Animation Artists Add Unique Touch To French Golden Books Reboot

Publisher Deux Coqs d’Or Editions, a division of Hachette Book Group, recently launched a new series of Little Golden Books in France.

Gérald Guerlais, the art director of the Golden Books reboot, told Cartoon Brew that the new titles add a “French touch” to the iconic brand. (In fact, the whole concept for Golden Books were conceived by a Frenchman, Georges Duplaix.)

Guerlais, who also co-founded the popular illustration project Sketchtravel with Dice Tsutsumi a few years ago, identifies himself as a big fan of the original American Golden Books, and he has made an effort to retain the core attributes of the classic series, including the frequent use of animation artists to illustrate titles.

When looking for artists to hire, Guerlais said that he looked for individuals who “have the ability to create appealing characters, with vivid colors, very stylized shapes, sometimes using squash-and-stretch principles, and influenced by vintage design and UPA look.”

He acknowledges that other members of Deux Coqs d’Or Editions’ editorial team brought their own tastes to the reboot, leading to a diverse selection of artists, including Sarah Andreacchio and Philippe Jalbert.

The first four books in the series, released last month, are:

  • The husband-and-wife team of Aurore Damant and Julien Bizat created Le Chanteur et la Baleine (The Singer and the Whale). Damant, who wrote the book, created the tv series Zip Zip and has worked as a character designer on shows like The Mighty B! and Robotboy. Bizat is an animator who has worked on The Illusionist, Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll, and Dreamwork’s unproduced Me and My Shadow.Le Chanteur et la Baleine.Le Chanteur et la Baleine.
  • Maël Gourmelen illustrated Quel morfal ce Gwendal!, written by Emilie Chazerand. Gourmelen, who directed the short film The Inspector and the Umbrella, is currently working at Illumination Mac Guff and has previously worked at Disney, Laika, and Dreamworks. Quel morfal ce Gwendal!Quel morfal ce Gwendal!
  • Dormir, quelle drôle d’idée (Sleeping, What a Funny Idea), written by Véronique Massenot, was illustrated by Caroline Piochon, an animator who has contributed to The Secret of Kells, Long Way North, and The Red Turtle.Dormir, quelle drôle d’idée.Dormir, quelle drôle d’idée.
  • Guerlais himself illustrated Papa bisous, written by Karine-Marie Amiot.
    Papa bisous.Papa bisous.

Currently, no American publisher has signed on yet to print English editions of the book, but Guerlais hopes that the titles will eventually become available in the U.S. as well.

Three additional titles will be available later this spring, including a book illustrated by former Dreamworks production designer Christophe Lautrette.