Now Representing Clément Thoby

December 2023

As the year comes to a close we welcome Clément Thoby to the Brilliant Artists roster as the icing on our cake in 2023! Another artist we have long admired.

Created predominantly with coloured pencils and oil pastels, Clément’s work is an ode to colour and inspired by his travels both real and imaginary. We caught up with the French illustrator himself to find out about his working life and creative inspirations.

Clément Thoby IllustrationPhotograph by Matcha ©

1. Do you listen to music while you draw/paint/illustrate? And if so, who or what gets the most plays in your studio?

I always work with music. Depending on my mood, I listen to all types of music: from movie soundtracks to pop to rap. But when I’m drawing and need to meditate, I enjoy audiobooks. Some books are now associated with drawings for me. I soak it up to nourish my creations.

2. Which other illustrators or artists do you most admire and why?

Lorenzo Mattotti for the freedom of his drawing and his sense of color.

Félix Vallotton for his art of storytelling in landscapes.

Kazuo Oga for creating worlds that millions of people want to live in.

Kate Bush and Patti Smith for the variety of their work, for their dedication to their art and the longevity of their creativity.

3. What is the best thing about being an illustrator/creator? And the worst?

The best thing is the freedom and the variety of this work. You never know what you will get. If you have some time without commission, you can work on your own stuff and experiment.

The worst is the loneliness and the uncertainty.

4. How do you overcome a creative block?

I do this by leaving my studio and doing something else. A few days off can help. Also walk and nourish myself with culture: read, visit museums, watch films etc.

5. What are 3 of your favourite films? Which one would you illustrate the poster for?

Spirited Away/Before Sunset/Memories of Murder.

I would love to draw the poster for another one: Burning by Lee Chang-dong.

Clément Thoby Illustration

6. If you could work on the book cover for one book, which would it be?

I would choose any of Haruki Murakami. Maybe ‘South of the Border, West of the Sun’ which was the first one I read when I was a teenager.

7. Dream studio location and set up?

A solarium filled with plants at the top of a building in a big city that I love (Paris, London, Tokyo).

8. Best trip you have ever been on?

I have just returned from Japan, certainly an important trip for me.

9. What do you have to have in place before you start work?

My pencils must be well sharpened, my music or a good book in my ears.

10. If you could have any artwork in your home what would it be?

I will have an original engraving by Hasui Kawase.

Clément Thoby Illustration

You can see Clément’s stunning portfolio here.


Join our mailing list

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking above to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.