Alice Colson grew up in the western part of France, the Loire Valley. As a child growing up in an art-loving family, she always enjoyed drawing and painting. She tried different styles of arts, like animation, ceramics and music, to discover which one of them will be better for her. As a teenager she also took cello lessons and prepare all the big “exams” to get admitted in the Beaux-Arts (arts school). Even though she got selected to study arts, she leaned towards a public administration and political science school in Bordeaux.
In 2019 destiny brought her to Namibia and she felt reconnected with nature and wildlife. She really enjoys the country and all the beautiful landscapes that the country has to offer.
“There are some many different landscapes, from the north to the south it varies at lot” .Alice
Nowadays she is developing an activity as an illustrator in parallel of her main job which is related to water resources protection and management, climate change and conservation. All this experience gives her extra motivation at the moment to work on her illustrations.
Why using watercolors?
I like it because it very nomad. It’s very light and it fits anywhere, which allows you to take it with you wherever you go. You just need paper, water and the watercolors. I also like the contact between the water and the colors. I love finding the balance between both of them. Too much water is not good for the drawing but too little is not good either.
I’m a fast painter; I don’t see myself doing oils paintings for example… It takes several weeks to finish one piece. You have to paint, and then wait for it to dry to continue. I’m a bit impatience myself, I think.
I also wish to tell some stories or sending messages with my paintings. So, I believe it’s easier to transmit strong messages about sensitive topics with watercolors.
What styles are reflected in your art?
One of my styles is a quite naïve way of drawing. Clear lines, very simple faces with very clear faces expressions. I have 3 identities: the first one more classic comic stretch, the second one is more children oriented, a naïve one, and the third one is landscapes and nature, (that are in my surroundings). I feed my art with these 3 identities.
Could you walk us through your creative process?
It really depends on the vibe. I don’t have just one creation process. Sometimes all I have is an idea on what I want to draw. When that happens and I don’t have much time, I’ll go quickly to get my notebook and I’ll do it really quick just to have the guide. Then, once I have more time, I will sit and do it in the proper way. I have several lists of ideas that I want to develop on my phone, in my computer, everywhere.
I also get a lot of inspiration from other peer artists, from painters, sketchers, photographers, character designers and 2D/3D animators that I follow on social media like Instagram. There are super talented illustrators around there.
Right now, you are working on a project with TOSCO, can you tell us about it?
Yes, I’m collaborating with Pako Kids Magazine for 2020, along with another artist, Juan Vicente. We agreed on a number of themes to raise awareness for the younger audience on specific topics.
We started off with Human-Wildlife conflicts in Namibia which is now available. It’s a very sensitive topic, because kids can sometimes have the perception that animals are just there, they have always been there and are always going to be there. They don’t however necessarily realize how fragile and vulnerable wildlife is. There is a delicate balance between human and wildlife and we have a major role to play protecting animal and environment.
I like to illustrate about topics I care about, like sustainable development, fighting against climate change, water resources protection, subjects relating to nature, biodiversity, animals. Participating with TOSCO is an opportunity to raise awareness on these subjects and creates something that I care about.
I intend not to sound like a teacher, “this is what you need to do”. Its more about raising awareness and explain kids that they have a role to play if they want to continue enjoying wildlife. And this could probably help to change their parent’s behavior as well. We often underestimate the impact kids can have to change their parent’s mindset. I try to plant the seed of awareness in kids’ minds, in a way.
Any other project that you are currently working on?
I have an action plan for 2020 on things that I want to develop for myself. I take a lot of notes and I try to take the time to draw. This year, I will develop and sell postcards of my illustrations on Namibian wildlife and Namibian landscapes for a shop selling crafts, clothes and books in Windhoek, the “Red Shelf” located just next to the Craft Market.
I am also hoping to work again with a French NGO to implement an illustration manual on humanitarian actions, and I have a number of other projects like drafting an album cover for some friends.
If your watercolors painting could speak … What would they say about the artist?
Amid laughs Alice responds… My work probably will say that I have a good sense of humor. That I’m often drawing funny things and funny situations, even when I tackle quite a serious or sensitive topic.
Your favorite animal in Namibia?
Do you like Namibia as a country to reside?
I love it! But you can notice it is a very fragile country, strongly affected by climate change.
Namibia is not one of the countries that generate the most in carbon emission, in comparison to western countries but it’s one of the first strongly affected by climate change. You can notice how fragile and vulnerable this ecosystem is.
Written by Daniel Zambrano