Featured Awards Winner

Amelie Lehoux

April 2018

A big congrats to Amélie Lehoux, one of our 30 TDK Awards’ winners for 2018. A Université du Québec à Montréal graduate from Montreal, their work was chosen by Tad from Carpenter Collective: “Many things drew me to Amélie’s work. The strong sense of whimsy, the unexpected color palettes and subtle yet well thought-out conceptual iconography in each piece. But what put this book over the top for me was the designers willingness to explore and push various styles and mediums with such ease”. We asked Amélie to answer a few questions for next years TDK Awards’ hopefuls.

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?

Art and design have always been a very important part of my life. My dad is an industrial designer and he mostly works from home, so design is sort of this other sibling with whom I grew up unknowingly. I remember when I was around eight or nine years old, I would come back from school, go on my father’s computer and mess around in Photoshop for hours. My father showed me the basics and I followed tutorials to try to further my knowledge. I spent a great deal of my time on Photoshop as a kid. I have always been very creative, I was always drawing and making up stories. I used to write and illustrate my own books and present them in front of my class. I took my projects very seriously and I was very committed to them. I consider myself to be very lucky, because I always knew this is what I wanted to do.

Who are your top five design crushes right now globally?

There are way too many to choose from but here are a few off the top of my head (in no particular order):

Julia GR

Alexis Jamet

Lotta Nieminen

Braulio Amado

Irene Rinaldi

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

It took me a while to find my style. I read a lot of poetry for inspiration, because I knew I wanted to create images that resonate in a similar way poetry does. I identified illustrators, painters and designers that I liked and then tried to understand why I liked them. I am very fond of the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cy Twombly, Joan Miró, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, Ellsworth Kelly, Sister Corita Kent, Karel Martens, Paul Cox and David Carson, to name a few. That helped me a lot in trying to find what I wanted my work to look like. I started playing around with shapes and textures to try and develop a language of some sort. The challenge was always to find the right balance between the digital and manual aspects I wanted my images to have. I try to reach for the middle-ground between the two.

I love to experiment with different mediums and with happy accidents, but I also like to have control over the image I’m working on with Photoshop. Photoshop gives me infinite possibilities in terms of compositions and colors, while my cutouts and textures bring a human, tangible feel to my work. The interaction between the shapes, the colors and the textures is really important. I try to create images that are ambiguous, evocative and fun at the same time. I also like my style to adapt to the type of project I am doing. I try to experiment and to change my style often as well so I don’t get bored. The best advice I could give others is to not worry too much about having a style, because that can become very restricting and boring after a while. What’s so great about being a graphic designer and/or an illustrator is that it does not limit you to one thing. The more you explore and broaden your horizons, the more your work becomes rich. I know I like being surprised and challenged, so I want my work to reflect that.

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Finding the right way to showcase each project is a great exercise in itself. Each project is unique and should be presented in a way that highlights its strong points.

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What advice would you give students starting out?

  1. Take part in contests and calls for submissions. It is a great way to challenge and push yourself.
  2. Get involved in projects as much as possible. I know juggling school and side projects can be very tricky, but I find it can be very rewarding to create outside of school assignments. Working with friends or even having personal projects is a whole other dynamic. Creating for yourself is extremely important.
  3. Experiment as much as possible while in school. Don’t be afraid to try out things you’ve never done before. You may discover new things about yourself and develop new interests/abilities.
  4. Be active on social media (Behance, Instagram). Try to update your online portfolio frequently. Finding the right way to showcase each project is a great exercise in itself. Each project is unique and should be presented in a way that highlights its strong points.

Behance:behance.net/amelielehoux

Instagram: @amelehoux

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