The French illustrator and author Alain Grée was born on July, 21st 1936 in Eaubonne near Paris. He is the author of three detective novels (“La Chouette” editions) and produced children’s broadcasts on the French national television for two years. He studied in Paris at the “Ecole des Arts Appliqués” (atelier d’Art Graphique) and at the “Beaux Arts de Paris”. Gree has published over 300 books for several editors (Casterman, Hachette, etc.), most in the 1960s and 1970s. His books were translated around the world into 25 different languages. He also worked as an illustrator for “Pomme d’Api” and “Journal de Babar” magazines.Later he created 10 books as initiation works to ship navigation for Gallimard editions.He was also a journalist for the “Voiles et Voiliers” (sailing ships) magazine for 20 years and is currentlyworking as a graphic designer and editor of advertising publications.
Alain Grée recently remastered some of his earlier children’s books for the Japanese book editions of Geneon Entertainment Inc. and for the British book editions of Button Books.
He has been working closely together with RicoBel to develop the Alain Grée license further throughout the world.
His main hobby and passion are sailing ; he has owned several sailing ships since the 1970’s on which he has crossed the Atlantic Ocean twice ; he made many sailing trips all over the world while working on new children’s stories and illustrations on board.
He married to Monique in 1960 at Balbigny (Loire) and has 2 children.
You can find more information and interview with Alain Gree on his website.
What first catches my attention with Gree’s works are the colours. The vibrancy and the textures of the images are visually entertaining and provide enough detail and ‘feeling’ of the objects, which makes them more distinguishable as opposite to simple flat colours sometimes seen in children’s books.
Another reason for my interest in Gree’s illustrations is my childhood. I grew up in post-communist Poland, however most of my first books, textbooks, were from the communist time, and Gree’s works greatly remind me of the illustrators that I grew up with.
(The Locomotive by Julian Tuwim, illustrated by Levitt and Him)
(From the first ABC book by Falski)
Therefore we turn back to topic of ‘I wish I’d done this’.
I decided to chose one image of Gree that I have wished to do and it is:
1. Why did I choose this image?
Mainly due to the variety of the colours presented on the spread and the layout, as well as because of the many various details within. It is a story in a story.
2. Why would I wish to have done this image?
I would like to be able to be confident enough in my skills to engage the reader, viewer, in this case a child, with many objects and stories within one piece of work. A child can find something new everytime they look at the image.
It is a character that I am aiming for, to be able to tell a story through an image but to also surprise the reader, every time they open the book. Any story can be interesting, as long as it is told in an interesting way.