Pascale Constantin - Illustrator

Pascale Constantin

Born and raised in Montreal, Pascale studied Fine Arts and began her career as a sculptor for movie and TV productions. She had a great time creating unusual props that were often quite fantastical (like a bust of Beethoven as a terrier and a giant waterslide in the shape of a frog). So it's no surprise that when she eventually decided to become an illustrator she chose to focus on children's books. Because everyone knows that children's books have the most wondrous illustrations in the world.

Pascale soon realised, that as with any job, it took a lot of work to become really good. But since she loved drawing so much, she kept at it and it gradually became easier. And what a reward to see your drawings printed in so many copies!

Over the years, Pascale has worked in many different media: oils, acrylics, pastels, ink. More recently she has been creating artwork on the computer. She is constantly exploring new approaches and often combines several different techniques.

Pascale lives in Montreal with her husband and a large collection of plastic creatures from yard sales. When she's not sitting in front of the computer, she can be found at the Jean-Talon public market picking up fresh veggies for her other passion: cooking (and eating!).

Montreal, Quebec.

November 26th.

Where do you live?

Who is in your family?
One husband, no kids (yet!).

Do you have any pets?
We used to have two dogs in Barbados, but they were absolute evil, so we didn't bring them to Montreal (sigh).

What is your favorite book?
I grew up reading tons of picture books, but my favorites were graphic novels from Europe, such as Tintin and Astérix. I still devour graphic novels (the ones published by L'Association are wonderful), and I'm glad that they continue to evolve and gain recognition as an art form.

What is your favorite movie?
Brazil by Terry Gilliam.

What are your hobbies?
Frodo, Bilbo, Merry ... Oops, sorry ... HOBBIES! I love to take long walks in the city. They help me preserve a semblance of sanity after drawing tiny little details all day long!

When did you start drawing?
When I was a kid, often in math class.

What was your schooling or training?
Some studies in graphic design at college --- otherwise, I am self-taught.

How did you get involved with children's books?
When I was young, I thought that my schoolbooks were so poorly illustrated that even I could do better. That sort of got me started.

What is the thing that you like the most about creating children's books?
I like developing the characters when the ideas are still raw and there are endless possibilities.

Where do you work?
In my studio, which at the moment is at home.

How do you create your artwork?
I sketch in charcoal or pencil, then I do the final artwork in the medium I have decided to work with. I made many of my books using oil paints but have recently started exploring pastels. I have also occasionally done the final art digitally, using Painter and Photoshop in conjunction with a graphics tablet.

Do you have any tips for young creators?
Draw ALL the time and remember that Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime. And don't cut off your ear.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
Going trick-or-treating at Halloween with a bunch of friends! Parents didn't seem to supervise as much when I was a kid (at least, not my parents). It was so exhilarating to be set loose on the city streets like little demons!

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Strangely enough, I wanted to be an illustrator. Either that or a dinosaur vet.

What is the weirdest or most interesting job you have ever had?
I once had to create props for a TV series in which the main characters were dogs. I had to do a series of busts: Napoléon as a rottweiler, Beethoven as a basset hound, and Liszt as a whippet. They turned out so neat I had a hard time parting with them.

Camilla Chameleon

2007 - Great Book of the Year, Canadian Toy Testing Council, Winner
2007 - Blue Spruce Award, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed
2006 - Book for Young People Award, McNally Robinson, Winner

Picture Books