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Drawing a line
Following her popular film for Colorscope Orange, we rummage through Emmanuelle Walker's reel to find more gems and talk with the Nexus animator about her creative process

Did you grow up in a creative environment? Did you always want to be an artist?

Yes I think my parents are very creative, I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! I remember wanting to be an architect, or painter, or children’s book illustrator – but also archaeologist and even dentist at some point…

There’s a clean cut clarity to your animations – we particularly love one of your earlier piece for the Tate Modern Malevich exhibition. Do you feel you have found your style, or is it constantly evolving?

During my animation studies, we were told that being versatile and being able to adapt to any style, was the key to success. As an illustrator it’s the total opposite, one must be able to recognize your work from a mile away… That being said I think that my style is constantly evolving, in the same direction I suppose. But I can also animate and design anything in pretty much any style if needed, I guess people just don’t really see that side of my work.

How does your creative process work – do you sketch ideas out in a notebook or do you think on the computer?  

I always sketch first. The tiniest sketches are often the best – probably the size of a big stamp. That’s how I find the composition of the image, and then once I like an option, I import that sketch in Photoshop and work on a more precise rough. Once I am happy with it, I work on some very rough colour palettes, sometime two, sometime 10, it depends. And once I’m happy with that, I proceed to the making of the final image.

For animation it’s the same process, but on a bigger scale, I try to find original ideas that illustrate the VO the most efficiently. In this case the ideas evolved a lot, as we had a lot of time to work on the film, it’s one of the first times that I really have the impression that I can perfect a story. It’s very rare to work with a client that trusts you completely and comes to you for what you do and doesn’t ask you to ‘copy’ someone else’s work.

Did you choose Orange or were you “given” the colour Orange for your film, which is part of the CNN Colorscope series?

Orange was given to me, I didn’t get to choose but I’m pretty happy with orange.
Do you now hate or love the colour now? In fact, what IS your favourite colour?

I don’t hate nor love it. I can say that I never really wear Orange, but I’m happy when the sky is. I don’t have a favourite colour, I like certain palettes and colour combinations rather. And again, it depends on its usage!

What part of the process do you enjoy the most and why?

I think I like finding ideas the most. It’s a very intense process that can be frustrating when ideas don’t come, but then it’s so satisfying when they do. Also I like not having to sit in front of a computer for this. I rarely have the chance to work in cafés, but I do enjoy it a lot. For this film I was in Montreal at the time and it really felt like working-holidays.
What would your ideal project be – even in your wildest dreams!

I would love to direct some opening or end credits for a feature film – animated or not – for example.


Emmanuelle’s site


CNN Colorscope, Orange

Writer and Narrator: Dr. James Fox
Producer: Sarah-Grace Mankarious

Production Company: Nexus Studios
Director: Emmanuelle Walker
Producer: Greet Kallikorm
Production Assistant: Islay Leefe-Griffiths
Executive Producer: Chris O’Reilly, Charlotte Bavasso
Production Company: Nexus Studios

Studio Lead: Elliott Kajdan
Art Direction: Emmanuelle Walker
Animators: Claudio Salas, Emanuele Romano, Pierre Rutz, Emmanuelle Walker
Motion Graphics: Elliott Kajdan, Abel Kohen, Emmanuelle Walker

Sound Design: John Black
Music: Giacomo Smith