elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Sven de Rennes: An Illustration History

It’s not the first time that I feature Sven de Rennes on my LiveJournal, but the last time I did, I noticed an interested for his artwork that I haven’t noticed before: many of my friends, authors, pointed out that the paintings were really short stories themselves, and they wouldn’t mind to have them as covers for their books. And actually Sven is not new to the cover art world, he did many cover for LGBT publishers in France, pity that the books weren’t translated into English or Italian, so I haven’t had the chance to read it.

Cover Art for Une Histoire Simple by Roger Vhere

When I approached Sven to plan this post, I asked him if he was still interested in doing cover art, and he told me “sure!”, so friends, if you have in mind something, and you like Sven’s work, and you want to contact him, he is open to your proposal… yes, yes, I’m a matchmaker, but I do that only in the name of Art and to bring good works on the cover of the books I love.

And now I will let Sven speak for himself!

“I’ve worked as an illustrator under the nom de plume “Sven de Rennes” since March 2002.

Ever since I was a little boy, I thought drawing was a magical power, the way to show others what I imagined or what I had in mind. My goal was to manage to represent all this in the most realistic way possible.

After studying at the art college of Rennes II (Bretagne, France), I became interested in science-fiction and fantasy universes; I was fascinated by the creation or distant worlds, unreal moods, bright cities...

It was in 2002 that I decided to “come out” and took an interest in the gay world. I like playing with erotic situations, sometimes soft, sometimes not so subtle, always trying to incorporate a bit of humour, tenderness and feeling in the bonds between my characters.

Notre cabane, loin du monde

As time passes, my subjects evolve, but I know I want to explore and deepen more and more the backgrounds, lights, staging, and, most of all, the mood.

In any case, I hope my illustrations arouse your imagination, send you dreaming, and let you escape for a while. That’s what they’re here for.

A lot of people ask me how I work. I'll try to take you briefly through some of the secrets of my trade, with an illustration I called "Le Ménestrel" (The minstrel).

Step 1: Sketches

The ideas for my drawings come from everywhere. They can come from my everyday life, from a sight I saw, a photograph I liked on the Net, a friend, someone I meet, or just some daydreaming I fell like putting on paper.

For "Le Ménestrel", I aimed to create a tender, both magical and private universe; some sort of a hijacked medieval tale... I started out with the idea of a cloister, full of life, with green everywhere, its fountain, and also shades and lights playing here and there.

I always take in consideration the context of my pictures, not just the background. I really wanted people to feel the whistling of the wind in the leaves, the soft rustling of the water flowing into the pond. Thus, I didn't hesitate to blend in numerous details, to make the drawing more lively, not forgetting to center the tableau on our two lovebirds and their little courting session.

Step 2: The original drawing

The last sketch done, I now have a precise version of what I want the end result to be. That's when I start the creation of the final drawing. 


I don't use a tablet and I always work with my own hands on Canson 224g/m² A3 paper, with my pencils, eraser and pens.

Drawing and Laying-out require great focus. The gesture has to be precise yet dynamic, and I willingly confess it is a balance I still have a hard time to find.

Step 3: Colorization

This is it, the original drawing is done and inked up, at last I can scan it and start the numerical colouring, which I do with Adobe Photoshop.


I already had a clear idea of the colours and the atmosphere I wanted to give this artwork the moment I started the preparatory sketches. There can be a playful side in the colouring, the creation of textures or effects often requires an elaborate strategy as a means to an end. I apply the colours, lightings, shadows and textures, and sculpt the shapes step by step while revelling in the sight of the picture emerging to life under my gaze.

Step 4: Finalization

The artwork is almost done, I've applied all the colours, textures, shading and I've worked the shapes, the only thing left is what I call the "Finishing Touch". This is when I tune the colours to give the illustration a "mood", a coherent set of colours.

For "le Ménestrel", I wanted yellow tones, maybe even golden nuances, in order to find both the spirits of a summer evening and of an old piece of time-faded parchment.

I hope these short explanations brought you some new clues about the way I work. Please do not hesitate to ask questions if you feel like it, I'd be glad to answer them.


Here is some example of Sven de Rennes' work as Illustrator

Champagne au paradis

Space Warriors

Nuit a Babylone

Alexandre intime

Chant… de bataille


Visit Sven at his website to see more of his wonderful works:


And here is Sven's previous work as cover artist:

Cover Art for Vendredi Sauvage by Alexandre Alerini

Cover Art for Les papillons de Makaba by J.M. Fonteneau

Cover Art for Livresse des cimes by Tom Voirenlion

Cover Art for Livresse des profondeurs by Tom Voirenlion

Cover Art for Livresse des sens by Tom Voirenlion

Cover Art for Prince Alexandre by Kevin Hossegor

Cover Art for Un Quebecois a N.Y. by R.M. Tremblay

Cover Art for Un Quebecois a Paris by R.M. Tremblay

Cover Art for Joli Papa by Alain Meyer

Cover Art for La Memoire des Pierres by Alain Meyer

Cover Art for Pour la vie by Alain Meyer

More Artists at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art

This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/735483.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: art, behind the cover

Recent Posts from This Journal

  • 2020-2021 Rainbow Awards

    This cycle of the Rainbow Awards saw 348 submissions, almost 10.000$ donated to various charities and the volunteering of almost 100 readers in 3…

  • 2020-2021 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Book

    And the Rainbow Award goes to: The Man from Milwaukee by Rick R. Reed: - This enthralling book exemplifies the best of fiction, combining…

  • 2020-2021 Rainbow Awards: Best Lesbian Book

    And the Rainbow Award goes to: Wrong Number, Right Woman by Jae: - Nice slow burn romance with “ real characters. Totally relatable. Easy…

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded