Baudouin de Ville opens up about how he became an illustrator

09.05.2018 - Dries Tack

Comic book artist Baudouin de Ville wanted to be a storyteller since he was a child. And even though he came across a few obstacles here and there, there was nothing that could stop him. Now his works are recognized all across the country.

In his latest comic book Sourire 58, he combined his passion for stories with his love for vintage. The storyline, created by Patrick Weber, is about a young Belgian hostess and her adventure at Expo 58.

Baudouin de Ville opens up about how he became an illustrator - Belgian Boutique

In the light of the recent release, we talked to Baudouin de Ville about his life as an artist.

When did you decide to dedicate your life to art?

From the moment I could hold a pencil in my hands! For me it was a way to escape into the daydream. I think I was around 10 when I made my first comic.

I’ve always had only one dream, and that was to tell stories. However, it still took a while for me to get there. I released my first comic book "L'inconnu de la Tamise" (The unknown of the Thames) at the age of 28. Now, I have "Sourire 58" that just came out. For me it’s a big step forward that reassures my passion.

Are you from a creative family or were you the misunderstood kid?

I was both, understood and misunderstood. My mother was a classical musician and played the violin. My father worked in finance. He always wanted me to study something "serious" while I just dreamed of enrolling at the Institut de Saint-Luc, to learn graphic design. I got my bachelors in economics as a compromise. Once I finished though, I moved on from it and never looked back. I enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Saint-Gilles. There I took drawing classes given by the great Belgian designer Eddy Paape.

Baudouin de Ville opens up about how he became an illustrator - Belgian Boutique

Which artist do you admire?

All the artists that draw in "Ligne claire" (clean line) style. Hergé, Jacobs, Martin... But also Giraud, Bourgeon, Mézières, Comès, Tillieux, Giardino, Würm... and Norman Rockwell! I love painting as well. Camille Corot’s exhibition at the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris was lovely. I also like pop-art artists, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg… The list is just never-ending.

If you had to compare your life to a artwork, which would you choose?

Claude Monet's "Impression soleil levant". It took time for me to get where I am right now. I am happy to say that now my art is being recognized, but I had to mature for it to happen.

Baudouin de Ville opens up about how he became an illustrator - Belgian Boutique

Do you collect art yourself? Which is the next piece you would like to acquire?

I collect vintage objects. More precisely, everything that revolves around Expo 58. I don't have a huge collection, just some pieces that associate with that period. I also have a passion for antique motorcycles. I drive an old but beautiful Kawasaki KH 400 from 1976.

Who is the godfather of the Belgian art world?

Difficult to choose only one... I’d say Spilliaert, Magritte, Horta, and Hergé. That makes a good variety that represents different parts of the same world.

In what environment you’re most productive in? What does your workshop look like?

There’s nothing special about my workshop, except that it’s a real big mess! The drawings are often scattered around and even end up on the ground after being scanned. There are a lot of documents around as well. My office is filled with books, magazines, posters…

This disorder is counterbalanced by green and peaceful environment though. I live in a house next to the forest of Soignes. When I hit a wall when drawing, I like to go out for a walk there to clear my mind and find inspiration.

Baudouin de Ville opens up about how he became an illustrator - Belgian Boutique

Which Belgian talent should we feature on Belgian Boutique next? Why?

Saskia de Ville. She produces and animates the morning show of France Musique every morning. She’s active on Arte as well. A Belgian who truly shines in Paris!