I recently found out about Belles et Rondes (“Pretty and Curvy”), a creation of the founder of iMel artiste, Maude Leblanc. A graphic artist since 2006 and illustrator since as long as she remembers, she’s in love with creativity and human beings. She accepted to take part to this Q&A for the blog and wanted to share a message particularly important for her: we have to dare to accept and be ourselves.
Behind every project, there is a story… tell us the story behind the creation of Belles et Rondes?
These illustrations comes from a moment at which I wanted to go back to my roots. I was rekindling with my passion (drawing) after holding off for a few years when I realized that, no matter how cute these drawings were, they didn’t resemble me. So I changed the same illustration and added some curves and… there it was ! I found my style. Simple, female characters, with a touch of silliness, and all in curves.
The whole thing really came to life during a portfolio event organized by Illustration Québec [a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring together and to support illustrators, as well as to promote and publicize illustration]. The day before the event, I felt like an impostor. I wasn’t a professional illustrator, but I had a message I wanted to share : a message of self-acceptance and body diversity. At that point, I knew what my mission was and I am developing the project since with different collaborations, but always with the goal of making a difference in women’s life.
What is the purpose of this project? What change(s) would you like Belles et Rondes to bring among people around you, or in the society in general?
“I dream of a world where every woman knows she’s beautiful!” I read that online and it became my motto. I want to inspire women to accept themselves, because they are all so beautiful and unique. I hope to help them understand that this body, we have to love it, cherish it and trust it, because this body that carries us towards our dreams. This body is way more than curves, scars or stretchmarks. Every body has its story, values, vision, but mostly a strong heart.
We enjoy rainbows for their multiple colors… Why can’t we accept that we are all different and colorful? Together, we complete each other and we are a rainbow in our own way.
Some people think the industry should open up to body diversity and set an example, while others believe that the public should raise its voice to let its desire of diversity be heard…
I think it’s everybody’s job. A world is built by the people living in it. It would be unfair to expect that only one party, either the media or the public, should do all the work. Media have a role, because of their influence. But public has to accept – or not – this influence.
Do you think that people are REALLY ready for more body diversity in their magazines, their stores, their movies and TV shows? Why?
It’s in the human nature to be scared of changes and of the unknown. There will always be diverging opinions, even on issues that seems to have been resolved long ago. Are people really ready and open to changes? I guess, in a way. I don’t think they know it just yet. But just like many changes in society, it will probably be a gradual one that could take time to set in.
This Q&A is for a travel blog, so I have to ask… are you a traveler? If yes, what type of traveler are you?
My curious side wants to travel more, but for many reasons, things are not always happening as planned…
Any favorite destination(s) ? Where would you like to go?
For a while now, I want to do a surf trip in Nicaragua and see Central Europe. Adventure and history fascinates me. Otherwise, I really enjoyed visiting our beautiful province.
Do you draw when you travel? Are you inspired abroad?
I have drawn once or twice while traveling. It was mostly silly stuff! I never really focused on other cultures as potential sources of inspiration though. Thanks to Internet, we can find everything, and it can become hard to nuance it all… but I’m always opened to new ideas! Who knows what else I have up my sleeve !
Belles et Rondes (“Pretty and Curvy) by iMel artiste
(Maude Leblanc) imelartist.com
Facebook : @illustrationsbellesetrondes
Instagram : @imelartiste