We have not seen too many covers for the first five announced issues of the upcoming IDW Sonic the Hedgehog book, but much of what we have seen has been from the newcomer, Nathalie Fourdraine! This week IDW interviewed her so that the fans can get to better know this new talent who will be doing an incentive alternate cover for at least the first 5 issues! I am very much a fan of her clean, lineless style and look forward to seeing more from her!
Below is a the interview with Nathalie: Meet the Artist! – Nathalie Fourdraine of IDW’s Sonic the Hedgehog
We hear you have a Cinderella-esque story about how you were brought onto the IDW Sonic Comics team! Can you tell us a little bit about how you started working on the IDW Sonic comic series?
Somewhat, yes! It really all started in 2017; I was working on an illustration for an awesome Sonic zine in the summer (Are shameless plugs okay here?) and Sonic Mania was coming out in August, so there really was just a lot of Sonic things going on this year! It reminded me of Sonic CD, which, musically and visually, I love. At the time I felt like I was in an art slump, so on a whim I made some art of the different periods in Stardust Speedway. I really wasn’t expecting how much it would catch on! Soon enough I got an email from Joe Hughes (An editor at IDW and awesome person) asking if I’d be interested in doing covers for the new Sonic comic series. I said yes, of course! That about lead me to here.
Can you remember your very first introduction to Sonic the Hedgehog? Which character did you feel you most related to and why?
It was probably around when I was eight or nine years old. My mom bought a Gamecube for my brother and I, and I remember renting Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and loving that a ton as a kid. We also rented Sonic Mega Collection around that time too, and that more than anything else really brought both my brother and I into the series. I remember as a nine-year-old, I’d flip through the old comic cover gallery menu (Ironic isn’t it?) and rewatch the intro movies over and over. There was a frame of Amy Rose from one of the clips that I paused, grabbed a piece of paper and traced over on the TV, because I thought it was cool looking! (But later scrapped because nine-year-old-me thought she was breaking the law)
As a kid, I liked Amy because she was “the girl character” and the only one I could see myself in at the time (It’s kind of messed up to type that out!). I rooted for her to get together with Sonic, to get what she wants, and my 5th grade art says it! Nowadays, I’m a lot more open with the characters I like. I’m older and I’ve experienced more in life, so I can see facets of myself in most characters. I’m impatient like Sonic, wide-eyed like Tails, trusting like Knuckles, excited like Amy, flashy like Rouge, moody like Shadow… it really goes on.
Did you ever picture yourself illustrating comic books? How has this experience working on Sonic maybe changed the trajectory you see for yourself as an artist?
I really didn’t! My main goal in life was to keep drawing and creating, and enjoy what other people drew and created, but I never had anything specific past that. I made a fan comic of another series when I was in high school, so it’s not like I was ever away from comics, but I for sure didn’t imagine illustrating covers that would be on a shelf, especially not for something really important to me and my brother as kids.
What has been your favorite moment about working on the Sonic comic series so far?
Imagining character interactions! I’ve realized that I really enjoy figuring out chemistry between people, and how a person’s behavior changes depending on who they’re with. There are so many characters in the Sonic series with equally different personalities that it gives you a mix and match feeling, and it’s a lot of fun trying to figure out what scenario I can think of where these characters bounce off of each other. I think this probably shows best in #3’s cover, where it’s Sonic and Knuckles having a competitive and friendly race, and Tails is cheering both of them on. How do these characters react to each other, and what actions/scenarios come consequently because of that? That’s a question I love asking and trying to find an answer to.
What advice do you have for any aspiring comic book artists out there?
Draw a lot! Observe things in real life and study how to draw what you “see” rather than what you “think” is there. Study other artists and why their art affects you, and use what you learned in your own personal way! Post art online! Make fan art! Try things you aren’t comfortable with yet!
That being said, I realize it’s pretty easy for me to tell others these things like it’s a simple fix; it really isn’t. It’s hard. You’ll get frustrated, then happy, then disappointed, then excited and then you’ll realize you’re going through that same cycle every two months. I’ve read advice that doesn’t really help me because it’s just so broad, like I’m expecting this artist to give me the holy grail and after reading the holy grail I can finally make a good piece. Art really isn’t like that. This is an idea I learned from one of my teachers: Art isn’t like math or science, where there’s a definitive way to do it and you’re just plugging in the procedure to find the answer. Every answer in art is provided to you from the get-go, but unfortunately it takes a while for those answers to sink into you. You’ll be drawing and all of a sudden go “Oh!! So that’s how shadows work!” after five years of having no clue what you’re even doing. As another facet of the art industry, this applies to comics as well.
The best piece of advice I can offer while remaining broad is to realize for yourself if, despite the struggles you have, you still enjoy what you’re doing and whether or not you want to do more of it. If you can answer “yes” to that, then you know you have something you really enjoy doing and won’t change your mind on later. Never give up on that something.
What do you think of Nathalie’s style? Do you want to see more from her? Which of her revealed covers is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!