Tea with Amandine Labarre.

Won't you stay a while with us? Pull up a chair and pour yourself a cup. It's time for another "cuppa" interview, this time with the French illustrator extraordinaire Amandine Labarre and I know you are going to love her work! You may already be familiar with her blog Epine Blanche

How do you take your tea and in what kind of cup do you like it served?

Answer-Without sugar, in a tall mug to keep it very hot… My favorite one is a blue ceramic one, homemade by a friend. If a cat could jump on my knees while I’m drinking from it, it would be just perfect.

If you could choose anyone, past , present or future, who would be joining us for tea.

Answer-I think I’d like to invite the great Arthur Rackham. I discovered his work very early and was astonished by it. There’s a real word in his watercolors, the shades talks to my heart, and so do his vision of fairy tales: his characters are full of grace, but there’s also something gloomy, mysterious and frightening in it...I find his Nordic myths paintings really mesmerizing. He seemed to be a quite lonely person, but I’d be honored just to share a cup of tea with him, perhaps evoking old tales quietly. I’m not very talkative either.

Tell me a little about your background in art and design.

Answer-I studied at the faculty, intending to being an art professor. But while writing my final dissertation, dealing with art and shamanism, I took the time to think about what I really wanted, and finally realized I definitely wasn’t made for doing this job..I wanted to be an illustrator, which had been my dream for the very beginning…I just was afraid to fail, but I had a lot of luck, and a year later I was earning my living with my drawings-thanks to my first book I wrote and illustrated, on the theme of faeries and herbs.

Where are you based and does it influence your work?

Answer-I live in Touraine (France), and really love my town. I live next to the Loire and run along it each morning: each day, the sight, the colors, the smells are different and inspiring. This afternoon I saw a kestrel flying just above me for a long moment, as if wondering if I could make a good breakfast for it; I was delighted!

What have you been doing/working on today?

Answer-Today, I took my bicycle and went taking some photos of trees for a personal book project, I also picked some lovely hawthorn berries I found on the way back, I think I’m going to paint it, but I don’t know yet to what purpose, perhaps just for the pleasure of taking a quiet time exploring their beauty.

I hope that you have brought along something wonderful to show us, what is it?

Answer-Well, It’s a picture from a little children’s book I made with my brother, an eerie tale dealing with cats, a quest for the return of light in a shadowy land ..It’s the 3rd book in that collection (this one will be published for next Christmas) and I’m particularly attached to it, they really are done with heart.

I think that is evident Amandine, thank you so much for calling by and sharing your work with us.