We chat with Delphine Balme, an illustrator and painter living in the South of France.
What inspired you to become an artist, and when did you first realise that you wanted to pursue this career path?
At a very early age, I subscribed to magazines that were very well known in France for the high quality of their stories and illustrations. I was fascinated by the illustrations even before reading the text and I copied the characters and the settings. I was not too bad at drawing and it seemed almost normal to continue drawing, I never stopped painting in fact...
What are some of your favourite materials and mediums to work with, and why do you prefer them?
I paint with watercolour and Indian ink on large Canson sheets. For the little anecdote, I make my own watercolours with pigments, which allows me to master the colour and to have a large stock since I paint daily. I have tried digital painting, but I don't find as much pleasure as on paper. But I admire the digital paintings of other artists.
How would you describe your artistic style, and how has it evolved over time?
I do narrative illustration so each drawing tells a story and an atmosphere. I often illustrate small moments of life and childhood memories. There is a lot of nature, a lot of green, with the idea of a rich biodiversity integrated into the cities, a real sharing of the whole living world without distinction. I am lucky to live near the hills and the Mediterranean Sea. Once the sketch is finished, I transfer it to a large sheet of watercolour paper and then I ink the outlines with a pen and Indian ink. I then paint the lighter elements with watercolour in small strokes and finish with the shadows.
Who are some artists or other creative figures that have influenced your work, and how have they inspired you?
Arthur Rackham, Edmond Dulac, Gustave Doré, and for more contemporary illustrators Mark Janssen, Anne Brouillard, Maria Chiara di Giorgio. They have a very marked style and I am very sensitive to their watercolours, the colours used, I have been following their work for several years.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists who are just starting out on their artistic journeys?
To be curious about everything and not just focus on paintings. Be interested in photography, cinema, literature, the more you broaden your cultural field, the more you nourish your work. Don't get discouraged if you feel overwhelmed, or have that "imposter" feeling, I sincerely believe that everyone has a place to express what they feel, see.
What's your favourite piece that you sell on Fy! and why?
I loved painting "Starry Night", I had no idea what I wanted to illustrate, but I remembered my grandparents' house and that fascination for the very black sky and shooting stars of August.
Which other artists on the Fy! platform do you love?
I love the paintings of Sabina Fenn, there is a feeling of well-being and peace when I look at her works.
Can you share with us a favourite piece of art from another artist and tell us why you love it? (please ensure the artwork is available on Fy!)
Sunrise in the Atlantic Ocean by Rachel Elise. We can see the main lines and it is at the same time abstract. I never tire of looking at his works, because the look is different every time.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists who are just starting out in their careers?
Looking for one’s own style is a long job, it evolves over time, and we must not lose heart. We must remain curious, open to constructive criticism and do not hesitate to exchange with other artists, it is always very rewarding!