Link to our Facebook
Link to our Instagram

Art Starter: Badaude

29 August 2012 | 7:00 am | Staff Writer

Five minutes with Badaude.

Do you remember the first thing you drew? Wow that's a question I've never been asked before. I don't. I can remember producing a magazine when I was about nine in which I was very concerned with replicating certain formulas I'd seen in 'grown-up' publications. At the time I drew pictures that involved choice and sorting: room plans, ideal wardrobes with dresses for every fanciful occasion, maps...

Who inspires you artistically? I love anything in black and white in what Franco-Belgian comics creators would call la ligne claire. This includes comics artists like Floc'h and Tardi, but also illustrators like Félix Vallotton and Aubrey Beardsley. Edward Ardizzone taught me to draw (after his death: I have no formal training but learned by looking at other artists' work). I'm teaching myself about infographics at the moment and wish I had a better understanding of statistics.

What's your favourite city in the world/why? Probably still Paris, though Berlin and Athens are coming a close joint second at the moment.

Do your illustrations exaggerate your reality or rather try and replicate what you've seen? Neither, I think. I'm not a caricaturist but, inevitably, the style I use means I have to simplify faces. I'm more likely to minimise detail than to exaggerate it, always trying to find the telling line that means little else is needed. I rely on the power of one line to suggest, making space for the viewer to 'complete' the picture. I also draw lots of buildings and am strict about architectural accuracy.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

What's the appeal in working under the name Badaude? I started using the name for my diary blog because it gave me a degree of anonymity. My work is very personal and a pseudonym affords me the same kind of hide-and-seek protection as the sunglasses I always include when I draw myself. There's a tradition of illustrators using pseudonyms: Phiz, Posy, Hergé, Catel... It's nice to be part of that.

What are you reading right now? Lydia Davis short stories, Kierkegaard's Either/Or, Helen DeWitt's Lightning Rods – so not graphic fiction. Is that surprising?

Badaude's Illustrator In Residence: Melbourne Writers Festival runs until Until Sunday, the Atrium, Federation Square.