An Interview with Isabelle Dalle


Isabelle Dalle is a freelance artist that produces stunning imagery with feeling. Her illustrations offer lavish images with a timeless elegance. For more on her career please see:

Can you tell us a little about yourself? What were you like as a child? Did you always have a love of art from early on?

Art has always been my domain of predilection, I think I always tended to touch everything. This way I can express feelings via various supports. The images are more direct and sometimes say even more than the words.

 Who are some of your influences?

Wow… there are so many! I especially turned to nature and the human sciences. If I had to list three, they’d undoubtedly be : Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), a german biologist, philosopher and free thinker. For him, the biology was deeply similar to art, the symmetry present in nature was very marked in his boards illustrating the beauty of the biological world. For those who don’t know his work I would highly recommend one of his works, Art Forms in Nature. Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), a painter, engraver and German mathematician. All his engravings are really magnificent. And to end the list, a painter and teacher of the human anatomy, Nicolas Henri Jacob (1782-1871). His masterpiece is unquestionably Le Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme. Which he conceived in association with Jean Baptiste Marc Bougery (republished by the Taschen publishing) a huge work, full of details illustrated with 725 high quality lithographed boards. Many of my collages use part of these illustrations as a basis.


What led to your deciding to become a freelance artist?

I worked for a decade for the group Marie-Claire as an artistic manager of a magazine edited by the brand (100 idées jardin). This job consisted of taking care of all the graphic part, the choice of the photographers, the illustrators, and the brand image which conveys the magazine’s image, but I tended to go round in circles , not expressing myself artistically speaking. I had so many ideas to develop in so many different sectors (image, writing, music) that it became necessary to envisage a strategy to succeed in creating my desires.

What challenges does a freelance artist face as opposed to those who work otherwise ?

Being informed about tendencies, about fashion, and to know how to be renewed. But while guarding ones own brand image. That personal touch which will please the customer. Human relationships are also very important. As in fashion design, the graphic creation requests first work.

 What advice would you offer others wishing to pursue a similar career?

The first golden rule is to trust in what you do and let your feelings speak. To believe and not give up even if at first you have no desired results. The hardest thing when you’re freelance is the uneven cash flows. To be really able to live on it, it is absolutely necessary to have a bread and butter job , a food job which allows you to be more serene at the end of the month and more free also, without having to think of what you should say to your banker!

"Wonder Mouth"

What one medium to you enjoy working with most?

I work essentially on the computer with the help of a graphic tablet and different image editing software.(Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.)I also love papers with texture, those that have the grain.

Your illustrations have a timeless, nostalgic feel to them. Is that intentional?

Yes, for me old papers are printed by nostalgia, it adds a flavor of the past. It’s crazy that certain smells can make memories re-appear, smells that you had almost managed to forget. I found out that these supports also put on the front line the contrast of colors (in particular ink Pantone, very lively, that gives at the end a certain originality, even a certain kind of modernity.

Where did you get the inspiration for your very first piece of work?

The inspiration for my first board We Better Fly! came to me while browsing a site of human anatomy, a friend, another graphic designer told me about. It had hundreds and hundreds of scanned boards, I felt like a girl who had discovered a candy store for the first time.

I have been touched at first by all the emotions of seeing images of cut-away diagrams and then I liked also the playful side of anatomical charts The pop-ups, those that we tear off in the old encyclopedias. A real work of origami for some.

"We Better Fly!"

Do you have one project that holds more meaning to you than the others?

I would really like to invest myself more into humanitarian aid (art as a vehicle of consciousness) I’d like some associations to use my images to deliver a message, or maybe collect funds. My daughter has been diagnosed with a type 1 diabetes at the age of 2. To be confronted with this situation without knowing what her future was going to be, and to have found the support with associations of persons affected by this disease wake in me this need to help the others.

By the way, I’m gonna take advantage of these few lines to talk about a project that means a lot to me : A charity art auction called Anatomy for Life, which will take place from the 8th till the 14th of July in Brighton UK and to whom I entrusted 8 original boards which will sold by auction during that week. Of course all money raised is going to charity to support transplants.

What does it feel like to have your work featured in such iconic magazines as you have ?

Even in hanging around for several years in the world of women’s magazines, I didn’t get the opportunity to actually be in such publications! Until now, my role is within the team, they regularly call on to my departments as artistic manager or just as a graphic designer to participate in the realization of new models.

Are there any little known things about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?

I’m a big Elvis fan (smiles).


How does it feel to be able to make a living doing what you love?

I never felt so free since working on my own account. It is for me a cool way of breaking habits, those of everyday life that very often put on blinkers and blur our vision until it leads us to forget sometimes the meaning of our existence.

You are located in Paris I believe? What do you love most about the city? Do you find your surroundings inspire your creations?

Yes , I have the opportunity to live in this city, Paris, the city of lights. However, my dream would be to be able to travel all over the world. I’m not talking about simple tourist trips, no, I would like if I could to really settle down for one year, two years and then I would change countries. In order to discover different cultures by listening to others. It reveals to us sometimes certain aspects hidden from our personality. I do not intend to spend all my life in France, it is a country where we feel a little bit tight. I’ve been several times to San Francisco, L.A., NYC, I fell in love with your country, particularly in California and Arizona. The nature there is so changeable. The space disproportionate. I had the same feeling with NYC,the first time when I went there, I thought I was gonna feel oppressed by the giant structure of the city and I didn’t. On the contrary. We feel so small in this big city!

 What projects are you currently working on?

My projects for the upcoming year, well… Since 2011, I work essentially on a series of boards called ANATOMY. I still continue to produce it, my goal is to arrive at a total of 78 boards (I’m on board 20 so far). Then I plan to print them and reproduce a card game like a tarot game. I compose songs, sing and collaborate with Taxi Noir , a musical project which should come out in 2014. I also plan to  give a continuation to my first novel Purius Exit.

To be short, projects are not missing!

 Anything you’d like to say before you go?

Catch the beauty of all things … Even if they are imperfect!

The novel Purius Exit:

The charity auction Anatomy for Life:





One thought on “An Interview with Isabelle Dalle

  1. Ian Ayres says:

    Reblogged this on Voyeur.

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