Betty Sourigues Interview

Betty Sourigues is a 27 years old 2D artist from France, specializing in Layout and Background painting in the animation industry.

Besides that, she also does concept art, illustration and character drawings. During her school years she was looking forward to being a concept artist, but as soon as she graduated, she had a chance to be hired as Background Artist for « Klaus ». So, there she was.

Twenty-two years old in a new country and a dream like project for a first job. There she fell in love with backgrounds and realized that she wanted to make movies for a living.

“When I was little, I witnessed how movies made me feel good and dreamy, and I wanted to do the same one day.”

FROM: le Coffre de Méélia

What sparked your interest in digital art?

If we talk about art in general, movies definitely made me want to become an artist. When I was little, I witnessed how movies made me feel good and dreamy, and I wanted to do the same one day. I was interested in everything, from inventing to making costumes for the actors, building movie sets, making special FX make-up, acting, drawing for animated movies, etc. I always loved making things with my little hands, and the more it was full of tiny details, the happier I was!

When I discovered Photoshop and graphics tablets in my teenage years, it felt like the digital part of everything finally arrived and it slowly became the easiest way to fulfil my « making movies » dream.

Talk to us about the first art piece you were genuinely proud of. How and when did you make it?
Interestingly, before starting an art school, I was always full of ideas and constantly proud of everything I was drawing. It was amazing! But the more I self-improved by developing knowledge and skills, the less satisfied I was. The way I started to see drawing made me sad. It was becoming stressful and competitive. My impression about the necessity of perfection, was holding me back from creating and having fun.
Now if I had to choose an art school piece, I am proud of, it would be the one I based on my travel to China. I was struggling to make backgrounds in full, and it was also the first one where I achieved the quality I was aiming for. After attempting colouring it to the standard I wanted, I moved on and left it monochromatic. I love how it came out!

China Background – Personal Work

A lot of your characters and scenes are warm and welcoming. Where does the inspiration for such inviting artwork come from?

If you didn’t know me, you probably wouldn’t guess that I struggle with generalized anxiety disorder. I’ve noticed that for some reason I can’t do anything but cosy and colourful artwork. Perhaps it is a way my positive feelings fight against the negative ones. (Smiles). Since I love to live in comfortable, warm environments, I love to draw them too!

Over the years, we’ve interviewed a handful of artists who worked on Klaus (2019). Could you tell us a little bit about your work on it, too? We’d love to know about your experiences with the project!

The first time I heard about Klaus was during my second year of art school. When we were watching its beautiful teaser, that was when I told myself, “This is it. That’s the kind of movie I want to work on.” Two years later, just a couple of weeks after graduating, I saw that SPA Studios were hiring for Klaus. Obviously, I applied! And I still remember receiving this email six months later. “Welcome to our layout and background department.” I was speechless.

The one year and a half I had there was hard to define. The first thing I remember experiencing was, the disbelief of where I was! At the same time, I felt as if I was exactly where I belonged. For me it was the perfect project, where I enjoyed working with talented people, from whom I also learned a crazy amount of skills from.

FROM: Klaus

We want to know more about Le Coffre de Méélia and its story. The book looks lovely, so tell us, what’s it all about?

Oh really? Thank you! It’s actually my art book from the last year of school! We had to create our own story and develop the visuals of the world, to be able to present it to our graduation jury. Le Coffre de Méélia is my hypothetical tv series. It follows the story of a teenage girl who opens a kind of Pandora’s box. Which is of course full of antique powers. Naturally she then must deal with the consequences. I actually tried to do a Kickstarter to sell copies of this book but unfortunately it failed completely haha.

Your art style has shifted over time, it’s pretty clear on your ArtStation portfolio. Do you think you could walk us through your development as an artist? How did your techniques develop after you finished school?

Well, my personal style didn’t really shift, it’s more that for Klaus I adapted it to the style of the movie. It’s very rare that the style of your professional work matches your own style. After school my techniques developed by practicing for personal drawings. Along with that, I worked on movies where I needed to adapt to the style and the quality that were required. Working under the direction of talented artists is a great environment to learn in.

You are currently living in Madrid, how do you feel about the city?

I really love it, even if the summer temperatures are hardcore haha. It’s colourful and full of life, giving a friendly and dynamic vibe. I really feel like I’m in a happy place.

What’s your favourite place out of the ones that you’ve visited and what makes it so special?

Mmm I would say my favourite place I’ve visited is Venice. It does have everything I love. It’s absolutely gorgeous and charming. Every corner looks like it has been made with care and love. It’s a paradise for a background artist who loves details haha! I also love to go in the lagoon and around all the islands in a boat, it feels so liberating. Unfortunately, it’s one of those places where a lot of traditional shops and activities have been replaced for tourism. It’s really regrettable. In my opinion, it’s a little dreamy place, and it’s more special because of the beautiful and peaceful memories I made there.

Burano Italy, a Venice’s Island – Personal Work

What’s next for Betty Sourigues?

After a few months working on “Space Jam: New Legacy” I am currently back to The SPA Studios as a concept artist for their next feature film. It’s a real challenge as it’s very different from what I’ve been doing before. It demands way more creativity and knowledge, but I am ready to struggle and learn again! When the development phase will end, I will be continuing in the layout and background team, which means I will be busy for the next few years haha! After that, we will see what the future holds for me!

Visit Betty Sourigues’s ArtStation.

By Vox Groovy staff writer;
All images used with permission by the artist
© Betty Sourigues or respective copyright holders
FRONT: Background by Betty Sourigues – Klaus

Opening Paragraph Reading by Ryan Pratt

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Reading by: N/A

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