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La Petite Chambre : rencontre avec Camille de Cussac

La Petite Chambre : meeting with Camille de Cussac

The young illustrator looks back on her collaboration with La Chambre and talks about inspiration, Japan... and cuddly toys.

1. Who are you?

My name is Camille, I'm a 28-year-old illustrator living in Paris. I've been working since the end of my school on different projects, especially children's books.

2. Can you tell us more?

It's a great exercise, very complete. You have to think about a gallery of characters, tell a story, find a narrative framework, work on the settings.... It's a universe in which I feel very free.

3. How do you work in general?

I work with markers, Posca markers (so quite bright colours) and children's markers. I always start with pencil sketches and then move on to colour with a light table. And I'm part of the Jaune cochon collective with six other illustrators: we rent a studio where we work together, give each other advice... I find it hard to work alone at home.

4. Colours are very important in your work : how do you choose them ?

I change colours all the time. The choice is made very instinctively, without me really asking myself the question!

5. Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration is "real life". I like to watch people around me, in the subway or in the street. Everyday stories make me laugh and give me lots of ideas.

6. How did the collaboration with La Chambre on their new children's collection go?

Ian and Alison approached me because they liked my work, and we worked together on the four sets in the collection. It's the first time I've worked on sheets and seen my designs printed on such large fabrics, which is really cool.


7. Can you tell us more about the designs of the collection?

The idea was to offer an original collection, far from what we imagine when we think of sheets for children. The first set features a big red elephant full of softness holding a small feather at the end of its trunk. On the pillowcase, his friend the blue mouse is waiting to join him. For the second set, three mischievous (and colourful) hedgehogs make short work of each other to join the fourth hedgehog of the gang, quietly asleep on the pillowcase. Next, we head for Paris with a series of illustrations of famous monuments (such as the Eiffel Tower) and lots of little colourful details. The last set pays tribute to the animal that all children love: the horse. 11 horses with cooler (and more colourful) manes and a unicorn are looking at the carrot drawn on the pillowcase with greed.


8. Do you have a favorite pattern?

I would have to say the pattern with the monuments of Paris. I like this kind of design, a bit busy, with lots of little things going on and you can easily get lost in it. We chose a mix of iconic monuments of the city and things that really represent Paris for me (like a carousel or a metro exit).


9. And I think there was a surprise on the fitted sheet...

Yes, children often have trouble falling asleep or can panic when they wake up in the middle of the night, which is why they often sleep with their comforters. We thought we'd hide a cute little dinosaur on the fitted sheet of all the sets, a sort of little grigri that they'll be able to find every night and which will reassure them.


10. And you, did you have a blanket?

A rabbit that I still have! I find it hard to part with it or throw it away (it's really bad), so for the moment I keep it next to my bed. My grandmother used to sew and dress him with little outfits and pretty fabrics, it was very cute.


11. Did you sleep well as a child?

I was the kind of person who didn't want to go to bed, I often got up to tell my parents that I wasn't sleeping...


12. Let's talk about your adult life! Do you have a morning routine?

I like to turn on the radio to gently wake me up, but I don't do it every day.

13. What about the evening?

I don't really have a routine, some nights I like to watch a movie, some nights I like to chat or read a book... It's never the same.


14. A series to watch in bed?

I'm not very good at series, I find it hard to get into them. But I have an overhead projector in my room and I love watching movies at night. And I'm a big fan of Koh-Lanta - the contestants are struggling with their journey on screen and I'm slumped in bed!

15. What's next?

I'm working on some new children's books - it's great to get started on new projects. And then I hope that the exhibitions that were cancelled during the lockdown will eventually happen, especially at the SLOW Gallery in Paris. I also had to do an exhibition in Japan in a very small gallery that gave me free rein on the theme of travel. I love looking at how people live in other countries, I miss it a lot so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for 2021.