Communing with 2021 Illustration Awards Community Winners

Q&A with 2021 Illustration Award Winner Annick Poirier

June 1, 2021


Annick Poirier, OPUS HOTEL VERSANTE - BRITISH COLUMBIA, Small Community Illustration - Single, 2021 Illustration Awards winner.

Laurentians-based illustrator Annick Poirier has worn many hats in her graphic arts career before settling in to illustration a decade ago. However, her verve for a variety of arts and experiences has not been abated. She has a passion for ecology and architecture and recently combined them in the creation of an ecological mini-house in which she now resides. Check out more of Annick’s work here.

What is your creative process (from idea to finished product?)

I typically start my days doing a plethora of healthy habits like meditating/breath work, stretching, exercising, writing, and having a smoothie! It might seem distractive and counter productive but it's not, it gets me in the flow...and bonus brings my joy and satisfaction. Then I research. Pictures mainly, but anything that comes to me intuitively. It could be to watch a YouTube video or go for a short walk. Sometimes an image will appear in my head. I try to let myself be guided. Even "mistakes" will often lead us to somewhere we couldn’t have anticipated going otherwise. I also often get business portrait commissions for various publications—then there isn't so much of that described process as it is pretty straightforward. It is still fun though.

What has the response been like for this piece?

Highly positive!

What inspires you?

Nature, beautiful people, capturing someone's expression or vibe, subtle lights and shades, sounds/music, painting masters, the 60s, interior design, movies and old movie posters, patterns/fabrics, design in general, everything that is shiny, the human potential, dreams, the cosmos...the list could go on and is constantly changing.

How would you describe your artistic style?

These winning pieces are in what I call a contemporary watercolour style but it is evolving as we speak. I need to update my style every five years or so to feel good about what I do. When it starts to get redundant, it's time to challenge ourselves as artists even at the risk of losing a client or two. I recently migrated to the tablet and Procreate and so my style evolved quite a bit along with that change. I believe that if I truly love what I do—it'll show and people will eventually respond to it.

What is the hardest part when you are creating/ when you created this specific piece?

I am awarded twice this year! But the Opus Hotel one was complex and very intricate so it was quite time-consuming in a very busy period of the year.

What do you think is an issue in the world of (photography/illustration….etc)?

Global economy—we have more opportunities but we also compete with so many more people. I tend to believe it is harder now than it was 10-15 years ago.

Where did you go to school? How did your scholastic experience shape your creative career?

I studied graphic design at College Ahuntsic in Montreal. Good thing we had illustration classes!

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in your field?

Allow yourself to emulate artists that you admire but don't stay stuck there and get inspiration from as many as possible and wherever you can find it. Eventually your own signature will emerge. When your style is solid, try being represented by an agent, it will speed things up for you.

What have you learned from creating this piece? (if anything at all)

The energy you put in, you get back; pretty much a universal law.

What do you wish people knew about your industry?

It's equally tough, fun, rewarding and competitive—and COVID-19 affected it dramatically.

What do you hope people say/think when they see your piece?

That it makes them feel good, uplifted, inspired.

What are you working on professionally? Anything outside of the usual?

Outside the ad and editorial sector, I started doing portrait commissions for regular folks and I love it! Apart from illustrating people, pets and kids I am also working on merging my interest for the human potential with illustration. I am developing various conceptual portrait offers that are designed to uplift people. This project is very dear to my heart.

Who is your creative hero?


If you could buy any work from any artist, who would it be?

I don't have one favourite artist; I am inspired by so many. This would be a hard choice and I would have to go through my endless Pinterest board before committing to one piece!

What is your dream work environment?

A contemporary detached studio with huge windows in a similar environment as where I live now: mountain and woods.

How do you stay creative/inspired?

By being attentive to everything that comes to my eyes—open and shut—and all my senses.

Tell us your biggest art world pet peeve?

I suppose illustrating someone or something in a real definite environment—I cannot express my style fully within those parameters. These little graphic elements, various details, washes, patterns and void spaces are part of my creative signature.

What are your interests outside of work?

Deciphering the universe; arts; travelling; green, contemporary and mid-century architecture (I designed my own small eco-house); finding my soul mate; interior design; permaculture; contributing to making the world a better place; landscaping; outdoor sports and activities; reading; spirituality; writing; music; meditation; healthy cooking; road trips; science fiction; home exchanges; conscious and eco-friendly living; ufology; minimalism; mindfulness; and, of course, being a present caring parent striving for daily doses of awesomeness. Oh, and I want to do a van or a bus conversion in the next couple of years. Life is fascinating to explore!