Johan Papin Gravitates Towards Blues and Pinks

This week we’d like to introduce you to illustrator Johan Papin. A growing presence on Instagram, Papin caught our attention thanks to his clever use of blues and pinks, which give his illustrations a sense of warmth and invitation.

Born in Nantes on the west coast of France, Papin earned his Masters of Fine Arts in 2006 and has moved on to study animation in the Pivaut school, where he graduated in 2009. His work and distinctive style, he admits, leans on his studies and has evolved over the years.

“My style has evolved in a minimalist way in terms of shapes and colors over the years,” Papin shared in an interview with Illustrators’ Lounge. “This is probably because I worked for animation shows where you have to keep designs simple if you want to be able to animate them but also because it was in the air, I guess. It’s a trend that I am part of.”

Since graduating, Papin has collaborated with various animation studios, working on kids animation shows and expanding his knowledge in animation, character design, and directing. In 2013, he was part of a collective of artists, which focused on animation and illustration. This rich artistic environment has also helped shape his work.

“I think I have been influenced by a lot of different aspects of design leaning towards minimalism,” says Papin. “What I like in creating pictures that way is that you can focus on the essential and it’s a challenge because each variation has a huge impact. You have to find the right balance to make it work.”

Mostly, his illustrations are based on observations, as Papin admits he’s constantly inspired by other people. “I think it’s just that I am continuously observing people around me. I don’t even think about it. I have an empathic personality and I try to look at my fellows with kind and understanding eyes. When I draw people I think of them like they are real people with their own emotions.”