This is the third in the series of 5, of how I found my calling, if indeed it’s been found. After a few summer jobs that defied economic laws, a college party that lasted four years, and that first job that I got because of a pair of boots, I was finally ready to throw myself into my life, my true life.

Or at least, that’s what I thought…

I’ve always found that the random encounters in life tell us way more about ourselves than any therapist ever could.

Just to say, I always thought I’d have a job that was more or less serious, but I spent so much of my life with artists. They intrigued me. All my lovers? Artists. My friends? Artists. My hairdresser: an artist, ahah, oh poor me.

And what was I? Still hadn’t a clue, much to my chagrin.

But having al these artists around started planting seeds in my head.

That lasted until I met Émilie over tea with some friends. The second she told me she was an illustrator, I think I just about fell out of my chair.


Right in front of me, I had a living specimen, approachable and even super smiley, who had one of the professions that more than anything else in the world. Made my heart go a flutter.

Listen to me here, I’d met enough artists, musicians, actors, painters, I was totally used to it. No biggie.

But to meet an artist who was living her passion, that was something that I hadn’t seen much of. Émilie was a children’s illustrator and was completely professional about everything. She had her studio, published books, pages in magazines, all of it, deadlines and invoices included. I asked her right away if I could visit her in her studio.

When she said, “Yeah, of course!!!” I think I probably had an orgasm.

The next day, I got to her studio, had some tea on the balcony and barraged her with questions, still while trying to seem super cool.

– Wait, so how do you live in Marseille but sell your images in Paris?

—-> Wellll, by fax for the roughs and snail mail for the originals (This was right before we started doing everything via e-mail.)

– Wait, the what?

—-> The roughs. These are the little pencil sketches you send to the artistic director to see if he likes them. If he does, you can start on the definitive version.

– Ah, so you never actually meet anyone? How do you find them?

—-> At the beginning, we meet and I show them my book. But I so rarely see them after.

I wrote everything down in my imaginary notebook. While I was asking her millions of questions, I got lost in admiring her little studio, brightly colored, drawing covering the walls, paint brushes, full of new smells, and so much light. And it contained so many of my dreams.

Ok, ok. OK. Calm down, Garance!!! Get a hold of yourself.

I knew everything I needed to know for the time being about this mysterious profession. I knew that it would be hard for me having zero connections and never having gone to school for it (you make a lot of connections in school). But I understood then that it was follow my dream, or face a life of regrets.

And since I’d never really done much more than doodle in the margins of my school notebooks, I gave myself a year to make it happen.

As I didn’t have a single person who could give me an outside opinion, I decided that every three months, I would take my book and head over to do pay a visit to all the artistic directors in the big publish houses and magazines… in Paris.

I was ready for everyone to slam their door in my face, or say my work was terrible, that I just wasn’t cut out for the job.

My parents as well. They were none too pleased with my artistic endeavors, and I was completely prepared for them to never ever forgive me.

It was quite the time, believe me. I was almost 26 years old and for the first time I was ready to say, “Merde, this is my life, and I only get one. Let me make my own mistakes.”

I just needed to know.

I went to an art supply shop and bought everything I needed: pencils, papers, paint brushes (at the time, I totally painted!) and I made myself a little art studio space in my apartment.

Aaaaaaah, utter happiness. Goodbye cinema!!! My new life starts now.

Translation : Tim Sullivan