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We Just Want to Give These Adorably Dark Drawings a Hug

Writer and illustrator Renee French has authored several comics and books. Now she’s documenting her process on Instagram.
February 12, 2017, 12:50am

A photo posted by Renee French (@reneefrench) on

Dec 29, 2016 at 4:32am PST

The average Joe might only indulge in binge watching TV shows or movie marathons on their day off, but one accomplished comics creator says she turns the TV on when she goes to work. Renee French's numerous comics and books often tell dark and whimsical tales chronicling the misadventures of her adorably disturbing characters, and she says that watching TV and movies is just part of her process when it comes to creating her extraordinary illustrations. “I like to watch certain movies on a loop for days while I work on a drawing or painting. Michael Clayton, His Girl Friday, Margin Call, and I like TV shows from the 70s like Rockford Files and Columbo, but I also listen to a ton of podcasts like, How To Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black, Ten Minute Podcast with Will Sasso and The Mental Illness Happy Hour with Paul Gilmartin and a bunch of other ones.”

A photo posted by Renee French (@reneefrench) on

Jan 29, 2017 at 5:38am PST

In addition to the comics and books French publishes, she also writes children’s books under the name Rainy Dohaney. And with so many different projects, it’s easy to imagine that her work might change over time. French tells The Creators Project how her images have evolved over the years. “For the last few years they're mostly about emotion. I do get fixated on details, like armpit socket folds and the skin and fur around bunny ears and trying to depict the air in the room, but however I'm feeling at the time seems to push through and show up in the expression of my subject.”

A photo posted by Renee French (@reneefrench) on

Dec 24, 2016 at 6:34pm PST

Along with the emotional developments in her work, French also began working with a new medium. “I've started painting in acrylic recently, and the process is slower and sort of more complicated because I'm using color, and even though they're subtle colors, it's a whole new problem to work through.”

A photo posted by Renee French (@reneefrench) on

Jan 25, 2017 at 10:40pm PST

Stoically working the surface of her drawings to capture minute details and atmospheric conditions, French gives her endearingly cartoonish characters a sense of gravitas and depth. French achieves this look through a fastidious process that she documents in some of her Instagram posts. “I use a 0.3mm and lately an even smaller 0.2mm mechanical pencil on Canson vellum and hardly touch the paper. I think I'm mostly holding off the weight of the pencil when I draw.”

Drawing to my fave holiday movie, Jodie Foster's Home For the Holidays with the #pentel .2mm Orenz on vellum #holidayface

A video posted by Renee French (@reneefrench) on

Dec 23, 2016 at 6:45pm PST

French shares these Instagram posts in response to questions from her followers about how she moves her pencil when she draws. “So I wanted to show what that looks like and it turns out to be hard to show the scale of the pencil and the drawing. The drawings are only about 2.5 - 3 inches on a side.” And if you listen carefully to the audio on the videos French shares, you can hear various TV shows, movies, and podcasts playing in the background as she works.

A photo posted by Renee French (@reneefrench) on

Jan 19, 2017 at 1:29am PST

Drawing to that Terra Nova show on Netflix with the #rotring 500 .35mm on #charvin paper #rodent

A video posted by Renee French (@reneefrench) on

Jan 19, 2017 at 12:27am PST

A photo posted by Renee French (@reneefrench) on

Dec 30, 2016 at 2:04am PST

Drawing the Bunny Who Loves Pride & Prejudice to P&P (der) with the #pentel .2mm on vellum for the upcoming bunny show #bunnyart #colinfirth

A video posted by Renee French (@reneefrench) on

Dec 29, 2016 at 6:55pm PST

A photo posted by Renee French (@reneefrench) on

Nov 28, 2016 at 5:27pm PST

You can see Renee French’s work in the flesh in an exhibition with Scott Templin at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles in May featuring their Teachers From Memory series. Her work is currently on display in The Year Of The Rooster, a group exhibition at Giant Robot in Los Angeles. See more of French’s work in her website and on Instagram.

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