Rider’s Lens: Denis Carrier and his Bicycle-Themed Illustrations
In this Rider’s Lens, we check out the work of French graphic designer Denis Carrier, better known on Instagram as L’ermitage, who shares a varied selection of his collaborations with people and brands from around the world of bikes. Take a look here…
Words and photos by Denis Carrier (@l__ermitage)
I’m Denis Carrier, a 37-year-old French bearded guy. I have been working as a graphic designer and a freelance illustrator for more than 10 years. I’m living in Grenoble in the Alps. When I’m not in my studio or with my family, I love spending time riding my bike in my local mountains on some muddy trails.
I have a graphic design degree, and I have been working as a freelancer since the end of my studies. I’ve always tried to collaborate with people who inspire me, so since the beginning, I have tried to show my work to a lot of people. It’s a good way to learn, grow up, and be better as a creative person. Before working with the cycling community, I worked on many different projects, such as a ton of gig posters, editorial editions for international newspapers, and some graphic identities for cultural institutes. I still do that work as off today, but I’m just trying to have fun and be happy. And for that, I’m doing all that I can to collaborate with amazing people.
I love working as an illustrator, finding relevant, clever, and funny ideas that can make the viewer chuckle or think. This is the work that’s most natural for me, I think. But these last months, I also decided to change my habits and do more collaborations with some creative buddies of mine. For example, I teamed up with an amazing Japanese brand with Louis Nebinger, a young designer, for an upcoming project. I’m also currently working with some other friends on some goodies for the Bicyclette Club Sandwich.
I really started to ride my bike seven years ago after a period when I was working way too much. I had forgotten the outdoors where I had grown up, and spent the majority of my days working. After that, I understood that I had to reconnect with nature and find a better balance between my job as a freelancer and my life. Riding my bike was a perfect answer to this issue. I enjoy riding solo for most of my rides, but I also like organizing some local social rides to connect people. Bikes also inspired my work because, for me, cycling is an amazing creative playground. This is a place where I can experiment and play like a kid with creative tools. Even if now, this is a part of my professional life, it’s just a tiny part. I do my best to keep my bicycle-related art fun and not too serious.
At the moment, I’ve just finished this project for a Japanese brand, and I’m currently working on some visuals for Mason Cycles, an amazing British brand. I’m also working with a friend on some DIY handlebar bag for the Bicyclette Club Sandwich, as well as an indy blog about cycling in French. And of course, I continue to do visuals inspired by cycling for fun, and I try to ride my bike two or three times per week.
Looking ahead, I want to continue to dream. I’m a shy French guy with bad English, but I’m a dreamer, and I need to continue to do so. I dream of working on collaborations with brands or shops I love, such as Patagonia, Swift Industries, Topo Designs, and Blue Lug, for example. I also dream of some bike routes that I would like to explore and ride with friends. But I’m also a really lucky guy because I’ve already had some amazing experiences in the bike community. I rode and worked with the folks from Bombtrack, who are so lovely, and have done collaborations with Paul, Ultradynamico, WTB, and Bike Makes Me Happy.
Denis’s Design Tools
My creative tools are pretty basic, and I always begin by sketching ideas on paper. When I think I’ve found something interesting, I will work on it more seriously on the computer. I use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, depending the idea and the final product I want. Illustrator is more use for conceptual visuals or icons, for example, and Photoshop for my hand-drawn style (I use a tiny Wacom pen tablet for that, something simple because I’m really not a software or hardware geek).
This visual is a good example of my creative routine and how it influences my professional life. Every day, I try to find few minutes for making a visual for fun, sometimes inspired by a brand or a component. This is a good way to practice and experiment with new creative tools or styles.
I made this one without the words and post it on my Instagram. Matt from Crust Bikes sent me a message asking if it was available. Of course, I answered yes, and I worked on a second version with the words. A few months after, this design made for fun was used on a collaboration between Crust and Campandgoslow. Even if I like working on classic commission, I also like this way too, which is why I do my best to keep the rhythm of this creative routine.
Thanks for reading! For my parting advice, I’ll say: Don’t be too serious, have fun, be nice, and say hi when you’re on the saddle.
About Denis Carrier
Denis Carrier is a French creative known on Instagram as @l__ermitage. These last years, he has collaborated with brands and shops including Bombtrack, Chumba, WTB, Paul Component, 2-11, and Looks Mum No Hands! He also co-founded the Bicyclette Club Sandwich, a local lo-fi all-road cycling club. See more at BCSstudio.com.
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