4 Questions For A Hunting Illustrator

Published on 23 October 2015
Author: Vincent Piednoir
Discover the inspirations of a renowned French hunting illustrator, Thibault de Witte in just 4 questions !

Born in 1970, Thibault de Witte has always flourished in two passions: drawing and hunting

After more than twenty years working in the commercial sector, this inventive and talented Picard born artist decided in 2014 to finally live his art … to the delight of fans of humour and watercolour! Sometimes tenderly, sometimes playfully, he sketched and, armed with his brushes, painted small innocuous scenes that capture the beauty of hunting life. While at home, there is not much risk to the game! But it is certainly in good heart that we smile when remembering our own memories (the artist gently mocks the ‘nimrod’ and his dog)…

1. What path led you to using watercolours ?

As a child, I had no taste for school, it bothered me terribly … However, I loved to draw whatever caught my eye, as well as caricaturing my teachers. At nineteen years old, I joined the School of Decorative Arts in Mouscron, Belgium. There I learned to use the different resources for graphic arts. But I had to earn a living, so I launched myself into the commercial sector – and it is in this area that I spent most of my career. Now, with it being a little over a year, I wanted a change in career: as I never stopped painting, there was great temptation to throw myself into the water … A decision I made after careful consideration.

2. What are your sources of inspiration ?

All the shows that nature has to offer us. Since I live near Abbeville, in the Somme region (France), for me everything is within sight, so to speak! There is a clear connection between the love of painting and the excitement to watch. There is the appearance of the one and the other, the influence of terrain or weather, their behaviour, the style of their unpredictability… I am a hunter myself – in which I also draw on my own experiences. Moreover, together as a watercolour artist and hunter, I am fascinated by the moment where the game appears on scene. A herd of deer approach or a covey of partridge that rise abruptly – it is simply magical if you think about it! Nature is a powerful, aesthetic force that reinvents itself time and time again in detail. I think the wildlife painter, like the hunter, is primarily sensitive to this dimension. In both cases, this falls under predation.

3. Your watercolours show very little dead game. Can you explain why ?

It’s a choice I have made – or rather, something that has won me over time. Many artists have represented – and still represent – the death of the animal. Without denying, it is solemn reality, which is the goal of all true fighters. I prefer to dwell on the “encounter” between man and the game itself – a meeting.

4. But what, the hunter has never witnessed such scenes ?

I like the comic effect it has. A band of wild boars cross over a path behind you while you were trying desperately to warm your hands by pouring a cup of hot coffee. At first, you grumble and let go an expletive or two! Later, in retrospect, by talking with your friends, you will laugh at having missed such an opportunity, for some reason so trivial … In short, my characters are real hunters, they know what it means to sometimes not take their chances ; and they also know that the empty handed past determines the intensity of pleasure we take in future success…

And anyway, it´s good that the hunter is capable of a bit of self-mockery, right ?

To view Thibault´s captivating artwork visit: