Meet Paul Giraud, The Versatile Berlin Illustrator

Image courtesy of Paul Giraud
Image courtesy of Paul Giraud
Brienne Pierce

Meet illustrator, graphic artist, and fantastic delineator, Paul Giraud. A French-born artist, with cities like Marseille and Rome in his rearview, has now found solace and inspiration in the endlessly expressive Straßes of Berlin. His playful imagery and variegated portfolio mirror his personality — a balance of honesty and humor. Taking on the freelance art scene in Berlin is something many pursue for different reasons. We had a chat with Giraud to reveal some of this freelancer’s insight.


CT: How did you become an illustrator?

Becoming an illustrator was not an easy process, and once you are an illustrator, it definitely doesn’t become easier. I grew up in France in a middle class family, which had nothing to do with the world of illustration or books. I have always liked to draw, but as a teenager I was thinking more about applying myself to scientific studies. I think, it was a quite hard time, and I was a little bit lost, so I decided to go to the University of Art in Bordeaux. I saw it as an open-minded choice, which give me the possibilities to later take a definitive decision in my life. I didn’t realize that it was already a kind of definitive decision.

After my studies, I lived in Rome, because I was fascinated by the antiques and the Rinascimento. It was here in my little room of Via Urbana, that I said to myself, “Hey man, you want to be an illustrator.” I really like to draw. I need it. And I like to tell stories. Illustration was made for me. I went back to France, and tried to find some projects which would hopefully bring me some money, but I mostly found projects which brought me experience, and some graphic design contracts. But with time and perseverance I finally made few books for children, for business etc., and exhibitions. Still nothing really big, but enough to get by.


CT: How would you characterize your style?

I don’t have only one style. I like to explore a lot of different arts to inspire my illustrations including the mediums of drawing and painting. But I really like to work with gouache. And at the end, all my pictures have something in common, something I cannot describe. I am always afraid of not making enough, so my work is always full of everything, sometimes too much. I like details, and each character has to say something, to have a particular story. An artist talking about his own work is a hard question for sure.
CT: From where do you draw your inspiration?

I really don’t know, from everywhere. I like culture. I like reading, watching movies, going to the museum. I have a classical education, and I think old paintings have a strong influence on my subconscious. From Illustration, I would say that the “modern cartoon” is a big influence, but it is not so obvious in my work. But I like the idea, that all the forms are free, simple, funny. I’d really like to drawn this way. And finally from my life, the people I meet or I see on the street when I am going somewhere. Berlin is a complex city, with a lot of different people, nationalities, and cultures: it is an incredible source of inspiration.

Rathaus Neukölln 2

CT: Why did you come to Berlin? When?

I came to Berlin four years ago. I was living before in Marseille where I met a girl. She was going to Berlin. The idea of the city pleased me. I was never in Germany before. It was a new challenge, a new life. So I came. The girl didn’t end up working out, but the city did.
CT: What about the city appeals to you as an artist?

I would say something very prosaic. Berlin is cheap for an artist to live in, but carries a big artistic scene and big possibilities for artists. I don’t know if there is another place like this on earth. And I don’t know if it will stay like this long, but for now I am enjoying it. Because of the possibilities for artists, in addition to the sizable art scene, there is a big positive spontaneity in Berlin — a lot of people doing things, good, bad, everything, who cares? All of these factors make this place so particular and creative. After that I would say the light is also really beautiful (when there is light, not like now during the winter). It is a really bright, really soft light. And I like it. It is making me feel good.


CT: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Stop thinking, just make. Things don’t need to be perfect, they need to be made.
CT: How would you describe your art in 80 characters?

A lot of image, a lot of story, few words and if possible, not something boring.
Quick Fire:

Music or literature? Both, and often together.

London or Paris? Never been in London and Paris is not my cup of tea, but I am often here for visiting my family, so I guess Paris.

All inclusive or backpacking? Backpacking but not too seriously; I am getting old.

Savory or sweet? Savory first, and sweet for the dessert.

Hamburg or Munich? Hamburg, but Munich is nice too.

Apple or Android? Easy: Android. Of course Android.

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