When I made the list of artists on Instagram which I would like to connect with, Sibylline was one of the first that came to mind. If you’re not familiar with her work, I’m sure you’ll understand why soon enough. Her artworks are both dreamlike and powerful, but I’ll let her and them speak for themselves.
Who is Sibylline Meynet?
Sibylline is French artist with a very unique otherworldly style. She does both traditional and digital illustrations. You can find more of her work on her Instagram, website and Patreon. And you can even watch her timelapse painting videos on Youtube.
Do you have a degree in art and do you think it’s important to have a formal education when it comes to art and illustration?
I graduated high school and started as a freelance illustrator right away when I was 19. I never liked school and the thought of going back to school (even to study art) made me so sad. My parents are very open, and let me do whatever I wanted once I got my diploma. I was very motivated, and it was my dream to become an illustrator. Drawing has always been my passion since I was little, so I would say, in my case, that studies were not necessary. I thought I’d learn what I needed to learn by myself.
But I know some people need to go to school and learn from professionals – which is a wise decision. Freelance is hard, and when you are an 18 years old freelancer who just started out, it’s not that easy. I think schools are great if you want to learn different techniques, or technical stuff in general (I am thinking of perspective, backgrounds, how to use and understand colors, shapes and light, how to create good composition…). Those technical things that are hard to learn by yourself.
I am not sure art school are the best to stimulate creativity in general though. To me, being able to create whatever I wanted was primordial. But everyone has a different experience when it comes to school. I guess it depends on what you need and your personality!
To answer your question, it is important to have a formal education in art and illustration if you feel like you can learn and improve with professionals. I wouldn’t recommend to force yourself to study art if you don’t want to, or if you’re confident you’ll be more comfortable learning on your own.
Could you share a most touching or amazing moment in your career by now?
I am so lucky and grateful to have lived many incredible moments since I started working as an illustrator. But I am going to share two moments that happened this year and I will always cherish !
These two events are connected actually – Gallery Nucleus asked me to be part of an exhibition with two amazing artists I love – I immediately said yes, and decided to put together an artbook to launch it at the gallery in Los Angeles. My sister and I spent so many hours working on it. It was funny to take my old works back out to put them in this book! I ordered the books online, had trouble with the shipping company, waited weeks to receive them in time for an art show in Los Angeles – it was so stressful. So when they finally came (1 day before I left for L.A.), it was such a relief! It was well printed, we were so happy.
Then I went to Los Angeles and had such a great time at the gallery. The people I met, the things I saw, the places I have been – it’s my biggest highlight of 2019! I learnt so much during this trip.
If you had to choose just one would you choose digital or traditional painting?
I think I love traditional art better – but I can’t say digital isn’t part of my daily life. I would probably say traditional though, because I am too attached to paints and markers, and the feeling of drawing on paper!
Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
It’s not an advice, but it’s something I keep remembering when I am feeling down about my art. My mom used to say “nothing is useless”. So whenever I can’t draw, when nothing good comes out of what I am drawing and think I am wasting my time, I remember what my mom said. Then I know what I do isn’t a waste of time and will help me in the future.
Who are your biggest influences?
I would say Gustav Klimt and Marc Davis !
Have you noticed that your style has changed over time and how?
Yes ! When I look at my works from last year, or even from 6 months ago, I think ‘ok this led me to where I am today’. My old works have the same essence and energy than my current works. Almost the same shape too, but not quite. It’s a weird feeling to think nothing is written in stone, and as long as we keep doing what we do, it will always change (hopefully in a good way!).
Style change because our life keep changing, too. Because we travel, we meet new people, we see new art, we try new things, we grow as human beings and it shows in our art.
Sometimes it makes me laugh when I see old works because, let’s face it, it’s not very good. But sometimes I see what I wanted to say and it touches my heart! It’s like seeing pictures of yourself when you were a child, and you know you did your best that day.
What do you do if you don’t feel motivated?
I go out ! I like to take walks, watch a movie, go to a café, talk to my friends, doodle… without the thought or pressure to create a masterpiece. Just simple things!
Remember why you draw: because it is your biggest passion and it makes you happy. Don’t ruin it, don’t feel forced to create the perfect illustration. Just have fun and most importantly, do it for yourself!
If you weren’t an illustrator what would you be?
I am pretty sure I would be a photographer ! I love taking pictures, all the time. The idea of creating memories makes me so happy!
Is there something you don’t know how to do that you would like to learn?
So many things ! I would love to know how to draw a decent background. Even a simple one! I have to take some time to focus on drawing scenery, backgrounds and create a special atmosphere in my illustrations.
What would be your ideal dream project?
I have always worked with my sister. We do everything together, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without her! We have 100 projects together, and one of them would be to make our own animated cartoon. That would be awesome!
While we’re looking forward for Sibylline’s future projects you can find more of her work on her Instagram, website and Patreon. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and watch her timelapse painting videos on Youtube!