Gaël Henry, cartoonist and illustrator, based in Toulouse: “I was contacted to design the poster for the Polars du Sud festival”
Gaël Henry, cartoonist and illustrator, originally from the Center region but based in Toulouse, has just published a new comic book with Aurélien Coudray dealing with the Ceausescu regime in Romania.
How to start the project of this comic strip “The bear of Ceausescu”?
Steinkis, the editor, contacted me to ask if I was interested in working on this project. What convinced me to accept was the fact of collaborating with Aurélien Coudray, the author of this album. When I drew with him, the screenwriter of this strip, everything came to me. I found the colors, the designs, the style, it was fluid and very visual.
You are from the Center region, you studied art in Belgium and now you work in Toulouse…
It’s true that I moved quite a bit. On the advice of several comic book authors, including Vanyda, I decided to study at the Beaux-Arts de Tournai in Belgium. Then, I went abroad, notably for a year in Australia, which also allowed me to visit Asia. On my return, I started to want to make my passion for comics my profession, I settled in a studio where I lived with other authors. But after several years, I wanted to get closer to my family, the mountains and the sun and I chose Toulouse.
But is it really a random choice?
Not really, already because two people with whom I worked in Lille were two former Toulouse. They stayed in the North and I went down. When I arrived here, I first rented a room to be able to work. Quickly, people informed me that a place was freed up at the “general workshop” in the Terre Cabade district in Toulouse. At the beginning, it was temporary and finally I stayed. We are therefore eight to live together in this two-storey space.
At 33, you have already signed some great albums…
In 2015, I signed my first contract with the album “Alexandre Jacob: journal of a burglar anarchist” published by Sarbacane. As its name suggests, it is a biography that tells the life of Alexandre Marius Jacob, anarchist, a somewhat unusual character. It also deals with his political fight. Then, I continued in particular by drawing “Jacques d’amour” after Émile Zola or “Tropic of violence” which speaks of Mayotte, plagued by problems of poverty and violence.
And what are your future projects?
I have just finished drawing the poster for the next Polars du Sud festival, organized by the people of Toulouse. I met them at a book fair and they asked me to do the poster. I proposed something different but they imposed two constraints on me. The dome of La Grave and the Pont Neuf had to be visible on the poster. The result will soon be in the streets of Toulouse. Then, I’m working on a personal project where I’m a scriptwriter and draftsman, it’s a first. I sent my project to several publishing houses. In the meantime, I’m taking orders from customers.