If we had to pick one adjective to describe Maëlle Rajoelisolo’s art, it would be happy-making. The Ecole de Communication Visuelle grad has mastered a distinctly joyous style of work — and it’s completely won our hearts. Her art is colorful, fun, and full of personality; and includes plenty of incredible references to pop culture. (It’s obvious where the girl she gets her inspiration.) Maëlle is a fashion illustrator, but everything she makes has a style all her own — and that’s why she’s our Illustrator of the Week!
Find out more about Maëlle and her art below, and buy some of her exclusive-to-HelloGiggles phone cases by clicking right here.
No pressure, but describe your art: Totally fashion-inspired, funny dolls who don’t take themselves seriously. I always try to create something with a happy mood.
What inspires you to make things: Trips! Traveling inspires me a lot. I feel better when I can experience a change of environment! I also love watching movies, especially musicals (old and new ones), Wes Anderson’s, Miyazaki’s… I love their universe. And of course, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram are my favorites to help me to find inspiration.
Your favorite thing(s) to draw: Women wearing Haute Couture. Or dolls wearing anything I could never afford. I used to wish I was a fashion designer, but for instance I prefer to draw and wear clothes than to imagine them. I also love to draw hairstyles, especially buns and braids.
Medium of choice: Colored pencils all the way and forever (well, maybe not forever, but I don’t intend to stop now).
The first time you knew you wanted to be an artist: I’ve always loved to draw since I was a child, but it never occurred to me that one day I would chose it as a career. I was in love with Japanese anime series, especially Card Captor Sakura (Clamp), Nana and Paradise Kiss (Ai Yazawa); I loved their clothing style. I decided to start art studies only a few months before graduating high school — if I failed my entrance in prep art school, I would go to university to become a lawyer. When I tell my friends that fact, they always end up laughing. It’s hard to be taken seriously when you’re an “artist.”
Proudest achievement so far: When a small malagasy magazine wrote a full-page article about my illustrations. It was not a big deal, but they were so kind, it really moved me. Then the malagasy minister of Arts wrote a mail to congratulate me. My parents come from Madagascar and I used to go there once every two years, so it was kind of a special accomplishment to me.
Music you listen to while you work: It often changes, but lately I’ve been looping my playlist full of ’60s songs (The Supremes, Françoise Hardy, The Temptations, The Mamas and the Papas, Frank Sinatra…), She&Him’s “Classics” album, and most of Taylor Swift’s “1989” album to pump me up. And — of course — Beyoncé. Yes, I’m totally a “pop” person.
Your most prized possession: My wooden box of 120 Faber Castell colored pencils. It was a gift from someone important. This box helped me to realize how much I wanted to become an illustrator.
The last thing to make you giggle: My little sister and my cousins. They’re like brothers and sister to me. I used to literally roll on the floor laughing when I was younger because of them. Also, I’m not totally myself when I’m around babies.
I’m currently working hard on my future paper goods shop ! I’m trying to make something really nice so it takes a lot of time; I hope I’ll be able to launch it this December.
You can check out our past Illustrators of the Week here!