“It became an obsession”: Julien Gobled on mixing graphic design with illustration

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With so many skilful graphic designers and draftsmen out there, Julien finds it tricky to decipher his main points of reference. “It’s sometimes a bit scary and stimulating at the same time,” he admits. But after some consideration, there’s one thing for sure – Julien is drawn towards graphic designers and illustrators who “work with passion and are trying to push their limits”. In this sense, he’s talking about Karel Martens and the Werkplaats Typography School, as well as Jonathan Castro, who he met earlier this year – “his work is surprising,” says Julien. Elsewhere, the designer looks towards David Hockney for his detailed drawing systems and theories on 19th century painting.

So when putting pen to paper, Julien has found that, previously, he has worked a lot with clear lines as well as black and white. “It’s a way for me to concentrate on the rhythm of the drawing,” he says. “It’s almost musical and at the same time, when using black and white, one cannot cheat – there’s a form of radicalism that I am looking for.” Fighting minimalist constraints and functional rules laid out by the process of black and white drawing, Julien’s work has gravitated towards that which is more experimental. “I do not want to stay in my comfort zone,” he tells us. “I do not want to have a style and I’m very interested in finding new ways to draw.” Evident throughout his latest series La Painture, Julien finds great joy in this process, finding it of most importance to “be surprised” and to go along with what is less expected.

At present, Julien spends his time bouncing between a part-time job at a communication agency and as a designer for his own studio, Atelier Kiosque – founded with graphic designer Delphine Boeschlin. Yet the most distinguished balance is found within his illustration and design work, where he works harmoniously between the two, producing a collection of crafted illustrations formed through digital and analogue processes. “I love publishing,” he says, “as I think it’s a perfect medium to show the work – the pace of pages, paper, the size of the book, these are the issues that fascinate me.” Julien concludes: “I would love to try to do exhibitions, but it’s something that doesn’t come naturally to me. I think it’s time to confront that.”

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