Pierre-Paul Pariseau’s work will often happily take a step into the bizarre and fanciful. Using puzzled together images from his what must be a mountainous collection of clippings, Pierre-Paul creates acidically vivid illustrations that are more often that not playfully left of centre.
Below, Pierre-Paul takes us on an in-depth tour through his process of generating ideas, finding appropriate imagery, and how he brings it all together.
I’ll describe step-by-step, as clearly as possible, how I do a picture. For example, let’s talk about the creation of a picture for a magazine article.
I start by reading, a few times, the article and letting it warm up in my mind for some hours, then I gather all kinds of cutouts that are related to the subject.
I have many boxes full of these cutouts in my studio, more or less classified by category. I also look in magazines and other sources to find more elements if needed.
Looking for these, I keep my mind open in case I find something interesting that is not necessarily related to the subject but can nevertheless be useful. It is important to surprise myself, not to arrive absolutely at the end with the picture I had in my mind when I started.
Many times (but not always), at the end, the best pictures are the ones that were imagined all along the process, not having in mind a clear idea at the beginning.
After I have gathered more or less what I need to start, I scan each cutout and apply, in Photoshop, a high contrast of black and white to them (which takes away their color).
To achieve the perfect contrast, I sometimes have to do it in parts on the same piece. Then I make each item transparent. It is on a similar shape, underneath, that I put the color. I repeat this for all the scanned elements. I compose the picture like this, piece by piece.
Of course, I often go back to search for the best cutouts needed to complete the image and take out those I don’t think really fit.
The colors can be added also by placing a hand-made layer of watercolor, acrylic paint, color pencil etc. under the black and white layer that is now transparent. These colors can be used independently also, without a top layer.
Lines done with pencils can be added and so on. I use my pen tablet from time to time. I intend to add more of these hand-made textures in my work in the future. Sometimes I displace the colored layer so it is not exactly under the transparent one.
Of course, there can be other features I use in Photoshop depending on the need, but basically this is how I work. When I think the picture is done I ‘let it sleep’ a bit and come back later on (after a good walk outside for example) looking at it with a fresher mind. I can then make a last minute change if necessary.
I wish that my illustration can question, amuse, create a smile, puzzle and, of course, stimulate the reader to read the article.
© Pierre-Paul Pariseau, 2016