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A day in the life of French artist, Hervé Tullet

We spend a day with illustrator and children's author, Hervé Tullet, from rise and shine through office hours to storytime.

Posted: 13 September 2013
by Catherine Hudson

Hervé Tullet in his studio
Hervé Tullet's studio
Getting stuck in
Inspiring young artistic minds

French artist, Hervé Tullet, is author of the innovative picture book, Press Here - winner of the Junior Design Awards 2012 Picture Book Of The Year. 

What is your family’s morning routine?

I wake the children up and then I usually don't stop work until they come back home. In the morning I talk with my wife to figure out my day; to plan what and how are we going to cook in the evening, before I start working.

What is your office environment like?

It’s quite small, but it is well set up. It’s an ideal space to think and to draw - not too big, so I can’t pile up too much stuff. Sometimes, I regret having it this small as I would like to paint, or sculpt. But generally, I think that it's a good thing to be focused on my books that need smaller drawings. In my studio, there is also lots of good music, of course! 

Do you have such a thing as a ‘typical’ day?

Less and less… I’m travelling a lot more, I hold lots of events all over the world. At the moment I spend more and more time in front of my computer than I do drawing; preparing my next events travel, plans and all of that.

Did you always want to do what you do now, for a job?

I didn’t have any plan. My life is full of surprises and maybe that's what I want to share through my books. My first job was as an art director in an advertising company, then ten years later I became an illustrator; first for magazines, then more and more as an author. Now, I’m more of a traveller and a performer!

What is the best thing about your job?

I get to experience lots of different things, there is plenty of diversity. I am still surprised that I’ve got more and more ideas as time goes on - at first, I thought it could end up being the opposite. And I like that I still have a purpose, a goal and a desire to do what I do. 

Are there any downsides to your job?

Too much choice - there are too many possibilities, too many proposals - every one sounds great! I would love to say yes to each proposal but it’s really hard to choose what to do and where to go when I have all these options.

How do you come up with creative, original ideas?

Sometimes, I think that the more you search the more you will find boredom. It’s not easy. You don't know what to do you turn rit around. Being bored can be necessary to reach an idea and a renewed energy. 

How do you juggle family life with work life?

It’s easier now that my children are grown up and tall now. I can leave my family for a while and enjoy my travels without feeling too guilty. Sometimes I bring them with me, abroad.

What do you do outside of work, with your family?

We visit exhibitions, go to the cinema and we cook. This summer we were at the Biennale in Venice, which was wonderful. Otherwise, we have a house in Normandy, near the sea, and we spend a lot of the school vacation there.

What is coming up, work-wise, for you? 

So many things... Books, games, apps, travels and big events - including a live art performance with 1000 people painting the walls of the Petit Bateau's factory.

Would you want your children to follow in your footsteps?

Yes, absolutely! My son Paul is going in an art school next year. It's great that I could share my experiences with him; my thoughts, my books and my workshops. I know that it could be complicated for him but... I’m optimistic

If you had superhero skills, (flying, invisibility, super strength), what would be your dream job?

Maybe the invisible man. Because he could change the world, but he is discreet and human! 

Hervé Tullet's latest book, Help! We need a title!, is available now (Walker Books, £12.99)

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