Antoine Eckart on his whimsical and zippy approach to illustration
When asked whether his illustrations hold any hidden messages or meaning, Antione Eckart responds with slight hesitation. “That’s a difficult question, as my work is not so accessible,” he tells It’s Nice That. “I guess if there’s an expectation (good or bad), I’m happy with it.”
Antoine’s ‘unaccessible’ style seems to draw in quite the clientele. The French illustrator, currently based in Lyon, spends his time flitting between commissioned and self-published projects – succeeding to a vast portfolio that sees his humorous yet poetic sketches, drawings and scribbles take the stage at Arty Farty, DIY Art Market, F.COM, Vuilding Paris, Kiblind and many others. Having first pursued his interest in illustration during his Graphic Design master’s degree, he notes how it all stems back to his past life as a graffiti writer. “When I started my course,” he says, “I was completely unable to draw in an academic way and this drove my teachers nuts.” They even went so far as saying that he should quit his course – but this didn’t stop Antoine in his path for a second. “At the same time, I also started to develop a special interest in drawing, a bit like a monomaniac – so for me, it was inconceivable to quit.”
Well, we’re most certainly thankful that he didn’t. Citing his love for the works of Claude Ponti – one of France’s most celebrated children’s writers and illustrators – and French illustrator, cartoons and comics artist Roland Topor, Antoine makes sure to clarify that neither have a direct influence on his drawings explicitly. “But, I’m feeling close to the way of using drawing to create a particular atmosphere and to tell unique stories,” – a trope used commonly throughout the work of his key inspirations. Elsewhere, he turns to the elements that surround him in order to stay curious and connected with his “everyday environment”. Because, let’s have it, the most useful and rousing ideas can form right under your nose. And last but most poignant is his longing for days bygone. “I can be quite a nostalgic person, so generally I’m more attracted to the things from the past,” he says. Fuelled by this selection of stimuli, Antoine collects “unusual” shapes, books, people and music in his mind, before utilising this material to make a series of offbeat drawings.