Emmanuelle Houdart was born in 1967 in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. She studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Sion and the École Supérieure d’Art Visuel in Geneva. She has worked as a painter and graphic designer since 1996 and has published approximately thirty books, primarily for children, as well as illustrations for texts by other authors. She also illustrates for various print media including »Libération«, »Le Monde«, »Sciences et Vie Junior« and »Ça m’intéresse« and leads workshops in schools. In 2007, she created the artwork for the Festival des arts du cirque Solstice in Antony and Châtenay-Malabry.
As an author and illustrator, she has developed her own artistic universe in which the inanimate becomes animate and animals and humans become hybrids. In her wondrous, sometimes monstrous, and always rich narrative images, she gives her characters symbolic attributes that portray their identity as an emotional state. »I, like everyone else, have experienced many wonderful and terrible things. And that’s what I draw, the wonderful and the terrible.« Her preferred technique is drawing by hand with felt pens on cardboard and highlighting certain areas with color. »Monstres malades« (2004; tr: Sick Monsters), for children between five and seven, has been published in German translation. Using bright colors, Houdart depicts all sorts of scary monsters with very human ouchies: The devil has diarrhea, the werewolf a nosebleed, and the witch a fever. All these creepy creatures like vampires, devils, and skeletons, which are each given a two-page spread, become less threatening if diarrhea chains them to the toilet or they have lice or migraines or are covered in chicken pox. They recover through therapies like butterfly kisses, warm drinks, and a plush toy.
The book earned Houdart the 2005 Bologna Ragazzi Award. Beyond that, she has been awarded numerous further prizes for her artistic work, including the France Grand Prix jeunesse de la Société des gens de lettres for »Les voyages merveilleux de Lilou la fée« (2006), the Pépite du livre for »La boîte à images« (2014) and the France Grand prix de l’illustration for »Ma mère« with text by Stéphane Servant (2015). Between 2014 and 2016 she created three sets of stamps for the French postal service. She has also worked as a costume and clothing designer for several years. She developed the designs for the textiles and costumes that were used for the »Barnhominum« exhibit at the Salon du livre et de la presse jeunesse in Montreuil. Her illustrations have also been displayed at art exhibitions in Montpellier, Bobigny, and Geneva, among other cities. She lives in Paris.