We are pleased to welcome Nicole Lambert for our Francophonie Festival. Well-known comics writer, famous for her series “Les triplés”, she will take part in different activities during the festival such as exhibiting her work in La Galerie, having a meet-the-author session with a book signing, conducting a storytelling session for children and screening her short animation movies.
Why did you choose triplets as your comic’s subject matter?
It just happened. I was fascinated by twins. I was making some sketches of duos on a large drawing board: 2 boys, 2 girls, one of each, and all of a sudden 3 of them merged… I immediately thought “That’s even better! That’s it!” And everything kicked off very fast.
You started drawing and designing for the fashion industry. Do you use the same techniques for fashion drawings and comic books drawings? What are the differences and similarities in your creation process?
Good question. Some of my processes are the same. After all, whether you are creating a toy or a book, you are telling a story. I usually wonder “What do I really want? What is really funny? What is the most important thing to express?” Then I try to be very simple and efficient in the final rendering. I try not to tell two stories at the same time. I am always quite afraid that people will not understand what I am trying to convey. Once, I had a conversation with Albert Uderzo, the very successful and talented author of Asterix, and he told me the same thing: he puts much effort just to make sure he is well understood by the reader. A lesson of modesty!
Are you influenced by other comic books artists for your drawing process?
I am very much in love with the series Eloïse, the books written by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight. My vocation as an illustrator of children’s books came from the author Adrienne Ségur, who made wonderful fairy tale illustrations. When I was young, I kept looking at them, worshipping and copying them, till my mother once told me “If you like these drawings so much, why don’t you write a letter to tell it to the lady who makes them?” That’s how I realized that pictures in books were actually made by people and that it was indeed a proper job (beforehand, I thought they were “printed” and produced by non-human machines!). And this is how I decided I wanted to be an illustrator of children’s books when I’d grow up.
You are the mother of two. Are you often inspired by real-life events for your stories? Are you also inspired by your own mother?
My own children (only two… and one after another!) did not directly inspire me for the Triplets (which I created before their respective births). I have however used all of their foolishness and funny words in my stories (sometimes they did not understand why I was scolded them when they were making stupidities, and many times they laughed at them when I was drawing them afterwards). The Triplet’s mother is a complete depiction of France, my own, sweet, loving and funny mother. I am very often inspired by funny things that real children do or say. I usually add their names under the drawings (“inspired by the little A…, 5 years old, from Paris…”)
The Triplets’ mother is considered as a real fashionista. What inspires you for her fashion looks and aesthetic?
The Triplet’s mother, after 33 years, still looks as young and thin. I make her wear all the clothes I would like to buy for myself. She is just perfect and as we would say in French “Elle peut tout se permettre!” (She can wear whatever she wants). But, as ethereal as she may look, she is confronted with three very real and intense children. I find this contrast quite funny.
The Triplets have been adapted on TV. Would you be interested in a film adaptation?
As a matter of fact, I am currently working on a script for a proper feature film. This kind of project takes a long time, but it is also good in a way! Fingers crossed !
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Café de France has permanently ceased its activity. Three new vending machines have been installed on the staircase landings: hot drinks (2nd floor) and cold drinks/snacks (3rd floor). A new café will open in a few months.