Laureline Michaut (married name Laureline Duermaël) is a French comic artist and illustrator, who works under the pen name Laurel. She is the artist of several girls-oriented comic series, such as 'Le Journal de Carmilla', 'Cerise' and 'Les Énigmes de Violette', but she also makes autobiographical work and character designs for mobile games. She was born in 1983 in Metz, and named after the character Laureline from the sci-fi comic series 'Valérian' by Jean-Claude Mézières and Pierre Christin.
After her studies in cinema, she began to work as a self-taught illustrator, participating in the amateur portal BDAmateur.com for two years. Her work first came to the attention through her weblog, which has gained a wide following since 2003. She published her first professional work in the children's publications of Éditions Koutchoulou. At the Angoulême festival of 2004, whe met Spirou editor-in-chief Thierry Tinlot, who gave her the opportunity to fill the section '33 Rue Carambole' together with the artists Cha and Mélaka in 2004 and 2005. In 2005 and 2006 she drew two short stories for Spirou from scripts by Thiriet, and she was additionally present in the more adult-oriented satirical comics magazine Psikopat.
Since 2006 she has worked on a variety of girls' comics for several French and Belgian publishing houses. Between 2006 and 2009 she made four albums of the series 'Le Journal de Carmilla' writer Lorris Murail for Vents d'Ouest. The series consisted of short stories consisting of entries from a young girls' diary. It was followed in 2011 by 'Les enquêtes surnaturelles de Mina', an album starring Carmila's sister who indulges in a supernatural investigation. Laurel launched her solo children's series 'Cerise', about a little girl based on the author's daughter, who can talk to animals. The first album was published by Le Lombard in 2012. In 2017, she created the girls' riddle comic 'Les Enquêtes de Violette' with Fred Neidhardt for Bamboo Édition.
In the meantime, she continued to work on more personal projects. In 2009, she published 'Un crayon dans le cour...', with Vraoum!, a collection of comics diary entries from her blog and some new material, dealing with her everyday life with her daughter, lover, work and cat. In 2011 Laurel and writer Elric created the social study 'March ou Rêve' for Dargaud, a coming-of-age story about Harold, who is confronted with his estranged father's new family while visiting his grandmother in Brittany.
Un crayon dans le cour...
Laurel has also worked as a character designer for the game industry. She co-created a mobile game about an earthworm, called 'Doodle Grub' with her partner Adriën Duermaël, which was released in June 2010 and reached 3 million users and 200,000 daily players. This success resulted in a team-up with the entrepeneurs Sébastien Borget and Arthur Madrid, and the launch of the Pixowl studio in Silicon Valley. She moved to the States with her family and realized the illustrations of the games 'Greedy Grub', 'Grub', 'Garfield: Survival of the Fattest' and 'Safari Party' between 2013 and 2015. The experience with this startup was however filled with disillusionments, as she found herself exploited and suffering from major financial problems. She chronicled her experiences in the online comic strip 'The Daily Struggle', which she first published on her blog in 2014. She deciced to turn it into a self-published graphic novel called 'Comme Convenu' ('As Agreed'). She turned to the crowdfunding platform Ulule and reached the requiered amount of 9,167 euros within one hour! After three months the had a funding of 300,000 euros, and she was able to publish the album with a print run of 9,000 copies in 2015. The planned sequel reached the required amount within seven minutes, and also quickly rose to the 300,000 euros in 2017. All in all, Laurel managed to collect over half-a-million euros for the production of two comic books!
While working on 'Comme convenu', Laurel left Pixowl and became an in-house illustrator for the Californian company Docker, Inc., which developes an open-source platform for software developers.