If you flip through the summer 2017 issue of the Go Ahead Journal, you’ll find inspiring traveler stories, countless ways to personalize your tours, and the bold, colorful artwork of illustrator Maïté Franchi. She’s a graphic artist and fellow travel lover hailing from Lyon, France, and we caught up with her to hear more about her work and the adventures that inspire it.
What motivated you to become an illustrator and how would you describe your style?
I studied graphic design for five years in Paris. Becoming an illustrator was like a secret dream. Two years ago, I quit my job as an art director, moved to Lyon, France, and started working as a freelance illustrator. I’m very happy!I work with vectors, but I feel that they can be too cold. So I like adding textures and light to give another atmosphere.
You illustrated 20 different experiences to have in Italy for the summer 2017 issue of the Go Ahead Journal. What was your favorite part of the project?
I go to Italy almost every year, so it was great to have the chance to illustrate places I know there.
Where did you find inspiration for the project?
A part of my family is from Italy, so I used pictures I took over the years. It was great to look at these pictures and use parts of them to illustrate the map.
Have you experienced any of the 20 highlights featured on our Italy map?
I had the chance to visit Turin, Milan, Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, and Rome. I hope to visit more highlights in Italy.
How have your past travels in Paris, Vietnam, Dublin, and beyond inspired your work?
I take some pictures and draw some sketches and use them in my illustrations. I love to take pictures of textures, doors, windows, and plants to create my first plan for an illustration, or just to remember the light and atmosphere of a place.
What are some of your favorite places to travel to and why?
I love Vietnam. It’s really easy to travel there and everything is so different—you’re like a child who discovers something every minute!
How do you pursue your passion for art while you’re seeing the world?
I buy a lot of posters, cards, and journals, and when I plan to travel, I try to contact an illustrator I’d love to meet or visit their shop. There is turnover on my walls; I’ve bought so many posters and I’ve found this is the only solution to enjoy them all year long.
If you could give any travel advice, what would it be?
Don’t plan your trip too much—be open to surprises!