Paris based illustrator Carine Brancowitz on art and adolescence


Carine Brancowitz

Carine Brancowitz

Her illustrations first caught our attention in Grazia and since then, we’ve been enamoured. Her work, drawn with ball point pen, is a labyrinth of detailed patterns, inked with vibrant hues.

She often draws adolescents as they mill about during all too ordinary situations. Sometimes they’re eating or laughing or sitting or sad. Carine’s precision helps bring her subjects to life. Her work is full of depth as she contrasts detailed subjects against flat backgrounds,  perfectly capturing the moods of her teens. Her skill is all in the subtle nuances, the way a thousand tiny lines of hair can be strewn against a girl’s bright eyes.

Carine’s pieces are layered with different styles, with her lines being just as interesting as her subjects. Her illustrations are so complex, yet simplistic, that one can’t help but wonder “how does she do it?”

We met Carine in her workspace in Paris to gain some insight into her process. Her studio, a spacious white walled apartment in the 5th, was sated with drawings, in various stages of completion amidst her colorful array of pens.

We brought with us many assumptions:  that she has a divine level of patience (she doesn’t), that she must carefully preplan her illustrations (not really) and that she’s been to the Eiffel Tower (not once).

Carine possesses an unassuming sort of charm; she’s graceful, but not loud about her talent (everyone’s good at something) and as we sat with her on the floor sifting through her pieces, we were overcome by a surge of nostalgia as we remembered the happy sickness of our youth, in the faces of her subjects.

And as with youth, our experience with Carine was fleeting. Before we parted we asked her to share with us her thoughts on adolescence, illustration and the effect of globalization in art.

Habemus Pizza

Habemus Pizza


When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?

Around 7 years old, really early.
I felt it. You don’t really choose to be an artist.
This is a seed deep inside you,
you choose to water it or not.

Why did you choose illustration as your medium?

I’m not fond of messy places.
I treasure living in a clean and empty space,
and don’t want to be confronted to the chaos that painting materials involves.
Stains everywhere and so on…
Moreover sometimes I travel a lot. You need to be “light” and flexible.

From where do you draw inspiration?

From everywhere.
There is a constant flow;
a line in a book,
a talk-show on the radio,
a person in the metro,
inspiration is generous. Continue reading