SKETCHBOOK #1 and #1.1

Armel Gaulme, The BESTiary

Funny animals…

As many, I grew up with Beatrix Potter’s speech-endowed bestiary, the Puss in Boots and the Fantastic Mister Fox. By the tender age of seven I was on sharp lookout for every broadcast of the Christmas movies of Wolfgang Reitherman, one of the “Nine Old Men” from Disney Animation Studios.

I’ve never ceased since to be awed by artists who’ve delighted in seizing the personalities of their fellow men and transposing them on animal faces chosen for the circumstance, first and foremost Charles Le Brun, J.J. Grandville, Heinrich Kley and Benjamin Rabier.

When I think of these talking animals that enthralled me when I was a child, I remember realistic, plausible creatures, with genuine faces and authentic expressions. They were characters I would have loved to meet, very different from the stylized caricatures, all angles and exaggerated scowls that we sometimes come across in contemporary “character design” …

Years later, I started sketching those “animals” (but does that really define them?) myself out of pure fun and I thank my children for having asked me to give birth to a great many of them in order to amuse them in turn.

My biggest joy would be for readers, in their turn, to dream and laugh a little thanks to the characters gathered here…

-Armel Gaulme

Foreword by John HOWE !

In an age where a few strands of DNA separate us from the humblest of creatures, in an age where we question our place, inherited from the time we gave names to all the animals, Armel Gaulme’s Bestiary is a salutary exercise where deft acuity of spirit and pencil line are displayed in equal measure.

Giambattista della Porta, Charles le Brun, Heinrich Kley, Arthur Rackham, Walt Disney, all have questioned and blurred the line that separates man from beast.

And in the end, can we accept the qualities to which we aspire: brave as a lion, strong as a bull and others, without regarding face to… muzzle the less redeeming human qualities that animals selflessly ignore? This is a book created with sensitivity, razor-sharp observation and a lively dose of humor, a mirror in which we would be well inspired to look long and carefully. We might just get a clearer glimpse of ourselves.

-John Howe

(John Howe is a Canadian illustrator, mainly known for his work as artistic director on The Lord of the Rings’ and The Hobbit’s trilogies, by Peter Jackson. He also published numerous books with Gallimard-Jeunesse, Nathan, Grasset Jeunesse, Casterman, Bayard…)

Armel Gaulme, The BESTiary

Born in 1981, Armel Gaulme graduated from the art school Penninghen (Académie Julian) in Paris, where he still teaches classic drawing and perspectives. Strongly influenced by Alan Lee, John Howe and Europeans illustrators of the 1900’s, he mostly draws in sketchbooks.

After his studies, he illustrated various children’s literature series of books with the publishing house Adam Biro (section “Le Baron Perché”, under the supervision of Maylis de Kerangal), then he worked with other publishing houses (such as Casterman, Bayard, etc…) before starting to work in audiovisual production, video games, animation, advertising, for which he produced numerous preproduction drawings and matte paintings. Simultaneously, he started teaching in various art schools and in his own workshop.

In 2014, weary of the digital illustrations’ world, he undertook illustrating Rudyard Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King in the form of a watercolor notebook. His next project is an anthology of sketches inspired by several fantastical short stories by H.P. Lovecraft.

“There are some illustrators who have to be published.
Armel Gaulme is obviously one of them.”

-JC Caurette

Sketchbook #1 :


112 pages

Black and White / Color

Foreword by John HOWE

Language: French and English

Dimensions : 13 x 21 cm

ISBN : 9791096315079

Price : 15€

Sketchbook #1.1 :


104 pages

Black and White / Color

Foreword by John HOWE

Language: French and English

Dimensions : 15.6 x 24 cm

ISBN : 9791096315826

Price : 15€

Publishing date: January 2021

Extrait du Bestiary d'Armel Gaulme.


Available on or at your favorite bookstore 🙂

This book has been made with the help of the Conseil Régional Grand Est and of the DRAC Grand Est.