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Film Fan Art

By Leslie Peterson

Flore Maquin, a 25-year-old French graphic designer and illustrator, is into movies. Really into movies. Scroll through her Behance profile and you’ll see scads of movie posters. Some of them are pure fan art, but unlike many other fans, Flore is now being paid to create posters for film festivals. In this interview, you’ll find out how she made her passion pay.

Leslie Peterson: How long have you been a professional designer and artist?

Flore Maquin: I started working as a graphic designer when I was 20, but I didn’t claim I was a graphic designer because I still had a lot to learn. I really deepened my knowledge since 2012, both through my professional contracts but also by myself.

Peterson: How did you become a graphic designer and artist?

Maquin: I started with an Advanced Technician Certificate in tourism, then a bachelor’s degree from Sup de Pub [an advertising school]. Graphic design came into my life when I had to work on tourist brochures during my first years of study. I remember being much more passionate about the design than the trip. This is when I began to learn how to use design software. I’m self-educated. Gradually I started to create documents for the city I lived in, for a music institute and so on.

This year my goal was to learn a new skill: digital painting. I love to draw and paint. I wanted to recreate this on the computer. 

movie posters by Flore Maquin
movie poster by Flore Maquin
movie poster by Flore Maquin

Peterson: How do you use Adobe products?

Maquin: I use Adobe Photoshop for digital painting. I think its slogan should be, “Photoshop, everything is possible,” because it is. Do you want a pink pig in space? Possible. Do you want a spider with a backpack on Mount Everest? Possible.

I am very at ease in it. I feel free even though I still have a lot to discover. What I like the most are the brushes and the color work. I also like Photoshop to transform a photo, draw, or simply do a montage.

InDesign serves me enormously in print: brochures, posters, and leaflets. Even if I process my images in Photoshop first, InDesign remains ideal for layout. I also use Illustrator, mostly for fonts and logos. 

movie posters by Flore Maquin
movie poster by Flore Maquin
movie poster by Flore Maquin

Peterson: What is it about movie poster design that appeals to you?

Maquin: I wanted to present my own vision of characters I love. Since I was a child, the seventh art is part of my life. I love cinema but I never thought I would work in this industry one day. Most of my experiences were in culture and advertising. For me, movie posters are between these two sectors.

What part of a movie do we see first? The poster. It’s the display; the advertising of it. The difficulty is to make people get the entire story with one picture. In my opinion, it is the supreme challenge for a designer.

Peterson: Why do you think alternative movie posters are so popular?

Maquin: Each person has his or her own tastes. Maybe people who love cinema, like me, are frustrated not to see their favorite filmmakers push the poster art even further. Perhaps people wish to be part of the film by doing alternative posters. With the Internet, everybody can show to the world how they see a movie, and that’s a really cool way to show how much we like a film.  

movie posters by Flore Maquin
movie poster by Flore Maquin
movie poster by Flore Maquin

Peterson: What are your favorite pieces?

Maquin: My Pulp Fiction poster is the most popular one in my Behance account. I think it’s my favorite, too. The eyes of Uma Thurman in the film have always captivated me.

Another favorite is the poster for Premiers Clips, an even that shows the best movie videos in the Rhône-Alpes area of France. I had no barriers for this poster, which is a luxury for a graphic design. My idea was to present music and video in the same image. Then I chose to run a camera at someone's ear. When the idea was found, I had to find a visual identity. And there it is, a colored poster. I guess I have some issues with colors. I love them all!  

Movie posters by Flore Maquin
movie poster by Flore Maquin
movie poster by Flore Maquin

Peterson: What’s next for you professionally?

Maquin: I just finished a poster for the French film Nazar Palmus. This is my first real movie poster and I am really proud of it. I am working on an album for a French musician, Daisy Lambert, and I am really excited.

I am also working on the Lumière Film Festival directed by Thierry Frémaux, general director of the Cannes Film Festival. This new edition is going to be crazy. The arrival of Martin Scorsese will be eventful especially in graphic design. The team of the Lumière Institute produces every document and I am lucky to work on really great projects. There will be numerous retrospectives during this event; the 20th anniversary of Pixar, for example. Each one requires a poster and I have the chance to work on a large number of them.