Marjolaine Leray, the graceful fantasy of line

In his house-book, the little creature ” waits. She waits for us to knock on the cover to invite us to discover the universe of pencil and paper where she experiences a thousand and one adventures. With her expressive popping eyes and her silhouette with pink and blue contours, our new friend was born from the imagination of Marjolaine Leray. “I wanted a character with an indefinite name and an imprecise nature so that the reader could project what he wanted into it. In fact, more than the creature itself, it was how it interacted with each that interested me”, confides the author and illustrator. One will guess a human form, another a small animal half-bird, half-mammal…

In any case, a hell of a personality, funny and impatient, tender and fragile, eager for sensations but also for reflections on life and its paradoxes. “As with a previous work, The Collection, confronting a jungle on the left page and a living room on the right page which, little by little, interpenetrated, I again wanted to play with the materiality of the book », explains Marjolaine Leray. Thus, the little creature finds itself stuck in the central fold of the volume, leaves the trace of its paws on the white page, nibbles the paper (reinventing the “paper mâché”), scribbles and erases more often than in turn.

“It is thanks to the scholarship that we obtained, the Courtes et Longues editions and me, from the Departmental Council of Val-de-Marne, that the book was able to become a beautiful object with “effects” meticulously worked with our Toulouse printer, Lavaur. » Tracing paper to better represent a flood, golden yellow pages when the light is too bright, a corner of a sheet to be cut out or even this delicious and poetic surprise at the very end of the story… From his passage through the n the world of graphic design, Marjolaine Leray learned the art of composing a page, in a gentle mixture of charming disorder and simple elegance.

The drawing lives in it ” always. Mom says that, when I was little, I made my first lines in the sand with a stick. She said to herself that she had to give me pencils! » Reading comics and youth albums, visiting the library every Wednesday did the rest. “ The richness of the book amazes me. Books are like the bricks of my house. With them, we are never done »she enthuses, observing with emotion the scribbles of her four-year-old son, her “first reader”. “He has a very logical mind: when I show him my work in progress, his questions focus on what’s wrong. »

The author thus likes to confront his works to young readers, during workshops or signatures. “Their reactions often testify to an inner life much more intense than we imagine, she assures. The little ones’ appetite for books, which they triturate, abuse, sometimes tear up, fills me with joy because, in these few pages, they experience both everyday life and poetry, material and the meaning of life. »

The very free fantasy of the line, the brief text written with a false casualness and a real vibration, the place of emptiness, recalling those inexpressible silences that the best composers know how to instill in their scores, the choice of colors which slap while caressing, give in the style of Marjolaine Leray her clean, whimsical and friendly music.

She revisits, all mischievously, the well-known tale of Little Red Riding Hood (1), invents, with Charlotte Erlih, a delicious “Fantomelette” that scares no one (2). She also animates her drawing in irresistible short films or graphic installations. ” Each time, I navigate between solitary, precious elaboration and teamwork which pleases me just as much, especially when it comes to taming the constraints and outsmarting the difficulties. »

Originally from Loire-Atlantique (she was born in 1984), settled in Nantes after years in Paris, the artist shares a collective studio in the center of a city she loves. Without any pose, she is surprised by the growing success of her work: ” I even received photos from readers who had my little red riding hood tattooed on their skin… Surprising! “, she admits with a half-amused, half-stunned smile.


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