I meet you in this new article to present the work of Morgane Boullier, a talented artist and illustrator, specialized in sumi-e painting, a traditional Japanese ink painting technique. If I'm talking to you about it today, it's because we're organizing a special day next Saturday, December 2, which I'm going to tell you about throughout this article!
When the series of children's books " Kotori " was released in bookstores, several months ago now, my friend Alice Monard, author of this series, sent me copies with the idea of proposing, together, a signing session at the store at the end of 2023, accompanied by Morgane Boullier, the illustrator on this project.
Unfortunately, as Alice has been living in Japan for a few years now, she was ultimately unable to make herself available at this time. However, I had the pleasure, at the same time, of meeting Morgane during a visit to Paris several weeks ago. I told you about it in an Instagram post on October 15. It was following this lovely moment of discussion that we brought to life the idea of a signing session and a conference, hosted by him!
These books tell the adventures, across Japan, of an adorable little girl named Kotori and her traveling companion, a bird nicknamed Tama. Morgane's illustrations for this series of books are directly inspired by her practice of sumi-e . I really like the poetry that emerges from it! I find that they are imbued with great softness thanks, among other things, to the roundness and transparency of the designs.
Before coming to practice sumi-e painting, Morgane worked for several years in animated cinema, as a studio designer-illustrator, after following a course in this branch at the Pivaut school in Nantes. It was a world that he really liked but which did not satisfy his desire to practice on paper, pencils and brushes in hand.
It was during a period of expatriation of several years in Japan, between 2016 and 2021, that Morgane discovered sumi-e , almost by chance, through a book on the subject, seen in a bookstore. . After some research, she decided to go to an exhibition in Tokyo, where she met a painter who practices sumi-e , who would later become her sensei (teacher, master in Japanese).
Sumi-e is a traditional ink painting technique, originating in China, which was introduced and developed in Japan through Buddhist monks. The Japanese term sumi-e is composed of sumi , black ink and e , paint.
This painting is practiced using different supplies: rice paper, natural horsehair brushes which vary in terms of sizes, shapes and bristles depending on the desired result, ink presented in the form of small rectangular bars as well as a suzuri inkstone which is used both to prepare the ink but also as a palette. The choice of paper, brushes and inks as well as the dosage of water is decisive.
Apparently simple, sumi-e is in reality a painting full of subtleties, much more complex than it seems. Beyond the technical and plastic aspect, there is a whole philosophy behind it. It’s a painting that requires you to be fully in the present moment because it’s impossible to get it wrong. It’s a real learning process to let go. The artist deliberately leaves white spaces to give free rein to the viewer's imagination and interpretation.
Following this happy discovery with sumi-e painting, Morgane continued her learning with her teacher, thus nourishing her growing passion for this practice and gradually evolving her style, greatly inspired by nature and Japan. She thus rediscovered the pleasure of a traditional practice and participated in several exhibitions where her work was awarded!
At the same time, Morgane launched herself as a freelance artist-illustrator and now works for clients who are sensitive to her Japanese-inspired work. She also runs her Etsy store where she offers reproductions of her paintings and exclusive works. I strongly invite you to go and discover it!
Beyond her practice of sumi-e , Morgane is also interested in passing on her passion. To share the history, philosophy and theory of it. She has also participated in several conferences, interviews and podcasts to talk about sumi-e and launched her own podcast “ Couleur Wasabi ” to share her discoveries and her learning.
As I told you earlier in this article, we are organizing a special day at the store, next Saturday, December 2, around Morgane's work!
It will begin at 11 a.m. with a conference led by Morgane who will share with us her discovery of sumi-e painting, her learning in Japan, her way of working today and many other things! If you would like to participate in this conference , I invite you to reserve your place on our website, “ DIY Workshops ” section.
We will then offer you, from 2 p.m., a signing session around the books in the “Kotori” series as well as a sale of reproductions of his paintings.
I hope this article will make you want to discover Morgane's work as well as visit us for this special day! Until then, I invite you to discover what she does on her website , her Instagram account , and her Etsy online store .
See you soon,