Illustrator David Adrien shares his process

The illustrator talks to CR about how he puts together his images and why style doesn’t mean repeating the same idea over and over

When creating his images, Paris-based illustrator David Adrien typically begins by drawing on tracing paper because it allows him to move things around before putting the final paper on top and adding the finishing touches. “Then I scan the work to colour it on Photoshop, using a lot of ‘multiply’ layers to make the colours mix and overlay – a habit from my printmaking days,” he tells CR.

Like single comic panels, Adrien often focuses on details or smaller moments with snippets of bigger scenes weaved in to create surreal vignettes. “With every work I try to start with a normal context and then bring some crazy or out-of-place element to make my idea as striking as possible.”

The illustrator has played around with different techniques and aesthetics over the years, but what has stayed consistent is his fine line work. “You have to avoid getting stuck in a style, meaning that it’s good to have your own visual signature, of course, but it’s dangerous to always use the same recipe once you’ve identified what people like,” he notes. “They will get bored quickly, and you also will. So try to make your work evolve in some way.”

All images: David Adrien