Illustrator Jean Jullien: A Lesson in Simplicity

posted on 14th Nov 2018 by Lorna McWeeney

The simple yet sublime work of illustrator Jean Jullien stands out against the visual clutter of our daily newsfeeds. His work reminds us that concept is king and, when it comes to conveying a message, substance is as artistically satisfying as style.

The term ‘illustrator’ doesn’t quite encompass the breadth of work of France-born, east London-based Jean Jullien, whose portfolio is a riot of editorial commissions, installations, book authorship, clothing collaborations, art exhibitions and a gargantuan amount of sassy(!) personal work. His list of clients includes The Guardian, The New Yorker, Nike, BMW, Uniqlo, Colette, and the New York Times. Across all of these forums, his style remains consistently distinctive with its playful characters, pared back palette and black brush line work a constant throughout.

 

Jullien’s work often playfully examines heavy subjects like the dark side of technology, politics and the everyday foibles of man with the lightness of irony & cheeky humour. “I’d like my work to leave a playful and humourous reflection of the times that we live in; I think it presents a slightly distorted retelling of reality.” Says Jullien. “…I don’t want reality. I want a creative and playful take on it.”

Considering his ideal commission, Jean Jullien recently described it as “a challenging contemporary subject, a great dialogue with the art director, freedom to do something visually bold, with humour and a final image with multiple levels of meaning, printed in a medium of mass communication.”

 

Jullien acknowledges that social media has been instrumental in building his profile. Particularly in 2015 when his Peace for Paris illustration bounced across the screens of the globe garnering him international attention. Interestingly, the French artist describes his need to pull away from the social media that was the target of many of his witty illustrations. He has now left Twitter and uses only Instagram to share his latest work.

Peace for Paris illustration

“Maybe it’s parenthood or a weird midlife crisis that’s come a bit too early, but I do feel a desire to change the way that I work with social media,” says Jean Jullien. “It’s been insanely generous to me, but I’m trying to find a way of being less active on it but still being able to communicate as much as I want.”

Jean Jullien in his studio

 

Lorna Mc Weeney | Junior Packaging Designer
Lorna is a Junior Packaging Designer with Neworld Associates, a brand agency with over 30 years experience. We immerse ourselves in your industry, your customers, your competitors and your business goals to create design solutions that will guarantee to boost your bottom line.