Featured Illustrator

Julien Posture

October 2019

Illustrator and ex-anthropologist Julien Posture talks to us about freelancing as an illustrator, moving across the Atlantic Ocean from France to Montreal on a whim, and gives some advice about packaging your personal style into working as a creative.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I first completed a BFA in Visual Arts in France, where I specialized in printmaking and book arts, only to realize my work was kind of boring and disingenuous, and that my scope of interest was way too narrow. So I moved to Montreal on a whim to study anthropology, which seemed to the best way to open up to new ideas, and it was. Flash forward 4 years, I get my M.Sc. in Anthropology and start working as a researcher. Meanwhile, I started to draw again, sent a lot of portfolios around and after a few motivating successes (The New Yorker, The New York Times…), on another whim, I left my job to become a full-time illustrator.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

I would say what I do is threefold; I make illustrations mostly for editorial clients, which means I help them with providing visual support to complex topics in order to attract and guide readers into an article, I make drawings and printed objects, and I write about visual culture and the social life of images when I have the time.

What are some of the best and worst parts of your job, day-to-day?

I love the variety and flexibility of my job — every assignment is different. It’s always great to be able to make my own schedule (even though I end up working on a 9 to 5 schedule most of the time) and I’m fortunate enough to live in the city where the rent allows me to afford a studio space, which feels great. The worst part is definitely dealing with overdue invoices. As freelancers, we’re at the end of the food chain, and it’s hard to argue with nameless bureaucratic processes when it comes to claiming money, although I’ve been lucky to be working with proactive art directors who take the issue seriously.

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Make work that you love making while being aware of what the market looks like.

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Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

Yes! I’ve just started a collaboration with graphic designer Etienne Murphy for Martha Wainwright’s new concert venue in Montreal, URSA. It’s an amazing place where every week you can see great bands in a cozy and intimate atmosphere while drinking a beer or a cocktail. We wanted to collaborate together with Etienne while having carte blanche and Martha was super open about us experimenting, so I’m looking forward to exploring this project in the next few months.

What advice would you give students graduating in 2019?

Make work that you love making while being aware of what the market looks like. It’s the catch-22 of being a creative under neoliberalism — your own personal style has to fit in within market expectations, and those two things are not easy always to reconcile.

What's on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

I’m working hard on diversifying my work, so I plan on opening a shop very soon to sell prints, zines and other small run objects. Otherwise, I keep collaborating regularly with Medium, Plan Sponsor or EnRoute and am looking forward to the release of a book I’ve illustrated with a local design studio, Wedge. Editorial has been my first love and the reason I’m an illustrator in the first place, but I would love to collaborate with agencies on advertisement campaign in the future, the word is out ;)

Website: julienposture.cargo.site

Instagram: @julienposture

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