Artist to Watch | Louis Sollune and his Fanatical Portraits
Last week we brought you John Sidoryk from Prague. This week we got the chance to talk with Louis Sollune from Montreal, Quebec. Louis first caught our attention with his work on the graphic novel, Silver Cord.
Hello Louis, How are you doing today?
Hi. I’m good, thank you. How are you?
I am doing well. Just busy getting ready for the week. First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure, though first I am wondering why it is that you wanted to interview me. I mean, why me? There must be hundreds of artists around deviantart that have work which is more pertinent to gaming.
There are many artists that have work pertinent to gaming. But we are a group of people with appreciation of different types of art work. Many games are based on comics, stories, etc. that have been created over time. I have noticed your work with comic book projects and I feel your work still fits in with what us as a team as well as our audience are interested in.
I’ve been doing comics with independent writers and publishers for about 15 years. Louis Sollune
Alright, a bit about myself…well I’m 35, and from Montréal, Québec. I picked the name Louis Sollune as a pen name, during a drug experiment phase, since my birth name wasn’t very commercially useful. I’ve been doing comics with independent writers and publishers for about 15 years. After attending college in graphic design most of the work I did was never published. But I did publish several issues of several projects. The latest of which is a very large graphic novel called The Silver Cord and now I’m focusing on portraits in order to finance a personal project, which I’m hoping to complete next year.
The Silver Cord work is actually the first work of yours that I saw. After that I looked through your website and deviantart and saw your portrait work which is phenomenal!! I am glad that your work is now being published so that others will have more opportunities to honor your work.
How exactly did you start creating art? You mentioned studying graphic design in college.
I’ve been enjoying drawing since early childhood, so I just never stopped. I started making my own comic books when I was 5. The choice of college was actually a bit unfortunate, since what I wanted to do was to draw comics, but there was no such school program here, so graphic design seemed like the closest thing. But it wasn’t very relevant for starting a comic’s career. As for portraits, it’s a somewhat new thing for me, I started a little over a year ago, and I’ve been working on perfecting my technique since then.
I hope you were still able to learn a bit something from graphic design. I have a whole flood of things to say about education systems not being individualized but I don’t want to get on that rant today. Since you’ve been drawing from such a young age, do you have any inspirations or “role models”?
Not any one person, but sure I looked up to almost everyone that had published comic books. Early on it was mostly French books like Astérix and The Smurfs, then later Marvel and DC Comics. I was a big fan of Valiant comics, in the nineties and Barry Windsor-Smith in particular
I know him, well not personally. He’s the mind behind X-men, well Weapon X in particular.
Yes he is.
Nice! I can see how he’d be a good person to inspire you.
He also inspired me as a writer a lot, with his later work from Storyteller, though I haven’t written much yet. It’s been a long time since I’ve bought any new comics so I don’t really know who or what is going on right now. These days I just draw inspiration from whatever I happen to see online. There’s really endless stuff to see, Deviantart and Tumblr are nice for that.
I definitely understand that. I started writing/performing poetry competitively in college and I would gain inspiration from random conversations or overhearing something on the train. I would imagine that visually the internet can definitely prompt plenty of ideas.
What does your creative process look like?
I’m not sure that I’ve really nailed it down very well yet, unfortunately. It’s always been difficult for me to even get started on anything and then there are so many distractions while drawing. Creating requires many hours of peace and quiet.
For portraits I gather photos that I find potentially interesting whenever I think of a subject I’d like to tackle and then when I finally feel like drawing. I pick one a bit randomly whichever one I feel most like doing. Then it’s just a matter of sitting and drawing, and not letting the world get in the way.
Well I hope I’m not bothering you too much right now.
I had time to be mentally prepared, so no worries. It’s not really that everything else is bothering, it’s more like it’s attracting me away from the drawing, which is draining. I mostly jump at the opportunity to get away from drawing. It hard to explain to people, how an artist can be both wanting to do the art, and simultaneously really wants to do anything other than that. I’m not sure that I can explain it.
