“Interview with an Artist” is a recurring Lucky Penny Mag feature that allows us behind the paintbrush, tablet pen, and camera to get to know a unique artist. For this segment’s first installment, we spoke with Tallulah Fontaine, an illustrator and zine-maker from Montreal, Canada. Her work has spanned publications like Paste and FORGE, and her illustrations are perhaps best recognized for being the designs of electronic band Purity Ring’s tour posters, merchandise, and album covers. We spoke with her about her style, process, and inspirations.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
How would you describe your artistic style? How did it come together – are you comfortable in it?
My style is a mixture of drawings and watercolour and gouache paintings. It came together this way because I was always travelling or moving around and I never had a lot of space. I would sketch something, watercolour if I could and scan it all and sort of collage it together. I’ve been doing it for a while now so there’s a certain rhythm to it but I’m always learning!
What inspires you, and what do you hope to convey through your work?
Road trips, a song, the way my friend’s hands look when she’s combing her hair. Usually I’m trying to convey a memory, a moment that was significant to me.
Illustration by Tallulah Fontaine.
What is your artistic process, and your favourite medium to work in? Is there a medium that you don’t like to work in?
I tend to work best late at night. I’ve tried to work more during the day but I get very distracted! So I’ll spend the day going for walks, catching up on e-mails and planning out projects. Usually I’ll work on some sketches and put together and outline then I’ll start working on the final piece.
I prefer using watercolours mostly but I don’t know the proper technique at all. I’m not a big fan of working with pastels. We used them a lot in high school but I hate how they feel and the sound it makes!
How do you challenge yourself when new work comes up, but also in your everyday life as an artist?
For the most part the challenge for me is to learn more and develop as an artist. I skipped out on art school and have been learning on the go so sometimes a project will come up that’s totally new for me. Something I’ve never made before. I’ll take the time to experiment, watch YouTube tutorials for Photoshop and practice. It may take me a bit longer but by the time the next project comes up, I’ve learned something new.
Do you ever get a creative block, and how do you get past it? Which of your projects took the most out of you to complete?
I get creative blocks all the time and some days I just feel like I don’t draw right. I’ll meet up a friend for coffee, catch up on reading and keep myself busy with e-mails and orders. Usually after a few days I feel better and want to get back to work. Sometimes you just need some space from the thing you’re working on to like it again.
Personal projects take me the longest to complete. I’m working on a comic right now that I hope to have ready for the spring/summer but I only get a page or two done a week. I have to make time in between commissioned projects to get it done so it usually just takes longer.
You’ve worked with record labels like 4AD, but also small zines – what has been your general experience in those situations? What are the merits (and perhaps demerits) of each project?
Each project is different. Working for a big company like 4AD, there’s a lot of back and forth since there are more people are involved. Making a zine is totally different. I have total control over every part that goes into it, it’s a tangible piece of art I can publish and distribute myself.
Illustration by Tallulah Fontaine.
You’ve designed beautiful album illustrations and merch for Purity Ring – how did you start work with them?
Thank you! I’ve known Megan and Corin for years and have worked with them since the very beginning. It’s been to watch them grow as a band and I love being a part of it.
Do you have any tips for up-and-coming illustrators?
Hustle! Be ready to go all in because it takes so much to start out with freelancing. It’s still new for me so I sacrifice a lot of my social life to get it going but it’s totally worth it!
Are you working on any projects right now?
I have a couple new zines in the works and I’m also working on some artwork for some bands that I’m really excited about!