Karine Fortier (aka ppomme) is a chic Parisian doll whose whimsical characters had me at “Hello”… She now works from her studio in London blending a passion for colour with an adoration of animals and strange creatures. Her illustration, design, colour palette and typography are a sight for sore eyes and her ‘Ppomme Shop’ will be getting one or two visits from me for sure…
What’s your story? How did you get to where you are today? Well, I am originally from Paris, where I used to be a production assistant on a morning TV show. Whilst working there I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to study Graphic Design and shortly after completing my course, I moved to the UK with my fiancé. My first job in the UK was for a publishing house, next I moved into broadcast followed by various roles in charity organisations. I now run an online indie shop selling limited-edition accessories and stationery. It’s been really inspiring and rewarding to collaborate with so many talented designers and I have learnt a lot from the experience. I started my illustration career just one year ago. I love it!
Which is your favourite character illustration that you’ve drawn to date? Well it’s difficult for me to pick just one character in particular, as I love them all! Perhaps the star in “Making Magic Happen” because he looks super happy and chilled.
What did you want to be when you were 10 years old? An artist at Walt Disney or a vet. As a child, I used to spend hours drawing and colouring in. Mainly animals, trees and flowers. I also liked the idea of being a detective like Miss Marple in Agatha Christy (I used to read a lot of her books).
Which UNI did you go to and what did you study? I studied Clinical Psychology in Paris VIII. Afterwards I studied Lettres Modernes at Sorbonne Nouvelle. I also learnt Graphic Design in the Centre de Formation Professionnelle d’Arts Appliqués in Paris before continuing my education in Web Design at the University of Southampton. I love how learning expands my mind and creativity.
What’s the proudest moment of your career to date? I think it is seeing people’s reactions to my illustrative work in general. If I make people smile I feel proud.
Which project has been a highlight? I don’t really have a career highlight yet, as I am quite young at it. But, I love the idea of crafting an illustrated book or having my illustrations on home goods and accessories. Seeing my printed work on the shelves of shops would be an amazing thing! Animation is also something I have in mind.
How do you promote yourself? I’m currently focusing on my blog and twitter. I have just re-designed my website to include my portfolio and a shop where I sell my stationery and soon my limited edition prints. I also participate to illustration competitions. I’m not so good at promoting myself face-to-face. I do try though.
Do you love or loathe social media? Gosh I would be lost without Social media! I get so much out of it in terms of inspiration, meeting new people and discovering what is happening in the world. It saves tones of time in travelling! I am currently obsessed with Pinterest and Sumally… It’s like being in a perpetually re-stocked candy shop!
Which tools do you use to create stuff and what is your creative process? A black pen for hand drawing and felt tip pens for colouring. To digitise my drawing, I use my i-pad to photograph my work and then I draw with a graphic-tablet using Illustrator and PhotoShop.
Where do you find inspiration? Hmmm… everywhere! Popular culture, watching TV, cartoons, movies, online videos, listening to music, magazines, fashion, blogs, people I meet. My “Lemon Hero” character was inspired by a quote from ‘Life, the Universe, and Everything’ – The hitchhiker who decided he would become a lemon for a couple of weeks. It always makes me giggle. The character’s proud stance is based on a photo I saw online of George Reeves, the American actor who played the first ever ‘Superman’ and ‘William’ is based on philanthropist Will.i.am. People have told me that ‘James the Bear’ reminds the of Bill Murray. And the ‘Girl with the Lion Heart’ is based on someone I knew and admired.
What do you love about what you do? I adore a challenge, I like learning and I love creating.
What’s your favourite music to work to? I don’t have specific music in mind it just depends on my mood and what I am working on at any given moment. I normally have the radio on all day Radio Fip, Radio Nova, BBC Radio 6 are favourites. I can turn the volume up from my garden studio without disturbing anybody… Or even do a little dance un-noticed. I also like to listen to TED talks.
What do you spread on your toast in the morning? I normally spread organic unsalted butter and honey on my toast unless I have toasted brioche, which I prefer with jam on. I also love hazelnut chocolate spread on fresh bread, delicious! I always have a cup of strong black coffee in the morning. I can’t start the day without one!
What are you working on at the moment? I am working on a new series of World Animals which I hand drew a while ago. I’m in the process of digitising them all and I’m also illustrating some food recipes along with designing a digital wallpaper for WeTransfer’s platform.