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Digging into design: Marylou Faure’s Nobody’s baby

As part of FIDO contents, we’re gathering here some women designers to talk about some of their works. The Digging into design section aims to focus on the method and the strategy to approach a design project, presenting specifically the ideas that stand behind it and the step-by-step.

Marylou Faure is a French freelance illustrator and artist currently based in London. Very colorful illustrations most likely portraying women and female bodies have turned into her trademark. Her characters are a real statement about being confident, being free and being careless of other people’s judgment, loaded with a very bold style, “quite quirky and fun, I would say!” Talking about her style and her distinguishing feature that became her own personal brand, we asked her how she got to that point when the work is immediately associated with a unique designer.

During our conversation with Marylou a few weeks ago, she revealed many interesting details about her figurines project, from scratch to the latest releases. So, welcome to this new chapter of Digging into design where we’ll be telling everything about this “shiny, bubbly and curvy” work, as she loves to describe it.

The exhibition called Nobody’s baby—a solo show with a series of works about female empowerment, intimacy and body-confidence back in February 2019 at the printspace gallery in London—was the spark that ignited the project and took it to a bigger scale, as Marylou explains.   

From the very first illustration to the physical production it’s a short step, at least in terms of enthusiasm:

“Firstly it was to choose the right character and the right pose. […] I wanted my first character to be quite strong in her pose and I wanted something that was quite blocky and imposing. It started with an illustration, some sketches of a couple of different details to share with Nicola, and then a lot of back and forth between him and I when he’s sharing the steps of the 3D design. When the renderings were pretty fully approved and done, I reached out to a company to make it!” 

The designer underlines another very exciting yet crucial moment of the production process, that is to say the whole range of possibilities to turn a 3D illustration into something physical, a sort of Pandora’s box of sizes, colors, materials and infinite details to play with. It’s all a matter of tests, experiments and ideas. “It happens that the physical figurine needs a few changes once brought to life, something goes bigger or smaller, more or less glossy during the last touches.

“Colors also have a massive, huge importance.” She continues: “I have my palette and the pink just couldn’t be wrong. Some color combinations worked better than others and so I started to have it more closer to my character, to my illustrations.”

Once we tried to add a bit of iridescent white to the colors but it wasn’t working as well as I thought, so we changed direction” she says. As for the material, Marylou told us that, at the beginning she considered going with ceramic “because I thought that was what people did with figurines, and that porcelain or ceramic were basically the only options.” She then discovered the many qualities of a material like resin, above all the level of shineness it can reach and the relative weight it has: “The first prototype is quite light because there’s no added weight, while for the final product they add a weight and that’s why it feels so heavy” she explains. “Honestly I would expect to have so many more obstacles along the way” she says, “it’s been interesting, that’s why I continue in doing it.” 

Noticing her enthusiasm and self confidence with a kind of process like this and the numerous steps she had to go through, we asked her about previous experiences with production systems: 

On the other side Marylou has seen one of her girls getting really big! Thanks to her agent in China, she’s had a 10 foot inflatable done for a group show in a huge space in Shanghai.

“It looks very impressive. It turned around extremely quickly but I think I had this idea in the back of my mind since we started doing the 3D renders a few years ago. That’s a completely different material, the outcome is very different, and I’m exploring a bit more around the idea of having inflatable structures.”

“We were interested in going as big as possible and trying to see if it works. I was worried about the shininess, the bubbliness, the curvyness… Resin is costly, and it’s hard to move if you get too big, so everytime you wanna go big you have to think a little bit at different options and I think that my figurines can work nicely with the inflatable. I was really happy with that.”

Before hanging up, we spent some more time talking about dream projects, big scale girls, outdoor and indoor spaces.

“A garden would be a dream project. A beautiful outdoor space and a few scaled up figurines, that would be amazing.”

But Marylou is well aware of what it takes to get there and how difficult it could be. In the meanwhile, waiting for her sculpture garden, she got a taste of a scaled up version of one of her figurines thanks to the Secondary Bounce’s project of Vruseum: “The VR Museum was an amazing experience, it’s so satisfying because it does feel like you’re in a museum and you’re seeing this large sculpture and it looks so good! I need to make it happen!”

That’s all for now. We thank Marylou for this detailed journey behind the scenes of her production process. See you in the next episode with another story, another designer and another Digging into design.

All the images are property of ©MarylouFaure, you’ll need her explicit permission to reproduce them 🙂

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