Isabelle Stell

interview for the Francoise Sagan Media center, Paris

What is your experience ?

after my architect degree, i studied industrial design at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, school years are the best years for free creation.

then i left France to work in Hamburg and New York while constantly remaining connected to the world of contemporary art in each of these inspiring cities.

i now live in Paris for 16 years where i worked for international luxury retail brands such as Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Loewe, Donna Karan, Shiseido, Judith Leiber .


When did you decide to draw illustrations ?

drawing has always been part of my day 

to communicate/share an idea, to explain an intention, to express an emotion. i just collected my drawings regularly on my blog  4 years ago and that’s how everything started.

What are your technical tools?

the freedom and the quick ease of a simple pencil is the best to catch a moment with a sketchbook

my work is literally not very technical, the essential remains the idea, the subject, the storytelling.

What are your inspiration sources ?

everything, the daily life and its transparent micro-emotions, the incongruous  out of place situation circunstances, funny, odd, off the wall, my family, Paris.

i discovered a few years ago the text of the french writer Philippe Delerm, who describes with words those fleeting moments.


About your coming projects ?

continue to juggle with my favourite expression tools : architecture design, illustration.

over a twenty year period i gained a deep retail merchandising experience in the international luxury retail field

i really enjoy to design for brands whose authentic, life-long "know-how" somehow retains the connection between tradition and modernity. 

also, i will continue to make personal drawings printed in limited edition.


Isabelle Stell is an illustrator born in Lille. She has degrees from the School of Architecture of Versailles and from the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris (ENSAD).

As an architect and industrial designer, she lived in Hamburg, New York, Paris and gained an experience of 15 years in the international luxury retail field.

In her spare time, self-taught in illustration, she draws poetic and offbeat daily life that she publishes on her blog "those little things*, affirming her taste for simple and effective ‘sketching on the spot’.

Her drawings have been exhibited in 2016 at the Françoise Sagan media center in Paris and published in the book 'Ranger' for the editions Marie-Claire Massin in 2017.

In 2019, she decided to focus full time on illustration.

Influenced by her strong retail merchandising experience for high end retail clients (Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Loewe, Donna Karan, Shiseido, Judith Leiber), she developed her advertising and press business, designing for brands whose authentic lifelong know-how twists between tradition and modernity, taking part on brand image projects as an artistic director as well.

Her work also contains more personal drawings printed in limited edition.


‘* Those little things’ is a collection of color sketched "micro-stories", a focus on the daily life smallest bits.


Quel est votre parcours ?

Après mon diplôme d'architecte DPLG, j'ai poursuivi avec l'Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris en section design industriel, les études étant de belles années de création libre. Puis je suis partie travailler à l'étranger comme architecte et designer industriel en Allemagne et aux Etats Unis. Je vis à Paris depuis 16 ans maintenant et j'ai travaillé pour des marques de luxe internationales comme Louis Vuitton, Loewe, Donna Karan, Shiseido, Judith Leiber.


Quand avez-vous décidé de vous lancer dans l’illustration ?

Dessiner a toujours fait partie de mon quotidien. Communiquer une idée, expliquer une intention, fixer une émotion. Je rassemblais mes dessins régulièrement sur mon site, il y a un 4 ans et c’est comme celà que mon activité d’illustratrice a commencé.


Quelles sont vos techniques de prédilection ?

La liberté, la rapidité du simple crayon et du carnet de croquis me plaisent pour saisir l'instant. Mon travail n'est formellement pas très technique, l'essentiel reste l'idée, le sujet, l'histoire racontée.


Quelles sont vos sources d’inspiration ?

Tout, le quotidien et ses micro émotions transparentes, les situations incongrues, drôles, décalées, ma famille, Paris. J'ai découvert récemment les textes de l'écrivain Philippe Delerm, son écriture restitue également des instants fugitifs.


Vos projets à venir ?

Continuer à jongler avec mes moyens d'expressions préférés : l'architecture, le design et l'illustration. ayant exercé pendant plus de 20 ans dans le secteur du retail luxe international, je propose à présent mes idées, mes illustrations à des marques dont les valeurs sont traditionnellement modernes, au service de leur communication et de leur image.