FML
Hi gang! Welcome to this week’s illustrated FML! As you will find out, this week we’re all about the lovin’. Summer is just around the corner and layers of clothes are being shed. Admit it, when you’ll come across a cute girl/hot guy in the street you’ll be like this. And as for the lovin’, well, even between animals it can be quite beautiful.
So, who is the artist of the week, the person behind the illustration that will be featured all week long? Let’s get to know the person holding the pencil: she reckons herself to be “old”, but 34 is still quite young, young enough to be considered sprightly and fresh. She’s from Lille in France, and is called Maëla Cosson, AKA “La Gourde”.
What’s her story? “I ink comic strips, a job I started thanks to people I met over the Internet (yeah, because you don’t leave a guidance councilor’s office at 15 thinking, ‘Yeaaah, inking comic strips, that’s what I wanna do for a career!’) Up until that point I’d had a string of crap jobs, so I at last I had the feeling that I’d been promoted to brain surgeon or blues singer, something cool that I wasn’t embarrassed to admit to doing. And as a side project, I work on my blog where I go into details about my childhood.”
Maëla is very talented, so much so that her peers selected her to be part of the artists included in the “Blog revelations” at the Angouleme Festival. But what’s being an inker all about then? “Essentially, it’s being able to alter a page. To start with an absence of colours and make it into something quite personal, even if most of the time there’s obviously a whole bunch of constraints, and that for a lot of series, a personal touch is most often frowned upon. That’s mainly what irks me about the job, the lack of space in which to maneuver. We’re often obstructed by editors who don’t want to take any chances (authors are also the same) and most of all marketing constraints are a hindrance. It’s really frustrating. My blog serves as a place where I can let loose, I can write and draw whatever I want, however I want. The fact that it draws on something so personal makes it important to me. I can let myself flow without thinking of stuff like ‘this has to be orientated to girls, but also boys, young people, old people, rich people and pets’ (yes, I hate marketing people).”
We should also mention that La Gourde studied to become a dressmaker, and has diplomas hidden away somewhere. Without going into too many details, she says that it’s the result of a mistake made during her youth, but that being young allows you to make certain mistakes, and she has no regrets about having made them. After years of doing “f*** all”, she then had a few jobs to pay the bills, before discovering computers and the Internet. She was then introduced to inking, and her career was on its way.
She’d now like to, “work less, to be less stressed out. In 2011 I almost turned into an inking machine and I didn’t like it at all. And I’d like to work on my blog, because as time goes by, I get more and more enthusiastic about creating stuff for it.”
Now, what better way to get to know her better than with a few questions that’ll be sure to define who she is as a person.
Dogs or Cats?
Cats, definitely. Dogs smell, take up a lot of room, need to show off all the time, come with a lot of constraints, and cherry on the cake, they BARK. Their fans will cry out, “But they’re expressing themselves!!” but I reckon that if they learnt to do it at a volume of less than 50 dB I might change my opinion of them. And the fact that they are so obliging makes them totally pathetic in my opinion… but I’m not totally disingenuous, so I’ll add that they can be useful. But I’m not a crazy cat lady; as someone who lives amongst them, I admit that they’re particularly self-interested and stubborn. But at least they DON’T BARK.
Who are the main artists that you like and whose blogs you often check out?
I check out quite a lot, so to only mention only a few of them may seem unfair. Let’s say that I the ones I always await updates from are also the most well known: (Boulet, Marion Montaigne, Guillaume Long, and Pénélope’s travels are also interesting to read, but I must be forgetting some as well…). I really like to be told stories, it’s what will make the whole difference. I have a lot of affection for the more “talkative” blogs (and when you read mine, you can understand why). I also enjoy other, less longwinded but talented artists, but I’m not going to start reeling off a huge list, which would be boring (thus avoiding you the chore of sticking a bunch of links everywhere).
What are the latest things that you enjoyed at the movies, musically and/or books/comics?
Going to the movies for me can be summed up as a more or less long period of time when you have to remain seated without being productive (and real movie theaters are awful, getting you to shell out money to get to sit next to people grazing on pop corn while kicking your seat. Great). But to answer your question, the last thing I enjoyed on my TV screen was Komodo vs. Cobra. A monument. Not to be missed, especially for the special effects. As for music, I recently discovered Band of Skulls, which I really like. I usually discover stuff after everyone else. I’m currently trying to read fantasy and science fiction after years and years of crime novels (I recommend Joe R. Lansdale’s books). The last attempt ended in a huge headache and some consternation. I’ve just finished Brent Week’s Night Angel trilogy, which I highly recommend.
Here’s the bit where you can tell us some more personal stuff, what you like from life, your hobbies, passions, vices and day to day pleasures.
If I say that I enjoy gardening, growing vegetables and flowers, and that added to that I feed birds, observe them and build them little bird houses, I’m going to seem to be a huge hippie, aren’t I? And to add to my embarrassment, I like jigsaw puzzles. Besides that, I like usual everyday stuff: reading, absolutely no action between the sheets, drinking some nice wine or beer, and eating nice things.
Do you have a crap joke to share with us?
Yeah, but it’s not crap at all. It’s a man who goes up to a policeman, with a penguin in tow.
-“Hello officer, I’ve found this penguin and I don’t know what to do with him
-You should take him to the zoo.
-That’s a great idea, thanks!
The next day, the police officer comes across the same guy, still with the penguin.
-“What happened? Didn’t you take him to the zoo?
-Yeah I did, he loved it. We’re now off to catch a movie.”
It’s the best joke in the whole world.
Do you have a phobia? If so, what is it?
I don’t think so. I used to be afraid of cars, and would cry if I were sat in front of a steering wheel. Now that I have a driver’s license, I’m cured. I don’t like cockroaches either. But I don’t get all hysterical about them.
To end the interview, ask yourself a question and then answer it.
-“Isn’t it time to go to bed?
-Yeah, it totally is!”
That’s us done for the week. Next week we’ll be back with something else to show you, so say tuned. But before we go, here are a few things we found on the Internet this week. Like this cat for example who thinks he’s a dog, before noticing that he’s being filmed, or this guy who has a strange reaction to a breathalyzer. See you soon!
Got talent and want to take part? Send an email to [email protected], containing a link to your blog, or some samples of your work.