Because other things are sometimes a distraction do you set the mood before you sit down? Do you listen to music?
I tried it with music sometimes, but music is distracting too because it carries a lot of emotions. so mostly I listen to TV shows and movies which I’ve already seen, so that I don’t have to watch and I’m not emotionally affected by what happens. But that solution is not ideal, since now I’m running out of shows I’ve already seen. Sometimes I can go through up to 10 episodes in a day.
10 episodes a day!? That means on average you’re running 8 hours of work. Ok. Once you’ve gotten in the right mood to create, what is the first tool you reach for?
What’s nice about drawing is that there’s really not much needed. Paper, and pencils, everything is sitting there. Yeah about 8 hours, but that varies a lot. I take a lot of breaks, like every half an hour or so.
Let’s say for some, totally hypothetical reason Earth is about to blow up. Don’t panic, there is a savior aka a space ship getting ready to save you! But you can only save two pieces, what will those two be?
It’ll probably be the last two that I’ve made, since I usually don’t like the older stuff much. So right now, it would be the portraits of Christopher reeve and of Harrison ford, which would be ok. But then again, I don’t care much. I’d rather bring paper and pencils, and make new ones. I don’t get very attached to the pieces I’ve finished.
I think with every piece you learn more about yourself and think you can do better or do something else. And by “you” I really mean me, based on my experience writing poems.
I would think most artists would feel that way. If we didn’t push towards something new, there wouldn’t be much point in it
True! So do you play video games?
I used to. I was a child when the first gaming platforms appeared, and was fortunate enough to get most of them at home. I was a very much into video games up until the PlayStation 2, which is the last console I owned. since then, I sort of lost interest, mostly starting with the fact that my budget wasn’t allowing for the newer systems.
Do you remember the 1st video game you played?
I guess that would actually be Pong. But I was very young, so I don’t actually remember it.
Ok. Since you are already a professional and published artist, is this your dream job?
Well, I still have to figure out how to make money off it. LOL. When I get my own book published and manage to make it stable and profitable, then it will be the dream job.
Got ya! I think that’s what we all want. Do what we love in a profitable manner.
I used to aspire to working for marvel or some other big publisher, but after a while of drawing other people’s stories, I changed my mind about that. Then it just becomes work and it being work really sucks the fun out of it.
Perhaps you can imagine how it is, if I were to pay you for writing poems, based on themes which I pick. At first you don’t mind and are just glad about the money, but then you start wondering ‘why am I doing this?’
Yeah I definitely understand. It is also why I didn’t like the idea of competing with my poems. It becomes less about you and more about the judges or the audience.
Yes, thinking about what the audience wants is also problematic. It can become the focus of what we do, and then we forget why we do what we do. Because, it becomes about pleasing someone else. It’s something that I think about a lot. Trying to remember what it feels like to just draw because I want to, like a child does and not as a stepping stone to some ultimate goal of fame and fortune.
Too bad our economic currency isn’t happiness because that would definitely shift most people’s lifestyle choices.
Now for my favorite question, because I am a music lover. Normally it goes: It is Friday and you are about to get off work, what song are you listening to?
Well, I’ll have to disappoint you there, because I am just not very much into music at all.
Ahh ok. Well you just finished working on something. You want to reward yourself what would you be watching?
I would be watching the Daily Show. It makes me laugh, and keeps me informed about what goes on in the states
Great choice! I love the Daily show and I’m glad Jon Stewart is back!
Me too, though I did like Jon Oliver too. It was good for a temporary thing.
My last question is where can we find your work?
You can get a copy of the silver cord from the website http://silver-cord.net/ and I’m currently trying out eBay for selling portraits so you can look me up there.
Watch me on http://louissollune.deviantart.com/ for future developments and I’m trying out filepress.co.uk to sell prints.
Well if that’s all, I will get back to this new portrait.